We know the situation when physical exfoliants are too harsh for your skin and chemical exfoliants like Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) and Beta-hydroxy acids (BHA) are too strong for your skin. Insert enzymes that can solve both these issues and that makes it guy to marry sensitive skin. Actually, scratch that. Enzyme exfoliation can marry any skin type. Read up to know how it works its magic on your skin!
What is enzyme exfoliation?
We’ve all heard of exfoliants and so far we know about physical and chemical exfoliants. But in comes enzymes. Yes, certain enzymes can exfoliate your skin and they are called proteolytic enzymes. Our body has millions of chemical reactions going on to function normally. They can take millions of years to complete if it wasn’t for enzymes who come in and fasten these chemical reactions. Proteolytic enzymes are the ones that can break down proteins.
Enzyme exfoliation works by the proteolytic enzymes working on the skin’s upper layer to digest the dead skin and break down the bond or ‘glue’ that holds the dead skin to our face. Let’s talk about some common enzymes that are found in the ingredient list of an enzyme exfoliant-
- Bromelain: It’s derived from Ananas Comosus aka. Pineapple and you will find it on the label disguised as Pineapple fruit extracts.
- Papain: It’s derived from Carica Papaya aka. Papaya and you will find it on the ingredient list as Papaya extracts.
- Pumpkin enzyme: Enzymes present in Papaya are proteolytic and hence they end up as one of the ingredients in an enzyme exfoliating product.
What are the benefits of enzyme exfoliation?
The benefits of an enzyme exfoliant is pretty much similar to what a chemical exfoliant like alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) or Beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) can do but with chemical exfoliants, the results vary with the concentration. Whereas enzymes work the same with less difference to the concentration changes.
If you’ve been using chemical exfoliants then you must read this to understand AHA, BHA, PHA better.
Here’s what an enzyme exfoliant can do-
1. Decongest pores
Since the enzymes digests protein, you can successfully eliminate the gunk off your pores. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which makes your pores happy.
By exfoliating, it allows cell regeneration that helps in fading stubborn scars and dark spots. You might have to wait for a few months to see the full results but it will surely start fading in a few usages.
Learn more about hyperpigmentation here.
With all the dead skin and pollution sitting on your face, it sure will make it dull. Enzyme exfoliants can perfectly take off the excess to leave you with a fresh layer of soft skin. It’s anti-inflammatory properties can help calm the skin to add to the glow.
Learn more about combating dullness here.
4. Improves product absorption
Exfoliating dead skin means easier for the products to seep into your skin. The more the product is absorbed, the better the results. This will also help you avoid skin pilling.
How is enzyme exfoliation different from other exfoliants?
Physical exfoliants work by using tiny grains to push off the gunk. Chemical exfoliants work by breaking down the bond of the dead skin and peeling it off. It can even decongest your pores by penetrating deep into your skin layers and controlling the oil production.
1. When compared to Physical exfoliants
Enzymes do not work this way. They don’t physically try to remove the dead skin nor do they work by just breaking down the bonds of the dead skin. It works by ‘digesting’ the dead skin. Yep, they literally eat up your dead skin. Now you know why you feel that tingly feeling when you eat Pineapple!
This mode of action makes it suitable for sensitive skin who can’t tolerate chemical exfoliants. But then every skin is unique so individuals with super sensitive skin might want to consult a dermatologist before using enzyme exfoliants. We also recommend patch testing before use.
2. When compared to Chemical exfoliants
Enzyme exfoliants also achieve an edge over chemical exfoliants when it comes to maintaining the product stability. Enzymes can work over a wide range of pH unlike chemical exfoliants that are generally acidic in nature and their activity can be disrupted at the splash of water since it changes the pH. Enzymes do need to be stored at a cool and dark place though since they are sensitive to heat just like chemical exfoliants.
Who should use enzyme exfoliants?
Anyone who has congested pores, dulling skin, and uneven skin tone can include enzyme exfoliants in their skincare regime. It does not dehydrate or burn your skin since it has anti-inflammatory properties.
It can be used by all skin types even by sensitive skin. However, it is not for everybody, just like physical exfoliants. So while certain sensitive skin can handle chemical exfoliants, certain can’t. We recommend patch testing before using enzyme exfoliants for this reason.
How to add enzyme exfoliants to your skincare routine?
It should be used sparingly since exfoliating everyday is not a good idea to achieve healthy skin. With enzyme exfoliants you must try to build tolerance for it by leaving it for a couple of minutes in the first use to 5-7 minutes once your skin has built tolerance for it. Here’s how your skincare routine can look like on the night you’re using an enzyme exfoliant-
Step 1: Cleanse with a gentle face wash
Probably something that does not have many actives since you’re going to use an exfoliant later. A face wash with Cucumber, Aloe, Herbs, etc could work well.
Sublime recommends True Frog Face Wash With Lentil Seed Extract And Zinc PCA Natural. It is a gentle face wash that is used to control oil and acne. Perfectly non-irritating for all skin types.
Step 2: Exfoliate using an enzyme exfoliator
Enzyme exfoliants can come in many textures, It could simply be a gel or a scrub or even in liquid form, If your skin is super sensitive then we advise opting for gel or liquid rather than scrub.
Sublime recommends Aminu Forest Bath VIT-B Enzyme Scrub. It has Bromelain and Papain along with Vitamin B3 to improve the skin cell’s turnover. This suits all skin types and we definitely think it is worth a shot!
Step 3: Treat
Wait for enough time between exfoliating and using the next skincare product. Just to let your skin have a breather. After a couple of minutes, go in with your treatment product since your freshly exfoliated skin can now drink your skincare more easily. This way you get the max out of your treatment product. We love a good Vitamin C treatment since it helps with multiple skin concerns.
Sublime recommends Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop Serum that has 5% pure Vitamin C and is paired with Centella Asiatica to calm and heal your wounds. We guarantee that you will fall in love with it!
Step 4: Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!
Your new layer of skin needs all the moisture. Pick a moisturiser that contains Ceramides, Vitamin E, Hyaluronic Acid, Panthenol, etc. This will help you repair the skin barrier in case it was damaged due to exfoliation.
Learn more about how to pick a moisturiser here.
Sublime recommends Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask. Layering exfoliated skin with Vitamin C and E can give you a bright and glowy skin in the morning. It’s even useful for those who want to treat dark spots and fine lines.
Since you have exfoliated your skin, the cell turnover will increase to reveal a fresh layer of skin. One must wear sunscreen without fail in this case. Of course, otherwise too, SPF is a must. Without SPF you just cannot obtain good results from your skincare.
The bottom line
Enzyme exfoliation is a gentler way to exfoliate all skin types. It’s made up of fruit extracts majorly and the proteolytic enzymes in it digest the dead skin to reveal a fresh layer of soft skin. Enzyme exfoliation suits even sensitive skin types since it has anti-inflammatory properties. Exfoliation minus the redness? Yes, please!
- Divya Salvi