What Is An Enzyme Peel? Are They Better Than Chemical Peels?

What Is An Enzyme Peel? Are They Better Than Chemical Peels?

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.

In the past years, chemical peels have been the go-to inexpensive treatment for diminishing the signs of skin aging and bringing out healthier, glowing skin.

Well, that might just change. Enzyme peels are now becoming more and more popular, and we’re not surprised!

The beauty industry has welcomed enzyme peels wholeheartedly, and why not? It uses natural fruit enzymes, is safe to use, and offers numerous skin benefits.

The natural beauty market has been on the rise in the past few years, and nothing screams more ‘natural’ than enzyme peels!

If that has piqued your interest, keep reading on to find out if an enzyme peel is something you’d like to try or add to your skincare routine.

A woman receiving an enzyme peel facial treatment at a beauty salon.

What Is An Enzyme Peel?

An enzyme peel is a facial treatment that uses fruit and vegetable enzymes to slough off dead skin cells to reveal healthier and glowing skin underneath.

Some of the most common enzymes used are from pumpkin, pomegranate, pineapple, and papaya.

How do enzymes work on the skin?

Enzymes that come from plants are called proteolytic enzymes and what they do is break down proteins, including the keratin proteins on the outer layer of our skin. 

Once the dead skin cells are removed, the skin becomes smoother and softer. Any previous pigmentation and discoloration of the skin can also diminish.

The Skin Benefits of Enzyme Peels

What does an enzyme peel do?

How can enzyme facial peels do wonders for your skin? 

  • Helps remove dry and flaky skin that causes redness and irritation
  • Boosts skin collagen production, which hydrates the skin and helps lock in moisture (goodbye dry skin!)
  • Fades hyperpigmentation from sun damage, age spots, or acne scars
  • Smoothen uneven acne scars
  • Unclogs pores to remove dirt, sebum, and dead skin that can cause pimples resulting in cleaner pores and reduced blackheads
  • Helps to open pores when undergoing extractions during facial treatments for better absorption of skincare products
  • Minimizes or shrinks enlarged pores to keep dirt and oil away and prevent clogging

What Is a Chemical Peel?

We can’t put enzyme peels in the spotlight without talking about the all-time-favorite facial treatment – the chemical peel. What is it and what does it do to the skin?

From the term itself, chemical peels use chemicals to exfoliate the skin. Often, this type of peel uses alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).

Examples of AHAs include azelaic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, and mandelic acid. As for BHAs, the most commonly used in skincare is salicylic acid.

What’s the difference between the AHAs and BHAs?

While these two are both classified as chemical exfoliants, AHA is water-soluble and BHA is oil-soluble.  

AHAs do not penetrate deep into the skin because of their solubility. Meanwhile, BHAs penetrate deep into the skin, even surpassing the oil barrier of the face.

The choice of which type of chemical peel depends on the person’s unique skincare needs.

There’s no denying that for a while now, chemical peels have been the go-to facial treatment to peel off dead skin and leave the skin looking more radiant and fresher.

Its other benefits include:

  • Tightens and firms sagging skin due to skin aging
  • Diminish wrinkles and fine lines
  • Helps with evening out acne scars as well as improving discoloration caused by these scars
  • Shrinks and minimizes large pores 

What Is the Difference Between an Enzyme Peel and a Chemical Peel?

You might be wondering what’s the difference between the two anyway. They’re both facial peels that aim to brighten and soften the skin.

The truth is, these two are actually quite different and it really pays to know how different they are. For some, these differences can result in big changes in their skin.

1. Skin Sensitivity

Both enzyme peels and chemical peels are designed to work on different skin types. In fact, both are found very effective in doing what they claim to do.

The main difference is that enzyme peels can work and do work great on even sensitive skin. Since the enzymes come from fruits and vegetables, they’re gentle enough to work on people with high skin sensitivity. 

2. Exfoliation Power

The ultimate goal of exfoliating is to get rid of dead skin cells. On the other hand, if you’re not careful, over-exfoliation can cause more problems to your skin.

Yes, there is such a thing as over-exfoliating. And when this happens, it doesn’t just slough off dead skin cells sitting on the skin barrier, but it also damages the live and healthy tissues of your skin!

Enzymatic peels only target the dead skin on the epidermis or the outer layer of the skin. It is lighter, gentler, and only does delicate exfoliation. It is not as abrasive as chemical peels.

3. Downtime and Recovery

One of the advantages of an enzyme peel over a chemical peel is the minimal to zero downtime. Since enzymatic peels are very gentle, they do not irritate or damage the skin.

You might feel a little stinging or sensation after the procedure, but that’s it. 

Meanwhile, chemical peels take longer to recover from. Treated areas can take up to seven days to completely heal. Redness and inflammation are highly likely to be seen on the skin after a chemical peel facial treatment.

4. Administration to People with Health Risks

Another thing to love about enzyme peels is that it’s safe for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and people with weakened immune systems.

There is an ongoing concern that once a pregnant woman or breastfeeding mother absorbs the chemicals in her skin, it can affect the baby’s health.

It’s the same concern for people with compromised immune systems. The aggressive chemical ingredients may not be suitable for them and can cause health issues.

Enzyme peels do not pose the same health risk since these are natural enzymes. However, it is still ideal to always consult a medical professional before undergoing either an enzyme or chemical peel. 

Are Enzyme Peels Effective?

