Study shows pumpkins may have cosmetic value

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A Thai research team, Chanpirom et al., recently published an article in the journal Cosmetics investigating the cosmetic ingredient potential of two types of pumpkin used around the world.

Traditional pumpkins and Japanese pumpkins, which are commonly used in food in Thailand, contain polysaccharides, carotenoids, mineral elements and amino acids. Chanpirom et al. also stated that pumpkins show promise with antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidiabetic and hypoglycemic effects.

The research team stated that plant-derived polysaccharides are said to have bioactive properties and are already used from several sources to improve skin hydration and antioxidant, anticoagulant, antiviral, immuno-inflammatory and antilipidemic activities.

“Over the past decade, plant-derived polysaccharides have been used as natural active ingredients for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries,”Chanpirom et al. said.

Antioxidant and moisturizing activity

In addition to characterizing some of the physicochemical properties of traditional and Japanese pumpkins, Chanpirom et al. sought to test some of the measures of bioactivity that have cosmetic value.

In previous DPPH radical scavenging tests to identify antioxidant activity, polysaccharides from cucurbits, which include squashes like pumpkin, watermelon, squash, and cucumber, have shown antioxidant potential.

Chanpirom et al. found that traditional pumpkin extract worked as an antioxidant comparable to one of the commonly used antioxidants on the market, l-ascorbic acid. The research team also found that Japanese pumpkin extract performed better than traditional pumpkins.

They also tested Japanese pumpkins for their moisturizing effects.

“The polysaccharide, mainly of natural origin, is widely used as a natural moisturizer in the cosmetics industry”,Chanpirom et al. said. “Based on the skin irritation test, pumpkin polysaccharide was found to be safe and its moisturizing effect could be further tested on the skin of volunteers.”

Over a short period, Japanese Pumpkin Extract was able to improve moisture over a short period of time. However, over a longer period, the extract was not as effective and overall Chanpirom et al. said Japanese pumpkin did not perform better than hyaluronic acid.

The extract has potential

Both extracts exhibit antioxidant activity and the added moisturizing effects of Japanese pumpkin make it a promising candidate for anti-aging and moisturizing personal care products, Chanpirom et al. said.

However, the research team did not specify in which direction future research on pumpkin extracts should go.

Title: “Alternative use of vegetable crops: pumpkin polysaccharide extract and their effectiveness on skin hydration”

Author: Chanpirom et al.

Source: Cosmetics 2022, 9(6), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics9060113​ (DOI registration)

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