My favorite foods are ones that benefit the body inside and out, such as avocado, pomegranate, honey, olive and coconut oils to name a few. Whether eaten or applied topically, you can use these "Skin Inside & Out" foods (I call them SIOs) to fight free radicals, inflammation and bacteria, hydrate, cleanse, purify, tone, slough dead skin cells, reduce fine lines, and infuse your body and skin with vital minerals and vitamins. These foods go to battle for you on all fronts, and you can add papaya to your SIO arsenal.
Papaya is rich in so many healthy properties. Here's a cheat sheet, highlighting some of its numerous health benefits.
- Being rich in Vitamin A and and the protein digesting enzyme Papain, papaya helps remove dead skin cells to reveal healthy glowing skin.
- Its high levels of Beta-carotene and Vitamin C are essential for the proper function of a healthy immune system.
- Enzymes Papain and Chymopapain have been shown to assist with reducing inflammation.
- Papaya is low in sodium, so there's very little water retention, which helps keep skin hydrated, soft and supple when eaten regularly and applied to the face.
- Papaya acts as a natural skin exfoliator and can aid in skin discoloration.
- It's packed with AHAs or Alfa-Hydroxy Acid, which offers amazing anti-aging properties. Note that this is what makes papaya an acidic fruit, so do not apply it for longer than advised as it may cause irritation and dryness to sensitive skin.
Glowing Papaya Enzyme Mask
6 tablespoons papaya
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon lemon fresh lemon juice
variation: add 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt to replace lemon juice
Puree the papaya in a blender until smooth. I prefer to do everything by hand, so I use a mortar and pestle. Once the papaya is mashed evenly, blend in the other ingredients by hand until fully incorporated. With a facial mask brush (or clean fingers), apply the mixture to your face, avoiding your eyes, and let dry for 15 minutes. Rinse your face with lukewarm water, pat dry, and enjoy your brighter, glowing, hydrated skin.
Note: Because papaya is an acidic fruit, I do not recommend this mask for sensitive skin, especially when combined with the lemon juice.
To avoid being wasteful, I always set aside the papaya seeds and dry them for use in a face and body scrub. Sun drying can take up to 3 days, however it's well worth the time. Once dried, I either grind by hand or use a coffee grinder to create a fine papaya powder, which I then add to a silky combination of moisturizing body butters and oils... details to follow. In the meantime, enjoy the Glowing Papaya Enzyme Mask, and let me know what you think!