Hardly the reserve of health food stores, I think we can say that paw paw/papaya balm usage is in the mainstream.
The salve, ointment, balm (whatever) is as good for treating topical ailments as it is for softening up man hands (or my feet – whichever your imagination can handle).
A burgeoning market of late, the stuff is now available in stores everywhere. Queensland produces a shit-tonne of papaya, and presumably for reasons other than eating, since it’s possibly not the world’s most delectable fruit. Thank goodness, it’s great for skin, possessing many therapeutic qualities. Nothing, you know, that the ancient mesoamerican civilisations hadn’t figured out already.
Use it for:
Dry lips. And to keep your pout
lubed. Er, I mean sexy. Sorry, I have a science degree, I say that.
Sunburn, if you’ve been misbehavin’.
Moisturising dry skin in general.
Healing nipples on breastfeeding boobies.
Managing Bub’s nappy rash. (Perhaps those above are your boobies?)
Sweet. So, I was only slightly gutted when I saw via comments on Sarah Wilson’s blog earlier this year, that the more ‘mainstream’ paw paw products contain mysterious quantities of petroleum jelly – Yep, AKA the ol’ Vaseline. This was the very product I assumed I’d found an alternative to, in purchasing said alternative. Gutted, slightly dude. This warranted a Google search.
It turns out that our relevant regulatory body here in Oz, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, only requires the ‘active ingredients’ in a product to be listed. As long as petroleum jelly isn’t the active thing in the balm, it doesn’t heed a mention on the label. That is not to say it’s an inactive ingredient. And, I think that’s more than slightly deceptive marketing/labeling. Boo. </End rant.>
Enter three fabulous products I’m test driving on my lips at the moment: (petrochemical free) Paw Paw balms.
Product love #1: PURE by Phytocare Paw Paw Papaya Ointment with Calendula
I can be superficial, and this product comes in sleek black, so I’m sold. However, we are Superéthique, folks – and brands need more than a pretty face. Phytocare was established in Australia by naturopath Daniel Baden in 1996, and their products are purposely free of petroleum derivatives, artificial preservatives and other not-so-great nonsense. I pretty much comprehend what all the ingredients are, even if I don’t get how they make it. That’s a pretty good start.
PURE by Phytocare's Papaya ointment with Calendula.
Pure Papaya Ointment contains shea butter, macadamia and jojoba oils, fermented papaya, and extracts from olive and calendula plants. Calendula has a wealth of healing properties, especially when applied to skin. It’s known as a dermatitis cure, an anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant. The Aztecs had that one figured out, too.
And how is it?
The key difference you get when using a petrochemical-free paw paw salve is that is has a much creamier consistency, and you can smell what’s in it. You can definitely smell the shea butter. Salves, balms and the like generally require a fatty (I mean ‘lipid’) base in which the fermented papaya and oils are mixed and fixed, so it can do its awesome thing without needing an urgent expiry date.
It’s far more absorbent than expected, instead of smearing a layer of lubricant on the skin. In fact, I just moisturised my hands with it and I’m not getting it all over my keyboard. That’s a quite good thing.
Finally, given its consistency in winter is pretty smooth, I’ll be curious to see how darling this goes during the summer heat. Aside from that speculation, this product comes in 25g and 100g tubes, and more recently a 200g tub. I’ll be using this again. www.phytocare.com.au
Product love #2: Suvana Organic Paw Paw & Honey Balm
Suvana is a 100% Australian owned company based in Sydney. Their paw paw balm comes with added honey, and this definitely characterises the scent. Like this if you like honey, honey.
Suvana's Paw Paw & Honey Balm
With a base of castor seed oil, beeswax, and cocoa butter, Suvana’s balm closely resembles in consistency the more mainstream paw paw products but comes with the ethical props, no nasties. It’s a great consistency at room temperature but can get a little hard on cold day. They know this, and you’ll live. This one, I feel is particularly suitable as a lip gloss because it stays on for ages.
A certified organic product, this balm contains heaps of other natural ingredients, including jojoba, carrot and vanilla bean oils. Suvana have pursued Cosmebio and Ecocert certification, stating that over 98% of ingredients are derived form organic farming.
OK, so the bright yellow packaging isn’t my favourite colour ever but I can’t hold that against a brand which is clearly pitched at a younger, youngish but especially eco-aware Gen Y audience. Given the waterproof, staying qualities of this product, I can totally appreciate how great this would be for beach loving summer kids and surfer chicks. And I bet they don’t mind yellow at all. So plenty of ticks for that. www.suvanabeaty.com
Product love #3: Only Papaya paw paw balm
Only Papaya with Optimised Fruit Extract Paw Paw Balm
Our final test choice for this batch is a balm from the Only Papaya range by Health Focus Products Australia.
With optimised fruit extract, the Only Papaya balm uses a base of rice bran oil, papaya and beeswax. So out of the three balms reviewed, this one seems to contain the highest amount of actual paw paw according to ingredient listings, which is also stated at 200mg/g. I like that they say that. It also comes with a dash of shea butter, vitamin E and coconut oil. Yum.
If you’re averse to scented products, then this one is a good choice, because there’s not much smell about it, quite frankly. The consistency is light and creamy, which means it easily doubles for a (non-greasy) hand cream if you’re so inclined to use it that way.
This guy comes in a shorter, fatter little tube to make up the 25g market standard. This balm is part of a more comprehensive range of products, including facial scrubs, moisturisers, serums and other tubs of wonder; several of which we have our eye on for future reviewing – be sure to stay tuned for a follow up! www.onlypapaya.com.au