Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Review

A Mask that Is Basically Baby Skin in a Jar, BUT…

When I sat down to work on this, I thought I would write a raving post on how much I love Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, A.K.A. baby skin in a jar, BUT after researching for the review… Yep, unfortunately there’s a ‘but’.

So, let’s start from the beginning. On my last trip to SEPHORA, I was delighted to spot this cute little Peter Thomas Roth set for the first time (SEPHORA Italia has just started carrying the brand), mainly because I had wanted to try the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask since ViviannaDoesMakeup wrote this enthusiastic post last year. Now that I’ve given it a go, I can totally see why she’s been going on and on about it ever since.

First of all, Pumpkin Spice Lovers, rejoice! This mask basically looks and smells like something you could fill a pie crust with and bake in the oven. Seriously, it feels like such a treat to use! You’re not supposed to eat it though, you should just slather it all over your face, wait 3 to 7 minutes, rinse and… Ta-daaah, baby-soft skin that you won’t be able to stop touching.

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask ReviewAs you can probably tell by its name, this mask contains pumpkin, which is naturally rich in AHAs and enzymes that do an amazing job at getting rid of dead skin cells, leaving your complexion super smooth and radiant. On me, it is also great at temporarily minimizing the appearance of pores and fine lines. The full ingredient list goes as follows:

Water/Aqua/Eau, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin), Aluminum Oxide, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Tocopherol, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Edta Edetate Discodium Dihydrate Usp, Methyl Eugenol, Carbomer, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol.

Besides pumpkin, other favorable ingredients include Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate, as well as Vitamins A, C and E, which are potent antioxidants. If after putting the mask on you gently massage with your fingertips, the Aluminum Oxide crystals will also give you a physical exfoliation.

The mouth-watering spicy scent is most likely given by Methyleugenol, a substance with a clove-like aroma naturally found in many essential oils. This is the Opinion of the SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety of the European Commission) concerning this ingredient:

‘The Opinion has only considered the genotoxicity and carcinogenicity of methyleugenol. A risk assessment has been made on the basis of a long-term carcinogenicity study on rats.

Methyleugenol should not be intentionally added as a cosmetic ingredient.

However, when fragrance compounds containing methyleugenol naturally present in essential oils are used as components in cosmetic products, the highest concentration of methyleugenol in the finished products must not exceed 0.01 % in fine fragrance, 0.004 % in eau de toilette, 0.002 % in a fragrance cream, 0.0002 % in other leave-on products and in oral hygiene products, and 0.001% in rinse-off products.’

I know that dosage is essential in determining the toxicity of a certain substance. I mean, you can eat a pinch of salt and be totally fine, but if you ingest a pound you’re probably gonna die. Does this make salt an ingredient you should completely eliminate from your diet? Probably not… But for some reason I don’t really feel comfortable consciously using a product that contains a proven carcinogen (at least in rodents), even though the small amount found in the product shouldn’t pose any risk to my health.

Also, the SCCS states that Methyleugenol should not be intentionally added as a cosmetic ingredient, but can only be contained in fragrance compounds. Why is it included in the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask INCI listing then? Doesn’t that mean that it is an added ingredient (rather than something naturally present in an essential oil)? I really hope any INCI experts will cast some light on this in the comment section.

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask ReviewAnyways, if you want to give this mask a go, but you’ve never used any chemical exfoliants, I recommend using a milder product for a few weeks first (Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner comes to mind), because this one seems pretty strong.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what I thought of the other two masks in the set (the Cucumber Gel and the Rose Stem Cell), just let me tell you that I didn’t find them particularly noteworthy. I have no intention of buying the full size, so I didn’t really look into them.

I’d really like to hear your opinion on this. Would you get the full size of the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask? Do you guys research the ingredients in your skincare? When you find one that has been proven to be harmful if used at high concentrations, do you avoid it altogether or trust the fact that it’s been used at a low enough concentration not to pose any risks? I really hope someone will dissipate my worries, as I actually really love this mask!

UPDATE: I did eventually get the full size and noticed that methyleugenol is not listed among the ingredients.

