Papaya is full of alpha hydroxy acids and enzymes like papain that break down dead skin cells when used topically. Regular use of fresh papaya fruit on the face often leads to an improvement in the tone, texture and appearance of our skin and even a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles.
Many people report online that papaya facial treatments are also useful for treating acne, minor scarring, sunburn and age spots and the papaya mask recipes ahead may be useful for these conditions as well.
Be aware there may be a very mild skin lightening effect as well over time, once again due to the alpha hydroxy acids. This is something to be aware of if you’re working on your tan, but is generally seen as a good thing, with many people describing their skin as ‘glowing’.
Papaya peel actually contains even more of the beneficial papain enzymes than the fruit so the facial treatments ahead utilize this. If you have very sensitive skin it may be best to first try them without the papaya peel and then add a quarter or half of peel suggested in future to see how it affects your face.
Unripe papaya is also said to contain more papain than the ripe fruit. For a stronger facial treatment you could use a papaya that is still green, but you wouldn’t get the benefit of eating it as well.
Personally, I don’t want to miss out the joy of eating papaya, so I tend to use fruits that are just turning from green to yellow. These may contain more antioxidants than green papaya so hopefully this is a good balance. My skin seems to think so.
Yogurt, Honey and Papaya Face Mask
When you have a papaya fruit you want to eat, cut off a small amount, perhaps only a quarter of a cup’s worth, and keep it aside. I usually keep the end near the stalk. Areas that are still tinged with green are particularly suitable.
Keep the peel on if you’d like a stronger papaya mask or remove it if you have sensitive skin. Place the papaya, a tablespoon of real, bio-active and unflavored yogurt and 2 teaspoons of raw honey (Manuka honey is best) into a good blender and blend until it’s smooth.
If you don’t have a good blender in your kitchen, it’s really worth looking at getting one. Not just for face treatments like this, but also for healthy smoothies, soups, pestos and hundreds of other great recipes. I use this Hemisphere blender which has proved powerful enough for all of the superfood recipes and hair and skin treatments on this site that needed it.
Pour out the mixture into a bowl and take it to your bedroom with a towel. If you’ve got long hair it’s probably worth tying back, or even using a shower cap. Put the towel over your pillow, lie down and smooth the papaya facial treatment over your face, avoiding the eye area. Relax for 10 to 15 minutes.
You may feel a slight tingling of the skin, but this shouldn’t be painful. If it is, wash the treatment off immediately and moisturize your face, preferably with aloe vera gel.
Most people should find this face mask refreshing, especially when you wash it off and see how good your skin looks and feels. Follow with a toner if you use one and a natural, chemical free moisturizer. Alternatively, try avocado oil as a face moisturizer for much deeper hydration.
Papaya Peel Rub
For a simpler, on the go way to use papaya to improve your skin, try keeping the peel after you’ve scooped out the fruit’s pulp.
Rub the inside of the papaya skin with the still wet pulp directly onto your face, preferably in the morning or evening before showering, and leave it on for a minute or two. It feels better if you shower it off while it’s still a bit moist, rather than letting it dry tight.
This papaya peel rub can be used not just on your face, but on any area of your body that you’d like to improve. It is believed to help diminish age spots and minor scarring, improve acne or other blemishes and is said to be of great relief for sun damaged skin.
Papaya skin will keep in the fridge for several days and you may only need a quarter section of the peel for your face. It can be used couple of times a week with good results. For problem areas like age spots or minor skin scarring, try a small piece of papaya peel rubbed in daily.
Have you tried using papaya as a facial treatment and did you know that natural treatments like this can be much more effective than commercial preparations? I’d be interested to hear what’s been working for you and what other kind of natural skin treatments you’ve used.
Coming up next is how these same papaya enzymes can improve our digestion internally when you eat them.
Photo credit with thanks: Luz Adriana Villa