6 Effective Beauty Uses for Pumpkin

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From your Starbucks latte to the orange-laced displays at your local grocery store, it’s official: Pumpkin spice season is officially upon us. What you may not realize, however, is that this iconic American fruit (yes, it’s technically a fruit!) has some serious beauty benefits.

 

Pumpkin contains enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids that increase cell turnover, brighten and smooth skin, and are great exfoliaters,” explains New York dermatologist, Patricia Wexler, M.D. Vitamins A and C help prevent free-radical damage and boost collagen production for younger-looking skin. The zinc in pumpkin seeds is good for acne to help decrease oil production, while the essential fatty acids help with barrier function to increase hydration, she adds.

 

The beloved fall gourd is even good for your strands. “The essential fatty acids and vitamins A, C, and E help increase the moisture of hair and maintain cell turnover of the scalp while healing inflammation,” says Wexler. And if you have an oily scalp, you’ll appreciate this—the zinc in pumpkin helps control the level of sebum, or oil, the scalp produces, says Wexler.

 

Ready to give pumpkin a go? Try these at-home recipes created by licensed esthetician Michelle Ornstein, who is also founder and formulator of Enessa Skincare. And if you’re not a DIY type, we’ve also suggested product versions you can nab on your next store or Sephora run.

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Face Mask

1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp manuka honey

 

Mix ingredients together. Apply a thin layer to skin, and rinse off after five minutes.

 

Turmeric powder helps brighten skin and heal inflammation associated with acne, while manuka honey is a humectant that provides moisturization and additional anti-acne properties, says Ornstein.

 

RELATED: The Secrets to Healthier Skin and Hair Are Hiding in Your Spice Rack

 

Product pick: MyChelle Dermaceuticals Incredible Pumpkin Peel, $28, mychelle.com

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Face Scrub

1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup benzonite clay
1/4 cup chamomile tea

 

Mix ingredients together. Apply a thick layer to skin. Wait 60 seconds, and then massage to exfoliate and rinse off.

 

The ground flaxseed is the secret ingredient here that washes off the dead skin cells that the pumpkin enzymes exfoliated off, says Ornstein.

 

Product pick: Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, $42, peterthomasroth.com

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Body Scrub

1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup jojoba oil
1/4 cup coffee grounds
1/4 cup Himalayan salt

 

Mix ingredients together. Use as a body scrub in the shower or bath.

 

Jojoba oil is super-nourishing and rich in antioxidants, making it a great carrier oil for a body scrub. Caffeine from coffee grounds helps smooth out skin and reduces the appearance of cellulite as a bonus. Pink Himalayan salt contains trace minerals that are beneficial for skin, says Ornstein. 

 

Product pick: Bath & Body Works Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin Shea & Sugar Body Scrub, $17, bathandbodyworks.com

 

RELATED: How to Exfoliate Every Single Body Part—the Right Way

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In-Shower Body Moisturizer

1 tsp pumpkin seed oil (such as Roland Virgin Pumpkin Seed Oil Cold Pressed, $10, walmart.com)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp monoi oil (such as The Body Shop Spa Wisdom Polynesia Monoi Miracle Oil, $20, thebodyshop-usa.com)

 

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle, and spray on body in shower after cleansing, making sure to rinse completely.

 

Coconut milk is extremely hydrating and rich in anti-aging and soothing fatty acids and oils. Monoi oil contains methyl salicylate, which nurtures skin and prevents environmental damage, says Ornstein. This one is so unique, you’ll need to make it yourself!

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Hair Mask

1 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup jojoba oil
5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil

 

Mix ingredients together. This can be used as a scalp treatment or hair oil mask on clean hair. Allow it to sit for several minutes, then rinse out completely.

 

Coconut, eucalyptus, and lavender are all natural ingredients that help stimulate the scalp to protect against hair loss. Jojoba oil hydrates both the scalp and hair, says Ornstein.

 

Product pick: Sexy Hair Pumpkin Puree Treatment Masque, $25, amazon.com

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Peel-Off Exfoliating Treatment

1/2 cup pumpkin juice (While this can be difficult to find in stores, Ornstein says it’s easy to juice at home. “Simply peel it and separate out the stringy pulp and seeds before juicing,” she says.)
2 packs unflavored gelatin
1/2 tsp tomato juice
2 tsp egg whites

 

Microwave the mixture so everything dissolves together, and then wait for it to cool (but not to completely solidify). Apply two layers onto skin, allow to dry, then peel off.

 

The gelatin creates the peel-off mechanism while tomato juice helps brighten skin and control sebum production. The egg whites help lift and tighten skin, says Ornstein.

 

Product pick: Freeman Beauty Pumpkin Peeling Mask, $2, freemanbeauty.com

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