Pamper with pumpkin

Pumpkin is a powerhouse when it comes to skin care as it gives dull skin an instant glow, visibly improving texture and tones with substances that soothe, hydrate and renew skin and help tame the signs of aging. Angela Lopez of Belle-Toi in Bournemouth has been using pumpkin juice for reducing puffy skin and swelling, a tip she discovered when reading about plastic surgeons in South Korea using it with great success after procedures.

Angela was not suprised to find that the humble Halloween pumpkin was being used as it is packed with skin-loving nutrients like antioxidants, zinc, vitamins A and C, fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids. She suggests when you’ve made your lantern and pumpkin pie, dab a little of the left over flesh over your body!

Rub pumpkin flesh on rough lips to make them more kissable!

Pumpkin is excellent for use on all skin types, but especially on skin that’s damaged by environmental conditions such as overexposure to the sun. For a soothing and healing facemask she combines a cup of the puree with a tablespoon of honey and a small pot of live yogurt then spread it on the face and lets it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water and pats dry. Sun or wind dried skin and even lack lustre hair can be treated with this mask when olive oil is added to the blend.

If you suffer from acne, blemishes or frequent breakouts, your skin will benefit from pumpkin. Try rubbing the fleshy side of a wedge of pumpkin over your face and it will promote healthier skin by fighting inflammation, reducing pore size, controlling excess oil and preventing the appearance of pimples, blackheads and blemishes

Use pumpkin flesh to make a sugar scrub, mix together equal parts pumpkin puree and olive oil and add enough sugar until you have thick slurry. In the shower gently rub all over with a flannel and rinse then pat dry with a warm, fluffy towel as usual.

For hydrating, soothing and softening dry, cracked hands and feet mix your sugar scrub with 2 tablespoons of Vaseline. Apply nightly to your feet, and put cotton socks on for a deep moisturizing treatment.

For beautiful soft and smooth skin, mix pumpkin puree with coconut oil and slather it all over your body whilst having a shower then dry yourself.

Grow Your Own Pumpkin

Pumpkins are great fun to grow especially for Halloween lanterns and for making the tasty American classic pumpkin pie, so make sure you make room for two or three on your veg plot. As well as fruit they produce a plentiful supply and flowers that can also be eaten as fritters.

Sunshine and moisture are essential for growing pumpkins, especially when the plants are in flower and later when the fruits start to swell, so dig in plenty of well-rotted manure before planting and mulch to conserve moisture at the roots

Plants are frost sensitive, so you can either wait until the end of May when the soil has warmed up sufficiently to sow seeds in situ or for an earlier crop, sow seed in pots in March indoors in the warmth. Sow one seed, on its edge, in a good-sized pot to avoid potting on and plant them out when the risk of a hard frost has passed.

Pumpkins are hungry plants so fork in plenty of well-rotted organic matter to keep them happy and set the plant or seed on a slight mound to leave a little moat around the plant to allow for watering later.

Cover surrounding bare soil with mulch to help reduce competition from weeds and conserve moisture at the roots – black polythene mulch is a good choice, as it will also keep the developing fruits off the damp soil and clean.

Feed the growing plants every fortnight throughout the summer with a liquid fertilizer and pinch back the main stem of rampant trailing varieties when it has reached 90-120cm to encourage ripening.

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