Enzymes in Skincare: Why Bother?

The skin naturally exfoliates itself every 28 days. However, as we age and due to other factors (such as hormones and lifestyle), our skin renewal process takes a downturn. Enter exfoliators, the key to maintaining healthy looking and glowing skin. While we’re already well acquainted with AHAs, BHAs and PHAs, there’s one more chemical exfoliator that is often overlooked…enzymes! Let’s take a closer look at enzymes in skincare, what they are and why we love them!

What Are Enzymes?

Enzymes are proteins that help to speed up biochemical reactions in the human body. The enzymes in our skincare products come from plants and fruits. These proteolytic enzymes help to gently break down keratin on the outermost layer of the skin and loosen the bonds between dead skin cells in order to remove them more efficiently and allow new cells to take their place. What’s the point of that? Well, through this process it helps to reveal a soft, smooth and bright complexion!

Why Are Enzymes Great For Skincare?

Did you know? Enzymes are actually a super gentle chemical exfoliator. They do their magic without disrupting the pH of our skin. Keeping our skin’s acid mantle nice and happy. Thus, lowering the risk of potential irritation. Making them a great option for those who find acids a bit too intense for their skin. While all skin types can reap the benefits of enzymes, they’re particularly beneficial for those with dry, sensitive or mature skin. All in all, enzymes can be a very good product to start one’s exfoliating journey with. Another good thing about enzymes is they are chock-full of antioxidants! Protecting the skin from damaging free radicals and fading the signs of aging.

Which Enzymes Can You Find In Your Product?


A tropical treat, this proteolytic enzyme can be found in pineapples! Besides smoothing bumpy skin and promoting skin renewal, study shows that it is also helpful in accelerating wound healing. Moreover, bromelain is attributed with anti-inflammatory properties as well.


Papaya contains the papain enzyme which helps to gently remove dead skin cells, bringing fresh new cells to the surface. If you’re dealing with hyperpigmentation, papain can help to brighten and even out your complexion!

Pumpkin enzyme

A powerhouse ingredient that enhances cell turnover, brightens dark spots and smooths uneven skin texture. Pumpkin enzymes can help to nourish the skin, fight acne, and reduce inflammation!


These are enzymes extracted from kiwi, mango and banana (yum!). They help to manage both dead skin cells and dirt that accumulate on the skin throughout the day. Actinidin will leave your skin smooth, supple and more radiant.

Other enzymes:

  • Ficain (derived from the stems of fig tree)
  • Cranberry enzyme
  • Blueberry enzyme

Tips For Using Enzymes in Skincare

  • Store your enzyme-based products in a cool, dark place to ensure stability and longer shelf-life.
  • Even though enzymes are generally safe for everyone, it’s recommended to slowly incorporate them into your skin care routine.
  • If you’re an advanced skincare enthusiast, you may combine enzymes and acids or retinol for better results. But, be mindful and listen to your skin!
  • Make sure you apply SPF generously every single day.

Skincare With Enzymes: Expert Picks!

MARIO BADESCU Enzyme Cleansing Gel

GLOW RECIPE Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm

SUNDAY RILEY Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

PETER THOMAS ROTH Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

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Created with

Stella Marselie

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