Melissa Juried Kriebel
Yes, we love papaya in our fruit salad and yes, we love papaya on our faces too! There we said it. It’s not uncommon in Indian households to see papaya skins being generously rubbed onto faces before baths. Moms and grandmoms have recommended it forever. So, what makes this bright versatile fruit so good for the skin?
We connected with internationally renowned cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Jaishree Sharad, who is also an Author, TEDx speaker and founder of Skinfinitii Aesthetic Skin and Laser Clinic in Mumbai, to understand the real benefits of papaya for skin. She says, “Papaya contains vitamins A, C and E and enzymes called papain and chymopapain, which are antioxidants. It also contains carotenoids, flavonoids and phenolic compounds. Papain, in mature unripe fruit, acts as a powerful exfoliator and dissolves inactive proteins and dead skin cells and thus, unclogs pores.”
She points out that it functions as an anti-acne treatment where papain and chymopapain work as an antibacterial to fight infection; this property helps in treating acne and reducing breakouts. “It also works in anti-ageing as papaya is rich in lycopene and vitamin C, which are potent antioxidants. They protect the skin against free radical damage and prevent premature skin ageing. They help reducing the appearance of wrinkles by improving the skin elasticity,” says Dr Jaishree.
Another benefit is in the treatment of hyperpigmentation. “Papaya is mildly acidic in nature. The enzymes, vitamins, beta carotene have skin brightening properties. These along with mild exfoliation property reduces the dark patches, post-acne blemishes and brightens up the skin making it more even toned,” she adds. If that was not enough, papaya also works as a moisturiser where its nutrients hydrate and moisturise the skin, giving a soft and supple feel and furthermore, its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties help in wound healing too! Phew. Is there anything papaya can’t do really, we wonder?
We also quizzed Dr Jaishree about the direct application of papaya fruit on the skin and she says, “Yes, a ripe papaya can be directly applied on the face. Mashed or pureed ripe papaya can be applied on the skin for 10 min and rinsed off. But unripe papaya application is unsafe as it contains papain, chymopapain and papaya latex, which can cause irritation and allergic reactions.” She further adds that those with sensitive skin should avoid papaya products altogether if possible. And those with papain allergies or latex allergies should avoid using papaya and papaya containing products as they can cause cross allergies.
Thankfully for us, the benefits of papaya can be enjoyed not just in our fruit salad but via skincare products as well. It is available in so many different skincare formulations including soaps, creams, lotions serums, peels and more, so go ahead and take your pick.
8 Papaya-Infused Skincare Products You’ll Love:
Aqualogica Glow+ Nourishing Cream
A new addition to the Glow+ range, this nourishing cream for face & body is crafted with papaya, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid, to nourish and brighten the skin, and correct uneven tone. Its rich yet lightweight texture glides on the skin to lock in moisture all day long. It is a non-sticky and non-comedogenic formula that helps restore the skin’s natural pH level, leaving it fresh, glowing, and nourished.
Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm
Take off all that makeup, oil and dirt with this fruity cleansing balm. A balm-to-milky oil formula, it works to gently exfoliate and resurface the skin. It contains a mix of exfoliating and calming papaya seed oil, papaya enzymes, papaya extract, and antioxidant-packed blueberry that leaves the skin clean, bouncy and glowing.
Dot & Key Vitamin C Super Bright Foaming Face Wash
Papaya as a face wash? Yes please! This sulphate-free papaya-enriched foaming face wash cleanses the skin without drying it out. It gently exfoliates, fades dark spots and pigmentation and reverses dullness to give an even tone and boost the skin’s natural glow.
Juicy Chemistry Papaya, Apricot & Mandarin Organic Soap
Suitable for normal to dry skin, this gentle organic soap bar is rich in fruit enzymes that rejuvenate the skin, replenish it and promote even-toned skin. This cold processed organic soap bar gently cleanses the skin without stripping off the natural moisture and also improves the skin’s ability to absorb nutrients from following skincare steps.
Dr Sheth’s Papaya & PHA Exfoliating Serum
This mildly exfoliating serum is a potent mix of gluconolactone (a naturally occurring PHA that comes with excellent moisturising & antioxidant properties) and papaya. The papaya fruit extracts in the formulation help smoothen & soften while reducing inflammation & rejuvenating the skin. It also contains niacinamide that minimises the appearance of pores and improves skin texture, as well as aloe vera that helps soothe and calm the skin and prevents irritation.
Bath & Body Works Island Papaya Gentle Gel Hand Soap
This hand soap will immediately transport you to scene where you’re sipping a fruit cocktail at a tiki bar on the beach with its tropical coconut, fresh papaya and sugarcane scent. Not only is its fragrance refreshing but the gel contains no dyes or parabens and it is infused with natural essential oils, vitamin E, shea extract and aloe to soften and cleanse your hands.
Shankara Naturals Deep Cleanse Facial Ubtan
An Ayurveda-inspired natural facial ubtan, this is enriched with papaya & red sandalwood. With hydrating and soothing effects, it can be used as a cleanser, scrub and mask, making it an all-in-one product for your skin.
Pure Sense Brightening Sheet Mask with Vitamin C & Papaya
For a quick pick-me-up, pop on this sheet mask that is enriched with vitamin C, papaya, lemon, thanaka (a sandalwood-type of ground bark), bengkoang (a type of edible root), pomegranate and niacinamide. It gives the skin a boost of vitamins and antioxidants and lends the face a radiant glow.
If you enjoyed reading this, click here to know more about how fruit enzymes work in skincare