Pumpkin Treatments for Your Skin: Spa at Home with Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

By Myrna Beardshear, Director of Spa, Fitness & Health

MyrnaBeardshearIt seems that, no matter how hard I try, I cook too much of everything for Thanksgiving dinner. I have found some wonderful ways to indulge myself while not over-indulging over the holiday. I do this by putting aside some of the prepared foods before preparing them for the dinner table.

Pumpkin is my favorite skin treat. It is an excellent treatment for all skin types, especially environmentally damaged or sensitive skin. Rich in Vitamin A (skin healing), C (anti-oxidant) and Zinc, the pumpkin soothes, moisturizes and acts as a carrier, assisting the other mask ingredients to absorb deeper into the skin and intensifying the results.

Pumpkin puree has enzymes and antioxidants that offer results similar to gentle alpha-hydroxy action; It removes dead dull cells, while its beta-carotene-rich antioxidants nourish your skin. This will moisturize and nourish your skin, leaving it smooth and glowing.

Pumpkin Body Mask
1/2 cup cooked or canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup solids from a can of coconut milk (Coconut solids are a natural moisturizer)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (ground cinnamon is gently warming, stimulating and antibacterial)


  • Making sure they are at room temperature, mix ingredients in a bowl.
  • Apply generously to clean skin, massaging gently to work well into the skin. (I like to do this while standing on a towel in the bathtub and then I sit on the towel while waiting for the mask to work).
  • Allow the mask to remain on for about 10 minutes, a good time to do some breathing and meditation to relax you after all those hours in the kitchen.
  • Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Pumpkin Pie Face Mask

2 teaspoons cooked or canned pumpkin, pureed
1/2 teaspoon honey (humectant, regenerative)
1/4 teaspoon milk, or soymilk (alpha hydroxyl acid, enzymes digest skin cells)

Optional Ingredients:
For Dry Skin:
1/4 teaspoon heavy whipping cream (moisturizing; alpha hydroxy acid)

For Oily Skin:
1/4 teaspoon cranberry juice (high in antioxidants critically important to the utilization of essential fatty acids to maintain balanced, nourished skin)


  • Combine the ingredients for your facemask.
  • Mix gently and apply to your face avoiding the eye area.
  • Relax for 10-15 minutes while your Thanksgiving mask gently exfoliates, nourishes and conditions your face.
  • Rinse with warm water and apply the appropriate moisturizer for your skin type
    and allow the mixture to penetrate for 15 minutes. Rinse with tepid water.

Calming Cranberry and Orange Herbal Bath
To relax and unwind this season, save half a cup of those wonderful fresh cranberries you bought in an overly energetic moment to make fresh cranberry sauce. Tie the cranberries in some clean muslin and crush them slightly before adding them to hot bath water. Allow bath water to cool for about 10 minutes and add 8-10 drops of essential oil of orange. Test that water is not to warm and soak for about 20 minutes.

Soothing Eggnog Soak
If you buy eggnog over the season, save some of it to try yourself to a luxurious bath.

For super hydrated skin this winter, add 4 cups of eggnog and 8-10 drops of ylang ylang essential oil to warm bath water. Relax in the tub for 20 minutes. You’ll enjoy the luxury of the wonderful milk bath and your skin will feel smooth and soft.

Resources for pumpkin recipes:
Cait Johnson, author of Witch in the Kitchen (Inner Traditions, 2001).
Lipman World, newsletter, Issue 2: Volume 1 2004, www.lipman world.com

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