What Are Enzymes & Why Do You Need Them In Your Skin Care?


If you’re looking for a gentle yet effective way to exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin, enzymes might be your new best friend. These natural proteins, commonly derived from fruits like papaya, pineapple and kiwi, help accelerate the skin’s natural exfoliation process without the harshness of traditional scrubs or chemical exfoliants. Enzyme-based masks and treatments are available both for exclusive in-spa services and for home-use. In a spa, they can be used at higher concentrations and to target your specific concerns. At home, you can incorporate enzymes to prolong your fresh-from-the-spa glow.

Let’s explore how enzymes work in skin care and why they have become a favorite among beauty enthusiasts.

Discovering Superfood Enzymes: What Are They?

Fruit and plant enzymes can help you achieve a more refined complexion, whether experienced in spa treatments or through our home care rituals. Enzyme treatments often encompass a holistic approach to skin care. They not only exfoliate but can also provide hydration, nourishment and antioxidant protection, contributing to overall skin health. Our skin is primarily composed of a protein called keratin. As we age, decreased cellular turnover causes the top layer of our epidermis (the stratum corneum) to thicken, resulting in a buildup of dead skin cells. This buildup can make our complexion appear dull.

Enzyme exfoliators gently dissolve the bonds holding dead cells to the skin, which in turn prevents clogged pores and addresses issues like an uneven skin tone, the appearance of dark spots and the telltale signs of aging. Fortunately, enzymes can help address this issue. Enzymes derived from superfoods like pineapple, kiwi and papaya are among the gentlest forms of exfoliation, making them ideal for sensitive skin. These proteins also support the skin’s natural renewal process by acting as catalysts that accelerate biological processes, enhancing the skin’s natural exfoliation. Enzyme exfoliators gently dissolve the bonds holding dead cells to the skin, which in turn prevents clogged pores and addresses issues like an uneven skin tone, the appearance of dark spots and the telltale signs of aging. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits.

The Benefits Of Enzymatic Exfoliation

Enzymatic exfoliation promotes the look of bright, smooth and refreshed skin. Since enzymes provide a gentle exfoliation on the superficial layer of skin, enzyme exfoliation very rarely has any side effects and is widely recommended by skin care professionals for all skin types, even the most sensitive. Here are some of the other key benefits for your skin:

Natural Exfoliation

Enzyme exfoliators offer an alternative to traditional physical and chemical exfoliants. Enzyme exfoliators help to accelerate cell turnover, which removes dead skin cells that make the complexion look dull. This process reveals brighter, fresher skin underneath and helps to even out skin tone.

Gentle for Sensitive Skin

Enzymes are generally milder on the skin compared to some chemical exfoliants like lactic acid and glycolic acid, both of which are part of the AHA family. While AHAs and BHAs are effective exfoliants, they can cause irritation and increase sensitivity. In contrast, enzymes provide gentle exfoliation without causing irritation or redness, making them suitable for sensitive or reactive skin types.

Brightening & Radiance

Enzymes like papain can promote a brightening of the skin by removing dull surface cells. The exfoliation enzymes also allow for deeper penetration of subsequent products, including ones made with radiance-enhancing antioxidants.

Customized Exfoliation

Different enzymes target specific types of skin concerns. For instance, papain and bromelain are excellent choices for gentle exfoliation, while lipase can help control excess oil. This allows for more personalized skin care routines and in-spa treatments.

Improved Appearance Of Skin Texture

By dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells, enzyme exfoliators smooth out the skin’s surface, reducing the appearance of fine lines and improving texture. This gentle exfoliation results in softer, smoother skin without the harshness of physical scrubs.

Reduction In The Look Of Dark Spots

Enzyme exfoliators are effective in reducing the look of dark spots. They work by accelerating the turnover of pigmented cells, leading to a more uniform skin tone and diminished appearance of discoloration​.

Sources of Enzymes in Skin Care

Enzymes used in skin care are often derived from fruits and vegetables. For optimal results, look for enzyme exfoliators containing various fruit enzymes (like actinidin, bromelain, papain) and plant-based enzymes (like lipase). Each offers unique benefits while promoting the emergence of newer skin cells. You can find them in superfoods such as:

Kiwi (Actinidin Enzyme)

Actinidin is an enzyme derived from kiwi fruit that helps to exfoliate the upper layer of the skin and remove dead skin cells to promote a smoother complexion without irritation.

Pineapple (Bromelain Enzyme)

Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple, is ideal for sensitive, irritated or rosacea-prone skin due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties. This makes the skin appear calmer and more even-toned. Pineapple is also a rich source of vitamin C, an antioxidant which improves the look of elasticity and youthfulness in the skin.

Papaya (Papain Enzyme)

Papaya enzyme, derived from papaya, is beneficial for acne-prone skin. it breaks down dead cells inside the pores, helping to clear trapped congestion under the skin. This enzymatic action not only reduces the formation of blackheads and whiteheads but also promotes a clearer and more refined complexion.

Fermented Plant Sugars (Lipase Enzyme)

Lipase, an enzyme used for oil control, is sourced from fermented plant sugars. This enzyme is used to break down oil.



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