The Power of Pumpkin

Fallen leaves aren’t the only blazing orange signs of autumn—buxom, beautiful pumpkins are also a telltale marker of the changing seasons. Essential for Halloween window displays and Thanksgiving meals, this tasty fruit is also a must-have for autumnal spa menus.

“Mother Nature takes care of us in a thoughtful way, and the abundance of pumpkin during this time of year may not be coincidental,” says Szilvia Hickman, senior vice president at Szép Élet, distributor of Ilike Organic Skin Care. “During the summer, skin can become dehydrated, and the damaging rays of the sun can speed up the aging process. At the same time, the dry, cool winter months are approaching, so this is the best time of the year to rehydrate and rejuvenate the skin.”

According to Hickman, pumpkin is rich in nutrients that boost the health of the skin, such as alpha- and beta-carotenes. “Carotenes are orange pigments that act as important antioxidants that boost immunity and slow the degenerative process of aging by protecting the cells from damage caused by free radicals,” she says. “Beta-carotenes generate vitamin A in the body that ensures proper immune functions.” Pumpkins are also chock-ful of vitamins C and E, which revive skin; vitamin B5, which alleviates stress and balances hormone levels; and fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron, which allow the skin to normalize fluid levels and help cells regenerate.

For those interested in exploring the vitamin-rich benefits of pumpkin, the exfoliating Pumpkin Peel ($95, 50 minutes) at The Sanderling Spa (Duck, NC) is a perfect introduction. Leaving skin noticeably soft and luminous after only one session, the service, which features Ilike Organic Skin Care products, is ideal for kissing summer-worn skin goodbye and prepping it for the fall. “Pumpkin enzymes refine and smooth the skin while working as exfoliating agents to remove dull skin cells,” says spa manager Ashley Vaught.

Divas in Dallas can enjoy a similarly named service at Hotel ZaZa’s ZaSpa. Using Innovative Body Science products, the ultra-hydrating Your Pumpkin APEEL ($150, 80 minutes) invites guests to indulge in a self-heating and exfoliating Pumpkin Spice Body Masque, which combines pumpkin with clove to serve as an antiseptic, coffee to stimulate circulation, nutmeg to reduce inflammation, and vitamin E to nourish the skin. “This is followed by a 50-minute full-body massage with hydrating Pumpkin Butter,” says spa manager Chris Niederschulte. “With a treatment this relaxing, guests are sure to ‘fall’ in love with ZaSpa.”

Reducing the appearance of dimpled skin, the Pumpkin Body Wrap ($315, 1 hour 50 minutes) is offered year-round at LakeHouse Spa at Lake Austin Spa Resort (TX). This treatment, which features Body Bliss products, combines a mask, a wrap, a shower, and a 70-minute massage. “Clients notice a significant improvement in the texture of the skin immediately, especially when it comes to cellulite,” says spa director Lynne Vertrees. Pumpkin products are not only perfect for the body but they also do wonders for the face. The Spa at Four Seasons Seattle offers the Pumpkin Enzyme Facial with Oxygen Infusion ($220, 50 minutes). “Hydrating and results-oriented, this treatment is designed to revitalize congested or dull skin through the combination of powerful antioxidants and pure oxygen,” says spa manager Andra Diamond. “An organic enzyme peel is used to remove damaged cells and aid in exfoliating the skin on a much deeper level.”

Eau Spa by Cornelia at The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach (FL) is also celebrating the season with the Pumpkin Perfecting Facial ($220, 90 minutes), designed to help spa-goers transition their skin from summer to fall. “Pumpkin is a super-ingredient for the skin and a powerful antioxidant,” says spa director Kristin Carpenter. “It is high in beta carotene, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E, so not only does it help fight the free radicals that are believed to cause aging but it also acts as a natural cleanser that exfoliates, soothes, and softens the skin. Plus, it smells good enough to eat.”

According to Kimara Ahnert, founder of the Kimara Ahnert Studio (New York City), pumpkin is an ideal exfoliator, because it is rich in antioxidants and enzymes that act like alpha-hydroxy acids. She is a fan of Epicuren’s Pumpkin Enzyme Exfoliator, which is used in her Detoxifying Oxygen Facial ($175, 60 minutes). “Ideal for mature skin, pumpkin acts as a natural alpha hydroxy, which, used on a regular basis, can smooth fine lines and wrinkles and promote skin cell turnover for younger and smoother skin,” says Ahnert.

