This post is from KS contributing writer Jamie Larrison of How To Just About Anything.
I would have to say that Autumn is by far my favorite season. Warm mugs of milky chai tea, crunchy leaves, the crisp coolness to the air, and pumpkin everything! With everyone making pumpkin muffins, pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin-whatever-else, this is the perfect season to add pumpkin to your skincare routine.
Why a Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub?
You may be thinking, “I want to eat pumpkin, not rub it on my face.” However, this autumn food staple has some amazing benefits for skin.
Pumpkin contains naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids, or AHA’s. Many modern skincare lines have incorporated AHA’s into their product because of their amazing skin benefits. These help to remove the top layer of dead skin and can be applied at high concentrations by a trained cosmetologist. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay loads of money and deal with unwanted side effects in order to reap the benefits of AHA’s.
So what makes these little things so amazing? AHA’s combat acne while helping fade acne scars and skin blemishes. They also stimulate firmer skin to fight fine lines and wrinkles. AND they even skin tone and moisturize even the driest of skin (source).
Want Fewer Wrinkles, Smoother Skin and Less Blemishes?
Pumpkin also contains vitamin A, which isn’t just good for your eyesight. Vitamin A derived retinol is huge in the skincare world right now for it’s clinically studied ability to reduce wrinkles, fade brown spots and smooth skin. These prescription strength products have their downside however, causing skin irritation and peeling. Even though it’s not convenient to mass market in a fancy overpriced jar, the benefits of vitamin A are available right in your pantry.
If all that weren’t enough, pumpkins are also loaded with skin healthy vitamin C. This vitamin occurs naturally in both the dermal and epidermal skin layers, but declines as we age. When applied topically, vitamin C helps protect against sun damage. It’s also a vital component of synthesis which helps prevent wrinkles and the saggy baggies.
Unlike some products, natural vitamin C will sink deep into your skin and is considered to be more effective than it’s synthetic counterparts. Not only does synthetic vitamin C in packaged beauty products not work as well, but it’s been found to have some toxic side effects.
The downside to using natural vitamin C though to protect your skin against sun damage , is that its inefficient when used alone. Fortunately several studies have found that the sun protecting effects are majorly boosted, when paired with antioxidant vitamin E. Can you guess what also has vitamin E? Yep. Pumpkin.
So What Else is in it?
Pumpkins also contain high amounts of vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. Pumpkins are also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, which combat dry cold weather skin, reduce inflammation and prevent cells from dehydrating. That’s quite a resume for something as seemingly simple as a pumpkin!
Not only do you get the benefits of pumpkin in this scrub, but coconut oil as well. This versatile oil can do some pretty awesome things for your skin. It has antibacterial and antioxidant properties to help fight those dreaded, cancer causing free radicals. It’s also a heavy duty moisturizer. This study found that 55 of 59 children experienced significant improvement from their dermatitis, a severe drying skin condition, after using coconut oil.
This super easy recipe also contains cinnamon, an anti inflammatory, making it perfect for redness and acne. Lastly this scrub also includes raw honey, which is very moisturizing and good for clearing up skin.
Some Tips for You
I don’t cook with regular, processed white sugar, but I do use it as a cheap ingredient in my sugar scrubs. Feel free to use organic sugar, raw cane sugar, or even rapadura if you prefer. Do not however use salt in place of the sugar, unless you omit the castile soap. For some reason these two ingredients react together to form a weird, rubbery substance.
You can use refined or unrefined coconut oil in this recipe. I used regular, unrefined because there isn’t enough in this recipe to make it smell overwhelmingly of coconut.
The best thing about this scrub though is that it smells divine!
If you find yourself getting hungry as you’re whipping up this scrub, feel free to make some of these pumpkin cheesecake bars while you’re at it. It’s also the perfect way to use up the rest of that canned pumpkin you just opened up!
Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub Recipe
Note: Ingredients often use affiliate links to Amazon and Tropical Traditions, but obviously you should shop for the best price and try to keep your dollars local when you can.
- 1/3 c. canned or fresh pureed pumpkin
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground clove
- 1 and 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs. coconut oil
- 1 Tbs. raw honey
- 1 Tbs. unscented castile soap (optional)
- 2 drops cinnamon essential oil (optional)
- 3 drops vanilla essential oil OR 1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
- Combine all ingredients, except for the sugar, in a bowl and stir until smooth. If your castile soap is strong smelling, like mine, then you may not want to use it since it will probably overpower the mix and make it smell funny.
- Add the sugar and stir. I also find it helpful to mash everything together with a fork.
Use this anywhere on your body for super smooth moisturized skin. Be sure to avoid your eyes of course! I like using it before and after shaving my legs since it makes them feel amazing. Be careful using this in the shower, however, as it can make the floor slippery.
Store any unused amount in the fridge and use within 2 weeks, or until it starts to spoil.
What’s your favorite seasonal pumpkin product?
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to Amazon and Tropical Traditions from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.