This Australian Beauty Secret Saves My Skin in Winter — and It's Under $9 at Amazon

The dermatologist-approved ingredients heal dry skin and chapped lips.

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 Lucas Papaw Ointment 25g | Pawpaw Cream Tout

Travel + Leisure / Pamela Jew

A few years ago, after a ski trip filled with brutal winter conditions — including intense wind, sun exposure, and subzero temperatures — my lips cracked in a way I had never experienced. Severely damaged, cut, and even bleeding, it was a painful ordeal, and my usual remedy of layering Kiehl's lip balm #1 with Aquaphor was not cutting it. To heal my lips, I desperately put out a plea for help on my Instagram story: “What are your secret products for healing the worst chapped and cracked lips ever?” A ski buddy immediately responded with advice to try the $9 Australian healing ointment I now swear by: Lucas’ Papaw Ointment

 Lucas Papaw Ointment 25g | Pawpaw Cream


To buy:, $9

I had never heard or seen Lucas' Papaw Ointment until then, but I found out it not only has a strong following in the ski community but is also widespread throughout Australia, where it is made. Lasting the test of time, the brand has been used for more than 100 years. Its tried-and-true secret ingredient? Fermented papaya (which in Australia are called pawpaw, hence the name). 

This yummy fruit has many benefits for the skin, including antioxidants that help the skin heal and moisturize, so it’s not surprising that most people first discover and use Lucas’ Papaw Ointment as a lip balm. But in my experience, this is one of the best multi-purpose skin products I've ever found on the market, especially as someone with sensitive skin. The ingredients in this hard-to-miss red tube not only heal my lips and dry skin, but also address minor cuts and burns — including sunburn — as well, all in a travel-friendly .8-ounce tube that’s perfect for packing in a carry-on.

 Lucas Papaw Ointment 25g | Pawpaw Cream


To buy:, $9

Especially in the winter, I like to rub Lucas' directly into my cracked knuckles and elbows right before hitting the hay. Once the ointment sets into the knuckles, I moisturize it further with Kiehl's Crème de Corps. This combo has been a game-changer for me, fixing my dry, cracked knuckles and giving me the softest hands despite the Northeast's dry, chilly temperatures at this time of year. 

I was curious to find out what was making this powerful ointment work so well, so I asked Dr. Aanand Geria, a Board Certified Dermatologist located in Verona, New Jersey, to learn more. 

“Papaya is fortified with useful enzymes and plant-based antioxidants,” Dr. Geria told me. “These components can remove impurities like damaged and dead cells, tissues, and debris from the skin's surface.” 

The ointment has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, Dr. Geria told me, noting that it makes an excellent travel product. “Before we had manufactured skincare, papaya had been used as a natural remedy for burns, scars, and other skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema. It can help reduce the redness and itching associated with these conditions,” he said, continuing, “For skin moisture, its high concentration of enzymes and antioxidants assist in treating flaky, dry skin and restoring the moisture barrier.”

The brand states that they still peel their papaws by hand to ensure only the highest quality fruit is used in the product, and I further discovered that the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia backs up Lucas’ Papaw Ointment’s claims surrounding its effectiveness. But it’s not just regulators that are vouching for this ointment. One Amazon reviewer mentioned that it’s "the only thing that heals my dry lips," while another reinforces one of my favorite parts about the application of the product itself: "It slips without being glossy; it's balmy without being tacky or sticky." 

Lucas' Papaw Ointment is an excellent alternative to chemical-laden ointments and creams. While you can find the popular ointment all over Australia in grocery and pharmacies, including Woolworth's, Cole's, and IGA, my favorite part about buying it in the States is that you can get it on Amazon Prime, usually in two days or less. This ointment is also available in a variety of sizes on Amazon, from a tiny .53-ounce tube you can stick in your pocket or travel carry-on to a more oversized 7-ounce tub that's ideal for the medicine cabinet. My personal hack is to buy it in bulk in the available 3-pack option, which makes it slightly cheaper per tube. 

Lucas' Papaw Ointment 75g


To buy:, $19

But this multipurpose ointment is not just for cold winter weather, either. On a recent trip to a gorgeous villa at Tryall Club in Montego Bay, Jamaica, I discovered another use for Lucas' Papaw Ointment as soon as the sun went down and the mosquitos came out to play: bug bites! Rubbing the ointment directly on a fresh bug bite made it quickly disappear and soothed the normal itching feeling left by enemy bugs. I've similarly rubbed Lucas' Papaw Ointment on pimples or blemishes and noticed that in doing so, it helps reduce redness in these pesky spots and encourages the already-broken skin to heal more quickly. 

And the benefits don’t stop there. The brand lists even more uses against ailments including abscesses, boils, carbuncles, chafing, cysts, gravel rash, heat rash, cracked nipples, and even the temporary relief of the symptoms of dermatitis and eczema.

It’s also worth noting that although I don't personally wear it with lipstick, reviewers gush about how well it works in combination. "No joke, y'all: you can actually wear lipstick and not have lip flakes practically within the hour,” says another five-star Amazon reviewer who is ditching their popular name-brand lip treatment for Lucas Papaw. 

So, there you have it. If your current lip balm or chapstick isn't cutting it or you need something more potent in the winter months, snag a tube of Lucas’ Papaw Ointment for under $9 at Amazon. 

At the time of publishing, the price started at $9. 

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