Here’s why many DIY pumpkin skin care recipes are unsafe. Learn how you can spot an unsafe recipe, plus 3 tips on how to safely use pumpkin in handmade skin care products.
I really love every last millisecond of fall: crisp autumn skies, apple picking, hot cocoa, roaring fires, and sweater weather. And, of course, the unofficial mascot of the season: the pumpkin.
This happy orange gourd deserves its time in the spotlight. It’s super healthy and yummy (especially in pies, and breads, and lattes. But I guess those all cancel out its health benefits, right?)
No matter, pumpkin is still wonderful. Did you know that pumpkin is good for your skin too?
Pumpkin is loaded with exfoliating enzymes, vitamins A and C. It’s a skin superfood.
This time of year, the web is positively bursting with DIY pumpkin skin care recipes. Pumpkin sugar scrubs, pumpkin lip balms, pumpkin face masks, pumpkin lotions. And they all sound. So. Scrumptious.
But there is an insidious dark side to many of these recipes. You see…
When pumpkin isn’t incorporated into DIY skin care products the right way, it can be downright AWFUL for your skin.
Here lies the problem:
Many of the pumpkin skin care recipes found on the internet and DIY skin care books call for fresh or canned pumpkin. That’s cool.
They then instruct you to leave these products, unrefrigerated on the shelf, and use them for months. Months, friend! SO NOT COOL.
Because what is happening to that pumpkin, that has been so lovingly stirred into your product, and left to sit on your bathroom shelf?
Pumpkin puree turns your DIY skin care products into a veritable petri dish of mold, yeast, and bacteria.
Then you unsuspectingly massage that sugar scrub onto your skin or, worse yet, apply that handmade pumpkin lip balm onto your lips. Icky. Just because you can’t see stuff growing, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
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I literally cringe when I see some of these recipes floating around. And I want to cry for those who are making and using them, and maybe even giving them out as gifts!
Here is a very important DIY pumpkin skin care making tip for you:
Any DIY product containing fresh or canned pumpkin MUST be kept in the refrigerator and used within 3 to 4 days.
Recipes containing fresh or canned pumpkin should never be kept on the shelf, nor should they be used for weeks or months on end. Think about what would happen if you left a scoop of plain canned pumpkin on your kitchen counter for a few days; it wouldn’t take long for it to become icky and smelly and spoiled.
The same happens in your skin care product, friend. (And, no, contrary to what some beauty bloggers or natural skin care peeps will say, mixing it in a sugar or salt base does not preserve the pumpkin.)
Safe Ways to Use Pumpkin In Your DIY Skin Care Products
That doesn’t mean pumpkin is off-limits for DIY skin care crafting. On the contrary, there are many scrumptious handmade recipes you can craft, and even give as gifts!
Here are three SAFE ways to use pumpkin in your handmade products.
1. Using Fresh or Canned Pumpkin
You can still use fresh or canned pumpkin in your DIY skin care recipes. Just blend up small batches to be used immediately.
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Some of my go-to favorties:
For a pumpkin spice body scrub: Stir 1/4 cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree with 1/2 cup sugar and a dash of cinnamon. Use right away by hopping into a shower, massaging into the skin, and rinsing well.
For an exfoliating pumpkin peel facial mask: Mix 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree with a half tablespoon thick yogurt and 1/4 teaspoon honey. Apply to a clean face. Let set for 5 minutes and rinse with warm water. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer.
Remember, these recipes must either be used immediately or stored in the fridge and used up within 3 to 4 days.
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2. Use Pumpkin Seed Oil
For things like lip balm and lotion, pumpkin seed oil is the best way to get the benefits of pumpkin without the yucky spoilage issues.
Pumpkin seed oil has beautiful skin care benefits. It’s full of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, trace minerals, and vitamins A, E, and C.
Anecdotally, pumpkin seed oil helps support collagen, and restores skin elasticity and firmness. It’s incredibly nourishing for dry, parched skin.
Sub out any oil in your regular recipe for pumpkin seed oil. You can also incorporate it into sugar scrubs as I did in this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Sugar Body Polish.
Products made with pumpkin seed oil can safely be kept on the shelf for several months.
3. Use Pumpkin Powder
If you have your heart set on a shelf-stable pumpkin product that has no need for refrigeration, pumpkin powder is the way to go. It is dehydrated pumpkin that has been ground to a fine powder, and gives you all of the benefits of fresh pumpkin without the risk of spoilage.
The trick to using pumpkin powder is to leave it in a dry mix, and activate by adding water (or other liquid) just before using. So, you can mix the pumpkin powder into dry mask bases, bath bombs, bath soaks, and such.
Products made with pumpkin powder will last unrefrigerated for several months, as long as the base is kept dry and only hydrated just before use.
Happy DIY pumpkin skin care crafting, friend!