Does Pumpkin Seed Oil Help Acne?

With all the new trends for skincare on social media, it can be hard to keep up. One trend I have been asked about repeatedly is Pumpkin Seed Oil, which has been around for centuries.

Pumpkin seed oil is a natural vegetable oil that has similar anti-inflammatory properties to coconut and tea tree oil. It is full of antibacterial properties, antioxidants, and powerful minerals to help promote glowing skin and fight acne. Filled with essential vitamins and nutrient-rich fatty acids, pumpkin seed oil helps replenish the balance in your skin. 

Although there are many benefits to using pumpkin seed oil I want to be very clear that this will not magically cure your acne. If you are looking for a natural, long-term way to clear your acne you need to make changes to your diet to decrease oil production and reduce inflammation. I explain how I permanently got rid of my acne in my clear skin guide, Unmasking Acne.

However, pumpkin seed oil is an excellent use for people prone to oily skin as it helps reduce the amount of sebum in the pores without overdrying them. A shocker to many is that over-drying and lack of moisture to our pores can cause excess sebum and more oily skin. Fight dryness, reduce oiliness, and balance moisture all in one with this natural vegetable seed oil. Who doesn’t love pumpkin-themed anything after all? 

Pumpkin Seed Oil is sold across the web and various health and beauty stores. Some fan favorites packed full of antioxidants and great for the skin are NOW Food Pumpkin Seed Oil Supplements and La Tourangelle Toasted Pumpkin Oil. It is also easy to make your own pumpkin seed oil at home with a mini hand oil press. Roast pumpkin seeds, blend them up, and begin the process of pressing for natural and homemade pumpkin oil. 

Can Pumpkin Seed Oil Clear Hormonal Acne? 

While most people struggle with occasional breakouts, some people deal with hormonal or genetic acne that never goes away. This breakout can be more frequent, painful, stubborn, and noticeable. It is also more common for hormonal acne to appear on other parts of the body, including the back and chest. 

Depending on your skin type, pumpkin oil can be a tremendous topical to fight off hormonal acne. After all, it isn’t called the green gold of oils for nothing. While there is no simple cure for hormonal acne, many contributors include genetics, diet, and overall nutrition. Dermatologists recommend the top three things for someone with hormonal acne: cut out sugars and fatty foods from your diet, wash your face every day, and find a topical that works well with your skin, which is where pumpkin oil comes in! Pumpkins Seed Oil contains a profile with enough fatty acids to deliver a potent dose of moisture to the skin, without clogging pores and causing excess oil. 

Pumpkin Oil for a Youthful Glow

Not only is pumpkin seed oil great for battling nasty breakouts, but the Vitamin C and E found in pumpkin seed oil are also great for tightening the skin. More elastic skin helps to reduce dark spots and leads to glowing skin, smooth pores, and fewer fine lines. 

Pumpkin Seed Oil Fights Free Radicals

Free radicals are unbalanced and unstable atoms that can disrupt standard function in the cells. They can play a role in various diseases, lead to more stress and disrupt the growth and strength of our skin, hair, and nails. Free radicals are caused by environmental pollutants, smoking, alcohol, fried, fatty foods, and more. Pumpkin Oils Vitamin E is a potent source of antioxidants known to fight these free radicals off and create more balance within the skin cells. Antioxidants such as vitamin E promote oxidation, reducing oxidative stress and reducing these radicals.  

Pumpkin Seed Oil Reduces General Inflammation

Pumpkin seed oil fights chronic inflammation, which causes breakouts and dry skin. On top of being a fundamental cause of acne, inflammation is terrible for our overall physical and mental health. It can lead to tons of chronic illnesses like Crohn’s or fibromyalgia, mental health issues such as depression, and digestive disorders. Pumpkin seed oil contains phytosterols that reduce inflammatory cells in the body. As well as containing carotenoids and vitamin E. Carotenoids is a compound found in other fruits and vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and apples. This helps decrease the stress hormone cortisol, which plays a significant role in increasing inflammatory responses. Pumpkin Oil is a great oil or mix to add into one’s diet not only for helping promote less inflamed skin but to help maintain your overall nutrition. 

