In today’s world, there are many different methods used to acquire clean skin. Serums and scrubs that promise to revitalize your skin tone, or remove oils and acne, or combat signs of aging are all plentiful on the market.
However, if you’re looking for a more natural and gentler way to achieve all these skin aspirations, then enzyme masks are the way to go. Enzyme masks are becoming more popular, especially with anyone who has sensitive or acne-prone skin. For more cost-saving methods, you can even make your enzyme masks at home, as long as you have the correct ingredients.
Because of their wide range of benefits and less extreme methods, enzyme masks or peels provide a safe and affordable way to clean and smooth your skin to help you look your best.
What Are Enzyme Masks?
An enzyme face mask is an exfoliator that removes a thin layer of dead skin cells as part of a skincare routine. Enzymes are proteins that perform as catalysts for naturally occurring reactions, such as the breaking down of dead skin. When used on the face, enzymes safely accelerate exfoliation.
The process of exfoliation targets dead skin cells to reveal smoother skin. When dead skin doesn’t break down or detach on its own, it can clog pores and contribute to oily skin and acne. Clearing it away will revitalize your skin for healthier pores and skin cells. To exfoliate, you must use an exfoliation tool or a granular or chemical substance to remove any clinging dead skin.
When you exfoliate periodically, it helps open up your pores and skin cells so you can experience clean skin. However, too much will dry out your skin and encourage the production of more sebum or oil. When using an exfoliating enzyme mask, the enzymes break down dead skin and other debris instead of scraping it off. This breakdown prevents your skin from drying out.
Chemical peels or facial scrubs are common alternatives to enzyme masks. Most chemical peels use alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) to fully remove dead skin cells. However, alpha hydroxy acid can be incredibly harsh on sensitive skin. An enzyme face mask is just as effective for exfoliation.
Enzyme use, in particular, is the preferred method for sensitive skin because, unlike other facial peels, an enzyme peel is much gentler. It reduces the risk of redness and irritation sometimes caused by chemical peels. Enzymes are also more beneficial for acne-prone skin as they can reduce the oil amount and hydrate dry skin simultaneously.
An enzyme mask relies on mainly natural ingredients to combat clogged pores, acne scars, dry skin, and premature aging.
It’s common for these masks to use vegetable or fruit enzymes because they provide a thorough cleanse while being gentle on pores. Papaya, pineapple, or pumpkin enzyme masks are one of the more popular ways to conduct a facial peel, especially since they carry healthy antioxidant components.
How to Choose an Enzyme Mask
There are many benefits to adding an enzyme face mask to your skincare regime. Enzyme masks remove dark spots for an overall brightening effect no matter your skin type. They also help to combat fine lines, uneven skin tone and serve in some mild cases as an acne treatment.
Enzyme masks come in a range of prices, which do not always indicate the quality. The cheaper face masks can be purchased at your local drug store at around five dollars, whereas more expensive brands can cost as much as 60 dollars.
It is possible to make your own enzyme masks, especially if you have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Buying your ingredients means you can use them twice: first for your face and second to eat.
However, there are costs to consider when making your masks too. Organic and fresh produce might work best for your skin, but they are typically more expensive and harder to come by.
If you have extreme skin sensitivity, you might prefer an unscented enzyme mask. Most enzyme peels smell of the fruit enzyme they might contain. Others will have an artificial scent added to their composition. However, some remain unscented despite whatever enzyme they use.
Your skin type will influence your choice of enzyme face mask. Whether you need an exfoliator, a moisturizer, or a peel, each has the option of enzymes for a more natural process.
Enzymes work to target issues with skin, so whether you have typically dry skin, dry and oily skin, or very sensitive skin, enzyme masks will accommodate more so than other treatments. Whatever personal concern you have for your skin (too dull, too much acne, fine lines), enzymes can combat these issues with their natural exfoliating abilities.
Different enzyme masks come with different textures. For instance, some are grainier and feel more like a scrub or exfoliating wash. Others might be thicker and feel more like a traditional cream face mask. A few enzyme masks also come in powder form and need to be mixed with water to form a paste before you can try and apply them.
A few enzyme masks are quite thin and watery in comparison to other brands. This consistency can be difficult to apply and messier in the process. If you are more comfortable with a thicker mask, chose a brand that caters to a creamier texture.
The textures will change depending on the primary objective, the ingredients used, and the manufacturer’s preference.
The package your enzyme face mask comes in will look different depending on the manufacturer and the consistency of the mask itself. Some packages for enzyme face masks are squeezable tubes, while others come in compact tubs or jars. Some use pump containers for easy access, and a few are even applied via liquid droppers.
