Acids vs Enzymes - which exfoliant to use
When it comes to skin exfoliation there are generally two types of chemical skin exfoliation ingredients which are used in skin care. These two exfoliants are acids and enzymes. Which should you choose, and why?
How do enzymes work in skin care?
Enzymes work by breaking down the keratin protein that binds the outer layer of skin and are commonly derived from plants such as pineapple, pomegranate, cranberry, pumpkin and papaya. More gentle than acids, enzymes work superficially to remove the skin cells that are already dead.
Who should exfoliate with enzymes?
Often found in serums, gels and masks enzymes work more slowly on the skin than acids, making them the better choice for sensitive and reactive skin types.
How do acids work in skin care?
Acids can work further down the dermis than enzymes. Lowering the skin PH, acids dissolve the glue that binds the skin together to help accelerate the turnover of skin cells and allow skin cells to renew. The most common acids used to exfoliate skin are Glycolic, Lactic and Salicylic. Acids for skin exfoliation are most often found in cleansers, serums, creams, masks and peels.
Who should exfoliate with acids?
Acids are the preferred choice if you wish to address clogged and/or enlarged pores, fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. Dehydration can also be addressed with the use of Lactic Acid.
Are acids or enzymes better for skin exfoliation?
The best type of exfoliator depends on what your skin concerns are and how tolerant your skin is to acids.
Whilst acids can work deeper within the skin to address any skin concerns enzymes are most suited if your skin is sensitive or too reactive for skin acids. Enzymes will instantly remove the dead layer of skin to reveal and brighter and smoother complexion making it ideal as a weekly at-home treatment or pre-event skin treatment. If you have specific skin concerns you wish to treat then acids are the preferred choice over enzymes. Enzymes are great to use occasionally to help shed any dead skin, even if you are currently using skin care containing acids.
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