Summer is here which means two things: great food and carefree hairstyles. While food and beauty have remained synonymous across the globe, a lot of us still find it difficult to envision the many benefits fruits and vegetables can offer our hair. The whole ‘juice and berries’ concept actually isn’t as far-fetched as it seems now that we have access to so much information through the internet.
There are recipes for beauty regimens that contain everything from egg shells to rice water, and their uses have been passed down for generations among many cultures. One deliciously beneficial ingredient is the papaya.
What is Papaya?
The papaya is a pear-shaped tree-fruit that is commonly referred to as the “the fruit of the Angels,” due to its multiple health benefits. When ripe, the papaya’s flesh tends to turn an orange/pink, orange/yellow color and can be characterized as having a rich, yet sweet flavor. Papaya can be eaten outright after removing the skin and the seeds, but also has a multitude of different uses which include tenderizing meat and revitalizing skin and hair.
The papaya contains a large amount of Vitamin C, which is key for its restorative and healing properties. It also contains about 224% of your daily needs of vitamins and mineral. The enzyme called papain which breaks down proteins, carbohydrates and fats, can prevent gastrointestinal tract disorders, diabetes, colorectal cancers, intestinal parasite infections, nerve pains and even elephantoid growths.
Carpain is another chemical that the papaya contains which kills off certain parasites and parasite infections. Papaya also contains a host of other vitamins, acids, enzymes and minerals such as magnesium, copper, fiber, folic acid, vitamins E, A, B6, B1, beta carotene, and riboflavin.
Hair Benefits of Papaya
Since papaya contains high amount of Vitamin C and A, it aids in the removal of dead skin cells, encourages healthy cell turnover and nourishes the hair shaft. If you’ve noticed a ton of dead skin and dandruff, the papaya could be the answer to all of your prayers.
Papaya seeds contain anti-fungal properties which, in turn, help ward off and prevent dandruff. You can either use papaya seed oil (which you can purchase from major vitamin stores), or you can blend the papaya seeds together with a carrier oil (olive, coconut, etc.) to make a paste, apply it to the scalp and rinse out.
Promotes Hair Growth
The folic acid that papaya contains, as well as Vitamins C both improve circulation throughout the body, including the scalp. The scalp is fed the nutrients and minerals that are needed to produce healthy hair growth and stimulate the sebaceous glands. The sebum that is produced nourishes, conditions and protects the scalp, providing a healthy environment for new growth to flourish.
Blend 1 cup of papaya with 1 cup carrier oil and ½ cup Aloe Vera juice. Apply this mixture to your scalp and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
The enzymes that are used to tenderize meat also have a conditioning effect on the hair. It has been shown that papaya can remove build-up that may have formed on the hair and scalp which could be causing dull, dry, lifeless hair. Once that build-p is removed, the cuticles are able to open so that moisture and nutrients can be restored to the hair shaft, and then shut back so that they are retained.
You can find many products that contain papaya leaf extract which has been shown to revitalize and condition hair, or you could blend ½ of a papaya with 1 cup of yogurt and 1 tbsp. of honey to make your own homemade conditioner.
Loosens Build Up
Dead skin and product build-up are two major problems associated with stagnant hair growth. When the pores of the scalp are clogged, they don’t get the nutrients and moisture that is needed to produce sebum. This can cause hair fall, dandruff and even brittle new growth. Papaya can remove residue, including dirt and excess oils, from both the hair and scalp which will leave it feeling revitalized.