Papaya in its green or raw form has been used for centuries as a natural way to treat acne. The effectiveness of papaya for acne is debatable, but many users have experienced positive results after just a few applications. Papaya has an exfoliating capability that sloughs off dead skin cells to clear the way for healthy, unclogged pores. Papain, an enzyme that is found in papaya, has been found to be effective in reducing inflammation and producing softer, smoother skin.
The use of papaya products for medicinal purposes dates back hundreds of years, with the first recorded account of the distribution and cultivation of its seeds occurring in the mid-14th century. Found primarily in South America and Central America, it was then taken to Asia and Europe before ending up on the tropical peninsula of Florida. Using papaya for acne treatment is a popular alternative to costly and chemically derived over-the-counter and prescription remedies.
Using papaya to prevent acne or treat it is a remedy that many people find beneficial. Its preventative power comes from the cleansing nature of its flesh, which can be pressed to the skin to effectively remove dead skin cells and make way for newer, fresher skin. By cleaning out clogged pores, papaya prevents acne from appearing. For acne that has already emerged, papaya’s strong decomposition enzyme, papain, works to eradicate it by breaking down its harmful elements.
To reap the benefits of papaya’s inflammation-reducing enzyme, users can eat the tasty fruit as part of a healthy diet. When eaten ripe, papaya contains beta-carotene, a known antioxidant. Beta-carotene also helps in the production of healthy skin cells.
Not everyone is convinced that using papaya for acne treatment is a sound alternative to more conventional methods. As of 2011, there was no scientific evidence regarding the benefits of using papaya to combat acne, so some people have considered it a waste of time. Although the effectiveness of using papaya for acne treatment, particularly by ingesting the fruit, is the subject of debate, many studies and user testimonials have attested to its success.
As a topical application, users can make a mask of mashed papaya and apply it to their skin for 10 to 15 minutes. The fleshy part of the papaya, when mashed and placed on the face, deposits antimicrobial — or bacteria-fighting — agents onto the skin. This helps reduce acne infections that are caused by acne-causing bacteria.