Papaya For Hair Growth: Tips and Tricks

  • Natasha KaurBiomedical Science – Bachelors of Science, University of Lincoln, UK
  • Maariya Rachid DaudDoctor of Philosophy - PhD, Bioprocessing and Chemical Engineering, The University of Manchester
  • Humna Maryam IkramBS, Pharmacology, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK


Many desire to flaunt their luscious locks without resorting to chemical treatments and products which are likely to damage their hair in the long run. The good news is that you can achieve these healthy strands with delicious superfoods. Alongside being delectable, these fruits harbour the secret to amazing hair and here you can find out why.

Hair and scalp health is an important indicator of general health and self-care. From cosmetic purposes to culture, hair can influence a person’s self-confidence. One of two main contributors to healthy hair is good nutrition obtained from your diet.1 A nutritious diet often reflects in your outward appearance, whether it’s good skin or hair. However, you may feel as though despite a balanced diet, your hair could do with some extra goodness. This is where superfoods like papaya come in providing both deliciousness and healthy luscious locks of hair.

Nutritional benefits of papaya for hair

Nutritional components: A 100g portion of raw papaya approximately contains:

  • 0.47 g protein
  • 21 mg magnesium
  • 182 mg potassium
  • 0.08 mg zinc
  • 0.6 µg selenium
  • 0.038 mg vitamin B6
  • 0.3 mg vitamin E
  • 950 IU Vitamin A
  • 60.9 mg vitamin C

Vitamins and minerals for healthy hair 

Papayas are evidently rich in vitamins and minerals, most of which also overlap with those promoting hair growth. Vitamins A, C and E, in particular, alongside the minerals, selenium and zinc all promote healthy hair.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a micronutrient required for the growth of skin and hair cells. As vitamin A intake increases up until a point, retinoic acid production increases which provides the beneficial effect. Retinoic acid binds with proteins in the blood to stimulate proliferation, and the making of new healthy cells.2

Vitamin A has also been shown to increase the production of sebum.3 Sebum is a naturally occurring oil produced by the body. Your scalp has glands known as sebaceous glands that release sebum. This oily substance is distributed from the follicle to the shaft of your hair strands, preventing drying. Dry hair is prone to falling and breakage.4

Vitamin C

Papaya is rich in vitamin C which is great news for your hair. Vitamin C increases collagen production as it is directly involved with transcription factors, the components of a cell which impact the production of proteins such as collagen. Along with this, it also produces more inhibitors of MMP-1. This is great as this reduces the source of collagen degradation. UV-induced radiation damage is also reduced by vitamin C.5

Vitamin B

Another vitamin that is great for promoting healthy hair, is vitamin B. B vitamins such as biotin (vitamin B7) encourage hair growth. It has been generally demonstrated to increase DNA concentration and synthesis of protein. Vitamin B intake supports healthy nails alongside hair.6

Enzymes in papaya for scalp health

The papaya plant has been shown to contain papain7, a defence mechanism in plant form but a useful proteolytic enzyme for scalp health when consumed.

Proteolytic enzymes are a group of proteins involved in turning over old cells, cell signalling and processing.8 Papaya contains both papain and chymopapain involved in digesting protein.9 Similarly, the exfoliating enzyme functions to digest excess oil on your scalp, preventing build-up and clogging of follicles, and promoting hair growth.

Papaya hair masks and treatment

DIY mask recipes

Papaya and yoghurt

A papaya and yoghurt mask can also be used for hydrating your scalp:


  1. Blend pieces of raw papaya until a pulp forms
  2. You can use a strainer to extract the juice from the pulp
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the papaya juice to 2 tablespoons of yoghurt (or just an equal amount depending on how much hair you have to coat!)
  4. Mix well
  5. Massage your scalp focusing on all areas
  6. Leave to work for half an hour, you may want to cover your hair with a shower cap
  7. Use a mild shampoo to wash off thoroughly
  8. Condition hair
  9. Aim to apply mask once every two weeks for shiny hair

Papaya and honey

Papaya and honey hair mask for that shiny silky hair.