A beautiful woman looking at her face in the mirror

You’ll be happy to know that enzyme peels are indeed effective. So how long does an enzyme peel take to work?

Results are visible immediately after the facial treatment compared to chemical peels where results are visible after two to three weeks.

This is why enzyme peels are great for an instant skin pick-me-up. With no downtime and immediate results, you can go to an important event or occasion the next day with brighter and radiant skin!

There is, however, a caveat. Although enzyme peels have instantaneous results, they’re not as dramatic as the changes seen after a chemical peel session.

Chemical peels may have more downtime and aftercare required, but the results are long-lasting and more significant.

Why is this?

For one, AHAs and BHAs are more potent, making them work harder and deeper into the skin. This is why despite the post-peel redness and skin irritation, people still choose to have chemical peels done.

It is also worth mentioning that the results of one chemical peel session could equal multiple sessions with an enzyme peel. 

Now, you might be thinking, which one is better? Well, the answer will ultimately depend on your skin and your skincare goals. 

If you have sensitive skin and don’t mind the time and effort it takes to achieve dramatic results, go for enzyme peels. Now if you’re after long-lasting and more dramatic results and do not mind the downtime, choose a chemical peel. 

Also note that even if you do not have sensitive skin, it is important to pay attention to the ingredients used in an enzyme peel. Some people may have an allergic reaction and this can affect the results of their treatment.

Do Enzyme Peels Make Your Skin Peel?

Technically, they do, but it only sloughs off dead skin cells that sit on the epidermis. If you’re thinking about peeling patches of skin off, that’s not how enzyme peels work. It’s a very mild exfoliation.

On the contrary, chemical peels are known for skin peeling. With a medium chemical peel, you can expect it to remove dead skin cells on the epidermis, plus some part of the dermis, too (the middle layer of the skin).

A woman receiving an enzyme peel facial treatment at a spa.

How Do You Prepare for an Enzyme Peel?

Although enzymes are gentle on the skin, it would be great if you can avoid using makeup days before an enzyme peel facial session. This is to help the pores become cleaner and unclogged so your skin can suck up all the enzymes’ natural goodness!

It would also be good to avoid tanning days before your peel.

Your skin might be irritated after a tanning session and it would make the enzyme peel less effective. Moreover, please avoid doing an enzyme peel if you have open wounds on your face.

How Should You Use an Enzyme Peel?

How do you use an enzyme peel at home?

Begin by prepping your skin. Follow these steps to ensure an effective session:

  • Remove makeup and clean the face thoroughly. Washing the face with a gentle cleanser is recommended.
  • Keep your face damp and apply the enzyme peel. Make sure to spread it evenly on the face (think of how you apply a face sheet mask).
  • Leave the enzyme peel on the face for 10 to 15 minutes (this can vary depending on the manufacturer’s instructions). You don’t need to tap or rub the enzyme.
  • When the time is up, wash the enzyme peel with water.

On the other hand, you also have the option to get an enzyme peel professionally done. All you have to do is sit back and relax, and they’ll do everything for you.

How Often Should You Use an Enzyme Peel?

You can do enzyme peeling one to twice a week and nothing more. But if you’re still new to it, try it once a week first. 

Observe any unusual reactions to your skin before doing another session. If there are any signs of irritation, it is best to go for professional facial treatments instead.

What Happens After an Enzyme Peel?

After an enzyme peel, you might feel slight stinging or redness, but it goes away quickly (in just minutes!). There shouldn’t be any pain or inflammation on your skin.

A valuable enzyme peel aftercare tip is to apply your favorite moisturizer right after washing the product off. It can be a serum or a cream, as long as it’s a hydrating one to restore the moisture in your skin after a peel.

What should you not do after an enzyme peel?

Your skin might be sensitive to the sun, which is pretty normal after facial treatments. 

Try to avoid direct sun exposure on your face for a week just to make sure. And of course, never leave your house without applying your HG sunscreen!

Can you wear makeup after an enzyme peel?

The short answer is yes, but give your skin time to heal and recover. Wear makeup the next day.

Another common question asked is “can I use retinol after enzyme peel?”

That’s a big NO. 

In fact, even people who do chemical peels shouldn’t use retinol products. To add to that, if you use retinol products regularly, it is best to avoid getting an enzyme peel or chemical peel, too.

How Much Does an Enzyme Peel Cost?

The affordability of enzyme peels makes it a viable option for people who want to have reinvigorated skin. You’d be surprised to know its price difference from chemical peels!

Professional enzyme peels can set you back around $100 to $200 per session. The actual rate depends on the product used as well as the skin center or clinic you’re going to.

If you opt to use an at-home enzyme peel, you can buy one for less than $15. And then there’s the option of a DIY enzyme peel where you can make one all by yourself, which makes it a more affordable choice.

As for chemical peels, data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that the average price of chemical peels in the U.S. is $519.

Light peels can cost around $150, while deep peels that require anesthesia or in-patient stays can cost over $3000.

Is An Enzyme Peel Good for Your Skin?

Enzyme peels can be great for your skin, no doubt! It’s natural and gentle, which makes it a great addition to any skincare routine, especially for people with sensitive skin.

We all have different skin types and some might be allergic to natural enzymes. So, what’s best for you may not be best for another person.

Nonetheless, with all the known enzyme peel benefits, it will be hard to resist not trying it. Not to mention, it is gaining popularity in the beauty world – all the more reason to give it a try!

You May Also Like These Skincare Posts:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *