WHAT ARE ENZYMES?
More than three thousand enzymes have been identified in the human body. In the skin alone, hundreds of “good” and “bad” enzymes control reactions from building collagen and elastin, to supplying oxygen to the cells, to destroying free radicals.
Enzymes are catalysts of chemical reactions in living organisms which accelerate biochemical reactions. Each enzyme is specific to the substance it is acting upon and to the reaction or reactions it controls. Skin cells are made of proteins and the enzymes capable of decomposing them are calledproteolytic enzymes.The enzyme capable of decomposing skin lipids is alipolytic enzyme.
The activity of enzymes depends on the acidity/alkalinity of the environment in which they react, expressed by the factor pH. Some act at a very low (acidic) pH of 1.5-2.5, others at a higher (alkaline) pH of 8.0-11.0. Changing the pH level beyond the specific range deactivates the enzyme.
WHAT IS ENZYME PEELING?
In the continuous process of self-regeneration the skin sheds its top layer of keratinized, dead cells in a process calledexfoliation.Treating the skin with a peeling agent can accelerate this process. Since skin cells of the top layer, thestratum corneum,are made of proteins, proteolytic enzymes are capable of decomposing and removing them. The ideal enzyme will be specific to keratinized, dead skin cells and will not attack live, healthy cells.
BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF ENZYME PEELING
Enzyme peeling removes accumulated dead surface cells, the pigment contained in them and opens blocked pores, thus preventing formation of whiteheads. It uncovers the underlying layers of younger, smoother skin, with more uniform pigmentation, which has a more translucent look. Peeling accelerates cell turnover, improving the texture and contour of the skin. After the dry, hardened surface layer is removed, moisturizing products can easily penetrate and are more effective.
Enzyme peeling is very effective for treating problematic breakouts and acne. Peeling softens the skin surface, “etches” (partially dissolves) the edges of follicles and the horny plugs, and prepares the skin for extraction of open and closed comedones, pustules and sebaceous cysts.
Pancreatic enzymes are combined with other, natural ingredients that are nourishing and anti-inflammatory, and with botanicals that provide additional benefits. In powder form, the formula has an indefinite shelf life when kept in a cool, dry environment and does not require preservatives. Just before application, the powder is mixed with hot water (which activates the enzyme) to form a paste, which is applied to the skin with a pH level elevated to 8-8.5. Regulating the length of treatment time can control the enzyme’s activity.
ENZYME OR ACID PEELING?
Enzyme peels, using enzymes specific to dead, keratinized skin cells, act on thestratum corneum, so they are mild and gentle. Acid peels penetrate into the deeper stratagranulosum, strata spinosumand stratabasale, and are harsher. This irritates and wounds cells, causing a healing process in which scar tissue is generated.
Because enzymes are dependent on the pH level in which they react, they can be controlled. Once the activity of the enzyme diminishes the peeling stops. Acids penetrate quickly and deeply into the skin. The peeling action, and the irritation, can continue for days after the treatment.
Pancreatic enzymes function at an optimum pH level of 8-8.5, this creates an environment that softens the skin, opens pores, and facilitates deep cleansing, extractions, and easier penetration of any subsequent applications. Acids used in peeling have a pH level of 3.5 or lower, which is an astringent environment that tightens and dries the skin.
Enzyme peeling is one of the most effective and safe treatments for skin care. It produces instant, visible and lasting effects on all types of skin. Fordry skin, it removes the accumulated debris of dead cells and the pigment they contain, improves texture and tone, and re-texturizes flaky skin. Forproblem skin, it opens blocked pores, preventing the formation of whiteheads and sebaceous cysts. It acts on the inner surface of the follicle, hydrolyzing (dissolving) the horny cells of its lining and of the sebaceous cores of comedones, facilitating easier extractions. Foroily skin, it hydrolyzes oils, replacing shine with a smooth, matte appearance.
Avoiding the direct sun, using sun protection, and protection from extreme cold are important.
Routines that irritate skin, such as, laser, waxing, electrolysis or depilation, shaving (in the case of a male) should not be performed for at least 12 hours before and after the treatment.
No stimulating products should be used – the peeling itself is stimulating enough. Never use aromatic essential oils after a peeling.
Enzyme peeling should never be applied to irritated skin, no matter what the nature of irritation. If the irritation is temporary, postpone treatment until is subsides. If the irritation is persistent: the result of a treatment substance used topically or taken internally, enzyme peeling is not indicated until the treatment if finished or discontinued and the irritation has subsided. The same applies to sunburned skin.
Enzyme peeling is sometimes not indicated for very sensitive skin. A patch test is recommended in every case to determine skin tolerance.