Acids vs Enzymes - which exfoliant to use

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.

osmosis md polish exfoliator
Containing Bromelain which is an enzyme derived from pineapple, as well as Raspberry Extract, Osmosis MD Polish is a mild and exfoliating enzyme mask.
lanazyme
Aspect Dr Lanazyme Micro Peel is an advanced enzyme gel to resurface the skin. Containing a combination of Pumpkin, Pineapple, Grapefruit, Gojiberry, Melon, Acai Berry, Raspberry and Mangosteen Extract this product is ideal for all skin types.
pure enzymes
Even skin tone and texture with Cosmedix Pure Enzymes with the inclusion of Cranberry Enzymes to exfoliate and soften the skin.

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.

glycolic exfoliating cream cleanser
Leave your skin feeling soft and smooth with Biopelle Cream Cleanser. Containing Glycolic Acid this soap-free cleanser is ideal for normal to dry skin.
cosmedix defy
Ideal for ageing skin Cosmedix Defy uses L-Lactic Acid to both hydrate and exfoliate the skin.
dermaceutic turnover
With 15% Glycolic Acid Dermaceutic Turn Over night cream removes dead skin cells and stimulates cell renewal while you sleep.

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. 

We'd love to help!

Do you have a skin concern you'd like assessed by our Skin Therapists? Book online or call 1300 863 824 to schedule an in-clinic or online consultation with one of our Skin Therapists to receive advice tailored to your skin concerns.

Read more

3 common skin sins

3 common skin sins

Choosing the right moisturiser

Choosing the right moisturiser

Serums vs Moisturisers

Serums vs Moisturisers