What Are Enzymes?
Enzymes in living organisms generally act as catalysts to aid in facilitating chemical reactions in the body and are needed for metabolic pathways such as our digestion to function properly. Enzymes in skincare are also used in products to promote gentle/effective exfoliation and get the baby soft skin of your dreeeeaams.
Lauren Burton from Advanced Skin Technology breaks it down further for us, stating, “enzymes are protein molecules that encourage a chemical reaction. Most commonly enzymes are used for their exfoliation properties however, other enzymes have the ability to protect the skin from environmental stress and free radical damage.”
Why Should We Use Enzymes In Skincare?
Basically, enzymes help to break stuff down. They help to break down the food that we eat and they also help to break down old skin cells hanging on the top layer of our skin that we could really do without.
We really should all be getting rid of those old skin cells a little more often than we do. Why? Because cellular build up is the key culprit in a whole range of skin conditions we don’t need including: premature ageing, dehydration and acne breakouts. More importantly, exfoliating dead skin cells promotes cell regeneration and can improve the way your skin better absorbs other treatments, serums and ingredients.
So if commonly stronger acids used for exfoliating the skin give you unwanted skin irritation or generally just don’t work for you, then perhaps opting for exfoliating with enzymes could be the best way to go.
Enzymes in skincare are usually derived from natural sources including fruits and plants such as banana, honey, pumpkin and ginger. However, some of the most common ones include:
Papain: found in papaya
Bromelain: found in pineapple juice
Ficin: found in figs
Actinidin: found in papaya, banana, mango, kiwi