Rodan + Fields / Blog / Science of Skincare

What Is an Enzyme Peel? Achieving Smooth, Radiant Skin


Young woman applying chemical peel product at home

Do you want glowing skin without the risk of damage or irritation? Enzyme peels can help you achieve a radiant complexion using gentle, safe, fruit-derived enzymes.

What Are Enzyme Peels, and How Do They Work?

Enzyme facial peels use plant enzymes to break down dead skin cells and reveal a glowing complexion. Proteolytic enzymes like papain, which is derived from papaya fruit, help exfoliate skin by dissolving keratin protein in epidermal cells. These agents are typically gentler than other exfoliating treatments like acid peels, microdermabrasion, and laser resurfacing.

The Benefits of Enzyme Peels for Skin Rejuvenation

Whether you’re looking to refresh your skin or maintain a healthy complexion, an enzyme peel can help to:

  • Increase radiance, brightness, and luminosity
  • Boost hydration, resulting in plumper-looking skin
  • Banish dullness by removing dry skin cells
  • Reduce visible discoloration from age spots, sun damage, or acne scars
  • Clear away sebum and debris from pores to prevent blackheads and blemishes
  • Visible minimize enlarged pores to help your skin look more youthful and balanced

How Enzyme Peels and Chemical Peels Differ

At-home enzyme and chemical facial peels are two different types of exfoliating treatments. Both kinds of peels slough away dead skin cells, but enzymes treat the skin’s topmost layer, while acids target the skin’s deeper layers.

Enzyme Peels Are Mild and Non-Irritating

Treatments like papaya enzyme peels will not disrupt your skin’s pH balance. They can be gentler than pure chemical peels that utilize alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids like glycolic and salicylic acid. Chemical peels wound the skin slightly to activate its healing process. They lower the skin’s pH level to loosen the cells that bind dead and healthy skin together. While removing these cells resurfaces the skin and promotes the growth of healthy new cells, it can temporarily leave the skin exposed and vulnerable to environmental irritants.

Dual-Action Peels Are Gentle and Effective

Some new exfoliating treatments mix acids and enzymes to enhance exfoliation while minimizing recovery time and the chance of unwanted side effects. These fast-acting peels can dissolve dead skin cells and the binding cells that hold them in place, so you can achieve brighter, more luminous skin with less irritation and fewer treatments.

How to Use an Enzyme Peel

Enzyme peels are easy to integrate into your skincare regimen, but there are a few things you should know before diving in.

How to Prepare for Your First Peel

Although enzyme peels are typically very safe, it’s wise to take a few precautions before your treatment. Avoid using makeup for a few days to keep your pores as clean as possible. Also, avoid using enzyme peels on newly tanned or sunburned skin. Enzyme peels can aggravate active acne, dermatitis, and other skin lesions, so you should not use them until your skin has healed. It’s also important to do a patch test a day ahead of your treatment to ensure you’re not allergic to any ingredients in your peel. If you notice signs of irritation, rinse away the treatment immediately.

How to Apply an Enzyme Peel

For the R+F Multi-Acid Enzyme Peel™ , apply it three times per week in the evening after thoroughly cleansing and toning your face. 2-3 pumps should be enough for your full face and an additional 2-3 pumps should be enough if you’d also like to apply your peel to your neck and decolletage. Always remember to follow usage instructions on the product packaging.  Apply a soothing serum, lotion, or cream moisturizer on top of your peel right away to keep your skin balanced. 

How Often Should You Use an Enzyme Peel?

If you’re using an enzyme peel for the first time, you can apply a follow-up peel a week later. For best results, apply your enzyme peel three times per week. Too-frequent use may cause adverse reactions such as redness, breakouts, and irritation. If you notice an increase in redness, sensitivity, or discomfort, skip a session or discontinue treatment.

Enzyme Peel Results and Aftercare

Enzyme peels involve very little downtime, so you can go about your day as usual after treatment. After an enzyme peel, you shouldn’t experience any inflammation or pain. Your skin may look pink and tingle slightly, but these effects should subside in a few minutes.

To help your skin recover and maintain positive results, drink water, moisturize your skin, and wait a day before wearing makeup. Avoid exposing your face to the sun for a week, wear a hat, and remember to apply sunscreen. Do not use retinol after an enzyme peel, and consider using a different method of exfoliation if you use retinol products regularly.

Are Enzyme Peels Effective?

Enzyme peels remove dead skin cells without causing irritation. They are a wonderfully effective way to address mild signs of aging and achieve soft, glowing skin in minutes. You’ll usually see results immediately after your treatment. Keep in mind that because enzyme peels are less invasive than other exfoliating treatments, the changes you see may be less dramatic and long-lasting. With patience and regular use, some enzyme peels will provide results similar to those of a stronger chemical peel without the side effects.

Enzyme Peels Are the Perfect Pick-Me-Up for Every Skin Type

No matter what type of skin you have, it’s likely that an enzyme peel can improve its appearance. Our new R+F Multi-Acid Enzyme Peel can give you the glowing skin you want in minutes and will easily become an essential component of your skincare routine.

R+F Multi-Acid Enzyme Peel

Unlike other peels on the market, which are primarily acid or enzyme based, RF Multi-Acid Enzyme Peel not only combines acid and enzyme but does so in such a way as to produce the ultimate exfoliation. The R+F proprietary blend, RF Pro-acid Complex, of not 2, not 3 but 4 acids – glycolic, salicylic, lactic and polyhydroxy combined with Papaya Enzyme, exfoliates 5X faster than we can alone. This blend was specifically designed to detach and wash away dead skin cells in the most effective way possible but without causing irritation so almost everyone can use it while getting phenomenal, best in class, results – making it unique. If that wasn’t enough – the inclusion of Niacinamide, Bakuchiol and Licorice Root elevate the results even higher by addressing the signs of aging, skin texture and brightness from a whole new angle.

Enzyme Peel Key Ingredients

Bakuchiol is an antioxidant that reduces the appearance fine lines and the loss of firmness by targeting free radicals. It is gentle and an ideal ingredient for inclusion in the RF Multi-Acid Enzyme Peel – kickstarting the skincare journey following exfoliation. Niacinamide is a vitamin B molecule are extremely good at reducing the appearance of pores and improving skin texture, all of which add to the power and performance of this product, producing that radiant glow by reflecting light perfectly. Licorice root helps to soothe, and along with Bakuchiol and Niacinamide works together to even tone and reduce the appearance of discoloration.

Frequently Asked Questions About Enzyme Peels

Are enzyme peels good for your skin?

Enzyme peels hydrate and nourish the healthy skin they reveal. By gently removing dead skin cells without damaging living tissue, they can rejuvenate your skin without causing irritation.

Can enzyme peels help with blemishes? 

Enzyme peels can help reduce inflammation and clear out dead cells, dirt, oil, and debris from congested pores. By encouraging skin health, enzyme peels enhance the skin’s ability to renew itself. Be sure not to apply peels over active acne lesions or open wounds.

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