Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Papaya extract

Papaya is an interesting extract. The main feature is papain (It makes you strong like Popeye. Get it, papain, Popeye, papain, Popeye. Oh, forget it!)*, which is a serious keratolytic (exfoliating) protease enzyme. It also contains a ton of other things to appeal to formulators!

As it seems with every extract, papaya is a good anti-oxidant, and contains Vitamins A, B, and C. It is high in carotenoids, in the form lycopene, of which means it may help protect against UVB damage as well as acting as a very good anti-oxidant. It also contains carpaine, an alkaloid that can have some cardiovascular effects when eaten. (As we aren't eating this extract, it's not really relevant for this discussion but I like the word "alkaloid".)

The main feature of papaya is the papain, a protease enzyme, which acts like a keratolytic (exfoliant) so powerful it can clean wounds of dead tissue and help skin shed quickly so we can see the new cells underneath. It is used as a freckle or age spot treatment, and can help reduce the look of hyptertrophic scars (the red raised lumps on our skin). It is used as an anti-itch ingredient in some creams in Australia, although there has been some concern raised in the States about the safety of using high levels of papain in over the counter medical products. (They use it at much higher than the 0.5% maximum amount recommended for us formulator types).

Papain is very good at breaking down proteins, which is why it is recommended for use for very oily skin cleansers. The main protein in dirt on our skin surface is keratin, followed by sweat protein. Papain breaks up the protein and cleans it away.

Papain can penetrate the stratum corneum, which means it can be a penetration enhancer for other active ingredients.

If this all sounds very interesting but you feel you can't use it if you don't have oily skin, don't fear! There is a theory that dry skin can be caused by ultra-violet irritation, and papain may help with this. It can be an irritant (as well as an anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredient for those who can tolerate it), so try it first before adding it to everything you make.

It is, however, a little touchy about temperature and pH. The greatest activity is at pH 6, with less going on at pH 5 or 7. It is most effective when added at 30˚C to 45˚C (in the cool down phase) after dissolving it in warm water (less than 45˚C).

Because papain is such an effective keratolytic and exfoliant, do not use it with another exfoliating ingredient or extract, like salicylic acid, strawberries, or white willow bark extract. This could lead to really irritated skin, which kinda defeats the purpose!

So how can we use this product? I know I can't tolerate it in a leave on product, so I reserve the awesome power of papaya for toners and cleansers, things that will be washed off. I have tried it in a mask a few times, and I swear my skin felt softer afterwards and definitely looked exfoliated! (If you aren't sure how your skin will tolerate this, try the rinse off product first.)

It does not play well with gels - it breaks down the gel so it gets all liquidy - but it does play well with emulsified creations, surfactant mixes, and toners. Try it at 0.5%, dissolved in water no more than 45˚C before adding it to the cool down phase of your products.

(Links to foamer bottle type cleansers here and here, and a non-foamy bottle type cleanser here...)

If you want to try making a moisturizing scrub, make up your favourite moisturizer recipe. Add papaya at 0.5% in the cool down phase (dissolve in hot water first). When it has cooled completely and you're ready to bottle it, remove up to 100 grams, then add up to 50% exfoliants - jojoba beads, clay beads, loofah, salt, sugar, and so on - and put it in jar. Try using this is as an exfoliating scrub, then rinse off and enjoy the moisturizing loveliness that is papaya extract.

Join me tomorrow for fun with St. John's wort and orchid extract!

*Thanks to Scorpio for this great quote! Ever see a guy say good-bye to a shoe? Watch "You Only Move Twice" (season 8, the Simpsons) to enjoy this character!


Artisan Soaps said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Artisan Soaps said...

*just found you've already covered it, sorry - and Thanks Again for sharing all this valuable information in a way even I can understand :)

Anonymous said...

where can I buy papaya extract to add to my whipped body lotion ?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

As I don't know your location, it's hard to recommend a supplier. I used to get mine at Aquarius, but they're out. I can recommend Suds & Scents in Abbotsford, B.C. (Tanna is awesome) and New Directions Aromatics (Canada or the States).

Anonymous said...

wow, thanx so much for the quick response! One thing that I'm confused about is the ph level. do you mean that the ph level of the lotion has to be 6 or the extract that your about to add in has to be 6 and how do you go about adjusting the ph level? : D & great article by the way

Anonymous said...

I looove this ingredient! Makes my skin feels soo nice and soft (added in a cream, I'm glad my skin loves it lol)....
I felt happy seeing you talking about it! :D

I got mine from gardenofwisdom.com
It was pricey, so better to search for additional places...


Clive said...

I buy this as liquid papaya extract. It's much easier to use a liquid extract in creams. Certainly a 'wow' ingredient.

Stephanie Bdr said...

Hello Susan,

Quick question. What do I have to search to know if I can or can't add ingredients to my heated (and hold) phase?
I can't seem to find what to look for to get this information.
For some stuff like retinol, it's easy because you have to keep it in the fridge but for the rest of it, I am clueless, I need your help.

Thanks :-)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Stephanie! Check out the FAQ for more information on this topic. The short answer is to ask your supplier as they should know this information.

Jini Lopez said...

Hello Susan!

Thank you for your amazing blog! I leave in the Tropics Puerto Rico to be exact! We have Papaya Fruits everywhere here! So I was wondering, do you know or have you ever done an extract from a fruit? And if so what would you use to make it? I have done extracts from Hibiscus flower before, but it has been only from parts of plants, don't know if it would work with fruits adding Glycerine to the fruit to make the extract.

Do you have any info on this?

Thank you for your time!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Jini! No, we don't use fresh ingredients around here as they can seriously contaminate your products! Sorry I can't offer more help...

alia said...

how would i fomulate a papaya extract cream or lotion or serum
i am clueless

sally joe said...

Hi, I see papaya as an extract, and in your article, it says to dissolve in hot water first. I am wanting to use passion fruit and guava extract. Would those be handled the same way provided they are powdered as the papaya sounds like it may be?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Sally Joe! The best idea is to ask the supplier of your ingredients what the suggested usage rate might be for their particular ingredient.