Enzyme Peels vs. Chemical Peels: The Benefits Explained


Many of the most stubborn skin concerns can be solved with some serious exfoliation – and we’re not talking about scrubbing your skin until it’s raw. You might be tempted to intensify your skincare regimen with one of the many trending tools you’ve seen go viral online, which promise to break up dead skin cells, shrink your pores, and rejuvenate skin tone and texture. 

Many of these at-home tools and treatments are too good to be true and will just leave you with sensitive skin and all the same problems as before. But when you’re ready to level up your skincare treatments and experience impressive results, it’s time to turn to the professionals.

At Focal Point Salon & Spa, enzyme peels and chemical peels are two of our most recommended exfoliating treatments. Both can work wonders for a broad range of skin types and concerns, resulting in a visible difference after just a single treatment. If you’re someone that cares about your skin – and you should be – peels are a necessity in your skincare routine. 

But first, you’ll need to understand how chemical and enzyme peels are different from each other. Each one serves its own unique purpose and works in a specific way, but both can help you achieve a gorgeously glowing complexion. We’re going to talk about enzyme peels vs. chemical peels, so you can know exactly which one you want to try first.

What Is A Chemical Peel?

First, let’s cover the basics: what are chemical peels? Once you have a good grasp on this foundational treatment, it’s much easier to understand how and why enzyme peels are different. 

As you can probably guess from the name, a chemical peel is a skincare treatment that uses varying combinations of chemicals for skin exfoliation. Even though you might see the word “chemical” and immediately assume this could be a toxic treatment, that’s actually not true. Typically, the chemicals used for these peels are natural fruit acids. In some products, synthetic acids are used for even more powerful effects.

The fruit acids in a chemical peel help remove dead skin cells and toxins, while the more intense peels can help “peel away” an upper layer of live skin cells. One of the biggest benefits of a chemical peel is that it can penetrate deeply into multiple layers of your skin, serving as a multi-tasker to cleanse, exfoliate, and renew your complexion.

Depending on your specific goals or skincare challenges, we might recommend one of a few different chemical peel options. Because there are so many different types of chemical peels, there’s one to suit just about anyone. Some of the common ingredients in chemical peels include:

  • Lactic acid
  • Salicylic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Beta-hydroxy acid
  • Other alpha-hydroxy acids

What is an enzyme peel?

Think of enzyme peels as the much gentler – though no less effective – version of a chemical peel. Instead of acids, enzyme peels are made with fruit enzymes. These enzymes can come from pumpkins, pineapples, pomegranates, papayas, and plenty of other fruits that might be sitting in your fruit basket right now.

The fruit enzymes have the power to gently cleanse and exfoliate the skin without getting into the deeper layers that chemical peels often do. Enzyme peels help break down and eliminate dead skin cells, but they don’t affect living cells. As a result, enzymes can be a great match for people with sensitive skin.

Is An Enzyme Peel A Chemical Peel?

Simply put, no – an enzyme peel is not a chemical peel. Both are incredible exfoliators and play an important part in the world of skincare. But when you look and how each one works and its ideal uses, you can see that each type of peel is unique.

What Is The Difference Between An Enzyme Peel And A Chemical Peel?

Essentially, enzymes and chemical peels are two ways to achieve the same goal: skin exfoliation. However, there’s a major difference in how intensely and deeply they penetrate your skin.

Chemical peels go beyond the surface of your skin, working as an exfoliator to remove not just the top layer of dead skin cells but also to cleanse multiple other layers. In comparison, enzyme peels focus on the superficial (top) layers of the epidermis. 

There are also some differences in terms of which clients are the right fit for each peel. Enzyme peels are gentler on the skin, so they’re ideal if you have sensitive skin. There’s also not as much aftercare required, and enzyme peels can usually be done more frequently. For pregnant and breastfeeding clients, chemical peels are off the table, but enzyme peels are still a great way to get that glow on.

But if you need a deep cleansing and major exfoliation, a chemical peel could offer the results you want. Enzyme peels could still get the job done; you might just need multiple treatments – whereas a single chemical peel might tackle the specific issues you’re dealing with. 

Ultimately, there’s no one option that’s “better” than the other. Both are a great addition to any skincare routine and can deliver a long list of benefits. It’s up to you to decide which one suits you best – and talking to a professional can definitely help. In some cases, you might even combine the two for a powerhouse treatment that kicks skin rejuvenation into high gear.

Are Enzymes Chemical Exfoliants?

Technically, enzymes do fall into the category of chemical exfoliants (just like acids). However, they are two very different types of exfoliants. The AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids) used in chemical peels are more aggressive than enzymes.

Are Enzyme Peels Good For Your Skin?

Absolutely! Enzyme peels are a fairly gentle way to clean and rejuvenate your skin. Some of the benefits of enzyme peels include:

  • Acne control
  • Reduced appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
  • Faded scars
  • Less noticeable ace spots and redness
  • An effective cell turnover process
  • Glowing, radiant skin

Get Glowing with Professional Peels in Phoenix

If your skincare routine isn’t incorporating professional peels, now’s the time to make a change. Instead of wasting time and money on low-quality peels for home use, trust your skin to the professionals at Focal Point Salon & Spa. Not only do our professional peels offer results that you’ll never get at home, but our expert team can help you make the right choices for your skin type and concerns.

Dealing with stress breakouts and annoying blackhead formation? We have a peel for that. Or maybe you’re frustrated with age spots and fine lines that are making you look older than you feel. Focal Point has a treatment for that, too! Whether your goal is skin renewal, smaller pores, better skin texture, or a clear complexion – or you all of the above – we’ll customize a treatment regimen to suit you. 

So many of our guests say that our SkinMedica and Skinceutical chemical peels and enzyme peels were the key factors that were missing from their skincare routines. Aren’t you ready to exfoliate away your most chronic complexion concerns and get the stunning skin you’ve always wanted?

Uncover the beautiful, healthy complexion that’s waiting for you with a chemical peel from Focal Point Salon & Spa. Book your appointment and start your skin transformation now!

Featured Image: Dmytro Varavin/Getty Images

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