Enzyme has become a buzzword in the skincare and cosmetic industries. You might remember it from high school biology, but unless you’ve done a lot of research you might not know that enzymes are incredible things that play an essential role in keeping your body healthy.
Enzymes are proteins that speed up the rate of chemical reactions, sometimes in astounding measures. Processes that should take millions of years take milliseconds when they’re being acted upon by enzymes.
Essentially, in this instance, they are bodily catalysts meaning they increase the rate at which a chemical reaction occurs. Without digestive enzymes your body can’t break down your food fast enough to ensure healthy digestion and without skin enzymes your skin can’t replenish itself. Some digestive enzymes actually help with your skin as well. For instance, Hum is a newer beauty line made with vitamins and enzymes in mind to help you feel and look good. The products are personalized for what the consumer needs and everything is taken orally.
What the cosmetics industry has come to realize is that enzymes are responsible for generating new, fresh skin. This is how it works: You have nearly 20 million cells per square inch of skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, and they’re all settled on multiple layers. Your body is constantly generating new cells, pushing them toward the surface. This is where enzymes come into play.
Proteolytic enzymes, for example, accelerate the breaking-down of bonds that attach dead cells to the skin. They’re clearing the way for newer, healthier cells to replace the damaged ones that make your skin look dull and old, the dead cells that have been sitting on your skin’s surface and directly exposed to pollution, sun, bacteria, and smoking.
When you exfoliate or get a peel, you’re removing dead skin cells. The only problem with over-exfoliation and with peels is they can leave your skin looking red, sometimes for days. In the case of a chemical peel, you can also damage healthy cells if your're not careful- this is usually a result of over exfoliation.
Enzymes, though, occur naturally in your body and on your skin; they’re also in natural sources, notably, fruits. They’re harmless, gentle, and a natural part of the biological process. By upping your exposure to the right enzymes—eating right and also applying enzyme-rich products to your face—you can achieve healthier skin in a safe and effective way.
Studies have also confirmed that enzymes can actually protect your skin—some scientists call them “free radical scavengers,” which really just means they neutralize the harmful agents that do damage to the body’s cells.
The enzymes found in pineapple, papaya, pumpkin, and blueberries are among the most popular among skincare enthusiasts. There are many products worth trying that can improve skin through repairs,cell turnover, brightening, exfoliation, protection against oxidative damage from the environment,and even acne. One important thing to remember about these highly active ingredients is that they can become ineffective if not stored properly. The enzyme can become unstable and therefore less effective if the temp and pH levels are off. In order to protect your investment, make sure you keep it in a cool and dry place. Here are our top picks: