One of the most common questions I get asked is “How can I reduce redness”, “How do I lighten the red marks left behind from acne?”, and “My skin is so sensitive, what can I use that’s gentle enough and won’t turn my skin red?”
It goes without saying that most acne sufferers have these issues - red, splotchy, sensitive skin that occurs either from the inflammation caused by acne, the red marks left after it has healed, or a reaction from using acne remedies.
What Causes Red Skin?
In order to reduce redness, we must first be aware of what factors cause it.
Most often red skin is a result of using OTC products or homemade remedies that are too harsh for your skin. These can include ingredients like citrus juices, scrubs, certain essential oils, alcohol based spot treatments, and of course conventional acne protocols.
Redness is also a result of slathering on too many remedies whether that be at once or throughout the day. One of the keys for reducing redness is we must always remember that simple is best. This also means leaving your skin alone even when you are tempted to pick at it. Reach for just one or two remedies like rose water (learn how to make your own here) and a simple acne serum.
The last major cause of redness is inflammation, because well, redness IS inflammation. It goes back to what I stated above. Using harsh ingredients, too many remedies at once, or messing with your skin is going to cause inflammation and redness as a result. What you put into your body also plays an important role in the appearance of your skin. If you’re eating a lot of inflammatory foods like breads, pasta, a lot of meats, and sugary foods then you are making your body more acidic. The more acidic you are the more inflammation you have and as a result, more redness.
To combat redness from an internal standpoint be sure to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Reduce your caffeine intake, get good sleep, and stress less! All of these sound so cliché but there’s a reason they are recommended so often. They work!
Here are a few links to get you started:
Are Papaya Enzymes the Answer to Banishing Red, Splotchy, Uneven Skin Tone?
Alright, so onto the good stuff!
Are papayas the answer to your redness woes, clogged pores, and splotchy skin tone? YES! And here’s why:
Papayas contain an amazing enzyme known as Papain. When applied to the skin this enzyme goes to work on excess oil, dead skin cells, scar tissue, and even redness. Essentially, the papain acts as a super effective yet incredibly gentle exfoliator for the skin. It reduces the appearance of acne and even prevents future breakouts because it dissolves the proteins that clog pores.
Applying papaya to freshly cleansed skin a few times per week can dramatically smooth out the skin’s texture making it soft and supple. Papain also reduces the infection inside pimples and reduces the inflammation surrounding acne making it less noticeable. On top of that, you won’t experience any of the drying redness inducing side effects of salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or OTC acne medications. Let’s not forget how cheap papayas are in comparison.
Another great benefit of using papayas on your skin is it lightens and brightens your complexion. It even works on stubborn hyperpigmentation left behind by acne so you can soon say goodbye to red spots, brown spots, and other marks left behind from breakouts.
Great! How do you use papaya?
How to Use Papaya for Acne and Red Skin
Fresh Papaya Method
All you need to do for this method is to go to your local grocery/health food store and pick up a ripe papaya. It should be smooth without bruising or too many brown spots and should give slightly when pressed. I usually get the large yellow papayas but I imagine you could use other varieties with the same results.
Here’s what you can do with fresh papaya:
• Add a spoonful of fresh papaya to a bowl, mortar and pestle, or a magic bullet and blend until smooth. Apply the mashed fruit evenly on your face and leave it on until it dries. Gently rinse with cool water or wipe off with a soft cloth or magic mitt. Repeat 2-3 times per week.
• Scoop out all the flesh, blend it up, and pour it into ice cube trays. Keep the frozen cubes handy when papayas aren’t in season or simply use the frozen papaya cubes as a wonderful skin treatment on a hot day.
• Eat the papaya and rub the peel on your skin for an easy mess free face mask. Repeat 2-3 times per week.
• Mash fresh papaya with Manuka or raw local honey and apply it as a mask a few times per week. The honey kills acne causing bacteria and smooths skin.
• Mash fresh papaya with banana to create a moisturizing face mask. The papaya removes dead skin cells and unclogs pores while the banana moisturizes.
You can learn more in the video below:
Powdered Papaya Method
For those of us who don’t enjoy eating fresh papaya or just don’t have fresh papayas available there is the powdered option. I prefer this method because it’s super easy and there is no need to deal with freezing or preparing the pulp (less dishes are always a good thing!). All you have to do with powdered papaya fruit is add a few drops of water until you have a spreadable paste.
Here are a few more ideas:
• Add one part papaya powder to one part plain yogurt and apply it as a mask for 15-20 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times per week.
• Mix equals parts papaya powder and aloe vera gel and apply it evenly to the skin. Let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse with cool water. Both ingredients increase cell turnover and help unclog pores faster. This is also a great remedy for old sunburns.
• Mix ¼ teaspoon papaya powder with ½ teaspoon of Rhassoul clay. Add enough water to make a spreadable mask and apply it to the skin. Allow the mask to dry completely before rinsing with cool water. Repeat 2 times a week to reduce the size of pores and remove blackheads.
• The easiest way to use powdered papaya is to simple mix it with enough water to create a mask. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes then rinse with cool water. Repeat 2-3 times per week. This is my preferred method.
• For those who don’t mind a more rigorous treatment, try adding a few drops of raw apple cider vinegar to fresh or powdered papaya and apply it to especially clogged areas. The extra acidity will help the papain get deep into pores giving your skin the chance to rejuvenate itself more quickly.
How Long Does it Take for Papaya to Work and What to Expect
After a few weeks of committed use, you can expect to see a vast improvement in the texture and redness of your skin because papaya enzymes literally digest the gunk in your pores. If you use papaya as a mask for a few months, you will be able to break up old scar tissue and lighten dark spots as well. Once you have reached the desired results you will only need to use a papaya mask once a week for maintenance.
Most people will need to keep applying the papaya mask every 3 or so days. After that you can start applying it every 5 days and then on a weekly basis. Everyone’s skin is different so just keep an eye on when your skin starts to clog back up again. This will let you know when you need to apply a mask.
Also keep in mind that most people will feel a slight tingling or burning sensation when using papaya. This is totally normal and the resulting redness goes away quickly. That said, I still recommend using this mask at night in case you need to go out during the day.
For those who become more sensitive after using papaya, simply wait 1-2 weeks before applying it again. Always listen to your body!
Some people may also experience flaking after using the papaya mask. This is totally normal and is a sign that the papaya is lifting away dead skin cells. You can use a magic mitt or soft cloth to help lift away the flakiness between masks.
Best of luck everyone! <3
For more acne fighting articles look below:
Natural Sources of Salicylic Acid for Acne—From Fruit!
Simple Fruit Masks for Beautiful Skin
The Best Facials for Acne
3 Steps to Improve your Female Hormonal Acne – Anyone Can do It!
Healing Acne- The Herbalist’s Way Part 1
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