But we want to clarify a few things…
A genuine paw paw is a North American fruit from a tree (Asimina triloba) native to the East Coast. There is also a Mountain paw paw fruit tree (Vasconcellea pubescens) native to South America.... BUT most commonly paw paw is just another name for the good ol' papaya fruit (Carica papaya). The kind you and I are used to seeing in the grocery store and the kind that is referred to as "paw paw" down under.
Let us break it down for you.
Papaya (paw paw) leaf extract is just that, extract from the leaf of the papaya plant often used for it's medicinal properties. The papaya leaf is masticated and basically ‘juiced’. That juice is consumed straight or sold as a liquid or dried/powdered and sold in capsules/tablets. The leaf can also be extracted in alcohol like other herbal extracts. It contains many compounds and is commonly hailed for it's supposed cancer fighting abilities.
There is also papaya (paw paw) fruit "extract" used in many cosmetic formulas. The main constituent is: Papain. Papain is an enzyme that breaks down proteins. Papain is derived from the papaya fruit, leaf, roots, seeds (oil) and latex of the papaya plant in varying concentrations. Papain is commonly gathered from the green fruit of the papaya; this is when the enzyme content is highest. To get this extract, the green papaya fruit is blended, dried and powdered. The powder is consumed for it's anti inflammatory and digestive aid properties.
So, papain does what?
Papain is often used topically in cosmetics to "break down" old skin cells (protein) which is why your skin can feel so soft after using a product that contains it (it's also commonly used as a meat tenderizer). Although it's tough to know where the papain in many cosmetics comes from... it is, if papaya based, most likely the fruit (as opposed to the leaf, root, latex, etc).
But here's the thing. Paw paw leaf extract, paw paw fruit extract, papaya extract, papain, etc... are water based components and not compatible for use in our balms (powders and extracts don't dissolve in oils). We could put some green papaya enzyme powder in the balms... but it won't do much for you as it would just be hanging out as an inert element. Tried and tested.
What IS great for skin is papaya (paw paw) seed oil, and this balm contains loads of it!