Skin and Skin Care
Exfoliative proteolytic enzymes: Smith et al report on how topical proteolytic enzymes affect epidermal and dermal properties.1 Although proteolytic enzymes have a history of use in skin care products, it is not known whether they simply induce superficial exfoliation or if, with continued use, they can alter epidermal and dermal skin properties. The authors examined whether enhanced exfoliation resulting from treatment with an aspartyl-dependent acid protease improved appearance and, over time, changes in the epidermis and dermis. Test participants applied a serum containing 15% enzymes and a simple moisturizer twice daily for three months. A matched control group applied the same serum without enzyme and moisturizer.
Changes in skin smoothness and texture, the depth and number of lines and wrinkles, and epidermal and dermal firmness and thickness were examined in a double-blind fashion. Treatment with the enzyme product resulted in significant improvement in epidermal properties after one month and both epidermal and dermal properties after three months. The control group showed modest improvements in surface properties only. These results demonstrate that significant appearance benefits can be derived from use of exfoliative proteolytic enzymes. Such improvements are the result of changes to the epidermis and dermis and are strikingly similar to results observed with higher concentrations of alpha hydroxy acids.