The Three Faces of Exfoliation, Part 3: Enzymes
Enzymes: A Uniquely Effective Approach to ExfoliationIf you’re wishing someone would invent an effective anti-aging exfoliation treatment without the side effects of harsh synthetic acid peels, you’ll be glad that nature has already provided the perfect solution—enzymes. The enzymes used in exfoliation treatments come foods we eat such as fruits, vegetables, and milk and contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that speed up cell turnover. While the enzyme approach achieves its effects more gradually than invasive chemical peels, the additional benefits it confers on your skin are more than worth it. What’s so different about enzymes? Unlike synthetic chemicals, enzymes are familiar to our bodies. Many enzymes are regularly introduced to our bodies through our diet. Some of them are also produced by our own cells and play a major role in the digestion of nutrients, detoxification, and energy production. As a result of this ability to stimulate healthy cellular activity, enzymes are a highly effective way to achieve significant positive changes in our skin. In the article "Skin Exfoliation," scientist Diana L.Howard Ph.D., of the International Dermal Institute explains that the AHAs in enzymes exfoliate the skin in a unique way. According to Dr. Howard, “Some researchers believe the mechanism of action for AHAs cannot be tied solely to stimulation of the skin as measured by traditional cell renewal techniques.” She notes that studies suggest that AHAs may disrupt the “glue-like bonds” between dead skin cells, “causing a burst in skin exfoliation.” Howard points out that “it is often said that AHAs affect the skin from the inside out because of the suggestion that they influence corneocyte [dead skin cell] cohesion at the lower layers of the stratum corneum [outermost skin]. The result is a thinner stratum corneum, which is more flexible and compact, reflects more light and overall gives the skin a more youthful appearance.” But the unmatched revitalizing power of enzyme peels and masks doesn’t end there. The special properties of some enzymes also contribute greatly to healthy functioning of the skin. In my next post I’ll explain the unique benefits of the natural enzymes used in my salon organic peel program, as well as in my LaVie Organique™ exfoliating mask.