Papaya has long been considered a go-to natural ingredient that will leave you with a radiant, glowing complexion. This is due to the active enzyme in papaya called papain. However, recent evidence has shown that papain can actually leave you with just the opposite of a healthy glow.
A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology reported that papain, the enzyme found in papaya, can induce allergic reactions. This is breaking news not only for do-it-yourselfers, but also for the cosmetic industry. Countless skin care products on the market use papain in their formulations. It is an effective exfoliating treatment to remove dead cells from the surface of the skin.
The head of the Department of Comparative Medicine at the Messerli Research Institute, Erika Jensen-Jarolim, and her team used the skin of mice and human skin cells in petri dishes to research the effects of papain. The scientists found when humans or animals came in contact with papain, strong allergic reactions of the skin could result. On the skin, papain can also result in a loss of the barrier function.
The skin is made up of several layers. The research showed that papain caused a breakdown of the skin’s permeability. The skin is our first line of defense against pathogens in the environment. The breakdown of this natural barrier could have detrimental consequences to our beauty as well as our health. In conclusion to the study, Jensen-Jarolim stated that “people with sensitive skin as well as small children should avoid the enzyme (EC Number 18.104.22.168) as much as possible and observe the ingredients declaration for consumer products as regulated by EU Directive 2000/13/EC”.
This does not take away from the fact that papaya is loaded with nutrition that can do your body good from the inside-out. So, the next time you have a papaya keep it away from your skin and eat it!