Keep Your Skin Clear, Naturally
Regular exfoliation is an essential step in maintaining healthy, nourished and conditioned skin. Without an exfoliating regimen, the skin becomes dull and lifeless, and expensive skincare products are unable to penetrate the skin to do their reparative job. There are essentially three ways to exfoliate the skin:
Manual Exfoliation is done with tools like brushes or sponges, or with products containing abrasive ingredients such as microbeads or natural ingredients like rice bran, oatmeal, sea salt or sugar. While manual exfoliation is considered the most gentle form of exfoliation, great care must be taken not to scratch or irritate the skin with an aggressive motion. The key to proprer manual exfoliation is to allow the abrasive tool or ingredient to gently do the work of buffing the skin without adding pressure. Crushed fruit pits and shells are no longer recommended since they can damage the skin.
Chemical Exfoliation uses acids of various types and strengths to achieve the desired result. This method of exfoliation can be the most aggressive and effective, depending on the acid product used, but it is not ideal for all skin types. Those with dark skin types need to discuss chemical exfoliation options with their skincare professional to avoid pigmentation complications.
Enzyme Exfoliation uses the power of fruit enzymes to gently break down and digest dead skin cells and speed up the skin’s natural exfoliation process. While not as aggressive as chemical exfoliants, enzymes are increasingly more popular as a natural, gentler method of keeping pores clear, skin tone even and texture soft and supple.
Enzymes work fast, delivering immediate and visible improvement in the skin’s texture. As an added benefit, enzymes help to strengthen the skin with natural antioxidants like vitamin A and C while they exfoliate. Like all exfoliation methods, enzyme exfoliation allows for deeper penetration and absorption of skincare products and treatments which leads to a brighter, clearer, more vibrant complexion.
Types of Enzyme Peels
There are several types of enzymes used for exfoliating the skin – the most common of these are fruit enzymes like Papain (from Papaya), Bromelain (from Pineapple) and Protease (from Pumpkin).
Papain – this papaya enzyme not only exfoliates the skin, it helps treat acne by breaking down dead skin cells inside the pore to release trapped oil and congestion under the skin. Papaya is also packed with the powerful antioxidant carotenes and B vitamins that help to brighten the skin and protect it from the sun’s harmful rays.
To use papaya as an exfoliating treatment simply mash the fruit (without the seeds) and apply to the face for 10 – 15 minutes. Rinse well and finish with your favorite moisturizer. Very sensitive skin may appear slightly red, but this will fade quickly.
Helpful Tip: The pulp closest to the skin of the papaya contains the highest levels of papain and antioxidants.
Protease – pumpkin enzyme is not only an effective exfoliant, it stimulates cellular turnover and is a powerful ingredient capable of fading dark spots and uneven skin tone. That’s because the protease molecule is small enough to penetrate deeper than many other natural anti-aging enzymes. For loads of great skincare recipes with pumpkin using this season’s crop of fresh pumpkins, see our article on Pumpkin Skincare.
Bromelain – pineapple enzyme is an effective, yet mild exfoliant, making it an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin or with skin conditions like Rosacea or inflamed skin. That’s because the bromelain enzyme acts as an anti-inflammatory while exfoliating and conditioning the skin. Simply use a slice of pineapple and wipe it over clean skin and leave for 10 minutes – rinse and moisturize. It’s as easy as that!
While these represent the most commonly used enzymes, others are gaining popularity like Cranberry enzyme products. That’s because cranberry enzymes produce an effective exfoliating action while delivering potent doses of Omegas 3, 6 and 9 to prevent environmental damage. Other exfoliating enzymes include those derived from vegetables and fungi.
With regular use – 2-3 times a week – all these exfoliating enzymes will deliver visible results – improved texture, refined pores and clear, healthy skin!