Like pumpkin spice lattes and candles, skin care also loves anything pumpkin-related during the Fall season. The most beauty-centric aspect of the pumpkin is the enzymes extracted from the peel, filling or seeds. When added to skin care, it can encourage skin exfoliation, reduce breakouts, stimulate collagen and brighten skin complexion, per an article from Yahoo.
Related: Terpenes in Essential Oils
According to cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon Dendy Engel, M.D., pumpkin enzymes are alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) that contain vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc, all of which can improve skin conditions.
Besides for firming the skin and acting as a gentler exfoliant, pumpkin enzymes can also exfoliate dead cells and protect the dermis from environmental aggressors, according to dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai, Joshua Zeichner, M.D.
Pumpkin enzymes are typically found in exfoliating masks and scrubs and are appropriate for all skin types, but both dermatologists suggest pumpkin enzymes still have the potential to be irritating and cause redness if not applied properly or if mixed with harsher acids, especially on hyper-reactive skin.
For sensitive skin, Zeichner advises using pumpkin enzymes alongside hydrating, soothing ingredients like niacinamide or hyaluronic acid. If sensitivity is not an issue, mix pumpkin enzymes with hydroxy acids, like glycolic or lactic acid, for stronger exfoliation.