Updated: Jun 15, 2022
Enzymes are molecules of protein origin that are naturally present in our cells and are responsible for regulation of biological and chemical reactions in our body.
Enzymes are formed by amino acids, which are linked into chains. These substances are involved in most skin processes: metabolism, cleansing, regeneration, division of epidermal cells, protective functions, separation of dead skin cells.
How enzymes work
In the body enzymes help break down the food we eat, the enzymes found in skin care products help break down old cells off the surface of our skin.
Their main function is stimulation, acceleration of metabolic processes of the skin and regeneration mechanisms at the cellular level, restoration of its energy balance and protective function, delivery and complete breakdown of nutrients in the layers of the skin.
Where enzymes come from
Enzymes that we see in skincare products are botanically sourced. There are many types of enzymes, but the most common versions you’ll find in topical beauty formulations include the following: Bromelain (found in pineapple), Actinidin (exists in kiwi, pineapple, mange, banana, and papaya), Papain (found in papaya), Ficin (found in figs).
Other botanicals that contain enzymes include pumpkin, banana, honey, and ginger.
Modern technologies allow the use of enzymes of both plant origin and animal - lipase, trypsin, protease, protein kinase.
What skincare treatments and products enzymes are used
In skincare, enzymes are used for delicate cleansing and skin rejuvenation - they are added to peels, skin cleansers and masks.
Enzymatic exfoliation enhances dead skin cell turnover, by unclogging pores and revealing new more vibrant cells. These newer cells assist better penetration of products into the skin.
Enzyme exfoliators and peels are a great choice for those with sensitive skin, as they work in a rather gentle way tan products containing acids and can be used on sensitive skin and younger skin.
Enzyme peels are gentle and non-traumatic treatments suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Peels based on enzymes gently exfoliate the stratum corneum and cleanse the sebaceous glands. Moreover, there is no downtime after this treatment as it does not injure the skin.