When the papaya fell to the shores of Central America, its coral-coloured juices proved so soothing that the Mayans deemed it sacred. Legend holds that when Christopher Columbus went to the region in the 15th century, papaya was used to treat his indigestion; he called it “the fruit of the angels”. More recently papaya leaves have been tested against the latest strains of Covid 19.

Chantecaille Hibiscus Smoothing Mask, £77

Chantecaille Hibiscus Smoothing Mask, £77

Caudalíe Dark Spot Correcting Glycolic Night Cream, £35

Caudalíe Dark Spot Correcting Glycolic Night Cream, £35

Rodial Vit C Papaya Enzyme Scrub, £38

Rodial Vit C Papaya Enzyme Scrub, £38

Tatcha The Rice Polish Classic, £60

Tatcha The Rice Polish Classic, £60

These credentials have made papaya a valuable asset in the skincare market. Luxury vegan brand Orveda uses the fruit in its aptly named Healing Sap, which combines prebiotics and hyaluronic acid for an illuminating serum that helps fight signs of fatigue. Similarly, in Chantecaille’s best-selling Hibiscus Smoothing Mask, papaya is bolstered by stress-proofing antioxidants and soothing emollients. In need of a quick fix? Wishful’s Yo Glow brightens in a single rinse.

Wishful Yo Glow Facial Enzyme Scrub, £18, hudabeauty.com
Wishful Yo Glow Facial Enzyme Scrub, £18, hudabeauty.com
Orveda The Healing Sap, £125

Orveda The Healing Sap, £125

Sisley Exfoliating Enzyme Mask, £90

Sisley Exfoliating Enzyme Mask, £90

Susanne Kaufmann Enzyme Exfoliator, £55

Susanne Kaufmann Enzyme Exfoliator, £55

Ere Perez Papaya SOS Marmalade, £28.20

Ere Perez Papaya SOS Marmalade, £28.20

Papaya’s healing potential is thanks to an enzyme called papain, which helps to break down protein. It was papain that Sisley settled on while researching its latest launch, an exfoliating enzyme mask that grants luminous skin in under a minute. Whereas scrubs and acids can be abrasive, enzyme exfoliators work to dissolve the keratin that binds dead or dull skin cells. As Sisley’s active ingredients manager Caroline Bertrand says, the complexion appears “even and fresh” without dryness or irritation; papain only removes what the skin doesn’t need.

Other products to look out for are those that are activated by liquid. Both Sisley and Japanese brand Tatcha believe the best way to administer papain is as a powder, which is combined with water to create a smooth paste. Launched this year, Tatcha’s Rice Polish delivers a gentle exfoliation with a cloud-like foam, a formula so successful that 100 per cent of its trial participants saw improvement in skin smoothness, texture and pores.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article

Comments