  1. Blend raw papaya until a pulp forms
  2. Add to a container 3 tbsp of papaya juice
  3. Mix 1 tbsp of raw honey
  4. Mix well and apply through hair
  5. Leave for 20 minutes and wash thoroughly
  6. Repeat once every other week

Papaya and coconut oil hair mask

Coconut oil is also a great hair enhancer.

  1. Blend papaya until pulp forms
  2. Add 3 tbsp of papaya juice to a container
  3. Add 2 tbsp of preferably raw coconut oil
  4. Mix well and apply focusing on the scalp
  5. Leave for one hour
  6. Wash thoroughly

Hair masks can be applied whenever, however, attempt to limit this to once per week or every other week to avoid the stripping of your natural oils. Ensuring fresh ingredients will provide a better outcome.

Scalp massage using papaya oil

Papaya oil

Papaya oil is obtained from the seeds of the fruit. They contain around 13.9% - 30.7% of oil full of phytochemicals.10 These chemicals are antioxidants which are great for promoting a healthy scalp.

Massaging your hair with papaya oil promotes blood flow to the scalp, encouraging cell turnover and follicle growth. Further, it deeply conditions and moisturises your hair for that silky shine. You may want to leave the oil in your hair following a scalp massage, for a few hours and wash it out.

A study has shown that standard scalp massages are positively associated with increased hair thickness and general positive self-perceived hair changes.11,12

Dietary considerations for healthy hair

Balanced diet

As previously mentioned, healthy hair is an outward sign of a healthy body. Therefore, nourishing your body with the vitamins and minerals required is most likely going to reflect in the condition of your hair too.

Including papaya in your diet

Consuming fresh papaya is the most effective way to retrieve all its goodness. Ways to include papaya in your diet include:

  • Smoothies
  • Fruit bowls
  • Porridge
  • Papaya curries
  • Salads

Colourful papaya smoothie recipe for strong, thick hair:

  1. Obtain chunks of delicious papaya
  2. In a blender, combine 2 cups of spinach and 2 cups of raw coconut water
  3. Add the 1 cup of papaya, a cup of strawberries and an orange
  4. Enjoy the refreshing taste that’s helping your hair simultaneously!

Potential side effects and considerations

Allergic reactions and sensitivities 

Some people may have or may develop food allergies. It is important to be aware of allergies and to look for alternatives. If you do not suspect any allergy, it is still important to be wary of sensitivities when introducing new foods – introduce slowly and monitor any unusual effects. If you suspect anything, remove the food from your diet and seek medical advice.

Symptoms of common food allergies can develop straight after or even days after consuming something. They can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Itchy skin
  • Feeling sick
  • Swelling of the eyes or lips
  • Stomach pain
  • Itchy or runny nose
  • Diarrhoea

Patch testing prior to papaya mask application

Just like any other hair dye; patch testing is important for anything you intend to use on your hair and scalp. Although natural masks carry a lower risk, it is still worthwhile you do this.

Apply a small amount of product, onto a test area such as behind your ear. Cover with a bandage if necessary or simply avoid contact with water for a few hours.

  • If you notice any redness or irritation this may be a sign of sensitivity and it is not recommended to apply this mask
  • If no signs of irritation are visible, proceed with the application

If you are unsure about a product or would benefit from tailored guidance regarding your hair type, hair condition and best treatments, consult a dermatologist. Any allergies should be consulted with a medical professional.

Lifestyle tips for healthy hair

Stress management can affect your hair

Many studies have shown that stress in your life generally can result in decreased hair growth and compromised hair health.13 Managing and reducing areas of stress in your life where you can really reflect in these outward signs of health. It’s easier said than done, for sure, so it’s all about taking a holistic approach – that’s your diet, stress, hair care, and environmental factors.

Regular exercise and blood circulation

Exercising may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you desire luscious hair, however, exercise is effective in creating a cascade of beneficial effects on the body. It most importantly increases the volume of nutrient-rich blood in the brain.14 In addition, increased blood flow results in hair growth as hair follicles are directly stimulated.15


So – papayas are not only delicious but also acquire amazing benefits if you’re looking to achieve your hair goals. Papaya contains many hair-health-promoting vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C, B and A, along with the minerals selenium and Zinc. Hair masks containing papaya and including papaya in your diet have great benefits for healthy hair. Keeping in mind a holistic approach is essential – hair care, dietary choices and even stress management all contribute to overall wellness.


