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Handmade 101
Formulating The Pumpkin Patch
Author: Allison B. Vought
Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pumpkins aren't just great for decorations and pie making anymore. With their essential vitamins and nutrients they're also a great way to spice up your fall skincare lines!

Pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae (which also includes gourds). There are a whopping 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins produced each year. According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, 95% of the U.S. pumpkin crop intended for processing is grown in Illinois with the Nestlé Corporation producing 85% of the processed pumpkin in the United States. The U.S. pumpkin market is regarded as limited and seasonal. Pumpkins are grown primarily for processing purposes (canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling) with a small percentage grown for ornamental sales (carving, home processing and decoration).

Pumpkin is rich in important essential vitamins and nutrients necessary for healthy and radiant skin. It is excellent for use on all skin types, but especially useful if skin is damaged from environmental conditions such as overexposure to the sun. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, which soothes and softens the skin, and vitamin C, an antioxidant that can help to remedy damage produced by free radicals.

Pumpkin is a popular choice in specialty skincare products because it is trendy and readily associated with the fall season. However, as with any natural ingredient, there is often a limited supply of pumpkin when demand peaks. In the fall of 2009, rain in Illinois devastated the Nestlé pumpkin crop, resulting in a shortage affecting the entire country during the Thanksgiving holiday season.

Pumpkin flesh in powder or flake form, pumpkin seed oil, pumpkin seed extract, pumpkin fragrance oils, pumpkin seed powder and pumpkin seed butter are readily available cosmetic additives which can be easily incorporated into your fall product formulations.

All is not lost if pumpkin isn’t readily available or if you are searching for something unusual for your fall line. It’s easy to duplicate the same nutrients found in pumpkin by substituting similar vegetable varieties within the same family. Sweet potatoes, yams, carrots and many varieties of gourds and squash contain the same antioxidant-rich carotenoids and enzymes found in the common pumpkin. These unusual additives can be a boon for companies looking to offer a unique twist on the predictable pumpkin theme. If you’re not sure where to start, the following table offers a “cheat sheet” for making substitutions in your pumpkin formulations.

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