Enzyme masks that use droppers tend to be much more liquid than others. So, if you prefer a thicker, more substantial substance, you can choose a mask that uses a jar or tube as they will have a thicker consistency.
Common Enzyme Mask Bases
Generally, the best choice for an enzyme face mask is one that contains fruit enzymes. The most popular fruit enzyme masks use papaya, pumpkin, or pineapple.
Papaya enzyme is known as papain and is rich in many vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamins B, and C. Papain helps to smooth skin texture by reducing fine lines, scars, or blemishes.
Papaya is a lovely choice for the reduction of inflammation or irritation. Papain can help diminish infection inside acne, which soothes sensitive skin for a softer skin texture.
Pumpkin contains vitamins A and C, which produces a brightening effect on your skin tone. Vitamin C, in particular, reduces dark spots for an even pigmentation.
The pumpkin enzyme increases skin cell turnover, which means it provides the perfect environment for new skin cells to thrive. This turnover enhances uniform skin texture and color, which transforms dull skin into a brighter and more evenly toned surface.
Pumpkin enzymes contain alpha hydroxy acid, which some chemical peels use to remove a thin layer of skin. If you suffer from skin sensitivity, be cautious when using an all-natural pumpkin enzyme mask.
For homemade pumpkin enzyme masks, mixing the pumpkin with raw, organic honey can protect your skin from becoming irritated while also giving you thoroughly cleansed skin.
Pineapple contains an enzyme known as bromelain, which is most effective against clogged pores. Bromelain eats through skin debris to leave the healthy skin cells unhindered so they can breathe. Similarly, it reverses damage from free radicals in the air, including any air pollutants.
Pineapple enzyme reduces redness and irritation that might occur with other facial peels. It also works to fade acne scars so you can have clear, smoother skin.
Because pineapple enzyme is an intensive skin peel, it’s important to avoid using it on broken skin. Any part of your skin with open sores or active acne can become even more irritated or inflamed if you use an enzyme peel on it.
How to Use Enzyme Masks
Most enzyme masks use the same steps.
First, you wash your face to make sure there’s no obvious debris on it. Then you can apply a layer of enzyme peel to your skin and spread it evenly.
There is no need to scrub your face with the enzyme mask or try to exfoliate as you apply. The exfoliation occurs naturally, so a gentle application is all that’s necessary.
Next, wait for ten to fifteen minutes, depending on the instructions of your mask. Waiting for this amount will allow the enzymes time to work their magic on your skin.
After waiting, you may wash off your mask with lukewarm water. Once all the enzymes are completely removed from your skin, apply as much moisturizer as your skin needs.
Enzyme Mask Ingredients
Though fruit enzymes are the main ingredient to enzyme face masks, there are plenty of other valuable factors in these masks that help support healthy skin.
Store-Bought vs. Homemade
Many enzyme masks use more than one enzyme in their ingredients. Masks or peels that blend pumpkin and papaya, for instance, will have a combined effect that targets more skin troubles. A product that only uses one of these main enzymes will have a lesser effect. Adding other ingredients will counteract unwanted symptoms like dryness or redness.
Along with store-bought enzyme masks, you can make your own right at home.
Making your enzyme mask from fresh ingredients means you know exactly what you’re applying to your skin, with no chance of artificial or chemical ingredients. There are plenty of natural ways to get the perfect enzyme mask. The section above lists some of these ways.
Pumpkin, papaya, or pineapple enzymes are available when you buy them at the store. Though they might have more potency the fresher they are, these fruit enzymes are easy to come by no matter where you live.
Enzyme face masks incorporate many other ingredients that help support the main fruit enzyme. Some are easily attainable for homemade concoctions, like honey. Others are only available within store products, such as Tretinoin or synthetic vitamin A.
The Benefits of Honey
As mentioned above, honey is a sublime pairing with pumpkin enzyme masks and can soften any harsh effects the pumpkin might have.
Honey has many beneficial properties for topical skin use. It is both antibacterial and antiseptic, which makes it a perfect salve for wounds. Raw honey can naturally prevent dirt and debris from getting trapped in open sores, and because of this, it is great at preventing infection. These properties make it a perfect natural remedy for active acne.
Honey also contains many antioxidants and has been proven to boost collagen production. Collagen is a protein that helps provide new and firmer skin. Used in its raw, organic form, honey applied to the face can result in anti-aging and less inflammatory acne.
The Benefits of Yogurt
Yogurt works similar to papaya enzyme by unclogging pores, reducing oil production, and removing dead skin. In this way, an enzyme mask containing yogurt can be more effective removing acne symptoms and even treat breakouts.
