benefits of enzymes in skin care

Benefits Of Enzymes in Skin Care

We skin care lovers have a tendency to exfoliate our skin with sonic brushes, scrubs, hydroxy acids and microdermabrasion. In a healthy skin care regimen, regular exfoliation is a must. However, it’s not possible to avoid using scrubs and other procedures. We need to find a balance. We must find a way that keeps the skin smooth and doesn’t cause inflammation or damage our protective barrier.

Aggressive exfoliation, along with other environmental insults and UV exposure can cause inflammation that can lead to aging. Skin heals slower after the age of 25 so it is crucial to find the right balance in exfoliation. This will ensure beautiful skin with no inflammation or aging. Enzymes are the answer. Gentle exfoliation prevents skin cells from building up. Because of their unique and gentle benefits, enzymes are gaining a lot of attention in the skin care industry. Enzymes, also known as proteolytic enzymes, help break down proteins into smaller fragments called amino acids and peptides. This article will discuss the benefits and action of enzymes in skincare.

Enzyme Basics

Enzymes are complex protein molecules and are biological catalysts. Meaning, they can enable a chemical reaction while remaining unchanged themselves. The skin has natural enzymes known as cholesterol sulfates that regulate epidermal differentiation, barrier function and desquamation. As we know, these natural enzymes on our skin don’t always work at optimum levels, and we need to apply topical enzymes to assist our skin. We use enzymes to enable the breakdown of keratin in cells, while losing the desmosomes.

Desmosomes are specialized adhesive protein complexes that localize the intercellular cement and adhere cells together. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) break that bond, however, only enzymes are used to enable the breakdown of keratin in the cells. They are classified as proteases (protein digesting enzymes). They break down the peptide bonds.

Enzymes have been used in skin care formulations for some time. Initially, animal derived enzymes such as pepsin were used in products. Pepsin is produced in the gastric cells of the stomach lining and is the main digestive enzyme in humans and other mammals, where it helps digest proteins in food.

Consumers are aware and demand plant-derived or synthetically manufactured enzymes. Luckily, new technology provides us with gentle exfoliants that have the ability to digest and clean up keratinized cells from the stratum corneum. Unlike AHAs, their activity is not acid pH dependent, so it can be used at skin’s pH (pH 4-6) or within acidic formulas alongside AHAs. They are activated by water, so they are more effective in well hydrated skin.

Functionality Of Enzyme

Enzymes are derived from fruits like pineapple, papaya and pumpkin. Just like digestive enzymes in our guts, fruit enzymes are able to break down proteins. Topically on our skin, enzymes digest the keratin proteins on the outermost layer of our skin, sloughing off dull dead skin cells to reveal soft, healthy and glowing skin.

The star ingredient in the enzyme family is bromelain from pineapple. Bromelain has the largest molecule size, allowing it to sit on the surface of the skin to help to refine the skin. This large molecule-sized enzyme cannot physically penetrate the skin, which cuts down on potential irritation and allows for exfoliation without sensitivity. Bromelain has shown in studies to have anti-inflammatory, wound healing properties, making it ideal for acne and breakout-prone skin.

Similarly, papain from papaya has been used medically for years to promote skin repair.

Enzymes work specifically on the surface of our skin without disrupting the pH balance of the skin. This is what makes enzymes gentle compared to other exfoliants. Therefore, they are especially beneficial for sensitive, dry, and mature skin types, but all skin types benefit from enzyme exfoliation. Enzymes in skin care will help to brighten the skin, give a healthier glow and allow for more efficient product penetration, all while maintaining the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Here, we will take a closer look at the most popular skin care enzymes.


Carica papaya fruit is the source of this sulfur containing proteolytic enzyme. Papain is usually produced as a crude, dried material by collecting the latex from the fruit of the papaya tree. The latex is collected after scoring the neck of the fruit, where it may either dry on the fruit or drip into a container. This latex is then further dried. The papaya peel serves to lighten blemishes on the face. It is good for fighting scars. The papaya peel is useful for acne, pimples and it helps heal skin infections.

