4. Reduces Acne and Pimples
Pimples, also known as zits or spots, are small pus-filled lesions that appear on the skin. They form when the sebaceous gland becomes clogged with dirt, oil and dead skin cells, trapping the debris inside and encouraging the growth of a bacteria called Propionibacterium, which causes swelling and infection. Sebaceous glands produce sebum, an oil that is important ingredient for healthy skin, but when too much sebum is produced it can cause pimples and acne.
There are different types of pimples such as blackheads, whiteheads and pustules. Acne is a more severe type of pimple, characterized by large, swollen nodules or cysts that are inflamed and tender. While acne can affect adults, it is more commonly seen in teenagers and young adults aged between 12 and 25. Pimples and acne can be seen all over the body, but mainly occur on the face, neck, chest, back and arms.
Things like hormones and genetics can play a part in dictating whether someone will be affected by pimples or not, and while they can be highly embarrassing, there are many treatment options available. Papaya is a suitable way to naturally treat acne, as papain removes dead skin cells that contribute to acne formation. The antioxidants also reduce inflammation and cleanse the skin, preventing acne from reforming.
To use papaya as a spot treatment for acne, extract the juice by peeling and removing the seeds, then cutting the flesh into small cubes and putting the papaya pieces into a blender or juicer. Once the papaya has been juiced, dip a clean cotton ball into the juice and dab onto any acne or pimple spots. Leave it for 10 minutes before washing off with warm water.
5. Fades Skin Spots
Skin spots, also known as age spots, sun spots and liver spots, occur naturally on the skin as part of the aging process. There are a few different types of skin spots which can vary in appearance from mild, like freckles and moles, to more noticeable, like cherry hemangiomas, small red dots that stem from an overgrowth of blood vessels; lentigines, dark flat spots that look like freckles; and seborrheic keratoses, which look like flat or raised bumps that appear dark brown and scaly.
Aside from age, other factors that bring on the appearance of skin spots are sun exposure, lifestyle choices and genetics. While skin spots are usually benign and harmless, they can be unsightly, but luckily there are many ways to lighten or remove them. Medication, over-the-counter creams, dermabrasion or laser therapy are just a few remedies. You can also take preventative measures such as avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, using sunscreen, not smoking and eating a healthy diet.
The papain found in papaya contains bleaching agents that can lighten skin spots and decrease pigmentation. Alpha hydroxy acids found in papaya are also essential in clearing up sun spots, as they help exfoliate and remove dead cells while nourishing the skin, improving elasticity and stimulating the growth of new collagen.
To make a natural remedy for skin spots, mix ¼ cup of papaya with one tablespoon of lemon juice and half a tablespoon of raw honey, then apply to the affected areas. Allow it to dry before rinsing it off. Alternatively, you can simply mix one papaya with one egg white and massage it onto any skin spots, leaving for 15-20 minutes. Treat skin spots with papaya at least three times a week for results.
6. Treats Wrinkles and Crow’s Feet
Wrinkles are also called rhytides, and appear on the skin in the form of creases, folds or ridges. They’re a common sign of aging but are also caused by various other things like sun damage, genetics, smoking, and facial movement. As we age, our skin begins to lose elasticity and structure which causes sagging, creating wrinkling and fine lines.
Wrinkles and crow’s feet generally begin appearing on the face usually around the eyes. This is a result of the excessive use of facial muscles when we smile, frown, laugh, squint and other expressions. Wrinkles also occur on the neck, hands, elbows and knees, and can look like fine lines or deep furrows. Treatment depends on where the wrinkles have appeared, but can include topical retinoid creams, microdermabrasion, dermal fillers, Botox, chemical peels and laser therapy.
These treatments can be effective, but pricey. Papaya can be used instead for all-natural wrinkle treatment, because the vitamin C and other antioxidants can help regenerate the skin and fight off free radicals that can damage elastin and create wrinkles. Vitamin E will also help restore elasticity to the skin, preventing further wrinkles.
Remove the seeds from a ripe papaya and blend the fruit until it turns into a soft paste, then simply apply to the face or anywhere wrinkles have formed, then allow it to soak in for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and repeat at least twice a week. You can mix some olive oil into the papaya paste for added moisture, or you can simply rub a piece of raw papaya onto the affected areas.
7. Heals Cracked Heels
Cracked heels can not only be unsightly, they can become tender and sore as well. Cracked heels occur when the skin on the feet splits from excessive dryness. Cracked heels can be exacerbated by thickening skin that forms a callus which cracks under pressure, causing pain and even bleeding. Calluses and dry skin can be caused by ill-fitting shoes, walking barefoot, standing up for long periods of time, lack of proper hygiene, climate conditions, circulation problems and genetics.
