There is nothing like the change of weather to make us think of pumpkins and the upcoming holiday season. Pumpkins begin to appear in early October and become part of our seasonal food celebrations as well as the decorations we use throughout the remainder of the year.
Pumpkins are a fabulous health food and natural supplement, rich in powerful antioxidants like Vitamin E, which is present in both the meat and seeds of pumpkin. What makes pumpkin unique as a source of antioxidants is that it contains all forms of vitamin E: alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alpha-tocomonoenol and gamma-tocomonoenol. This diversity of forms makes the antioxidant effect of Vitamin E in pumpkin more powerful than other foods that contain just one form of Vitamin E. Antioxidants are known to protect against free radicals that cause aging and degenerative disease, making seasonal pumpkins a favorite health food.
Pumpkins contain conventional minerals like zinc and manganese along with phosphorus, and magnesium. Additionally, they are good sources of iron and copper. Minerals support every aspect of function for a healthy body. Pumpkin also contains phenolic antioxidants and lignans providing protection against cancer.
Pumpkin is used in the beauty world because its antioxidants brighten and rejuvenate the skin. Enzymes and alpha-hydroxy acids in pumpkin can help to exfoliate and draw impurities out of the skin while introducing enzymes, nutrients and vitamins for skin when used in skincare products. Pumpkin is a natural UVA/UVB sun protectant thanks to its high zinc content.
Pumpkin is an important ingredient to consider when buying skin care products because it helps remove toxins trapped deep in the pores and neutralizes free radicals. It is high in vitamins C, B1, B2, B5 and E promoting cell turn over and regeneration and is frequently used in facial cleansers, toners and face moisturizers. At the non surgical aesthetics division of Ruthie Harper MD, we add a fall pumpkin peel to our practice seasonally as part of our personalized skincare program to give people the health and beauty benefits of pumpkin. We find that many people respond better to pumpkin peels than to glycolic peels as a wrinkle treatment, with immediate improvement in the clarity and smoothness of their skin. People with sensitive skin and acne benefit from the pumpkin peel because it is less aggressive than a glycolic peel.