While there’s a cornucopia of beloved professional products that contain pumpkin, some spas opt to go straight to the source. Just Calm Down Spa (New York City) hand blends cinnamon, milk, nutmeg, and fresh pumpkin to spice up a few of its services, including the A Pumpkin For Your Thoughts Manicure ($45, 90 minutes) and Pedicure ($85, 90 minutes). “There is a pumpkin arm wrap during the manicure and a pumpkin leg wrap during the pedicure, which serve as mini peels,” says spa owner Tara Oolie. “Clients love the feel, the scent, and the results of this treatment. It smells like pumpkin pie.”

Although the skincare benefits are alluring enough, pumpkin-inspired services are a playful way to get people in the mood for fall. Considering the holidays can do a number to the waistline, those interested in sampling a sweet dose of down-home spa-ing sans calories can opt for the Pumpkin and Peach Pie ($240, 90 minutes) at The Spa at Palmetto Bluff (Bluffton, SC). Blending Body Bliss’s Spiced Pumpkin Sugar Scrub with Éminence Organic Skin Care’s Peach Mask and Pumpkin Cream Body Wrap, this treatment preps skin for the party season by buffing it with a Pumpkin and Peach Spiced Body Scrub and finishing with a Pumpkin Dream Body Wrap. “Guests love the creaminess of the wrap,” says spa director Raye Fetzner. “The natural scent is delicious, and the smooth and supple results are incredible.” Whether it is being served up on a dessert menu or a spa menu, pumpkin is the perfect way to indulge people who want to embrace the spirit of the season.

Patch Work
While pumpkins may scream “Halloween,” they are a popular pick year-round. Check out the following products, which harness the benefits of this fruit of the vine.

A Natural Difference Phyto Pumpkin Enzyme Peel: This peel formulated for sensitive and acneic skin contains antioxidants, beta-carotene, and vitamin A to naturally repair skin, exfoliate, and fight free-radical damage. (888) 568-3150; www.anatural

Bioelements Flash Foam Cleanser: This cleanser contains exfo-liating papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin extracts; antioxidant-rich green tea extract; healing panthenol; and soothing orange oil. (800) 433-6650;

Éminence Organic Skin Care Pumpkin Crème Body Wrap: This hydrating body wrap contains a pumpkin purée that is rich in revitalizing nutrients and antioxidants. (888) 747-6342;

GlyMed Plus Intense Antioxidant Professional Exfoliator: Ideal for mature clients, this lactic acid formula contains pumpkin enzyme to retexturize the skin, powerful peptides to stimulate collagen synthesis, and pomegranate extract to provide vitamins and minerals. (800) 676-9667;

Ilike Organic Skin Care Pumpkin & Orange Mask: This restorative mask containing pumpkin and vitamins hydrates skin’s deepest layers, rejuvenates skin, and tightens sagging skin while minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. (888) 290-6238;

Kimberly Parry Eye Serum: Formulated to reduce wrinkles and puffiness and promote cell regeneration, this moisturizing eye serum containing pumpkin also increases collagen and elastin levels. (949) 481-8212;

Moor Spa Pumpkin Peel: This enzyme peel featuring pumpkin for exfoliation also contains glycolic acid to leave skin smoothed and renewed. (800) MOOR-987;

Ole Henriksen Sugar Glow Face Scrub: Featuring pumpkin extract, this scrub brightens and refines skin. Also containing African red tea, honey, pomegranate seeds, and vitamin A, the scrub leaves skin deeply cleansed and free of impurities. (800) 327-0331;

Ormedic Balancing Eye Lift Gel: Containing anti-inflammatory pumpkin seed extract to promote fluid drainage for puffy eyes, this multi-peptide gel hydrates, lifts, and reverses the signs of aging around the eyes. (800) 796-SKIN;

PCA Skin Pumpkin Peel Treatment: This antioxidant treatment brightens skin, exfoliates, smoothes, and stimulates circulation, while salicylic acid-rich pumpkin cleans pores to remove any impurities. (877) 722-7546;

Prima Fleur Nighttime Enzyme Refining Gel Serum: Featuring exfoliating pumpkin enzymes, this anti-
aging nighttime serum stimulates cell renewal and collagen synthesis. (415) 455-0957;

RapidLash Eyelash Renewal Serum: Pumpkin seed extract hydrates lashes to add shine, hydration, and flexibility, while a blend of essential proteins and vitamins leaves lashes thicker, longer, and stronger. (800) 677-9597;

Yon-Ka Paris Pamplemousse: Crafted with grapefruit extracts, pumpkin seed oil, and olive oil, this restorative moisturizer hydrates, brightens, and stimulates the skin’s ability to repair itself. It comes in two versions—one for a normal to dry complexion and one for a normal to oily complexion. (800) 533-6276;