I'm an October baby, which is likely why I get so excited about Fall. The changing of the leaves is soon to be followed by pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, and my favorite -- a plethora of pumpkin-flavored foods!
From a nutritional standpoint, the pumpkin is hard to beat. This fall superfood brings protein, fiber, potassium, and loads of vitamins to the table while remaining under 50 calories per cup.
You may eat your fair share of pumpkin bread and other sweet treats, but did you know that pumpkin is also the perfect seasonal treat for your skin? It's beauty-boosting properties give your skin a healthy glow despite the blustery days and chilly nights of fall.
Pumpkins get their orange hue from plant nutrients called carotenoids, natural pigments that act as antioxidants, fight wrinkles, and improve skin elasticity.
Pumpkins are also chock-full of vitamins A and C, which keep skin feeling baby-soft, as well as boosting the production of collagen, a protein in the skin that breaks down as we age.
Plus, the enzymes found in pumpkin act as a great natural exfoliator to help loosen dead skin cells without the harshness of added chemicals. If you have sensitive skin or rosacea, you may have trouble tolerating certain exfoliants and peels. Pumpkin, on the other hand, is mild yet effective.
Your DIY Beauty Treat
Now that you know why you should add a pumpkin beauty treatment to your regimen, how about a super easy recipe that you can whip up on your own?
When you're hollowing out carving pumpkins, separate out the seeds (don't throw away, we'll use them later,) put the flesh to the side, and schedule a Girl's Night In.
Alexis Wolfer, founder of TheBeautyBean.com and author of The Recipe For Radiance shares one of the amazing DIY beauty recipes from her book with us, the Pumpkin Key Lime Brightener. If using fresh pumpkin, Alexis recommends steaming and pureeing it first.
Pumpkin Key Lime Brightener
(for all skin types)
Combining the vitamin A of the pumpkin, the citric acid of the lime, and the lauric acid of the coconut oil, this scrub works to break down damaged, darkened skin cells that the sugar can then manually exfoliate away. At the same time, the vitamin C and citric acids in the key lime juice help to brighten your skin to further reduce the appearance of dark spots.
2 tablespoons pumpkin, fresh (steamed and pureed) or canned
1 key lime, juiced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin cold-pressed coconut oil
3 tablespoons white sugar
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl to form a thick paste. Apply to darkened areas, avoiding your eye area. Let sit for 10 minutes before gently scrubbing away. Rinse remnants off with warm water.
Waste Not, Want Not
Hey, remember those seeds you saved when you were tricking out your jack-o-lanterns? It's time to roast a nutritious and delicious savory snack!
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are rich in the mineral zinc which helps your body fight off colds and other viruses by boosting immunity. These are great eaten alone, mixed with your favorite nuts, and for topping off your yogurt.
Preheat over to 300 degrees F.
Place them in a colander, give 'em a good rinse, and shake to dry (note: don't pat dry with paper towels; the seeds will stick.)
Spread the seeds out in a single layer and coat with a little olive oil (or melted coconut oil if you prefer,) sea salt, and any of your favorite spices.
Roast for about 45 minutes, until golden brown.