From pumpkin spice lattes to Halloween decorations, when fall hits, it is pumpkin season-mania. With approximately 65,900 acres of pumpkins harvested in the United States last year alone, and most pumpkin patches closing up after Halloween, what are you to do with all the leftover pumpkins you used as decorations for your spooky festivities?
Dr. Gretchen Frieling, a Boston-area board-certified dermatopathologist, explains that instead of throwing out the pumpkins you used this October 31st for decorative functions, you can reuse them for various beauty and health purposes. “Pumpkin is a great way to incorporate more vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E as well as essential fatty acids that help reduce markers of aging while also moisturizing the skin,” says Dr. Freiling, who is a Harvard-trained physician with a 10+ year background in the Dermatology and Pathology fields.
So how can you incorporate your leftover pumpkin into your daily regimen?
Dr. Frieling suggests “mashing it up into a facemask to moisturize, using it as an ingredient in an exfoliant mixture with brown sugar and honey, or using some of it in your meal prep to garner some of the benefits of pumpkin from the inside out.”
Dr. Frieling shared four reasons why you should incorporate your Halloween pumpkin leftovers into your wellness routine.
Addresses Age marks: Wrinkles and brown spots
Pumpkin contains Vitamin A derivatives that aid in reducing the depth of fine lines over extended periods. Excessive sun exposure may accelerate spots of hyperpigmentation and the degradation of the skin’s firmness. Pumpkin can add an extra nudge to your beauty routine to address this.
Alleviates Acne and helps with Oily Skin
Pumpkin contains a healthy portion of zinc in its seeds. Zinc can help alleviate acne in some people. While not nearly as powerful as a prescription acne treatment, adding pumpkin seeds to your daily routine as a snack can help give you extra zinc, iron, magnesium, fiber, and even protein. It will also work to regulate oil production in the skin, helping to prevent the build-up of excess oil in the pores.
Uneven skin tones and smoother texture
Many patients experience problems with their skin texture and uneven skin tones. Today, a variety of beauty products use pumpkin as an additive to aid in smoothing out skin tones and textures. Pumpkin can get the job done because it contains alpha-hydroxy acids, which are naturally found in food and which is often used to improve dry, wrinkled, or acne-prone skin. What AHAs do to the skin is clear out the outermost layer of dead skin cells and thickening the deeper layers to create the appearance of tighter skin.
Nutrients and minerals such as zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin E also reduce inflammation. These are found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Some examples include carrots, pumpkin, squash, beans, spinach, kale, sunflower seeds, broccoli, blueberries, and brown rice. Vitamin C in pumpkin helps reduce inflammation, puffiness, and redness in the skin while also calming the epidermis. Vitamin C is also popular for its collagen-boosting effect.
About the Expert:
Board-Certified Dermatopathologist Dr. Gretchen Frieling
Dr. Gretchen Frieling (“Dr. G”), MD is a Harvard-trained, board-certified Dermatopathologist, with over 10 years of experience in Medicine and Dermatopathology. With a background notable for intensive ballet, including the Juilliard School, Dr. G combines her artistic eye, perfectionistic qualities, and medical expertise, to give her patients the ability to be better versions of themselves. Dr. G has an extensive academic background, including numerous publications in peer-reviewed medical journals, selected Editor of medical journals, an author of noteworthy medical textbook chapters, an educator at the Harvard Medical School, and speaker at many national medical conferences.
She has been featured across all media channels including online, print, and broadcast. Some of her highlights include US News &World Report, NBCNews, Elle, Everyday Health, RealSimple, Shape, Refinery29, Well + Good, Healthline, Bustle, Popsugar, StyleCaster, and ABC News.