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  • Reply
    February 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Hmmm that product sounds intriguing
    baby soft skin is what many are after.
    (I fortunately have naturally soft skin so that isn’t too much of a problem)
    Sad to hear it contains carcinogen but like you’ve mentioned a mild exfoliate should help do the job for any interested in the product

  • Reply
    February 2, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    I really like this mask, even though I’m not a huge fan of fragrance in skincare. I usually pay attention to ingredients, but I bought this one on a whim. As much as I like it , the full-size jar is really big and I’m not a fan of jarred packaging because I feel like those active ingredients aren’t very stable. This does leave your skin feeling very smooth though! 🙂

    Thirteen Thoughts

  • Reply
    February 2, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    I personally wouldn’t mind the Methyleigenol and I don’t think it was intentionally added. Fragrance components need to be stated as well, usually they are marked with an * which sums up *from natural perfume (or a similar statement), and I guess that is why it is mentioned there. I for one am still planning on getting at least a sample size one day.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • Reply
    February 2, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    I’ve used some chemical products, but I’ve never used a chemical exfoliator. I hardly check the ingredients so I don’t really know much about what they are used for. I’ve read great reviews about this mask, and even your tittle is tempting, who wouldn’t want baby skin 🙂 Hopefully one day, I will purchase one 🙂

  • Reply
    February 2, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Thank you for such a thorough review of this mask. I have been wanting to try a pumpkin mask to reap all of its benefits that I’ve heard that come with it, but it’s great to know that there are some drawbacks too. Besides at the facialist, my at-home masks have really only consisted of clay masks (which I love). I may work my way up to the harsher masks with time. Again, thanks for the great post!


  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 12:26 am

    First of all, I am so glad to be able to catch up with your blog, girlie. And secondly, wow, what a great review! I love how thorough you are hon and how you went ahead and researched more about this product. The product in action sounds incredible but the content sure is a big turn off. I am exactly the same way – even if the stuff is good, I am asking myself if it’s worth using knowing about those harmful ingredients. Thanks so much for reviewing it hon – I’ve seen this product around and thought I might get it but I will probably have to skip on this one.
    Have a super great week, lovely!
    xox N.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 2:00 am

    Great review! The mask sounded lovely, but the ingredients make me not want to try it. I usually use Beautypedia when purchasing skincare products.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 6:09 am

    These sound so interesting and you did a great review of them!

    Good karma,
    Tatum || AbstractAphrodite

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 7:31 am

    I’m allergic to artificial yellow dye so I do pay attention to ingredients. Your title had me convinced I was going to buy this on my next trip to Sephora haha so I’m kind of sad about the ingredient issue 🙁

    It frustrates me that companies add unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients and I don’t know if it’s just me but I start mistrusting the brand as a whole. Thank you so much for posting about this. xx

  • Reply
    Dora Toubanaki
    February 3, 2016 at 9:21 am

    I feel so bad because I never look at the ingredients and just BUY! I don’t like rough exfoliatants.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 9:54 am

    that indeed is a big but and i know what you mean by not convinced to use proven carcinogen ingredients consiously irrespective of how tiny percentage is that…nice review 🙂

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 10:56 am

    This mask sounds totally amazing. And I like the analogy you have given with the salt. Within limits most things are good for us.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    This post is really interesting and encourages me to pay more attention to the ingredients!

  • Reply
    Rachel Holliday
    February 3, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    It’s soo great that this gave you baby smooth skin and you seriously can’t beat great smelling products too! This ingredient sounds sort of scary- it’s good that you looked into it and did some research. I think that most of the time we truly have no idea what we are putting on our faces!

    Rachel xx

  • Reply
    Wendee Isaacs
    February 3, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    great review. this sounds like an amazing product.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Hey Carol, Nice review sweet. 🙂 Well, about the fact that this mask includes carcinogen whether in adequate proportion or no. When such products used for a longer duration may tend to give you some side effects, thats my opinion. So why risk it?? Instead try avoiding it as much you can, but since you like it so much you can use it once in a while. Hope that makes sense. 🙂


  • Reply
    Trishna Patel
    February 3, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    I loved this review, its made me aware of actually looking at product ingredients and I’ve always wanted to try chemical exfoliants but I’ll sure go for a milder version first ♥

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    I’ve never even heard about this before, thanks for the review!!
    Have a lovely day 🙂
    Rosanna x

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Everything in life has a but… haha thanks for sharing it with us babe


  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Personally I don’t think it would really bother me that much because I don’t think it would affect me at all, but I can understand the hesitation! I have a Peter Thomas Roth mask that I’m trying out right now (Irish Mud Moor), and this is definitely going to prompt a deeper look into the ingredients, so thanks for this! On another note, this mask does sound amazing, and I’d love to try it out!

    Sam |

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Wow!! This is a great review! Super a bummer on the ingredients, I was definitely ready to head to sephora. I definitely need to pay more attention to the ingredient list!

    I hope you are having a fabulous week!


