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What Is Papaya Whitening Soap?

By Geisha A. Legazpi
Updated May 21, 2024
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Papaya whitening soap is a body cleansing material that is believed to lighten the skin mainly because of its papain contents. Papain is an enzyme present in large amounts in raw papaya and may have a skin lightening effect. It acts as an agent that counters, but does not stop, the production of melanin, a substance that makes human skin dark.

Many people, especially women, in Asia seek a lighter skin appearance. With the emergence of effective advertising campaigns on the beauty of having a fair skin, many Asian women purchase skin whitening products. One of the most purchased of these products is the papaya whitening soap, which contains natural ingredients proven to lighten the skin. Papaya is a tropical fruit that is believed to have originated from Central and North America. Other than being a natural ingredient of skin whitening products, the benefits of papaya as an antioxidant source and a digestive may be worth considering.

The papain component of papaya is able to destroy the peptide bonds in proteins. Proteins are composed of amino acids that are linked together by these peptide bonds. Several proteins, such as keratin and collagen, are present in the human skin. When a person uses a whitening soap regularly, proteins in this person’s outer skin layer – called epidermis – are gradually broken down by the papain. Thus, the person will experience a shedding of skin resulting in a fairer or lighter complexion.

Papaya whitening soap may have other ingredients aside from papain that are responsible for its skin lightening abilities. Some well known brands of papaya whitening soap also contain kojic acid, a substance that comes from mold. Although kojic acid is deemed effective in making the skin lighter, some experts believe that it can also cause cancer. For the sake of beauty without sacrificing safety, people should exercise caution in using a papaya-based whitening soap containing whitening ingredients other than papaya.

Regular and continued use of papaya soap will induce skin peeling, and it may cause a person’s skin to become dry and scaly. To relieve this, the person should also apply moisturizer on his or her skin. In case an irritation occurs, the person should stop using papaya whitening soap until the irritation subsides. If irritation recurs upon using the soap again, the person should stop using it because he or she might be allergic to papain.

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Discussion Comments

By SarahGen — On Nov 22, 2013

@SteamLouis-- I completely agree with you that papaya soap is drying. In fact, when I use it daily, my skin starts to itch and flake. So I only use it twice a week now. Twice a week seems to work well. My skin gets the exfoliation it needs, without excessive dryness.

The best part about papaya whitening soap is that it doesn't leave any residue on skin and removes dirt very well. Some people use this soap before they apply skin treatments so that their skin absorbs the treatments better.

By SteamLouis — On Nov 21, 2013

@fify-- Natural papaya soap should not have any dangerous chemicals in it. It's supposed to be a basic soap with papaya enzymes. That's probably why it's affordable.

The papaya enzymes in the soap exfoliate skin and make it brighter. But you will not experience any dramatic change in your skin color. With regular use, it can make your skin one shade lighter.

I've been using a papaya whitening soap on my body because it's dark in comparison to my face. I think it works great. It exfoliates and cleans very well. The only downside is that it can be drying so I have to make sure that I use body lotion afterward.

By fify — On Nov 21, 2013

I came across papaya soap at the Asian grocery. It was labeled as a fairness soap and it was very affordable. I'm curious about papaya soap, but fairness products put me off. I feel like there are dangerous chemicals in it. And how come papaya soap is so cheap?

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