Papain is active at pH 4-8. It helps minimize pores and hydrate skin. It helps make your skin smoother, brighter and healthier. Papain serves as an exfoliator to remove dead cells. It is ideal for oily, regular, and combination skin and combats wrinkles and the signs of aging.


Bromelain is mostly from the stems of pineapple. It is stronger than papain. It is not a single substance, but rather a collection of enzymes and other compounds. It is a mixture of sulfur-containing proteases and several other substances in smaller quantities including peroxidase, acid phosphatase, protease inhibitors and calcium.

Pineapple is rich in bromelain and vitamin C, which may help promote skin health. The peel has bromelain, which is a powerful enzyme. It is anti-inflammatory in nature and can be used to reduce swelling.

Proof that this exfoliates is that people can get sore gums and mouth ulcers if they eat too much fresh pineapple. It has been shown that pineapple pickers lose their fingerprints. Bromelain is used in cleaners for soft contact lenses and meat tenderizing.


Lactobacillus/pumpkin fruit ferment filtrate helps exfoliate surface cells to smooth, enhance skin tone and eliminate dark spots. This alternative to AHAs, a fruit acid/enzyme, is an exfoliation accelerator, a powerful antioxidant and a mild retinoic acid substitute. It is a natural repair therapy. Unlike other botanicals, pumpkin contains a densely populated constellation of nutrients. In fact, fermented and unfiltered whole pumpkins offer over one hundred nutrients. Through enzymic hydrolysis, pumpkin releases many hidden treasures.

Pumpkin contains more than 100 beneficial nutrients, which are used to help reverse the signs of aging. Pumpkin is a rich source of vitamin C, amino acids, antioxidants and enzymes that act like AHAs. Pumpkin gently exfoliates the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and hyperpigmentation caused by age, sun and rough skin.

Enzyme peels can accomplish exfoliation much faster, as they can penetrate the skin and help to deep cleanse pores, and improve skin tone and texture.


Theobroma Cacao (cocoa) enzyme is an elegant product with soothing and calming properties. The enticing aroma of the cocoa makes it appealing as well as relaxing. It is excellent for use on rosacea, inflamed acne and sensitive skin. The cocoa enzyme removes keratin buildup and helps to brighten and clarify. It calms irritated or inflamed skin while it gently exfoliates. It leaves the skin with a healthy, luminous appearance. The fine powder is obtained from the peel of the cocoa beans. According to the particle size, the exfoliation process will be more or less powerful. This powder is stable and can be adapted to any formulation, even those containing water.

Consultation and Contraindications

Before any treatment is performed, all guests must complete a consultation form. This is important to set expectations and is particularly important if exfoliation is being done.

Ask your client about their skin history. What products have they used on their skin in the past? How often do they exfoliate? Do they use any devices? You should find out what their past treatments were, especially exfoliation. Find out when, where, and what they did. Are they happy with the results? Are they happy with the results?

It is common for guests to exfoliate too much and think that more is better. Over-exfoliation can cause damage to the natural barrier function of the skin and result in sensitive skin. You should look out for signs such as visible dehydration, skin tautness and transparency, reddening and dilated veins, itching, increased sensitivity, inflammation, and irritation. It is an indication that the skin is trying heal itself if it becomes irritated or inflamed. Leakage of plasma, inflammation and the inflowing of white blood cells into the area can indicate that there is an issue with the skin’s ability to heal itself. These white blood cells stimulate enzymes that break down collagen and elasticin to get to the skin faster.

Find out what products they are using at home to avoid contraindications. Ask your clients.

As the connective fibers in the dermis are broken down, this will lead to signs of aging (loss of elasticity and wrinkles).

Go Natural

Talk to your clients about using naturally derived exfoliants, as it is a healthier option for the skin.

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