Many fruit and vegetable enzymes contain antioxidants that prevent or slow cell damage. Often, eating antioxidant-rich foods provides health benefits and a more stable immune system. When used in skincare, antioxidants can protect against free radicals and prevent skin cell damage from UV rays or air pollutants.
Antioxidants also help prevent pigmentation and dark spots and offer anti-aging protection against premature lines. As they are a natural part of many fruits and vegetables, antioxidants are usually not artificially place into enzyme masks. But they do provide a large part of skincare benefits when you use a fruit enzyme mask.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the human body that helps retain moisture. It is sometimes taken as a supplement to provide several health benefits to skin, joints, or even acid reflux.
When paired with an enzyme mask, hyaluronic acid works as a moisturizer to help rejuvenate skin. It can reduce fine lines and irritation for younger-looking skin and anti-aging properties.
Hyaluronic acid is also effective on wounds to speed up the healing process and prevent infection. As such, it is a helpful ingredient to enzyme masks that target active acne.
Fresh blueberries are particularly effective for acne-prone skin. Blueberry enzymes remove excess sebum from oily skin and provide a brightening effect. They also help protect the skin from UV rays that can damage skin cells.
Blueberries enzymes help prevent premature aging by counteracting fine lines and dull skin.
Homemade blueberry enzyme masks can be tricky to conduct because you need to have fresh blueberries for the best results. After the berries pass their ‘fresh’ status, they are no longer reliable and will not necessarily provide anti-aging or clearer skin.
Lavender essential oil is another acne combatant that sometimes acts as an additional element to the contents of enzyme face masks. Used topically, the lavender essential oil will moisturize the skin to prevent it from drying out and resulting in excess sebum.
Lavender is also antibacterial, which prevents infections and inflammatory breakouts. It is also non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog skin pores and cause more issues than it solves.
Some enzyme masks will contain lavender to help manage acne. However, sometimes its presence in enzyme mixtures can result in allergic reactions. More importantly, using it as an essential oil directly on your face is not a good idea as essential oils are very harsh on the skin.
Therefore, to safely use lavender essential oil, it’s important to mix it first with a carrier oil to help dispel any negative effects. If you’re not allergic to lavender, then using an enzyme mask that contains this essential oil will be safe to use and benefit your skin.
Clay masks are a popular skincare method all on their own and have been a part of spa treatments for years. White clay, in particular, when added to enzyme masks, can help remove excess oil by absorption. It also works to pull dirt and other debris out from pores. When used as a standalone product, it works as a mild exfoliant.
Almond or Jojoba Oil
Oils like these help to minimize dryness by hydrating the skin. Hydration can diminish harsher effects from exfoliation and, by extension, irritation.
Almond oil has many skin benefits on its own, including reducing swelling, improving acne, reducing the appearance of scars, and reversing sun damage. As an anti-inflammatory, almond oil helps diminish possible swelling under the eyes to help you look more alert and less tired. However, exposure to almond oil can result in allergic reactions for people allergic to nuts.
Jojoba oil works similar to almond oil, as they are both anti-inflammatory and primarily hydrate the skin. This oil is also hypoallergenic and can soothe certain skin conditions like eczema or rosacea. Jojoba oil contains high levels of vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant when applied to the skin to repair damage and prevent further skin cell injury.
These proteins provide another hydration ingredient to prevent skin from drying out. When applied to the skin, milk proteins can help retain moisture.
The proteins build a film along the skin’s surface to ensure hydration in skin cells. This film contributes to smoother skin texture and even a lighter skin tone. They are also put into enzyme mask compounds to help reduce the possibility of allergic reactions.
An enzyme peel or mask results in cleansed skin so you can look your best. Fruit enzymes combat many skin problems, including exfoliating dead skin cells. Exfoliation removes a thin layer of dead skin to make way for newer skin cells so they can grow unimpeded and healthy. Other methods of exfoliation include scrubs, exfoliation tools, or even chemical peels.
Chemical peels remove several layers of skin to help break up debris or infection. This method is quite harsh, especially for people with sensitive skin. Enzyme peels are gentler ways to break down debris, and they also carry additional benefits from fruit properties.
Papain or papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin enzymes are the most common fruit enzymes used in facial masks. These natural ingredients provide a range of health benefits to skin and pores. Most help combat acne and oily skin, or reduce fine lines and premature aging, or even smooth out skin texture and tone. Enzyme face masks can be purchased in-store or made with fresh fruits and vegetables.