Papaya isn't just a delicious fruit — the plant is also used to make papaya soap, which may benefit your skin.
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The fruit also contains an active enzyme called papain, according to a February 2021 review in the Drugs and Lactation Database. Papain is commonly extracted and used to remedy various health concerns — for instance, some papaya soaps contain papain extract and are marketed for their ability to support skin health.
However, it's best to avoid papain-based skin products. In 2008, the FDA ordered companies to stop marketing unapproved topical products that contain the enzyme, as it can potentially cause serious harm to people who are allergic or sensitive to papain.
So if you're considering trying the cleanser, make sure you're only using papaya products that don't contain papain. With that in mind, here are some potential papaya soap benefits:
Is Likas Papaya Soap Safe?
Popular products, such as Likas papaya soap, contain papain and may thus harm your skin or overall health.
As a result, it's best to ask your dermatologist for their papaya soap recommendations to make sure you're using a cleanser that's safe, per the FDA.
1. It May Help Treat Acne
Papaya is rich in vitamin C. And vitamin C's benefits don't just support your immune system — as it turns out, the nutrient may also promote skin health.
This includes acne: According to April 2013 research in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal, the vitamin has anti-inflammatory properties that may help calm acne symptoms like redness and swelling.
Just remember — if you're considering using papaya soap for your face, make sure you're not using a product containing papain, as that may cause an allergic reaction, per the FDA.
2. It May Even Out Skin Tone
Some people claim that papaya lightens your skin. And indeed, vitamin C-rich papaya soap may help treat hyperpigmentation (a condition where patches of skin grow darker), according to the Indian Dermatology Online Journal.
And it's not only possible that papaya soap lightens skin — it may also prevent hyperpigmentation that occurs after inflammation or during wound healing, per the same research.
3. It May Help Prevent Skin Aging
Skin damage and aging can occur when your cells undergo oxidative stress, according to June 2015 research in Biomolecules.
Just make sure to pick a product that's free of papain to avoid any potentially harmful side effects, like an allergic reaction, according to the FDA.
Papain-Free Papaya Soaps to Shop
- SheaMoisture Papaya & Vitamin C Revive & Brighten Bar Soap ($5.99, Ulta.com)
- Shea Moisture Papaya and Vitamin C, Revive & Brighten Body Wash ($10.99, Ulta.com)
- Koji White Kojic Acid & Vitamin C Skin Brightening Soap ($9.95 for two bars, Amazon.com)
- UC Davis: "Papayas"
- My Food Data: "Papaya"
- Drugs and Lactation Database: "Papaya"
- FDA: "Questions and Answers about FDA's Enforcement Action Regarding Unapproved Topical Drug Products Containing Papain"
- Indian Dermatology Online Journal: "Vitamin C in dermatology"
- Biology: "Beneficial Role of Carica papaya Extracts and Phytochemicals on Oxidative Stress and Related Diseases: A Mini Review"
- Biomolecules: "Oxidative Stress in Aging Human Skin"
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