Pumpkin Seed Oil Helps More Than Just Hair

Although pumpkin seed oil makes the perfect piece to add to your skincare regimen, this powerful, versatile oil can do so much more! As mentioned above, it fights inflammation. Feel free to swap out standard fatty oils and cook with this healthy alternative. Pumpkin Oil is also great for hair health, which isn’t surprising considering its high amounts of vitamins and nutrients often used in the hair industry. Many of the vitamins that make up our skin are also the building blocks of our hair and nails. One study found that pumpkin seed oil inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which is known to help with hair growth, protect hair follicles, and increase shine. Research showed that 400 milligrams of pumpkin seed oil per day for 24 weeks helped increase hair growth by 40% without any adverse effects. 

What Makes Pumpkin Seed Oil So Powerful? 

We know what some of you might be thinking. How is it possible for such a common and straightforward ingredient to be so assertive? There has to be a trick here, right? Not really; in fact, pumpkin seed oil has been used for centuries since before the 18th century. Originating from South-Eastern Europe, many used this as a common ingredient in cooking. During the later part of the 18th century, it was even used as a lubricant in the Austrian military, greatly popularizing this vegetable oil. Before this, it was used more locally by farmers and indigenous groups. 

Linoleic Acid (Omega 6)

A vital acid found in various plants. This polyunsaturated fatty acid formula is excellent for the body and two essential fatty acids. It can be found in many common foods in the Western diet, including nuts and corn products. It is colorless, odorless, and insoluble in water. Research has shown that low amounts of Linoleic acid have shown slow and poor wound healing and increased hair loss. Linoleic acid paired with oleic acid is used throughout the cosmetic industry for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. There is about 57% of linoleic acid in pumpkins. 

Oleic Acid (Omega 9) 

Another naturally occurring fatty acid found in this oil is omega 9. It is often used as a cleansing agent for its potent antibacterial properties in the cosmetic industry. It is important to note that this acid on its own can potentially disrupt the skin. This fatty acid also works to help preserve other ingredients in the seed, such as antioxidants, which are slightly less durable as a compound. One can expect 23% of this acid to be found naturally in pumpkin seed oil. 

Palmitic Acid (Omega 7)

An often-overlooked fatty acid, this unsaturated fat gives pumpkin seed oil many skin healing properties by promoting circulation beneath the epidermis. Omega 7 functions as a lipokine by transferring information about fat to muscle and liver tissues. This also aids in helping to reduce inflammation. One can expect about 13% of this acid to be in pumpkin oil. Other fatty acid sources are avocado, olive oil, and macadamia nuts. 

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is a well-researched and continuously used ingredient in skincare formulas for targeted action of dark spots and wrinkles. Vitamin C is naturally found in various fruits and vegetables like oranges, bell peppers, and strawberries. Its potent effects help decrease melanin synthesis and protect against UV rays, damaging our skin health. Pumpkin is naturally high in Vitamin C, with about four milligrams in every dose or serving. 


Potassium is another natural mineral found in our bodies essential for our diets and is excellent for enhancing and deepening moisturizing properties in our skin. Pumpkin is an extremely high source of this compound, with over 400 mg in just one cup! 

Originally Published: January 26, 2022

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood

Hi, I’m Sam Wood, the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach at GoodGlow, as well as a best-selling author for one of the top acne books on Amazon. I struggled with acne for over 10 years, and began studying the effects of diet on skin quality while pursuing a degree in Nutrition Sciences at the University of Missouri. After shifting from mainstream skincare trends to in-depth research in medical journals, I experienced significant personal success in managing my acne. This inspired me to start GoodGlow, where I simplify complex scientific findings into easy-to-understand advice. With over 10 years in the field, I’ve helped more than 2,500 people achieve clearer skin through natural, holistic methods, and I’m dedicated to personally assisting those seeking guidance on their acne journey.

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