Despite what the beauty industry would have you believe, you really don’t need to spend beaucoup bucks on a face mask to get the dewy glow of your dreams. Once relegated to health food stores and juice bars, papayas have recently crossed over into face mask territory—thanks to their many complexion-boosting benefits. To help you make the most of papaya’s superpowers, we’ve got 12 papaya face mask recipes for you to try.
The gentle exfoliating properties of papaya can be helpful for those with oily or acne-prone skin since it may help to unclog pores and remove excess oil. Meanwhile, its brightening and hydrating properties can restore a healthy glow for those with dry or dull skin. They’re packed with vitamins and antioxidants to help boost elasticity, brighten dull skin, and give you a radiant glow, regardless of your skin type.
7 Benefits of Papaya Face Masks
When it comes to achieving healthy, glowing skin, natural ingredients can be just as effective, if not more so, than chemical ingredients. Papaya applied topically as a face mask can work wonders for the skin, thanks to its natural enzymes, vitamins, and antioxidants. From exfoliating away dead skin cells to brightening the complexion and promoting collagen production, here are just a few of the many benefits of a papaya face mask.
Papaya contains natural enzymes, like papain and chymopapain, that can gently exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells, revealing brighter and smoother skin.
Has antiaging effects
Free radical compounds from ultraviolet rays and the environment cause oxidative stress, which damages tissues and causes skin aging in the form of wrinkles, age spots, and the loss of skin tone and elasticity. Papayas contain powerful antioxidants that blast those free radicals, counteract their damaging effects, and help to prevent skin cancer [source].
Reduces dark spots
The high levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene found in papaya can help reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation [source].
Papaya juice consists mainly of sugar and water, which can help draw moisture into the skin and keep it there.
Papaya's natural enzymes can also help to unclog pores and remove excess oil, making it an effective ingredient for those with acne-prone skin.
Promotes collagen production
Papaya also contains anti-inflammatory compounds [source] that can soothe skin irritation and reduce redness, making it a great ingredient for those with sensitive skin.
12 Papaya Face Mask Recipes for Gorgeous Skin
Many of these papaya face masks require just 5 ingredients or less, making them perfect for a last-minute spa day. If you don't have some of the ingredients on hand, you can leave them out or substitute with another ingredient you do have. And if you have any face mask left over, just put it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use it within 2 to 3 days.
1. Papaya Facial Steam
Exposing the face to steam after applying a mask helps open up the pores, so the ingredients can sink in better. The steam works to soften the outermost layer of the skin, making it easier to remove dirt, oil, and other impurities.
Add in some kaolin clay to absorb excess oil and vegetable glycerin to moisturize skin, and you’ve got yourself a simple, super-nourishing DIY spa treatment.
1. Bowl of hot, steamy water and a small towel
2. In a small bowl, mix together the kaolin clay, glycerin, and mashed papaya. Add 2 tablespoons of hot water to the mixture, stirring continuously until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency.
3. Apply a light layer of the mask mixture to your face, avoiding the eye area. Lean over the bowl of hot water with your face about 8–12 inches away from the water. Use a towel to create a tent over your head and the bowl, trapping the steam inside.
4. Leave the mask on for 10–15 minutes, then rinse with warm water and pat your face dry with a towel. Follow up with your usual moisturizer.
2. Before-Bed Toner Mask
Why not let a naturally moisturizing papaya juice mask nourish your skin while you sleep? Apply this simple mask to freshly-cleansed skin before bed, then rinse it off in the morning.
—¼ cup rosewater
—1 tablespoon papaya juice
1. Combine rosewater and papaya juice in a small spray bottle. Spritz on cleansed skin and follow up with a moisturizer if needed. In the morning, rinse your skin before finishing the rest of your AM beauty routine.
2. Store leftover toner in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
3. Brightening Thermal Mask
A thermal face mask uses heat to open up the pores and promote deeper cleansing. While most thermal masks create a warming sensation by using questionable ingredients, this one uses cayenne pepper for some natural heat, along with cinnamon and ginger to stimulate blood flow and circulation.
However, it's worth noting that a thermal mask may not be suitable for everyone. If you have sensitive or inflamed skin, it's best to avoid using a thermal mask and stick with one of the gentler masks listed here.
—3 tablespoons pureed papaya
—¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
—¼ teaspoon ground ginger
—Small pinch cayenne pepper
1. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. If needed, add water a few drops at a time to create a smooth, creamy consistency.
