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How Effective Is Papaya for Acne?

By Kali Cozyris
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1005059 — On Jun 10, 2021

I used papaya seed oil today and my acne that was stubborn went away very quickly, so i did a search online to find out why it worked better than the many other oils or topical products i had tried which were supposed to be more effective.

I guess it depends on why you have acne and how well your skin reacts to papaya seed oil, for me and my skin, it worked super well and super quickly.

I applied it with a silicone body brush which is easy to wash in the dishwasher.

By anon970690 — On Sep 20, 2014

I found that it's very effective to drink 100 percent Papaya juice. The kind I get has some pineapple that makes the flavor very good, and also adds its own anti inflammatory properties.

My acne (which can get very bad and very painful) is due to my digestive system and food allergies. My acne is nothing a "scrub" or anything I put on my skin can solve, but papaya helps my digestive system work immediately better and the redness of my acne is gone after a day or two of drinking a glass of papaya juice a day.

By ysmina — On Mar 20, 2013

I love papaya! I do a homemade mask every week with raw fresh papaya. I just put it through the blender, apply it on my face and wash it off after fifteen minutes.

I'm also using a papaya soap which is very effective at drying out pimples and clearing up old blemishes. I even use it in the shower for my back acne. It's good stuff!

By fify — On Mar 20, 2013

@anamur-- Have you tried eating fresh papaya? I think papaya is effective for acne, but in its fresh form. Applying it on the skin is good, but it's even better to eat it.

Papaya is rich in nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. Often times, acne is not just due to the presence of bacteria but also due to a weak immune system that cannot fight off the bacteria properly.

Eating fruits like papaya in general is beneficial for the immune system. It might take some time to reap the benefits, but I would highly suggest including fresh papaya in your diet if you have acne.

By serenesurface — On Mar 19, 2013

I've been using an all natural papaya seed scrub on my face for the past few weeks. This is a scrub made of ground papaya seeds. It smells very good and it does remove dead skin but it hasn't affected my acne whatsoever.

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