By Donna Felice, RN, LE
Going back to high school biology, you may remember learning about enzymes. Enzymes are catalysts that speed up reactions and metabolic processes. Our body cannot function without them as enzymes are programmed to perform specific jobs that keep us alive: transporting nutrients, building tissue, digestion, etc.
In the skin, enzymes act as an exfoliant and an anti-inflammatory. The outer layer of our skin is made up of dead skin cells containing keratinized proteins. Enzymes digest the dead cells leaving behind smooth skin that reflects light and appears younger. As an anti-inflammatory, enzymes protect against damage from the sun, environment and pollutants.
We would all be walking around with fresh, dewy skin if enzymes weren’t so temperamental. Enzymes need a lot of factors to work correctly; the right temperature, the right pH and the right amount of moisture are necessary for them to function well. Keeping your skin hydrated and using products that help seal in your natural moisture will allow your own enzymes to continue working properly and keep the build up of dead, dull skin at bay. Skin that is chronically dry will appear dull and have inflammation from environmental factors leading to premature aging.
Applying enzymes topically with over the counter products is not very effective. These products are marketed as fruit enzymes; pumpkin and papaya are popular choices. But, as we just learned, enzymes are sensitive to pH and temperature. Products that may have sat in a warehouse or on a delivery truck in unstable temperatures may not have any viable enzymes.
Professional skin treatments include an enzyme treatment after the skin has been thoroughly cleansed. These enzymes are stored and handled properly and are very active. At (un)SPA Skin Treatment Center we use enzymes combined with fruit acids and AHA’s and BHA’s for the most effective way to deeply exfoliate the skin. This allows nourishing serums, antioxidants and corrective products to deeply penetrate. Fruit enzymes include lemon, blueberry, papaya and pumpkin for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. These fruit enzymes are further combined with glycolic, lactic and/or mandelic acids as well as skin lighteners and brighteners. For more information on AHA’s and BHA’s click here.
Keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized will allow your natural enzymes to work efficiently. A professional enzyme treatment will clean the slate and help those moisturizers penetrate.