If you have ever wanted to use an exfoliator and a cleanser combined in one product, you are in luck! Enzyme powders is definitely the right place so start. Being popular in Korean and Asian skincare in general, enzyme powders have long been used to treat inflammation, and exfoliate the skin gently to give it a healthy glow that it needs.
In this article, we break down everything you need to know about what enzyme powders are, and why you should get your hands on one.
First off, what is an enzyme powder?
Enzyme powders are used as a two-in-one skincare product. The main catch here is that they provide gentle exfoliation while cleansing the skin properly. As you can tell from the name, they contain, well, you guessed it – enzymes! Technically, enzymes are proteins that are made of amino-acids. Enzymes help regulate metabolism, or overall the chemical reactions in our bodies. They perform many functions in our body, such as building muscle, flushing out toxins and breaking substances down. The latter is the most important when it comes to skincare. More on that, in a minute.
Enzymes are also found in plants, vegetables and some fruits. It is not uncommon to come across enzymes from pineapples or papayas used in skincare products, for example. There are many products that are infused with enzymes, like face masks, scrubs, and so on. Today we are focusing more on enzyme powders that exfoliate and cleanse the skin at the same time.
How do enzyme powders work on skin?
It is a very simple process, actually. Remember the ability to break down substances? Enzyme powders work by breaking down dead skin cells in the uppermost layer of the skin, in other words – exfoliating. When this happens, you are left with smoother, healthier skin that is protected. However, they do it very gently so even sensitive skin can reap their benefits.
If you are new to exfoliation nation, check this out: Understanding Chemical Exfoliation: What is the Best Chemical Exfoliant for Your Skin?
What are the benefits of enzyme powders for skin?
#1. Enzyme powders gently exfoliate the skin
As we mentioned at the beginning, the star quality of enzymes is their exfoliating aspect. They “break” the bond between keratin proteins and slough off the dead skin cells. They stimulate a fast skin cell turnover which is directly linked to the best skin you could ask for – healthy looking, glowing and even toned.
And while doing that, they are not irritating in the process, like AHAs or BHAs do. This makes it a true godsend exfoliator for any skin type out there!
#2. They provide a deep cleanse and aren’t harsh on the skin
Unlike facial scrubs that are harsh on the skin, an enzyme powder will cleanse the pores without stripping it off. And unlike scrubs that contain particles, they turn into a paste like consistency once in contact with water. So, they basically glide on the skin, making it feel soft and smooth.
This is especially helpful for oily skin that suffers from excess oil production which leads to those horrible breakouts. By cleansing the pores and letting them “breathe”, they will def make sure that those breakouts are prevented.
#3. Enzyme powders fight against Sun and DNA damage
Constant UV damage to the skin leads to DNA damage that can result in pre-cancer or ultimately skin cancer. It is no secret that as we age, skin’s protection against sun damage gets more vulnerable. So, the skin needs additional skin support.
There are enzymes called DNA repair enzymes and they are the skin’s natural protection against the SUN and its harmful UV rays. After the age of 30, they begin to decrease. Research shows that DNA repair enzymes do improve DNA damage and prevent skin photoaging.
#4. They contain skin supporting ingredients
As most products out there, using enzyme powders for skin does have additional upsides. What they do best it working with other actives with no problem. They get along well with AHAs like lactic acid, natural oils, antioxidants, almost every active out there. That’s what makes them a great option for skincare manufacturers too.
#5. They support the skin barrier
Protecting skin barrier stands at the heart of skin health. It is what protects your skin from all the nasty things – like bacteria, dirt or fungi that can potentially affect it in case it is too weak.
On top of that, every skin barrier has an acidity level and the acid mantle – a thin film that covers the skin. You need to keep this acidity level at bay and that’s what an enzyme powder does – it maintains a neutral pH level and supports its function.
Side note: In case you are wondering, the ideal pH level is below 5. A pH level between 4.5-5.5 is considered to be the norm.
#6. Enzyme powders are absolutely safe for sensitive skin
If you have sensitive skin, you needn’t worry! As a person with sensitive skin, I understand your pain.
The good news is, they are safe to use of every skin type, including sensitive skin. However, it can have some potential side effects.
