Phytoceramide supplements – are they worth the money?

Hi Dr. Irwin I have heard a lot of talk recently about phytoceramide supplements being great for hydrating and smoothing out your skin. This was even featured on Dr. Oz. I would really like to know your opinion on whether these supplements are as good as they are claiming to be. Thanks,

My vote for now is no.   I’m still trying to find some real research (as opposed to marketing) that shows any real benefit.  I’ll keep looking and let you all know if I find anything.

The main criteria for great marketing is that is sounds pseudoscientificky and cool, and that the product probably won’t hurt you since companies don’t want to get sued.   People generally don’t sue just because the company wasted their money.  Another factor attractive to these companies is that it’s cheap to make – since the source is usually rice or soybeans.

Phytoceramides are ceramides derived from plants (thus the phyto).  Ceramides are present everywhere but mostly in cell membranes and are a fatty, waxy substances.  They are already present in skin.  I can almost guarantee you won’t look like you’ve had a facelift which could be a good thing.

Be particularly careful though with the version that Dr. Oz recommended on his show because it also contains Vitamin A at 5,000.   Supplemental Vitamin A is considered toxic now for pregnant women and also more than 3-5,000 iu a day regularly are not recommended.  If you also take a multivitamin with Vitamin A, check to be sure you are not getting too much!!

Hope this helps,

Dr. I


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!