Papaya was discovered around 1493 by Columbus’ sailors. They were quite astonished to see the unusual trees — tall smooth trunks without branches, with a tuft of large palmate leaves on top and under it a bunch of rather plain oblong fruit resembling melons. To this day papaya is still often called melon tree.
Unlike melon, however, papaya is quite difficult to grow in European climate: the tree can’t live in the cold. The reason papaya quickly dies at the temperature below 10°C is that it is rich in enzymes, papain and papayotin, which are destroyed by temperature changes.
Papaya enzymes are essentially a glycoprotein complex with cysteine in the centre consisting of 212 amino acid residues. Papain is a very potent enzyme and very similar to gastric juice in its effect. Papain destroys the epidermis’ proteins, exfoliates dead cells, smooths out the skin surface and enhances its regeneration and cleansing.
Papaya is very rich in vitamin C.
One small fruit contains 300% of the daily intake of vitamin C. Malic acid in papaya extract has gives it brightening effect, stimulates the skin’s rehabilitation after suntan and burns, tightens the pores and tones up the skin. Papaya contains plenty of fatty acids as well, and they are a base for papaya seed oil, recently becoming widely used in cosmetic care. Papaya seed oil is very similar to olive oil in its composition and effect on the skin. Another curious ingredient of papaya fruit is natural latex, therefore people allergic to latex often have papaya allergy as well.
Papain. INCI: Carica Papaya Extract.
Excerpt from “The Science of Beauty” by Dr Tiina Meder
© Dr Tiina Meder
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