Enzymes in Skincare: For Smooth and Glowing Skin

Regular exfoliation is key to achieving smooth and glowing skin. It helps shed dead skin cells to reveal a new and refreshed complexion. You might already be familiar with physical and chemical (AHAs and BHAs) exfoliation, but have you come across enzymatic exfoliation? While it’s lesser known that acids or scrubs, enzymes are just as powerful yet gentle skincare arsenal for naturally glowing skin.  

What are enzymes?

Enzymes are naturally found in our bodies to help with physiological functions, but in terms of skincare products we are talking about plant derived enzymes. Most enzymes in skincare are commonly derived from pineapple and papaya, known as bromelain and papain.  

These enzymes are a type of protein that act as a catalyst and work by naturally speeding up chemical reactions. On the top layer of the skin, enzymes dissolve the bonds, keratin proteins, that hold skin cells together. By breaking down keratin proteins it’s easier for the skin to shed and reveal a newer, fresher and more radiant complexion.  Essentially, enzymes help to resurface and regenerate the skin.

Acid Exfoliation vs. Enzymatic Exfoliation

The process of exfoliation between acids and enzymes are the same, dissolving away dry dead skin cells. The main difference however is the localisation of action and pH disruption. Enzymes work specifically on the surface of the skin, while acids penetrate deeper into the skin barrier. Acids also disrupt the pH balance of the skin which often causes sensitivity and irritation. Enzymes do not and that’s why it makes it a gentler method of exfoliation compared to other methods. This is not to say that enzymes are universally better than acids, but it could be a more suitable option for certain skin types and issues.

The benefits of enzymes

If you’ve tried chemical exfoliation and it’s too irritating that you may want to consider enzymes. It’s a much gentler way to exfoliate and brighten the skin. The benefits of using enzymes regularly are the removal of dead dull skin cells and encouraging desquamation. Enzymes have also shown to help with reducing pore congestion and pigmentation by helping to break down the cluster of melanin.

How to incorporate enzymes in your skincare regime

Even though enzymes are a natural and gentler form of exfoliation, it’s still recommended to approach with caution. With any kind of exfoliation, whether it be physical, chemical or enzymatic, there is still such thing as over exfoliation. Exfoliating twice or three times a week is beneficial at renewing the complexion but anything more will cause adverse effects such as inflammation, irritation and increased sensitivity. Enzyme based products tend to come in cleansers or toners. Here are our favourite skincare buys that contain enzymes

Vitamin C Glow Powder Cleanser

Hanskin Vitamin C Glow Powder Cleanser is a waterless and unique formula that transforms from powder into a creamy cleanser as you add water. The papaya enzymes gently dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells and the surface of the skin for a “glass skin” appearance.

Collagen R8 Restorative CoQ10 Facial Toner

This incredible product has been formulated with collagen-promoting CoQ10 – a powerful ingredient that restores elasticity, aids cellular turnover and acts as an antioxidant. The Papaya Extract also successfully promotes youthfulness by naturally exfoliating and encouraging the shedding of old cells. The blend of Cucumber and Sage extract ensures that the skin’s pH balance is well maintained while the Hyaluronic Acid deeply penetrates the skin to deliver intense hydration


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