‘Tis the season of the pumpkin. They are already making their way into decadent desserts and soothing stews… and soon, these luscious members of the gourd family are going to be carved up for Halloween. However, while pumpkins look, smell and taste delicious, they’re even more effective as a natural beauty ingredient. This autumnal icon is packed with several nutrients that help tackle premature aging, sun spots, clogged pores, and a dull, uneven complexion. That’s why you’ll see pumpkins being used in a lot of skincare products. Here’s a closer look at how this juicy fruit helps your skin.
Pumpkins bust dead cells: Pumpkins are packed with fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which make them a safe and effective exfoliator that simultaneously increase cell turnover. Result? Brighter and smoother skin.
Pumpkins banish Acne: Pumpkins contain vitamins E and T – the acne-fighting nutrients commonly known as torulitine. They keep skin healthy by reducing pore size, regulating oil production and fighting inflammation.
Pumpkins are anti-aging: Pumpkins are rich in essential fatty acids that help diminish fine lines and wrinkles. They are also a potent source of vitamin C (which boosts collagen production and prevent the breakdown of elastin) and sodium hyaluronate to help strengthen, hydrate and plump the skin.
Pumpkins reduce hyper-pigmentation: Pumpkins are loaded with copper and zinc. The former regulates melanin production, thereby helping to fade away the brown spots and splotches caused by hyper-pigmentation. Zinc, in the meantime, assists in the repair of post-acne marks, rashes and sun-damaged tissues.
Pumpkins prevent environmental damage: Pumpkins are super-dense with antioxidants, which protect our skin cells against environmental toxins, stress and sun damage. This keeps skin structures intact, preventing wrinkles and other damage.
Pumpkins nourish and hydrate: Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, both of which play an important role in maintaining the skin’s barrier function. This helps protect the skin against bacteria and other infections.
While there are many pumpkin-based beauty products on the market, why not go directly to the source and make your own? It’s almost too easy.
But first… how to make the pumpkin puree
Most of these beauty recipes ask for pumpkin puree and here’s an easy way to make this essential ingredient:
- Slice open the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds.
- Cut the pumpkin into large (approximately 2 inch) cubes.
- Throw the cubes into your biggest cooking pot and cover with water like you would potatoes. For a beauty recipe, you don’t need to add any seasonings – in this case, the plainer the better.
- Boil, covered, for an hour but check at the 30 minute mark. You want the pumpkin pieces to be fork-tender.
- Once cooked, remove the pieces from the pot. Drop a few pieces at a time (with the peel) in a blender. Add some water from the pot for extra liquid. Blend to an even consistency. Let the orangey puree cool to room temperature before applying it to your skin.
As a shortcut, you can resort to canned pumpkin puree but fresh is always best.
You need: ½ cup pumpkin puree, ½ teaspoon pumpkin seed oil, 3 tablespoons sugar
How-to: Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and mix together to make a thick paste. Apply it on your face and gently scrub using circular motions. Rinse off after 2 minutes with lukewarm water.
Pumpkin beauty recipe #2: Sparkle-boosting face mask
You need: 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree, 1 tablespoon honey (preferably raw or organic), 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon powder, ¼ teaspoon heavy whipping cream (optional for dry skin), ¼ teaspoon cranberry juice or raw apple cider vinegar (optional for oily skin)
How-to: First, combine the pumpkin puree, honey and cinnamon powder in a small bowl. Then, if you want, add the cream, cranberry juice or apple cider vinegar depending on your skin type. Blend the mixture into a smooth paste and apply a thin layer of it onto your face, avoiding the eye area. After 15 minutes, wash off with lukewarm water and pat dry. The pumpkin and cinnamon invigorate and exfoliate, while the honey acts as a humectant.
Pumpkin beauty recipe #3: Skin rejuvenating body scrub
You need: ¼ cup pumpkin puree, ¼ cup brown sugar
How-to: Combine both ingredients in a bowl. Apply the mixture to your body using a damp cloth. Scrub using circular motions and wash off with warm water. The enzymes in this simple scrub will slough dead skin right off your body.
Pumpkin beauty recipe #4: Skin tightening body masque
How-to: Blend everything, except the sugar, in a bowl. Add the sugar and blend very gently (if the mixture seems too dry and crumbly, add a bit more pumpkin; if it seems too runny, add more sugar.) Apply the masque all over your body and leave on for 15-20 minutes to allow all nutrients to soak into your skin, then rinse well. Pumpkins and coffee are both high in antioxidants, while the caffeine also helps tighten and firm skin naturally. Sugar is great at exfoliating, and the spices make it smell great!
You need: ½ cup pumpkin puree, ½ cup solids from a can of coconut milk (coconut crème at the top of the can), ½ teaspoon cinnamon
How-to: Mix all the ingredients. Apply to skin, massaging gently. After 15 minutes, rinse with warm water.
Pumpkin beauty recipe #6: Feet-softening pedicure
You need: ½ cup pumpkin puree, 1 egg, ½ teaspoon honey
How-to: Combine all ingredients and blend together. Apply the mixture to your feet and calves. Wrap your feet in plastic bags and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water. This simple pedicure will keep your feet super-soft.
Pumpkin beauty recipe #7: Shiny hair mask
You need: ½ cup pumpkin puree, ¼ cup natural plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey
How-to: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Apply the mask through your entire hair (all the way from the roots to the tips). Put on a shower cap and leave for 30 minutes. Rinse well with lukewarm water; style as usual. An excellent conditioner for dry hair, this recipe will make your strands shiny and soft.
Have you ever tried a pumpkin peel or mask? Plan to try one? Do tell.