2. Apply the mask to your face, avoiding the eye and mouth area. Leave the mask on for 10–15 minutes or until it starts to feel warm. If at any point the mask starts to burn or feel uncomfortable, rinse it off immediately.
3. Otherwise, wait 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water and patting your face dry with a towel.
4. Blackhead-Busting Skin Polish
A simple aspirin and papaya face mask is like a one-two punch against pesky blackheads. Aspirin contains salicylic acid, an anti-inflammatory beta-hydroxy acid [source] and keratolytic [source] that can penetrate deep into the pores and dissolve excess oil and dead skin cells.
When combined with papaya, which contains natural enzymes that can gently exfoliate the skin, the mask can help to loosen and remove blackheads, leaving the skin smoother and clearer.
—2 aspirin tablets, finely ground
—1 teaspoon milk, water, or hydrosol
—1 tablespoon pureed papaya
1. Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Apply the mask anywhere you see blackheads, and gently massage using light, circular motions for about 30 seconds.
2. Rinse with warm water and follow up with a moisturizer.
5. Papaya Face Pack for Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Papaya seeds contain an enzyme called papain, which can brighten and smooth out your skin by helping to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. It also helps other products penetrate into the skin [source].
Note that papaya seeds contain compounds that can create a mild warming or tingling sensation on the skin, but they should not cause burning or irritation if used properly. If this mask does start to burn, rinse it off immediately!
1. Crush the papaya seeds in a high-speed blender or food processor until broken down into the consistency of rough sand. Combine the powder with coconut oil and sandalwood essential oil and stir well.
2. Apply the mask to your face, neck, and décolletage, and allow it to sit for 5–10 minutes. Rinse your skin and pat dry.
6. Sun-Soothing Papaya Mask
Papaya is rich in healing enzymes that may help treat minor sunburns or soothe irritated skin. Obviously, if your skin is badly burned, broken, or peeling, wait until it's healed before applying any kind of mask.
—¼ cup ripe papaya, pureed
—¼ cucumber, pureed
—2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
1. Mix the papaya, cucumber, and aloe vera together until you get a smooth paste. Apply the paste to your face and neck and let it sit for 15 minutes.
2. Rinse with warm water first, and follow with a final splash of cold water. Pat your skin dry and apply straight aloe vera gel, if needed to help skin heal, or your regular moisturizer.
7. Papaya Eye Mask for Dark Circles
Yogurt has mild exfoliating and cleansing properties, which can be attributed to its lactic acid content. When combined with the skin-brightening enzymes in papaya and the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, this eye mask helps to reduce dark circles and make your skin brighter.
—¼ cup ripe papaya, pureed
—½ teaspoon turmeric powder
—1 teaspoon plain, unsweetened yogurt
1. Mix the papaya, turmeric, and yogurt in a small bowl. Apply a light layer of paste to your undereye area, being very careful not to get any in your eyes.
2. Let it dry for 15–20 minutes, and then wash off.
8. Egg White Mask to Tighten and Firm
We're a huge fan of egg white masks around here, and for good reason! Egg whites are an all-natural way to improve skin elasticity and tighten skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Simply combine 'em with papaya and honey for extra brightening and moisturizing benefits.
—½ cup papaya, mashed
—1 egg white
—1 teaspoon raw honey
1. Separate the egg white from the yolk. Then combine the white with the papaya and honey in a small bowl.
2. Apply the mask to your face using a brush or your fingers. Leave on for about 10–15 minutes until it dries, and then rinse off with warm water.
9. Exfoliating Lip Mask
Is there anything more annoying than dry, flaky lips? Turns out they can benefit from papaya's exfoliating properties, too! Apply this lip mask to dry lips, then step back and let the papaya enzymes get to work softening and exfoliating dead skin cells. Or use it like a gentle lip scrub and massage it into lips for extra polishing power.
—¼ cup mashed ripe papaya
—1 teaspoon maple syrup
—1 teaspoon almond oil
—1 teaspoon ground oats
1. Mash the ripe papaya in a bowl until it becomes a smooth pulp. Add the syrup, ground oats, and almond oil to the mashed papaya and mix well.
2. Apply the mixture on your lips with your fingertips and leave it on for 10–15 minutes.
3. If your lips are extra dry, gently rub the mixture in soft, circular motions with your fingertips to exfoliate the dead skin cells. Rinse your lips with warm water and pat dry with a soft towel.
10. Simple Papaya Sheet Mask
Sheet masks are all the rage these days, but did you know that fruit skins make perfect all-natural sheet masks without the fuss? Papaya skins contain a slew of skin-nourishing nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, and beta-carotene [source].
