Halloween or not, pumpkins still grace market shelves (it is, after all, a food more than it is a decoration). Even if it’s too cold for pumpkins to grow, most of us have pantries with cans of pumpkin puree, a keepsake from the fall. There’s only so much pumpkin soup, curry, casserole, or cake one can eat, but don’t trash that creamy goodness just yet – pumpkin has a host of health benefits that can really up your beauty quotient too.1
Harnessing Pumpkin’s Vitamin C
Pumpkin is rich in vitamin C – one of the most powerful antioxidant sources.2,3 Why is this so important? When we breathe in oxygen, various chemical and biological processes in the body break down this oxygen to be used further in internal respiration. Unfortunately, this oxidative process releases free radicals as by-products. These free radicals (unpaired electrons) disrupt cellular function, causing internal damage. Environmental elements, such as UV rays and pollution, also cause free radical damage.
While eating vitamin C-rich food is a great way to get in your dose of antioxidants, topical application to your skin and hair also works to help you glow.
Pumpkin & Oats Massage Puree
Mix in 2 tbsp pumpkin puree with 1 tbsp raw oats. Massage this mixture into the skin on your face, neck, and décolleté for about 5 minutes. Rinse off for gently exfoliated and revitalized skin.
Pumpkin & Cream Face Mask
Mix in 2 tbsp pumpkin puree with 1 tbsp fresh cream; add a pinch of turmeric. Apply it to washed and dried skin on your face, neck, and décolleté. Keep this on for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture is caked and dried. Wash off with warm water for a glowing visage.
Pumpkin Cider Face Mask
Combine 2 tbsp of pumpkin puree with 1tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar and 1tbsp of raw honey. Apply to skin for 15 minutes, then rinse with cool water. This is especially great for acne-prone skin as honey is a natural antibacterial, and apple cider vinegar helps to balance the sensitive, and slightly acidic, skin pH. Many soaps are alkaline in nature and strip this delicate acid mantle.
Pumpkin, Yogurt & Honey Hair Treatment
Mix ½ cup pumpkin puree with 2 tbsp thick yogurt, 1 tbsp honey, and 1-2 tbsp of virgin coconut or olive oil. Apply this mixture to your scalp, and then cover your hair from roots to end with a shower cap. Keep the cap on for 20-30 minutes. Rinse hair and shampoo with a gentle formula. Condition and style as usual for softer, fuller hair.
Make Pumpkin’s B Vitamins Work for You
Pumpkin is also rich in vitamin B, which strengthens the epidermis of the skin and helps fight off acne and rashes more effectively. 4 Experts have long believed that B-complex vitamins are essential for both healthy hair and skin. Obviously, eating pumpkin in a great way to get into your daily requirement of these vitamins, but topical applications can go a long way in making your skin and hair bounce with health.
Pumpkin Body Scrub
Mix in 1 cup pumpkin puree with ½ cup raw or organic sugar. Grab scoopfuls of the same and give your skin a thorough scrub. The sugar will act as an exfoliant, sloughing off dead skin cells. The vitamin B in the pumpkin will make skin look fresher and help protect it from acne, rashes, and skin infections.
Pumpkin Deep Conditioner
Dry hair needs extra TLC to bring it back to life. Instead of heading to the salon and emptying out your pockets on expensive treatments, mix ½ cup pumpkin puree with 2 tbsp coconut cream. Apply from scalp to ends, and leave on for 10-30 minutes. Before rinsing, dip a towel in hot water, squeeze, and wrap around your hair to steam the conditioner in. Wash with a mild shampoo and condition as usual.
The Revitalizing Minerals of Pumpkin
Pumpkins are an amazing source of various minerals, including zinc, potassium, copper, manganese, and iron. According to research conducted by Oregon State University, certain minerals are absorbed by the skin upon topical application, revitalizing the skin from inside out. 5 Minerals are essential for healthy skin, as they aid in cell proliferation and healing, help in protecting the skin from UV rays, and serve to improve the circulatory system.
Pumpkin Body Wrap
Mix 1 cup pumpkin puree with 2-3 tbsp organic honey and fresh cream. Add 4-5 drops of your favorite essential oil. Combine all ingredients to make a paste. Use this paste to give your entire body (including the face) a gentle massage. Leave the paste on for 10 minutes, preferably while sitting in a steamy bathroom. Rinse off, and shower with a mild body wash.
Pumpkin Hand & Foot Revitalizer
The skin on the hands and feet do need some extra care. To give your hands some TLC, mix in 3 tbsp pumpkin puree with 2 tbsp coconut oil. Massage this onto your hands for 5-10 minutes and wash off. For the feet, add in 1tsp of sea salt, and use it to give your feet a good scrubbing.
Pumpkin Lip Scrub
The delicate lip area is oft-neglected but kissable lips are an essential feature of a youthful complexion.
Combine 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp coconut oil, and 1 tbsp pumpkin puree and gently (very gently) massage the lip area to slough off any dead skin cells. This will also help to infuse your lips with pumpkin’s impressive array of minerals. The coconut oil also lends a hearty dose of fatty acids to help soften and moisturize.
Follow your scrub with a thick slathering of lip balm.
You see, you can use pumpkins to create simple and doable beauty recipes that often require just five minutes of your time. They’re also incredibly inexpensive while being highly nutritious.
Need new Fall party ideas? Invite your friends around for some autumnal beauty pampering that will seriously get you in the mood. You can even share some pumpkin puree with a pumpkin pie recipe. And, of course, your skin and hair will be most thankful!
Article updated: April 3, 2018
For more helpful beauty tips and trends, keep reading:
Step-by-Step Guide: Contour And Highlight Your Face
Understanding Your Skin Barrier (+ how to keep it beautiful)
1. LD, Megan. “Pumpkin: Health Benefits And Nutritional Breakdown”. Medical News Today. N.p., 2016. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.
2. Padayatty SJ, et al. “Vitamin C As An Antioxidant: Evaluation Of Its Role In Disease Prevention. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2003. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.
3. Lobo, V et al. “Free Radicals, Antioxidants And Functional Foods: Impact On Human Health”. N.p., 2010. Print.
4. “Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)”. University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.
5 .”Minerals And Skin Health”. Linus Pauling Institute. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.