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What Are the Benefits of Papaya for Skin?

By O. Parker
Updated May 21, 2024
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Papaya can benefit skin from the outside as well as from the inside. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, this tropical fruit provides important nutrients for healthy beautiful skin. It's not just for eating, however — papaya for skin care as a topical application contains rejuvenating enzymes that exfoliate the skin for a glowing complexion.

The secret to papaya's skin beautifying and renewing properties lies in the enzyme papain. Enzymes are important in the body as agents that break down proteins. Papaya fruit is loaded with these protein processing enzymes, making it good for digestion and for exfoliation.

Good exfoliation is an important part of good skin care. Dead skin cells build up, leaving the skin looking rough and dull. An exfoliator removes the dead skin cells to reveal the healthy new skin underneath. The enzyme papain acts as an exfoliator by dissolving and breaking down the proteins in dead skin.

Masks and cleansers made with papaya get the enzymes from green papaya. The enzymes are isolated and then added to the product during production. Using an exfoliating mask made with papain enzyme is a natural way to cleanse and rejuvenate dull, tired-looking skin.

When using papaya for skin care, the whole fruit can be used as a mask. It's sticky and a bit messy, but the protein dissolving enzymes are all there. A ripe fruit generally is the easiest to use when preparing a whole papaya for skin care masks and treatments. The mashed fruit can be used alone or mixed with other natural ingredients and applied to the skin.

Papaya mixed with honey can make a nourishing, skin-brightening mask. The ripe fruit can also be mixed with coarse salt and used as a skin brightening exfoliating rub. Likewise, clay mixed with papaya creates an oil-drawing mask for the face and body.

Many exfoliating skin care products use alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). These act to dissolve the proteins on the top layer of skin, exactly as the papain enzyme does. Using papaya and papain makes for a natural, plant-based alternative to the chemical exfoliants.

Good health is a major component of having good skin. Papaya fruit contains high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K — all important nutrients for good health. It is also a good source of the B vitamins, antioxidants and flavonoids. The papain enzyme contributes to good health as well by aiding in digestion and the break down and use of proteins. When using papaya for skin care, it is good both as a healthy snack and a skin-brightening facial treatment.

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Discussion Comments

By donasmrs — On Aug 06, 2013

@fBoyle-- It depends on the product. For example, I use a papaya cleanser daily and I don't leave it on my skin. I use it to remove makeup, oil and dirt. But if you have a papaya soap or mask, you can leave it on your skin for a minute or two for deeper cleaning.

Doesn't the product have instructions on the label? You should follow the instructions.

I'm actually not sure how effective papaya products are. I don't think that they contain as many enzymes as fresh papayas contain. If you have skin blemishes and hyper-pigmentation, you should make your own face mask from fresh papaya to get the most benefits. This type of mask has to be kept on for fifteen to twenty minutes to be effective. It can make your skin tone more even.

By fBoyle — On Aug 05, 2013

Does it take a while for papaya products to dissolve the protein on skin? Should I leave the product on my skin for a few minutes?

By candyquilt — On Aug 05, 2013

I have a papaya facial scrub that I use several times a week in the shower. It contains papaya enzymes and seeds. It exfoliates very well and I've noticed that since I started using this scrub, my skin looks brighter.

I've never used fresh papaya in skincare but that also sounds like a great idea. I will try it when I find ripe papayas.

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