What's the Difference between Buffered and Non-buffered Chemical Peels?

Our skin has a natural pH balance of between 4.2 and 5.6, with men having slightly more acidic levels than women.

Skin is made up of protein, and water, amongst other stuff. Proteins are complex chains of amino acids that are sensitive to the alkaline or acid level (pH) surrounding them. When the skin's proteins react with an acid in a low pH, the acid breaks down the old existing skin tissues. The lower the pH - the stronger the acid, the more active this process is.

Anytime the natural pH level of a solution is changed, it’s called buffering. Buffering is designed to affect the actual pH level or how acidic the solution is...and that's important.

Buffering can increase or decrease a pH level. Normally buffering increases the pH to make the acid weaker or not as strong an acid.  So buffered and non-buffered products can carry the same percentage of an active ingredient, but the strength of the acid is changed by the buffering agent.

For example, a particular brand of 40% buffered glycolic acid might have a pH a effective pH of 3.0. That’s been chemically altered to be higher (less strong) than its natural un-buffered pH of 2.5. This  makes it less active. This can also happen the other way where the buffer can make the acid more active to give it more action.

Buffered peels are generally sold for safety reasons. Some companies will claim that buffering will make the peel safer but will not reduce its effectiveness. We don’t agree with this.

This is why Enerpeel was designed. Enerpeel is not buffered at all. Instead we hold the acids in a carrier (imagine each acid molecule wrapped up in a coating) This coating makes the peel almost inactive when it is applied to the skin. This improves the absorption into the skin.

The carrier is designed to ‘dissolve’ at a level in the skin where the water content of the skin is higher than at the surface, so it focuses the activity where it is needed and reduces dramatically the surface activity. The full pH of the acid is then released. The surface activity is not zero but less and therefore you can achieve exfoliation to freshen up the surface but you will get greater deeper remodelling proportionately.