In the mid-90s, papaya soap began to gain great popularity. Likas Papaya, a brand of papaya soap, became the byword in the papaya soap industry. Other brands then followed in its wake. But I hard through the grapevine that it was later found out that the “exfoliating effect” characterized by itchiness effected by Likas Papaya which the consumers raved about was not due to the efficacy of the papaya extract but due to an issue in the manufacturing process. (The consumers attributed the itchiness in using papaya soap as its effectiveness).
Since Actichem has been known to source out and provide only the purest and most potent active ingredients for cosmetics especially in skin whitening, I then researched more about the active ingredient in papaya soaps. I found out that all the existing local brands were all using papaya extract in liquid form which has a very minimal if not negligible (insignificant) amount of the active, an enzyme called papain. The recommended dose for the liquid papaya extract was around 5%, leaving almost nothing of the active enzyme going to the finished product. Even if the dosage were increased considerably, it may still not produce the desired effect. And of course, that would also increase the manufacturing cost making the finished product unaffordable or not competitive.
I thought then that there should be a pure form of the enzyme. After diligently researching and searching for a supplier, I got hold of Marcor Development Corp. which develops and manufactures USP-grade papain in powder form. How wonderful was that! From then on, Actichem has introduced and supplied papain USP. It is far more expensive than the liquid extract, but because of its high active content, the maximum dosage (only 1%) offsets the cost many times over, making papain USP far more economical than the liquid extract with an optimum efficacy.
PAPAIN USP (Technical Info. from Marcor Development Corp.)
Application in Dermatology
Recently, one of the innovations in Dermatology is the use of enzymes in promoting epidermal cell turnover [exfoliation]. Enzymes, such as papain, are now featured as an exfoliating ingredient. Papain causes exfoliation by digesting intercorneocyte bonds chemically. Being a biochemical exfoliant, its activity is not pH-dependent, in contrast to that of AHAs and BHAs. However, the amount of exfoliation produced by papain is related to its concentration and increases with time. Therefore, the challenge to formulators working with this enzyme is to halt degradation of the corneocytes at a proper time.
Papain is very effective in cleansing and rinse-off products such as soaps, facial wash, shower gels, and facial cleansers and scrubs, since it works instantly and exposure should only be allowed for a limited time. For such applications, dosage should not exceed 1.0%. When used in leave-on products such as creams and lotions, papain is very effective in treating the driest of skin. It softens hard and calloused skin by gobbling up dead skin cells and breaking down the thickened epidermal layer [outermost layer of skin].