Chemical vs. Enzyme Peels

In a world full of skin care options, it’s not always easy to determine what is the best for one’s skin.  Whether it be stress, pollution, weather, or hormones, there are a plethora of factors that affect our skin. When we encounter breakouts or our faces start to feel dull and unpolished, it may be a sign that it is time to exfoliate. We aren’t talking about an over the counter face scrub either, we’re talking about a good old fashioned peel.

Peels are a surefire way to strip the dead, dingy skin cells off our faces and leave us feeling lighter, brighter, and more youthful.  Exfoliating improves the skin turnover and is beneficial in keeping the skin radiant and fresh.  Exfoliation is recommended 1-2 times a week but no more than that.  Not exfoliating can leave the complexion looking dull.  At the same time, it weakens the products one might be using because they aren’t properly absorbed by the skin.  In contrast to not exfoliating enough,  over exfoliating pulls cells away that aren’t quite ready to be shed which in turn leaves the skin red and sensitive.  It’s a delicate balance of exfoliating the proper amount.

As stated earlier, we are a culture inundated with skin care options and it can be difficult to know just what our skin needs. Peels are no exception.  Once upon a time we would hear of someone having a chemical peel and that was that.  Fast forward ten years and the follow up question is “what KIND of peel”?  It’s true…the world of peels has come a long way and we now have options within our options.  This is a GREAT thing for us consumers but it can be a tad intimidating if we aren’t educated properly.  It’s important to do your homework before any procedure and weigh your options accordingly.  In doing this, you are more likely to have a positive experience with whatever procedure you choose.

At dermani MEDSPA®, we pride ourselves not only on our continuous education of our aestheticians but on our willingness and desire to share that knowledge with our clients. We want our clients to look and feel their best and how better to do that than to give them every and any tool they might need. Here is a basic lesson on peels.

Many if not all peels are derived from two ingredients, enzymes or chemicals. But what’s the difference?  There’s a big difference! Both are important in the world of skin rejuvenation but for different reasons.  Just what are those reasons? We’re so glad you asked!

Chemical peels vary in their results, depending on the strength of the treatment. They exfoliate dead skin cells and can also remove living cells. Chemical peels are generally administered by a licensed esthetician or even a physician and recommended only periodically. Chemical peels include alpha hydroxy acids. These included Glycol, Lactic, Malic, Tartaric, Mandelic, and Azelaic. These work by dissolving the inter cellular lipids and proteins that grip dead skin cells to one another. These peels also include beta hydroxy acids, the most common being Salicylic Acid (these peels are a great option for acne prone skin). Once this deep exfoliation is complete, you will see diminished lines and wrinkles as well as glowing skin. It is imperative, however, after a chemical peel to use intensive moisturizers and sunscreen while the old skin peels away. This generally takes several days but depending on the strength of the treatment can take up to a week.

Enzyme peels offer many benefits for the skin. Whether it be reduction in pore size, softer and more hydrated skin, smoother skin with fewer lines and wrinkles or just a healthy glow, this gentler version of a peel provides the same results as a chemical peel but does it less abrasively. An enzymatic peel is very gentle on the skin because it doesn’t loosen dead cells from the skin’s surface but rather stimulates new cell growth and accelerates natural exfoliation. Different from a chemical peel, these types of peels can be incorporated into one’s regular skincare regime. Enzymes are naturally derived from fruits and plant resources and offer more nourishing and smoothing effects than stronger abrasive mechanical scrubs.  Aside from the medical benefits of an enzyme peel, they smell fantastic!

There  is nothing wrong with a chemical peel and many clients prefer a more aggressive treatment. On the flip side, other clients are either unable to have a chemical peel or prefer a gentler procedure. It really just comes down to preference and the timing of the procedure.

You may prefer a chemical peel if:
  • You are patient with your skincare regimen and results. When picking a chemical peel, long term effectiveness is likely a consideration. While an enzyme peel may show immediate results, the glycolic acid in a chemical peel takes the results up a notch by not only softening the skin but brightening it at the same time.
  • You prefer products with a stable shelf life. Enzymes can be difficult to control when added to skincare regimes.  It is important that there is no moisture, heat or pH changes.  If there are, the enzymes start to inactivate and can become ineffective.
You may prefer an enzyme peel if:
  • Your skin is easily irritated. The active ingredients in enzymes cause a gentle tingling as opposed to the slight burn of a chemical peel.  Enzymes are far gentler on the skin and are equally as effective.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. Because the ingredients in chemical peels can absorb into your skin and potentially cause harm to the baby, it is critical that neither pregnant or breastfeeding women use a chemical peel.  Enzyme peels are a great alternative for these women.
  • You have a compromised immune system. Anyone with a compromised immune system (even cancer survivors), have to be cautious about what they put onto their skin and chemical peels are discouraged for those with weakened immune systems.  Natural enzymes derived from fruits don’t contain harmful ingredients and are a safe alternative.

Still have questions? Call 770-212-2242 to schedule your free consultation or go online to and book your peel today!