Acids Vs Enzymes - Serenity Skin Spa
enzyme vs acids

Acids Vs Enzymes

Do you hear the words Fruit Enzymes or Glycolic Acid and get a bit confused?

Wonder if they are the same thing or do they do the same. Is one better than the other and which one should I be using for exfoliating my skin? It all gets really complicated and technical, the world of skincare and exfoliants. But I am going to break it down as which is best for you skin

Lets start with ACIDS!

Glycolic – Lactic – Salicylic 

They come from the acid family each varying in strength and doing different things to the skin. Acid sounds scary but it really just helps the skin shed redundant skin cells off the very top most layer of the skin. (Corneum Stratum)

Glycolic is a derivative of sugar cane and when used on the skin dissolves the whole skin cell the (keratinocyte). Great for really sun damage thicken skin with a built up corneum stratum layer. These kinds of skins can handle the aggressiveness of the whole skin cell being dissolved.

The disadvantage to this is it can over exfoliate your skin. Glycolic acid will dissolve the whole skin cell even if it is not ready to desquamate off yet. Upsetting the skin’s natural process and in turn makes your skin red, inflamed and irritated. It’s important when using this kind of acid that you have spoken to your skin therapist and it’s only for a short period of time or used sparingly in your home routine.

Lactic is also a derivative of sugar and is a gentler form of acid. It breaks down the skin and helps the cell to release its natural hydration making the skin more hydrated and begins the skin’s renewal cycle. It is much more gentle on the skin than glycolic and a more sensitive, thinner skin would be able to use this. It’s great for hidden congestion, breakouts and waking up sluggish skin. 

Salicylic – Is the strongest form of acid and is derived from  white willow bark tree. It works by absorbing your skin’s natural oil. This ingredient is amazing for oily skins as it absorbs the extra oil they produce. Amazing for acne clients suffering from deep underlying congestion and heavy thicken blackheads. This acid is oil loving as we say, meaning it looks for oil. If your skin doesn’t produce enough oil or more of a drier skin type then this acid is not for you. It will take your skin’s oil that is needed to protect the surface and in turn can make you skin red, irritated and super dry and flaky.


I am a wee bit biased with enzymes but they are my favourite form of exfoliation. Enzymes are natural fruit acids that can be from pumpkin, mango, papaya, pomegranate and the list goes on.

Our skin naturally produces enzymes to help with the natural desquamation of the skin cell. 

Enzymes will dissolve the “glue” that holds skin together. When that “glue” is dissolved the cells are released.

Super sensitive skins can tolerate this style of exfoliation as well as younger skins with build up of blackheads. I love the versatile of enzymes because our skin recognises enzymes as part of itself. Its what we call Biomimetic technology. So your skin allows the enzymes in without any irritation or inflammation. Its like giving your skin a natural helping hand.

When trying to work out which is best for you my rule of thumb is less is more start of slow and gentle. Latic or enzymes and if you still need a little more than I would suggest coming and talking to a skin therapist first so your skin is ready for glycolic or Salicylic.

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