The Great Pumpkin Facial: Is it a Gimmick? The Mystery Revealed

by  Melisse Gelula | Sep 20, 2010
Pumpkin facial ingredients in a jar
Pumpkin facial ingredients in a jar / kazmulka/iStock

Pumpkin is not just great in a pie. It’s also great in a skin-care product or in a facial. Particularly pumpkin enzymes, which literally digest dead skin cells, helping along the skin’s exfoliation process. By clearing these surface skin cells, pumpkin peels help prevent pore congestion and pimples, and they help smooth, refine, and brighten your skin almost immediately. (While it would take several treatments to see dark spots lighten, new skin cells revealed by exfoliating tend to be more even in tone and reflect light better.) Fruit enzymes like pumpkin (or papain from papaya or bromelian from pineapple) sound gentle compared to peels with the word “acid” in them, but they’re definitely potent ingredients.

Pumpkin’s also a multivitamin for the skin, since it contains beta carotene, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E – all great antioxidants that help protect the skin from free radical damage and signs of aging. “Pumpkin is a super-ingredient for the skin,” says Kristin Carpenter, director of the Eau Spa by Cornelia at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach. “It’s a natural cleanser that exfoliates and fights aging.”

While spas offer pumpkin in treatments year-round, this time of year, you’re sure to hear more about them. Here are just some of the pumpkin treatments in the patch worth partaking of:

Eau Spa by Cornelia at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach offers a 90-minute Pumpkin Perfecting Facial ($220) that uses enzymes of pumpkin and papaya for a one-two punch. The combo can help improve sun-damaged skin (an ideal course of action at summer’s end, actually) and impart a skin-perfecting glow.

The new LEED-certified Spa at Woodstock Inn & Resort, in Vermont, draws on the power of pumpkin for its 100-minute pumpkin spice treatment ($210) that’s meant for your body. A gentle pumpkin body scrub is followed by a hydrating body masque, and a full body massage – a head-to-toe skin smoother and de-stressor.

At the Ole Henriksen Spa in Los Angeles the Sugar Glow Face Scrub with pumpkin and sweet honey is the highlight of a purifying facial treatment ($115). It polishes away impurities with pomegranate seeds while loading up the skin with antioxidant skin brighteners like African red tea, vitamin C, and rose hips.

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