Why pumpkin needs to be in your skincare routine

Updated: May 7, 2020

Halloween is only a couple of weeks away so I thought it would be appropriate to review one of my all-time favourite skincare ingredients: pumpkin. Yes that’s right, this bright and bittersweet plant is not only for wintery deserts, Starbucks drinks and carving on Halloween, but great for your skin too. Scroll down to find the variety of benefits pumpkin has for our hair and skin.

What is pumpkin?

Pumpkin is one of the oldest domesticated plants, its first use dates back as early as 7500 to 5000 BC. It is a cultivar of a squash plant and best known for its fiery orange colour. The botanical name for pumpkin is Cucurbita Pepo – Pepo translating to “to ripen in the sun.” This plant is incredibly nutritious when eaten and is used in soups, breads, pies and desserts.

cool jack o lantern gif

GIF via giphy


In skincare, pumpkin seed extract and oil has been widely studied and shown to provide the skin with an array of benefits. 

Pumpkin exfoliates the skin

Like other fruit acids such as blueberry, papaya and pineapple, pumpkin acts as an enzyme in skincare. Pumpkin breaks down the keratin in dead skin cells which gives the skin a superficial, mild exfoliation. This process, especially when done so regularly, stimulates cellular turnover in the skin by helping to stimulate collagen and elastin production. Goodbye dullness, and hello glowy skin.

Pumpkin can help brighten pigmentation

Due to this exfoliation process, pumpkin in skincare can help even skin tone and brighten hyperpigmentation. However, it is not officially a tyrosinase inhibitor, so if you are interested in finding out more effective ways to treat your pigmentation, find an amazing list of ingredients here.

Honey boo boo drama GIF

GIF via giphy


Pumpkin can treat acne and control oil production

This plant is a powerhouse of vitamins, rich in Vitamin C, E and beta-carotene (a Vitamin A derivative) and also contains zinc – the ultimate skin-healing ingredient. This blend of powerful ingredients helps to fight oil production, calm inflammation and improve pore size. A study published on Researchgate displayed incredible results when 20 patients who had uncontrollable acne vulgaris for over 18 years, were treated with pumpkin seed oil. In fact, all patients noticed a significant reduction in their acne (38% average reduction) after just one treatment.

Pumpkin is moisturising 

As well as its ability to heal the skin and regulate oil production, pumpkin is rich in fatty acids, particularly oleic acid which helps to keep the skin’s barrier moisturised and prevent TEWL. The fatty acids also help to strengthen the skin over time because of the protective barrier these fatty acids provide.

Pumpkin can also improve hair loss

In 2015 a trial was carried out and titled the “Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia.” In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 76 patients with mild to moderate AGA were split into two groups. One group used 400mg of pumpkin seed oil on their scalp daily for 3 weeks and the other half were given a placebo treated. The results showed a 40% increase of hair growth from the group that used pumpkin seed oil compared to the 10% increase found within the placebo group.

Androgenetic alopecia

Image via Callipus


Did you know Androgenetic Alopecia affects over 50 million men and 30 million women in the US?

Pumpkin provides antioxidant protection

Due to the fact that pumpkin contains so many vitamins and zinc, it means that by using this ingredient in your skincare routine, you have extra help to neutralise free radicals in the skin. By relieving your skin from these environment aggressors, you can expect a stronger skin barrier and symptoms such as redness and uneven skin tone will improve. 

My top 3 pumpkin-filled skincare products:

Dermaquest Mini Pumpkin Mask

£32 for 2oz on Dermaquest

dermaquest-mini-pumpkin-mask

Image via beautytimetherapies


This is one of my must-have masks as it ticks all the right boxes: brightening, controlling breakouts and smoothing the skin’s surface. Haven’t got time for a skin treatment? Then try this mask once to twice a week to help nibble away at dead skin cells and reveal a fresher complexion. As well as pumpkin, this mask also contains mandelic and lactic acid to help clear congestion and brighten dull skin.

Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Foaming Cleanser

£23 for 200ml at Boots

Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Foaming Cleanser

Image via olehenriksen


This beautiful frothy cleanser also uses Vitamin C and African Red Tea Extract to help degrease and remove dirt and dead skin cells from the skins surface. I’m not a fan of fragrance but this stuff has got an addictive smell to it and excellent for breaking down excess oil and smoothing out congestion. Work this into your cleansing routine gradually (every other day to begin with) and use as your second cleanser for best results.

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

£50 for 150ml at Beauty Bay

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme mask

Image via beautybay


This is another fantastic weekly treatment to help smooth out congestion, calm breakouts and give the skin a deep exfoliation. This ‘enzymatic dermal resurfacer’ uses AHAs, pumpkin enzymes AND microdermabrasion crystals to give the skin both a physical and chemical exfoliation. You will not be disappointed with this beauty, and the endless 5* reviews speak for themselves.

You can also try pumpkin in a make-your-own mask at home. Check out this easy recipe from Beautylish.

Beautylish screenshot pumpkin mask recipe

Screenshot via Beautylish


Pumpkin can help the skin in a variety of ways – its fruity enzymes help smooth and brighten the skin through light exfoliation. This plant is vitamin-rich which can also help to strengthen the skin over time as it provides antioxidant support and also keeps the skin’s barrier moisturised. Find pumpkin in skin cleansers and scrubs, chemical peels and face masks. You can even make your own if you’re feeling up to it. Pumpkin can help improve acne, redness, dullness, dryness and hair loss. If you haven’t trialled it already in your routine, then you’re missing out.

Did you enjoy this article? If so find out why there is so much hype behind hyaluronic acid and why azelaic acid is one the most underrated skincare ingredients ever.

#AHAs #skinpeels #enzymes #exfoliation #pumpkininskincare #chemicalexfoliation

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