How to use enzyme powders for skin? Simple tips
As a general rule, you have to apply them with water. So, rinse your hands in water and pour some into your palms until it forms a foamy texture. Gently massage it in circular motions and wash it off.
If you want to make the use of its exfoliation feature, add less water so it doesn’t become as runny. However, if you want to have that silky smooth texture for a cleanse, apply more water. You can eyeball the amount, just trust the feel of your hands.
Just like purchasing one, maintaining a skincare product is key. Remember that the enzymes in it are delicate and they don’t have a long shelf life. It is always better to store them in a cool place where the light won’t go in.
Are there any side effects of enzyme powders for skin?
Are there any side effects of enzyme powders to be aware of? The short answer is, sort of.
Side effects of enzyme powders aren’t very common, but there are things you should watch out for.
If you are using an enzyme cleanser for the first time, take your time and see how it goes. Just like any new product, it is a good idea to do a patch test first to see if your skin reacts.
Definitely don’t go overboard with it, if you are using it as an exfoliator, try to use it once or twice a week. Also, don’t use additional exfoliators like retinols, or AHAs that can leave your skin dry or irritated. If you are using chemical exfoliants, don’t use them on the same day, or in the same routine. Remember, moderation is key!
What are best enzyme powders to use?
Best of both worlds – exfoliating and cleansing, who can ever say no?
We have picked the best enzyme powders we deem worthy of your skin. So, here it goes:
Top product picks to try
Green Tea & Enzyme Powder Wash – by Wishtrend
Being our top pick here at THESKINVERSE, This face wash is formulated with green tea, the powerhouse ingredient in skincare and enzymes from papaya. Together, they make a great exfoliating cleanser even for acne-prone skin. It unclogs the pores and cleanses them inside out. It is gentle on the skin, contains skin loving actives like Sodium Hyaluronate – another form of Hyaluronic Acid for that added moisture effect.
It does have a cult following (me included) among other K-beauty products out there, and there is a solid reason for that!
Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm
Technically, it is not a powder, but it does have exfoliation and cleansing in one place. This cleansing balm with a cult following has papaya enzymes to smooth out the skin + papaya seed oil. It is rich in fatty acids, Oleic and Linoleic Acids, and Vitamin C, E and A in it help the skin with its hydration level.
Blueberry Extract also joins the party here! Its antioxidant properties fight free radicals in the skin. It truly is a great recipe for glow!
SRB – Stabilized Rice Bran Enzyme Powder Wash
Another Korean brand to produce enzyme powders washes! As the name suggests, it is made with rice bran extract and grapefruit extract that offer antioxidant properties. Rice has always been used in Asia for many purposes, including skincare. Check out our blog post on rice flour for skin if you wanna learn more.
It has a low pH level, which means it will help strengthen your skin barrier. It contains 8 separate kinds of enzymes, and 10 essential amino acids! It truly is an all in one powder wash. Plus, it has ingredients such as Allantoin and Aloe Vera, which makes it a great option for sensitive skin. A great bang for your buck too at only $17.50!
BABOR Enzyme Cleanser
This one combines Ascorbic acid (type of vitamin C) and water activated enzymes. As a foaming cleanser, it is super gentle on the skin and provides very mild exfoliation. According to comments with people of sensitive skin, they tend to absolutely love it. This one also has a very soft finish that is a must have for sensitive skin.
Tatcha – The Rice Polish Foaming Enzyme Powder
This powder is a bit on the pricey side, but hear me out. The Japanese have touted the benefits of rice for skin, just like Koreans have. The formulation includes Hadasei-3 – which is a combination of three Japanese anti-aging superfoods: Red algae, Uji green tea, and, yes, the Japanese rice bran. The rice nourishes the skin, while green tea and algae add to that antioxidant and anti-aging benefit.
Enzyme Powder Wash by TOSOWOONG
This is another gentle, hypoallergenic K-beauty cleanser that contains papain (comes from papaya) and corn starch. It is suitable for sensitive skin, as well as acne prone skin that produces too much sebum. In addition, it also has Vitamin E, which makes it a great one for dry skin too. One enzyme powder to rule em all!
Do you absolutely need an enzyme powder? The answer is hell yeah!
A product that does the double duty: gently exfoliates the skin while cleansing your pores deeply is something that is worth exploring. It means less money spent, and more efficiency.