Hi d’you fam,
My most favourite thing about caring for the skin is caring for the skin barrier. Barrier protection is fundamental to caring for your skin, so it was a no-brainer that our next product should be focused on fortifying the skin barrier.
When we began market research to see what sort of products are out there and deep diving into a plethora of research that’s been done on skin barrier - it’s functions, it’s impairments and what ingredients help or impede its function – we found one stark thing missing in MOST of the OTC (over the counter) skincare products in the market. While the number of ceramide products in the market were unending, most were missing one important thing!
Several published studies and research papers on skin barrier have revealed that repairing a damaged barrier isn’t as straightforward as simply adding barrier friendly ingredients like ceramides to a formulation. Sprinkling ceramides to a formulation is akin to adding flour to a cake recipe without accounting for the measurements and ratio it is needed in. Without the right ratio of the flour to baking soda or egg, the cake will not rise. Similarly, adding ceramides to any formulation does not truly help repair a damaged skin barrier. Research has revealed that unless you add ceramides along with cholesterol and fatty acids in the same ratio as is naturally present in our skin (3:1:1), you not only don’t aid in repairing your skin barrier but in some cases you actually delay the recovery of your damaged barrier! And when you do add ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids in the optimal lipid ratio of 3:1:1 you in fact accelerate barrier recovery!
After examining tons of ceramide products in the market we realised that ceramides weren’t being used correctly in most formulations. A moisturiser (ceramide or otherwise) will always contain many humectants, occlusives and emollient ingredients in them. These ingredients give instant hydration and temporary reduction in water loss from the skin, and so the instant feel of these products is always pleasant on the skin. However, a user often confuses this temporary pleasant feel on the skin to be coming from ceramides but it is in fact coming from the other supporting emollient ingredients of the formulation. While these supporting ingredients are absolutely important they aren’t serving the ceramide benefit to the skin.
Ceramides (alongwith the other lipids) are supposed to fortify and strengthen your barrier for the long term. For ceramides to truly be functional on the skin in the way they were designed to work, they ought to be formulated in the optimal ratio of lipids that are naturally present in your skin barrier i.e. ceramides to cholesterol to fatty acids being 3:1:1. So then, why was it so hard to formulate ceramide products in this way and why don’t all OTC (over the counter) cosmetic and skincare brands formulate this way? A few reasons:
- When brands formulate with ceramides they pick ready-made ceramide complexes available in the market from ingredient suppliers. There are few such ceramide complexes and MOST brands use the same ceramide complex from the most known supplier. It’s easy to spot this from any product INCI list once you know the mix of this ceramide complex. These ceramide complexes don’t adhere to the recommended lipid ratio and the total % of this active lipid component (ceramides + cholesterol + fatty acids) in the complex is about 2.5%. So, if you use 10% of this complex the active % of the lipids is 0.25% and from this the ceramide component is merely 0.038%. This % is far lower than the indicated active range of the ceramide component as per research.
- Why don’t brands / suppliers increase the ceramide %? Because ceramides are very very expensive. Not just expensive, it is also a very thick & unstable molecule to work with in formulations. Therefore, suppliers don’t recommend adding this in higher quantities to control the formulation cost as well as the texture / feel of the end product.
End result? Although you find plenty of ceramide formulations in the market, none of these products contain ceramides in the recommended lipid molar ratio, nor in the % which has been proven effective. So while ceramide as an ingredient has been gaining wide popularity, the ceramide products efficacy for barrier repair isn’t 100%.
So, we decided to develop a ceramide formulation that would truly and actually work on the skin to fortify it from within the stratum corneum and deliver the ceramides into the skin barrier such that they penetrate and repair the barrier over time. And thus we made in my defence.
How did we go around developing in my defence:
- We didn’t use the ready-made lipid complex. We used a patented dispersion technology wherein a high quantity of ceramides can be effectively used in the formulation overcoming the thick & unstable molecule issue. We used not 1 but a blend of 5 ceramides in 1% purity – a concentration which is 20X higher than industry standard, in such a way where we could control the end texture and feel of the formulation. (The ceramide research has been done for concentrations ranging from 0.8% to 2%.)
- We used ceramides in the prescribed skin lipid ratio of 3:1:1 alongwith cholesterol and fatty acids that will aid in correct penetration of these lipids into the skin barrier. When used in this molar ratio, ceramides penetrate the lamellar matrix of the skin barrier and overtime heal and repair an impaired barrier. So the product is not just giving you instant hydration but fixing & fortifying your barrier so that your own skin can protect and defend itself against external attacks and water loss to the environment.
What's to love about this product?
My favourite thing about in my defence is the fact that it is so lightweight despite being so rich and potent in its efficacy. With the dispersion technology we used we could ensure the end formulation is non-greasy despite high ceramide content, and very quick absorbing into the skin. In winters you can use 3-4 pumps of IMD without feeling any heaviness on the skin, and in summers just 1-2 pumps is absolutely enough for the skin. It works beautifully on oily and dry skin types, and all skin types in between. There is an instant softness to the skin it imparts, and to be honest I can’t wait to use it in the summers because it has such a cooling effect on the skin, that it’ll be so refreshing and soothing in the hot weather.
IMD can be paired with ANY existing product in your routine, it can be paired beautifully with Hustle or any other actives, and it can be used on its own for those with a severely damaged skin barrier.
We’ve also used other high performing supporting ingredients in IMD to better help the nourishment of your skin barrier, but we’ll dive into that on product page along with more specifics on which ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol we’ve used :)
If you've reached till the end, here’s a little launch offer for you - use code ‘BARRIERLOVE’ for Rs. 500 off IMD in the launch week.
Thank you for always geeking out with us, we love making innovative products for you :)
If you’re interested in reading more about ceramides, you should definitely take a look at the below research papers:
- Moisturizers versus Current and Next-Generation Barrier Repair Therapy for the Management of Atopic Dermatitis - Peter M. Elias, Joan S Wakefield, Mao-Qiang Man
- Optimization of Physiological Lipid Mixtures for Barrier Repair - Man Mao-Qiang, Kenneth R. Feingold, Carl R. Thornfeldt, Peter M. Elias
- A natural lipid mixture improves barrier function and hydration in human and murine skin - Man Mao-Qiang, Kenneth R. Feingold, Fusheng Wang, Carl R.Thornfeldt, Peter M.Elias