There’s no question that pumpkins are popular— particularly in the fall. Pumpkin pie, jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin lattes. Everything seems to turn orange with the changing of the seasons.
What many people don’t know is that there are incredible anti-aging benefits of pumpkin seed oil for skin. This pumpkin product isn’t orange like all the rest, but it’s one of the best oils for natural skincare. And, of course, it doesn’t have to be used only during the autumn months.
Here’s more on this lesser known oil and how it can benefit your complexion.
All About Pumpkin Seed Oil
Many people enjoy eating pumpkin seeds as a delicious snack. They come from specific pumpkin varieties that contain seeds which are large enough and tender enough to be used as food.
If you were to cut open a pumpkin, you would find clusters of white seeds at the center. The white part of the seed is known as the husk or the hull. It’s completely edible but is crunchier and harder to chew than the inner part. Once it’s removed, a light green inner seed is revealed.
These inner seeds are the part that gets pressed to make pumpkin seed oil. The end product is deep green or amber in color, just like the seeds themselves, with a mild nutty fragrance.
Pumpkin Seeds for Cleansing & Skincare
Though pumpkin seed oil is still mostly an underrated (or unknown) oil in modern skincare, it has a long history of use for skin and health.
It’s fair to say that pumpkin seeds have probably been eaten for nearly as long as they’ve been grown. They were popular with Native American and Aztec cultures and became a staple for many eastern countries when pumpkins spread around the world.
In many traditional practices (including traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda), pumpkin seeds and oil have mainly been used for cleansing. The seeds are used to help rid the body of intestinal parasites. Both seeds and oil are also thought to help the body cleanse itself of toxins.
Of course, the oil was also used for skincare, hair care, and likely for cooking.
Top Benefits of Pumpkin Seed Oil for Skin
Full of Nutrients that “Feed” Your Skin
Do you ever think about what you “feed” your skin?
Your body needs certain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. to thrive and your skin does, too. Of course, some of these nutrients can be transported from within your body to your skin, but your skin also soaks up what you apply to it.
Pumpkin seed oil is particularly rich in skin-boosting nutrients, even more so than many other oils. It contains unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, beta-carotene (vitamin A), carotenoids (antioxidants), and sterols (lipids).
Every single one of these nutrients has a specific benefit for your skin— as you’ll find out in more detail later on.
Moisturizing Yet Balancing
Pumpkin seed oil is full of unsaturated fatty acids that deeply hydrate skin. The exact composition will vary based on the origin of the pumpkin seeds, but the three main fatty acids present are linoleic, oleic, and palmitic. There are also smaller amounts of linoleic, stearic, and myristic fatty acids.
This fatty acid profile is very nourishing and moisturizing for skin. It helps to restore the lipid matrix in your skin’s barrier, which is essential for keeping moisture locked in.
Of course, this means there are particular benefits of pumpkin seed oil for dry skin. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad for oily or combination skin.
In fact, the zinc and selenium in pumpkin seed oil are thought to help balance oil in the skin. They work to keep oily skin in check, even while the fatty acids are deeply absorbed to help with hydration.
Supports Collagen Production to Keep Skin Youthful-Looking
As you may know, collagen is a very essential skin protein. It makes up about 75% of your skin and helps to keep it plump, thick, and firm. As collagen production declines (which happens with age), skin starts to “deflate” and thin, allowing wrinkles and fine lines to show up.
Unfortunately, collagen molecules are too large for your skin to simply absorb them, making most collagen creams useless.
However, there is a natural ingredient present in pumpkin seed oil that’s known to promote collagen synthesis: Vitamin C. Not only can it help to reverse low collagen levels, vitamin C may also help to increase skin thickness.
By applying pumpkin seed oil daily (and other vitamin C ingredients like camu camu) you are helping your skin to fend off wrinkles for longer.
Fights Free Radicals & Signs of Aging
There are more anti-aging benefits of pumpkin seed oil for skin than simply stimulating collagen production. Along with vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant itself, pumpkin seed oil is packed with potent plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-aging effects.
Most notably, pumpkin seed oil is rich in vitamin E, beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A), and carotenoids— all skin-boosting antioxidants.
Your skin needs antioxidants for the same reason your body does: to neutralize free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that “attack” and damage other molecules. This includes the very important proteins, lipids, and tissues in your skin. Even worse, free radicals induce the enzymes that break down collagen and elastin (the protein that keeps skin elastic).
To put it simply, free radicals are one of the biggest age-accelerators for your skin. Antioxidants are the best defense against them, since they neutralize free radicals and keep them from doing damage.
Feed your skin all the antioxidants you can, including the ones in pumpkin seed oil!
Helps Protect Against UV Damage
Damage from overexposure to UV rays is another huge age-accelerator for your skin.
Technically known as photodamage, too much UV radiation can harm skin tissues in the deepest layers. This leads to premature signs of aging like wrinkles, dark spots, and uneven texture. At the worst, photodamage can result in skin cancer.
Once again, there are benefits of pumpkin seed oil for protecting skin from this type of damage due to its excellent antioxidant content.
Vitamin C and vitamin E are an especially powerful duo when it comes to photoprotection. They work synergistically to protect your skin from harmful UV damage, offering even more protection together than either of them would alone.
