First I will address the elephant in the room, I know that in the past I have said some not so great things about enzyme powders. So if you’re reading this and wondering if I feel the same way about the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, the answer is no. And the reason I do not feel the same about this product is that it doesn’t contain Sodium Bicarbonate (praise be!).
I know that chemical exfoliants are all the rage right now (as they should be, they are amazing) but physical exfoliants get a bad rep sometimes. The act of exfoliation is a means to remove all the built-up dead skin cells and plug-mucus (sure, it’s a scientific term) from the surface of your skin, making way for a fresh start for the healthy cells underneath. If left alone, that layer of clingy dead skin cells can leave your skin looking dull, dry, and flaky. When done properly, exfoliating leaves your skin looking younger and more vibrant. In addition, exfoliating regularly can help ensure that your topical skincare products like serums and acne treatments are able to penetrate the skin more effectively. Both chemical and physical exfoliants have the potential to damage the skin. When physical exfoliation is done right, it can lead to beautiful results.
Enter the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant!
Papain, also known as papaya proteinase-1, is a really exciting protein due to its inclusion of proteolytic (i.e., protein-digesting) enzymes. These enzymes gently dissolve old skin cells without harming new ones, leaving the skin smoother and softer (The Complete Book of Enzyme Therapy).
Toxicity testing shows that papain is actually less irritating than glycolic acid, and in vivo, clinical, and consumer tests reported a visible improvement in the appearance of skin. And although subjects reportedly noticed a difference in their skin after the first application, they reported increased luminosity with softer, smoother skin after 21 days of treatment. If you find your skin doesn’t react well to glycolic or lactic acid, the papain in Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is a great option for you!
Asian cultures have been using rice to cleanse their skin for centuries! It is believed to soften and brighten the skin and the science backs those claims up. Oryza sativa (or more commonly known as Asian rice) is an emollient, moisturizing, and cleansing ingredient that contains antioxidant gamma oryzanol (African Journal of Biotechnology, International Journal of Toxicology). Gamma orzanol is a free-radical scavenger and it helps to improve the stability of oils and fatty acids (International Journal of Pharmaceutics). Tests on irritation found that it was, at most, mildly irritating, but that users generally didn’t have a problem.
The rice enzymes in the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant are the real star of the show here! And when paired with papain they make an excellent exfoliating and brightening team.
If rice enzymes and papain are the stars of the show, licorice root plays a very strong supporting role in this product. Licorice root extract contains glycyrrhizinate, a potent antioxidant. It has been shown in peer-reviewed studies to be anti-inflammatory and to help prevent the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Personal Use and Opinion
My favorite way to use this product is immediately following a workout. It’s great at clearing all the sweat and oils out of my pores. Just pour some of the powder into the palm of your hand and add a couple of drops of water to form a paste. Rub into your skin in a circular motion and let it sit on the skin for about 30 seconds and rinse it off.
This is one of my favorite physical exfoliants on the market. It is beautifully formulated (WITHOUT Sodium Bicarbonate) and effective. The papain gently exfoliates, the rice enzymes cleanse, and the licorice root brightens to result in softer, smoother skin. I am a really big fan of this, especially for those with more sensitive skin types who find other exfoliants too harsh.