  1. Goldberg LJ, Lenzy Y. Nutrition and hair. Clin Dermatol. 2010;28(4):412–9. Available from:
  2. VanBuren CA, Everts HB. Vitamin a in skin and hair: an update. Nutrients [Internet]. 2022 Jul 19 [cited 2023 Dec 15];14(14):2952. Available from:
  3. Everts HB, Silva KA, Schmidt AN, Opalenik S, Duncan FJ, King LE, et al. Estrogen regulates the expression of retinoic acid synthesis enzymes and binding proteins in mouse skin. Nutr Res. 2021 Oct;94:10–24. Available from:l
  4. Makrantonaki E, Ganceviciene R, Zouboulis C. An update on the role of the sebaceous gland in the pathogenesis of acne. Dermatoendocrinol [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2023 Dec 15];3(1):41–9. Available from:
  5. Al-Niaimi F, Chiang NYZ. Topical vitamin c and the skin: mechanisms of action and clinical applications. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology [Internet]. 2017 Jul [cited 2023 Dec 15];10(7):14. Available from:
  6. Guo EL, Katta R. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatol Pract Concept [Internet]. 2017 Jan 31 [cited 2023 Dec 15];7(1):1–10. Available from:
  7. Konno K, Hirayama C, Nakamura M, Tateishi K, Tamura Y, Hattori M, et al. Papain protects papaya trees from herbivorous insects: role of cysteine proteases in latex. Plant J. 2004 Feb;37(3):370–8. Available from:
  8. Mótyán JA, Tóth F, Tőzsér J. Research applications of proteolytic enzymes in molecular biology. Biomolecules [Internet]. 2013 Nov 8 [cited 2023 Dec 15];3(4):923–42. Available from: 
  9. Chymopapain - an overview | sciencedirect topics [Internet]. [cited 2023 Dec 15]. Available from:
  10. Zhang W, Pan Y, Huang W, Chen H, Yang H. Optimized ultrasonic‐assisted extraction of papaya seed oil from Hainan/Eksotika variety. Food Sci Nutr [Internet]. 2019 Jul 8 [cited 2023 Dec 15];7(8):2692–701. Available from:
  11. Koyama T, Kobayashi K, Hama T, Murakami K, Ogawa R. Standardized scalp massage results in increased hair thickness by inducing stretching forces to dermal papilla cells in the subcutaneous tissue. Eplasty [Internet]. 2016 Jan 25 [cited 2023 Dec 15];16:e8. Available from:
  12. English RS, Barazesh JM. Self-assessments of standardized scalp massages for androgenic alopecia: survey results. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2019 Mar;9(1):167–78. Available from:
  13. Peters EMJ, Müller Y, Snaga W, Fliege H, Reißhauer A, Schmidt-Rose T, et al. Hair and stress: A pilot study of hair and cytokine balance alteration in healthy young women under major exam stress. PLoS One [Internet]. 2017 Apr 19 [cited 2023 Dec 15];12(4):e0175904. Available from:
  14. Mulser L, Moreau D. Effect of acute cardiovascular exercise on cerebral blood flow: A systematic review. Brain Res. 2023 Jun 15;1809:148355. Available from:     
  15. Natarelli N, Gahoonia N, Sivamani RK. Integrative and mechanistic approach to the hair growth cycle and hair loss. J Clin Med [Internet]. 2023 Jan 23 [cited 2023 Dec 15];12(3):893. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Natasha Kaur

Biomedical Science – Bachelors of Science, University of Lincoln, UK

Natasha is a dedicated full-time student with a significant background in all things health and biology related, acquired over several years, which is why sharing concise health-related knowledge to the public has developed into one of her strong passions. Her interest lies in cancer-related topics, including her final year degree dissertation project, and so educating people about the disease is of particular interest to her. She has established recent experience in medical writing with Klarity Health which has pointed her into a full-time writing career, post graduating.

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