Is enzyme good for skin?
Enzymes have recently gained immense popularity in skincare as many brands brag to have them as an ingredient. But, to most people’s understanding, enzymes were a concept in the biology textbook they had last referred to in school. Even so, it certainly did not mention the use of enzymes in skincare! So what exactly are enzymes after all and do they really work well for the skin? Keep reading to find out!
How enzymes exfoliates the skin?
Enzymes are nothing but certain proteins produced by living organisms that act as catalysts in chemical processes. The enzymes used for skincare act as an exfoliant on the surface of the skin. These enzymes are proteolytic in nature, which break down the adhesive holding dead skin cells together so that they can be easily sloughed off.
They also possess anti-inflammatory properties and help maintain the pH levels of the skin. Hence, compared to other chemical exfoliants, enzymes work very gently and are suitable for sensitive skin types. Most of these enzymes are botanically extracted, and their sources can be easily found in our kitchens.
Where can these enzymes be found?
People wonder why many ingredients in skincare products sound like a food recipe. Well, it is simply because many natural, edible ingredients such as fruits, contain cleansing and nourishing components such as enzymes.
The papaya fruit contains enzymes such as papain that help in reducing skin inflammation. Papain has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties, and has been used as an ailment to heal wounds. Its wound-healing properties help heal and repair the skin’s wear and tear.
Papain effectively dissolves damaged keratin on the skin’s surface, preventing whiteheads and sebaceous bumps. The antibacterial properties of papain work on the acne-causing bacteria on the skin and are effective for acne control. The enzyme is a popular remedy for melasma (sunspots) as it is clinically proven to reduce dark spots.
Bromelain, a strong enzyme found in pineapples, is responsible for most of the fruit’s health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Similar to papain, bromelain too, help fight acne-causing bacteria.
However, the bromelain found in most skin products is extracted and processed from large quantities of pineapple, which makes the enzyme work fruitfully. This cannot be achieved by directly applying fresh pineapple on the skin will not provide the same results. In fact, bromelain is the reason behind the mild irritation that pineapples cause to the skin, making it unfit for direct application. It is recommended to use bromelain on the skin through a formulated skincare product.
Why should one use enzyme in skincare over other alternatives?
Just like enzymes, there are numerous other methods of exfoliation. These methods include Alpha and Beta Hydroxy acids, microdermabrasion, brushing, scrubbing, etc. Compared to other methods, enzyme exfoliation is the most gentle way of shedding dead skin cells. To know more about all such methods of exfoliation read.
As enzymes work gently only on the skin’s surface, they are ideal for people with very sensitive skin and are unlikely to cause irritation (except in case of allergy). However, since enzymes are mere catalysts in the process, the results are not very evident and quick.
Acids like salicylic acid penetrate deeper into the skin, unclogs pores, and cleanses it from within. AHAs and BHAs work strongly on the skin and show more dramatic results compared to enzymes. While exfoliating acids, especially AHAs are very safe for sensitive skin, they may cause mild irritation to the skin and expose it to UV rays if overused.
Physical exfoliants such as dry brushing, scrubbing, and microdermabrasion, while being effective methods can prove to be harsher on the skin than chemical exfoliants. Hence, while we still recommend other exfoliants, enzymes remain the safest way to do so.
Is enzyme good for skin? Obviously , yes. So, If you are adopting enzymes into your skincare routine, make sure to store them carefully. Enzymes are highly sensitive to their environment, which is why products containing them must be stored in a cool, dark place. Storing such products in a refrigerator is a good idea. One can apply enzymes through peels, gels, face packs, and toners.