Simply scoop out the fruit, leaving a thin layer behind. Then add a few drops of honey, maple syrup, or even aloe vera gel to create a simple 2-ingredient sheet mask in a hurry.
—Papaya skins (enough to cover your face)
—1 teaspoon honey, maple syrup, or aloe vera gel
Wash the papaya skins and scoop out the fruit flesh, leaving a thin layer behind. Spread a little bit of honey, syrup, or aloe vera on the fleshy side of the papaya skins and drape them flesh-side down over your skin.
Leave the mask on for 10–15 minutes. Toss the skins in the trash, then rinse your face with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
This face mask can be used once or twice a week for best results.
11. Dry, Dull Complexion Scrub
Sometimes your skin needs a little extra TLC to look its best. That's where a papaya face scrub comes in handy.
Mashed papaya brightens skin and encourages cell turnover, while sugar tackles flakes and olive oil hydrates dry skin. For best results, use this scrub once or twice a week.
—1 tablespoon mashed papaya
—1 tablespoon white or brown sugar
—½ tablespoon olive oil
1.Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Wash your face, then gently massage the scrub into damp skin for 1–2 minutes. Rinse well.
2. Use up to twice a week.
12. Papaya Mask for Younger Looking Hands (and Feet!)
Looking for a refreshing mask that will leave your hands and feet feeling crazy soft? This DIY hand and foot mask will leave your skin feeling silky smooth, just in time for sandal season.
Lemon helps brighten and even out skin tone, while oats and papaya provide gentle exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and reveal softer skin. Meanwhile, chamomile and olive oil provide soothing and hydrating benefits, so your skin feels nourished and refreshed.
1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Apply to your hands or feet, cover with plastic wrap, and relax for 15 minutes while the ingredients sink in.
2. Rinse with cool water and follow up with a hydrating lotion to lock in moisture.
13. Papaya Sea Salt Body Mask
Papaya is often referred to as the “fruit of angels,” and one reason for this nickname could be its angelic effect on your skin. The papaya fruit applied topically is ideal for fighting blemishes and acne. This would be the right scrub for you if you struggle with acne and need an extra dose of gentle exfoliation.
The vitamin C found in papaya also has anti-inflammatory properties, another reason it’s fantastic in the fight against chest or back pimples.
—½ cup finely ground sea salt
—2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
Cut the papaya fruit and blend it in a food processor or blender until reaching a smooth consistency. Mix in the sea salt to create a grainy paste, and then use the mixture as a scrub for your body.
I wouldn’t recommend adding in any type of oil if you are battling blemishes since oil can sometimes clog the pores and contribute to more breakouts. But if you are just looking for an overall body scrub, go ahead and add in the olive oil, mix well with a spoon, and then use the mixture as a scrub.
Papaya Face Mask FAQ
Can I use papaya face masks if I have sensitive skin?
It's always best to do a patch test before applying any new product to your face. Papaya face masks are generally gentle and non-irritating, but it's still a good idea to test them out first.
How long does it take to see results from using a papaya face mask?
You may see some immediate results after using a papaya face mask once, such as brighter and smoother skin. However, for more significant improvements in skin texture and tone, it may take several weeks of consistent use. Most papaya face mask recipes can be used twice a week.
Are there any side effects from using papaya face masks?
Papaya face masks are generally safe for most people to use, but some individuals may experience mild irritation or allergic reactions. If you experience any redness, itching, or swelling after using a papaya face mask, stop using it immediately and consult your doctor or dermatologist.
Are papaya face masks good for acne?
Yes, papaya face masks can be beneficial for those with acne-prone skin as they contain enzymes that help to dissolve dead skin cells and unclog pores. However, if you have severe acne or open wounds on your face, it's best to consult with a dermatologist before using any new skincare product.
References (in order of appearance):
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2. Papayas, raw. U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service website.
3. Pullar JM, et al. The roles of vitamin C in skin health. Nutrients. 2017.
4. Al-Niaimi F, et al. Topical vitamin C and the skin: mechanisms of action and clinical applications. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017.
5. Telang PS. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013.
6. Fox L, et al. Treatment modalities for acne. Molecules. 2016.
7. Banchhor M, et al. Potentiality of papain as an antiaging agent in cosmetic formulation. Phcog Rev. 2008.
8. Pavithra CS, et al. Nutritional properties of papaya peel. Pharma Innovation. 2017.3