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Natural Living

Pumpkin Power

More than just a Halloween decoration or holiday pie filler, this superfruit is also a key ingredient in natural skin care products

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Culinarily speaking, the pumpkin is vegetable, but botanically, it’s a fruit. No matter what you call it, pumpkin is great for your skin. It boasts powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and natural UV protectors-and it’s the perfect exfoliant for sensitive skin.

The enzymes and fruit acids in pumpkin help slough off dead skin to reveal its inner glow. Vitamin A battles fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating cell turnover; vitamin C and beta-carotene protect your skin; and the amino acids in pumpkin provide nourishment.

Pumpkin pulp, seeds, and seed oil are all used in beauty products. “Pumpkin seeds, in particular, contain MMP (matrix metalloproteinase) inhibitors that resist the weakening of collagen and elastin fibers leading to inelastic, thinned, and older looking skin,” according to Jon A. Perlman, MD, associate clinical professor of plastic surgery at UCLA Medical Center/David Geffen School of Medicine.

Pumpkin extracts work as an accelerator for other ingredients in your skin care regimen, helping skin absorb vital nutrients quickly. Pumpkin is excellent for use on all skin types, but especially on skin that’s been damaged by environmental conditions, such as overexposure to the sun. If you have sensitive skin, it’s important to use ingredients that are gentle, but can also nourish and fortify your skin.

Pumpkin peels and scrubs can also help with breakouts. Pumpkin contains acne-fighting vitamins E and T (torulitine), which help reduce inflammation, control excess oil, and help skin recover from acne-related damage.

1 Soften rough cracked hands and dry cuticles that suffer from a loss of moisture this time of year with Desert Essence OrganicsPumpkin Spice Hand Repair Cream. Enzyme-rich organic pumpkin and jojoba oils restore moisture while organic licorice brightens skin.

2 Refresh your skin with JurliqueFruit Enzyme Exfoliator. Pumpkin, Australian desert lime and acacia, sugar cane, lemon, orange, apple, and willow bark extracts scrub skin with fruit enzymes that boost cell renewal for a healthy-looking complexion. It’s a natural alternative to chemical peels.

3 Brighten normal to combination skin with AndalouNaturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask, which contains pumpkin purée, and a host of regenerating fruit stem cells that renew skin at the cellular level. It also helps repair deep skin damage. Use up to three times per week.

4 Repair and protect your skin with MyChelle DermaceuticalsPumpkin Renew Cream, which blends antioxidant-rich pumpkin seed oil with reparative peptides in a lightweight moisturizer. Astaxanthin from micro-algae neutralizes free radicals and reduces moisture loss, while shea butter and vitamin E hydrate.

5 Get an instant facial with Peter Lamas NaturalsExfoliating Pumpkin Facial Scrub, which cleanses, scrubs, and exfoliates your skin. Pumpkin enzymes along with fruit and nut acids slough away debris and dead cells that clog pores. Pumpkin oil, aloe vera, vitamin E, and soy protein seal in nutrients and moisture to make skin glow. Try as a body scrub, too.