Acid and Enzyme Peels- All acids and enzymes are a form of exfoliation. They are capable of loosening and digesting the glue like substance that holds dead and damaged skin cells together. By applying the acids and enzymes, dead, damaged cells are able to shed from the surface and help reveal new skin cells. Different acids and enzymes are used to help with acne, blackheads, pigmentation, large pores, fine lines and most skin conditions.
Beta Hydroxy Acid- There is only one beta hydroxy acid and that is Salicylic acid. The difference between beta and alpha hydroxy acid is that beta is oil soluble so it can penetrate into the sebum, unclogging pores. Alpha hydroxy acid is water soluble so it does not penetrate into pores, it only loosens the surface dead skin cells. Beta is better for acneaic skin and alpha is best for sun damaged, or thickened skin where breakouts are not a problem.
-Salicylic acid is derived from willow tree bark. It is very dehydrating to the skin so must be followed up with moisturizer. It is most beneficial to active acne breakouts and helps bring down the inflammation caused by breakouts. It works best at a concentration of 1% or 2%
Alpha hydroxy acid- Alpha Hydroxy acids are typically derived from fruits. They need to be penetrated into the skin for them to be effective, so cleansers with AHA’s usually are not useful. AHA’s are best for shedding dead skin cells to help with pigmentation, and skin resurfacing. A concentration of 5% to 10% are the ideal percentages for over the counter AHA’s, and most cosmetic companies do not list the percentage, so if the AHA is listed 2nd or 3rd on the ingredients, it is the ideal product. Between 10% and 50% are used by professionals for faster results and prepare the skin for higher concentration peels. 50% to 70% must be used under physician supervision to treat photo damage, scarring, and acne. Treatments every 2-4 weeks are ideal and prior usage of topical vitamin A creams (Retin A) allow for a more effective treatment.
-Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane. Glycolic acid helps reduce the surface skin oils and can help remove blackheads and other skin impurities as well as smooth out fine wrinkle lines. Other benefits of glycolic acid include it's moisturizing ability; the potential for it to help bleach unwanted skin discoloration; and its ability to help draw other skin treatments more deeply into the skin. Glycolic acid is also thought to help stimulate collagen production within the dermis to some degree. It is very helpful in stimulating collagen production. It has the smallest molecular structure so it penetrates the deepest.
-Lactic acid is found in soured dairy products and fermented fruit. It is most commonly used on skin types that are more sensitive to other AHA’s. An ideal skin softener, lactic acid is frequently used by dermatologists to cut through thick, rough skin. Lactic acid works both as an exfoliator as well as helps hold water and moisture within the skin. Dermatologists originally used it as a skin rejuvenation AHA until studies showed that glycolic acid gave superior results for this use. Lactic acid may be combined with other AHAs to help boost product effectiveness.
-Tartaric acid is found in unripe grapes and that is what gives wine its distinct taste. It helps protect the skin from enzymes that break down collagen and elastin.
-Citric acid is highest in oranges and lemons, but is found in any citrus fruit. It is best used for its antioxidant properties and is usually in toners. -Malic acid is found in several fruits and vegetables but its highest concentration comes from apples and cherries. It is best used for increasing oxygen supply. Malic acid is a natural humectant, which draws moisture out of the dermis and into the epidermis. This helps keep the skin hydrated, without contributing to oiliness. An additional benefit of malic acid is its antioxidant properties, which help to fight free radicals that can contribute to skin damage.
-Mandelic acid is derived from bitter almonds and has antibacterial and anti aging properties.
Enzymes- All enzymes break down and metabolize the protein bonds that glue the dead surface cells together allowing for new, healthy cells to come to the surface. This helps with pigmentation issues, acne, fine lines, and an overall renewed skin surface.
-Papain- Derived from papaya. -Bromelain- Derived from pineapple. One of the most effective enzymes.
-Curcubita Pepo- Derived from Pumpkin