Treating cracked heels can feel like an impossible task, as it’s extremely difficult to keep the feet adequately moisturized. Vitamin deficiency and lack of essential minerals can make dry, cracked heels even worse, so it’s important to maintain a healthy diet. Papaya is full of these nutrients, like B vitamins, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium and copper.
One of the first steps to baby-smooth feet is to remove the dead skin and reduce the thickness of calluses. This allows new, soft skin to grow in its place. Once the dry, dead skin has been removed, it’s important to keep the skin as hydrated as possible. This can be done by moisturizing the feet at night and putting socks on to keep the moisture in overnight.
You can also use papaya topically to cure and moisturize cracked heels. Before bed, mash one cup of papaya until it is smooth, then massage into feet. Allow this to soak into the skin and heels for 15 minutes before rinsing it off. Apply liberal amounts of moisturizer, or oil like coconut or olive for even deeper hydration, and cover with socks.
8. Lightens Unwanted Facial Hair
While facial hair is an aesthetic usually reserved for men, women can occasionally have facial hair as well, however, in most cases it’s unwanted. Facial hair on women is caused by a condition called hirsutism. This condition can affect women all over the world, though it’s more common in women from South Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
Hirsutism is characterized by dark, coarse hair that grows where it usually wouldn’t, such as on the chest, stomach, back, shoulders, upper lip, chin and chest. It can be caused by genetics, excessive levels of hormones like testosterone, and some medications. Hirsutism isn’t dangerous, however, it can cause embarrassment and feelings of self-consciousness.
Unwanted facial hair can appear in some women for seemingly no reason at all, but it can also indicate issues with health such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and adrenal gland disorders. There are many ways to treat unwanted facial hair, ranging from simply shaving or waxing, to hormone management medication and topical creams.
Unwanted facial hair can be dealt with naturally by using papaya. The enzymes can act as a natural bleach, serving to reduce the appearance of any unsightly hair. Papain can also weaken hair follicles, making the hair less likely to row back. By mixing up ½ a cup of papaya and ½ a teaspoon of turmeric powder, you can make an effective, natural remedy to lighten and reduce unwanted hair. Use once a week for the best results.
9. Nourishes Hair
Papaya is also highly beneficial for hair care. It can be used to prevent dandruff and hair loss, provide moisture, softness and volume, as well as promote hair growth and strength. Papaya acts as a natural shampoo as it can remove oils and dirt that build up on the hair, and the natural proteins help to reduce split ends.
There are many different hair masks you can make that incorporate papaya for strong, healthy hair. Mix one cup of chopped papaya with one tablespoon of yogurt or egg, and one tablespoon of coconut oil. Combine all the ingredients until it reaches a smooth consistency, then apply to damp hair. Massage it into the scalp and all the way down the lengths, then cover with a shower cap for at least 20 minutes. The longer you leave it, the softer your hair will be. Afterward, rinse your hair thoroughly and follow it up with a deep moisturizing conditioner.
The leaf from the papaya tree can be used for hair care too. Take some fresh papaya leaves and place them in the sun until they dry out, then crush them into a powder. Infuse the powder in warm water for a few minutes, then pour the water into a spray bottle. Use it as a conditioner after you wash your hair by simply spraying it on.
You can also mix one cup of papaya with one ripe banana and one tablespoon of coconut or olive oil. Combine and apply to damp hair, again covering with a shower cap. Rinse and enjoy silky smooth strands. Eating lots of papaya will also help your hair grow healthy and strong.
10. Controls Dandruff
Dandruff is a common condition (also known as scurf) that affects the scalp, causing the skin to become dry and flaky. Dandruff is usually caused by an overgrowth of yeast, which makes the skin cells clump into flakes and shed more frequently than normal. Dandruff can also be accompanied by itching and crusting, and while it’s not serious or contagious, it can be embarrassing.
Dandruff is caused by things like poor hygiene, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, pregnancy, Parkinson’s disease, lack of nutrients and even stress. Dandruff can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal shampoos that contain ingredients like ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, selenium sulphide and salicylic acid.
If you’re experiencing dandruff, avoid using heavy conditioners and oils as they can promote the growth of fungus and cause further build-up. The exfoliating components of papaya make it a perfect natural treatment for dandruff, as it can help slough off dead skin cells. The rich amounts of vitamin C also nourish the scalp, and vitamin A can help maintain healthy skin cells.
To make a papaya hair mask, blend one ripe papaya with ¼ cup of olive or coconut oil and ½ a tablespoon of honey. Mix well and apply to the hair, massaging into the scalp. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes, but the longer you leave it, the better the results. Wash the mask out with cold water and follow it up with shampoo. Include lots of fresh papaya in your diet as well for optimum hair health.