Pumpkin Seed Extract (Cucurbita Pepo): Why Should You Be Using It?



What Is Pumpkin Seed Extract?

Pumpkin seed extract or cucurbita pepo extract is a hydrolyzed protein obtained from the Cucurbita pepo or pumpkin seed cake. It is used in a variety of ways such as as an additive in skincare, cosmetic and hair care products or as an oil, known as pumpkin seed oil. 

Both pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seed extracts may help to improve the moisture content of the skin, mitigate the damage of free radicals and provide the skin with a source of nutrients and minerals. 

Pumpkin seed extract is packed with beneficial nutrients, which is why it is added to many different kinds of skin care products. 

In fact, experts believe that a pumpkin contains more than 100 beneficial nutrients that can help reverse signs of aging. Plus, the molecular structure of this extract is small, which means it can penetrate deep into the skin when used topically.

Pumpkin seed extract contains antioxidants such as vitamins A and C, which can stimulate collagen production to help prevent signs of aging. 

Additionally, fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) found in pumpkin seed extract increase cell turnover, leading to a brighter and smoother complexion. 

The extract also contains zinc, which can help those that suffer from acne since zinc is known to help regulate oil production and hormone levels.

Pumpkin Seed Extract

the good: Pumpkin seed extract and pumpkin seed oil may help to improve the moisture content of the skin, protect against free radical damage and may help to improve the texture and tone of your skin.

the not so good: Pumpkin seed extract is a plant-deirved ingredient, as such it is made up of a number of different compounds. This complexity can make it more likely to cause allergic reactions or sensitivity.

Who is it for? All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.

Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients

Keep an eye on: Keep an eye out for more research into this interesting ingredient.

Is Pumpkin Seed Extract Good For Your Skin?

Pumpkin seed extract or pumpkin seed oil is rich in vitamin E, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, zinc, cartenoids, and antioxidants. This makes pumpkin seed extract or pumpkin seed oil a great ingredient to help mitigate the damage of free radicals, improve moisture and maintain the skin’s appearance. Pumpkin seed extract is generally used in 4% concentrations whereas pumpkin seed oil is used as a whole ingredient. 



Pumpkin seed extract contains a fatty acid known as linoelic acid. Linoelic acid helps to support the health of the skin’s natural barrier. The fatty acids present in pumpkin seeds help to restore the skin’s natural barrier function. 

The skin barrier refers to the top layers of skin, natural oils or sebum, ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. The barrier helps to protect the skin from bacteria, allergens and fungi as well as prevent water loss to the air. The skin’s natural barrier is a vital part of maintaining skin health. 



Pumpkin seed extract and oil both contain a number of antioxidants such as zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C. These antioxidants help to reduce or mitigate the impact of free radicals on the skin. Free radicals are produced in response to oxidative stress, a natural process in the body. Oxidative stress often occurs when the body is exposed to pollution, smoke, poor diet or UV rays.  

Free radicals can become an issue when an imbalance is produced. They can damage cells, DNA and have been linked with premature aging, fine lines and wrinkles. 

Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals, minimising the damage to your skin. 


Wound healing 

There have been a few studies that have looked at the benefits of pumpkin seed extract to wound healing. While the evidence isn’t super clear as yet, there are promising results that suggest that the zinc, antioxidants and fatty acids present in pumpkin seed extract and oil may help to support wound healing. 

This benefit may be particualry useful in skin that is prone to blemishes or acne as it may help to support healing of the breakouts and broken skin. 



Pumpkin seed extract contains fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs. AHAs are often used to increase cell turnover, leading to a brighter and smoother complexion.


Acne and blemishes

Pumpkin seed extract and oil also contains zinc which can help those that suffer from acne since zinc is known to regulate oil production and hormone levels.

Pumpkin Seed Extract For Hair

Pumpkin seed extract has also been studied for its benefits to hair growth. The research suggests that the presence of linoleic acid may help to reuce DHT or dihydrotestosterone, a hormone not dissimilar from testosterone that is often responsible for hair loss. The study suggested that pumpkin seed extract was useful in supporting treatments for hair loss, however, more research is needed. 

This study used an oral form of pumpkin seed oil instead of topical use. 

Other benefits of pumpkin seed extract and oil to the hair may include, helping to improve moisture content and resilience of the hair shaft, when applied to the length of the hair. 

Is Pumpkin Seed Oil Comedogenic?

While pumpkin seed extract is a non-comedogenic ingredient, pumpkin seed oil has mild comedogencity. This means that pumpkin seed oil may, depending on your skin type, clog pores. 

Is Pumpkin Seed Extract Vegan?

Pumpkin seed extract and pumpkin seed oil are vegan ingredients. As they are derived from plant-based sources, they are not animal or animal by-product based ingredients. 

If you are looking for a vegan product always ensure the other ingredients in the formulation are vegan, as well as checking whether the brand is cruelty-free. 

Is Pumpkin Seed Extract Safe?

Pumpkin seed extract has been evaluated by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel is a group responsible for evaluating the safety and efficacy of skincare and cosmetic ingredients. 

In their review of the available data, the Expert Panel concluded that pumpkin seed extract is safe for its current uses and in its currently used concentrations. 

Bardaa S, Ben Halima N, Aloui F, et al. Oil from pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) seeds: evaluation of its functional properties on wound healing in rats. Lipids Health Dis. 2016;15:73. Published 2016 Apr 11. 



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