I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
I am an absolute lunatic about papayas—or papaws/pawpaws, depending on your current location. From their sweet, buttery texture to the slight musk of cat pee, they are the perfect fruit. I love to scoop out the seeds, fill it with Greek yogurt and some honey, and go to town.
However, papayas are also extremely delicate, so needless to say, I only nosh them when I’m traveling. This is why I need to have a good papaw ointment in my life. If you can’t eat it... put it on your face? Not words to live by, actually.
Papaya flesh is chockablock full of enzymes that help to break down the peptide bonds of proteins; not only does it aid digestion when eaten, but a simple papaya mask can gently exfoliate away dead skin, despite being an utter waste of precious, delicious fruit.
High in antioxidants, papaya as skincare is nothing new; people in tropical locales have been smearing it on their collective person for centuries. It’s rich in pantothenic acid (alias: vitamin B5), which has been popularly used to prevent acne breakouts, and is one of the more suitable sources that can be applied topically. Unrelated but interesting as: women have used unripe fruit as a form of birth control in some regions, and recent studies have found that it might even help to slow tumor growth in certain cancers. So it’s basically a miracle fruit.
The collective obsession with Lucas' Papaw Ointment has always been a bit of a mystery to me; with only about 4% papaya extract, it’s largely just fancy Vaseline. Don’t get me wrong: I love the forbidden jelly, I just don’t want to pay a mint for it, and if I do, it’s because it’s rose- or spice-scented. The fact that Lucas doesn't disclose a full list of ingredients is pretty troublesome as well. They mention that it doesn’t include a host of random ingredients including shellac on their website, which, cool, but I don’t want to be greasing up my lips with synthetic fragrances, oils that don’t jive with my skin, or other garbage.
I started sleuthing to find not just a better papaya ointment, but the BEST, and after trying a few—trumpets, please—Suvana Organic’s Paw Paw & Honey Balm is the clear and honest winner.
No fragrance, no parabens, no petrolatu; with a base of castor seed oil, beeswax, coconut oil and cocoa butter, it’s thick to the point of sticky until you’ve warmed it on your skin. I’ve been using it as lip balm during the day, and as an eye balm at night.
Papaya extract, honey, jojoba, vanilla and carrot oils give the balm its antiseptic and healing properties and its sweet, nutty scent. But the big holy-sh*t-this-is-worth-it moment was when the keratosis pilaris on my upper arms diminished dramatically using it nightly for about a week, and when I went to sleep with it slathered on my sore sad snout (head colds can verily suck it) and I woke up without chapped redness. SOLD!
The price per gram is about $.04 cheaper for the Suvana product, despite higher-quality ingredients. I also adore the packaging; the squeeze tube is BRIGHT yellow, so it practically beckons from your bag, and I just can’t with another tin of balm I cannot physically open, no matter how hard I pry.
- Are you a Lucas' Papaw believer?
- Have you tried Suvana Organic or another papaya ointment that you recommend?
- Papayas taste a little bit like the smell of cat pee, right?