The carotenoids in pumpkin seed oil also have strong photoprotective properties. They help to limit the damage and neutralize free radicals that may be generated as a result of UV exposure.
Soothing & Rejuvenating for Skin
The fatty acids and antioxidants in pumpkin seed oil are very soothing for irritated skin. Some small studies have shown that the oil has anti-inflammatory effects and may be beneficial for skin conditions like eczema.
In addition to this, pumpkin seed oil also contains compounds that brighten skin and reduce the appearance of redness.
For example, both vitamin C and vitamin A (beta-carotene) have skin-brightening properties. They help to restore your skin’s natural glow and help fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation (dark spots). Zinc is also known to calm inflammatory skin issues, like rosacea, helping to restore an even skin tone.
Overall, pumpkin seed oil contains small amounts of many different nutrients that soothe and brighten your skin.
May Benefit Acne-Prone Skin
There are some potential benefits of pumpkin seed oil for acne-prone skin.
To begin with, pumpkin seed oil is not a heavy or greasy oil. It has a low comedogenic rating, which means it’s unlikely to clog pores. As mentioned earlier, the zinc and selenium present in the oil may help to balance oil production— another positive for skin prone to breakouts.
The anti-inflammatory nature of pumpkin seed oil may also help with breakouts. It’s not going to be a treatment for acne, but it can help reduce redness.
As an internal supplement, zinc is one of the most helpful nutrients for acne. There isn’t much research on whether it can help when applied topically, but it’s possible that the small amounts found in pumpkin seed oil have positive effects against breakouts.
Finally, the skin-brightening effects of the vitamin C and carotenoids in pumpkin seed oil can be hugely helpful for the hyperpigmentation that shows up after breakouts are gone. Applying it daily may help fade the appearance of dark spots left behind by acne.
Great for Scalp Health & Hair Growth
When it comes to skincare, don’t forget about your scalp! This section of skin is often neglected but needs to be taken care of if you want shiny, healthy-looking hair.
Pumpkin seed oil is an excellent choice for a natural scalp and hair conditioner. It moisturizes without leaving a greasy residue behind and imparts the same benefits to your scalp that it does to the rest of your skin.
Researchers have also discovered that pumpkin seed oil can block the activity of 5-alpha reductase. This is the enzyme that converts testosterone into an androgen known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
For reasons still unknown, too much DHT in the body causes hair loss. This is particularly a problem for men but can also effect women.
By blocking the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT, pumpkin seed oil may help with hair loss and stimulate hair growth. At least one study has already shown that applying it can increase hair count by up to 40%. Great news for anyone dealing with DHT-related hair loss!
Are There Other Benefits of Pumpkin Seed Oil?
The benefits of pumpkin seed oil for skin are truly outstanding, but it can also be a healthy diet addition as well. It’s mainly comprised of unsaturated fats, which are thought to be beneficial for your heart, and is full of nutrients (as you know).
Studies have also revealed the following potential health benefits:
- May Lower Inflammation— Just like it combats skin inflammation, pumpkin seed oil may also help to lower inflammation in your body. It particularly seems to have an effect on inflammation related to the liver and the heart.
- May Support Prostate Health— At least one study has found that consuming the oil daily may reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (non-cancerous prostate enlargement).
- Promotes Heart Health— Some research has found that pumpkin seed oil may help to lower blood pressure. It has also demonstrated cardioprotective effects and increased HDL (good) cholesterol levels in one study.
- Menopause Helper?— The same study that found improvements in HDL cholesterol levels also found that pumpkin seed oil improved several menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, headaches, and joint pain. Pumpkin seed oil is full of surprises!
Choosing a Quality Pumpkin Seed Oil
To get the most benefits of pumpkin seed oil for skin (or health), you need to use a high quality oil.
Look for an option that is cold-pressed and unrefined. This ensures that as many beneficial plant compounds are kept intact as possible. This type of pumpkin seed oil will retain a deep green or amber color and should have a light, nutty scent.
Pumpkin seed oil has a fairly long shelf life compared to some other plant-based oils. However, you should still store it somewhere dark and cool so that it doesn’t go rancid.
Also, strongly consider buying USDA Certified Organic pumpkin seed oil. This ensures that the pumpkins were grown and the oil was extracted without the use of toxic chemicals. It also means no toxins, fillers, or synthetic ingredients were added to the final product.
Pumpkin Seed Oil for Cleansing, Anti-Aging Skincare
Did you know that pumpkin seed oil also makes a great cleansing oil?
For gentle, yet effective, cleansing and younger-looking skin, look into the Pur-Radiance face cleanser from Purity Woods. It contains organic pumpkin seed oil and a few other select plant-based oils to moisturize skin while it’s being cleansed.
Unlike many other facial cleansers, Pur-Radiance does not strip your skin of its natural oils and won’t dry it out. Instead, it deeply cleans pores while still providing hydration and protection for even the most sensitive skin.
In addition, the Pur-Radiance formula contains powerful antioxidant ingredients (including pumpkin seed oil!) that work to diminish signs of aging like wrinkles, dark spots, and saggy-looking skin. They also help brighten the appearance of your skin and renew skin tone.
Learn more about the USDA Organic Pur-Radiance facial cleanser here and start nourishing your skin with pumpkin seed oil.