  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Sometimes you see fragrant compounds at the end of the INCI list when then naturally occur in some of the plant oils used in the formula, like lavender, rose, etc… They’re often geraniol and linalool. Here however I don’t see an essential oil in the formula that would potentially explain why it’s there, which, to me, seems to indicate that it’s been added.
    Because it’s a mask however I don’t think the risk is very high: you rinse it off rather quickly, and you don’t use it every day. Plus being close to the end of the list, it’s probably in a very low concentration.
    I wouldn’t buy this mask anyway because I don’t like pumpkin spice scent at all!


  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    This sounds really interesting, thanks for sharing, I’ll have to check out more!

    Anika |

  • Reply
    husna favaz
    February 3, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    I have been using a natural pumpkin mask for a few months and I love it! But this one with harmful chemicals is a big no-no! Thank you for the great review!

  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 3:07 am

    I don’t think I would use this knowing there is a potentially harmful ingredient, even at a low/safe level. I was going to purchase this set a while back as a gift for a relative, but they sold out of it. I’m now glad that they did. Great review.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 3:30 am

    This sounds like such an awesome mask, Carol! Minimizing the pores! That does sound good to me though. Good review, thank you!

  • Reply
    Heather Lisa Noire
    February 4, 2016 at 4:05 am

    It sounds like a lovely spa treatment for yourself you can do at home without spending to much. I love this idea and how lovely these look 🙂

  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Oh gosh I LOVE the pumpkin enzyme mask when I bought this set but I didn’t look too closely at the ingredients. Thank you for pointing that out!

  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 9:57 am

    I’ve never used a chemical exfoliator, but I think this one sounds really good. I don’t really bother checking for ingredients – much less than I should, anyway. It does sound a little dodgy but at the same time, I swear you could take any ingredient these days and you’d find something bad being said about it…. It’s just the way it is, nowadays. Wouldn’t stop me from using this mask, and I’d gladly try it out – love the idea of a pumpkin spice scent. 🙂 <3 Thanks for sharing this super detailed review, darling!


  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 11:39 am

    I really love how much research you input in your posts. I would be a teensy bit scared to use an ingredient which essentially acts as a toxin. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of that going around, salt being an outstanding example, however knowingly I try to stay away from products that could potentially harm me, if I know all the facts beforehand. There are plenty of great masks around which hasn’t so I would give this one a skip 🙂 thank you for such honest and researched review X

  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I love that you really did your research on the product before reviewing the product – the scent sounds lovely and I do rather love the sound of baby soft skin! With regard to the ingredients, I love your analogy of salt doses. Thanks for the info – I’ve genuinely learnt a lot from this post!

  • Reply
    Kait Elizabeth
    February 4, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    I bought this mask set as well and love it! I don’t understand why they need to add that ingredient at all. Really disappointed after reading that they do. Hugs, Kait

  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    I’m not crazy about exfoliants but this does look very nice.. your photos are gorgeous x
    Becca | theBeautyInbox

  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Baby Skin in a Jar? Sold! This product sounds so lovely and one I will add to my must try list 🙂

    I can imagine it smells really lovely also, Pumpkin Spice sounds very appealing!

    Great images!


  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Great review! I love how detailed and honest it was!


  • Reply
    H A Parker
    February 5, 2016 at 1:25 am

    This was really interesting to read Carol! Everything about the product seems so positive, such as: getting rid of dead skin cells and leaving the skin baby soft. But obviously the ingredients within it should be acknowledged too. I mean I don’t usually take much notice of the ingredients, unless I react to a product. Then I know to research what caused the problem and to then steer clear. I think that if you’re not completely comfortable using it, then you should stop. Just for your own piece of mind and I’m sure there are other amazing products out there, just like this one (without the worrying ingredient).:) – Fashion Haul – ZARA

  • Reply
    February 5, 2016 at 4:01 am

    It sounds like a great product and I for one would loooove to try it. I’m pretty sure the food and drug administration looked carefully at the ingredients before approving it for use and allowing it to be placed on shelves. Everything causes something when used excessively. This one is no exception. So I’m thinking that low doses of this product should be okay or they’d have pulled it off the shelves. Great review, very honest. Kudos girl!

  • Reply
    February 5, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Great review 🙂 Loved learning a bit more about the ingredients -Maireem

    My Fair Autumn | Instagram

  • Reply
    February 5, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    I find it a bit strange that a beauty brand would use a carcinogen ingredient in their product. I’m aware that a tiny amount of the product won’t make any harm but I don’t think I’d ever try it.

  • Reply
    February 5, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Carcinogen no matter how small, I don’t want! After knowing! Very well reviewed carol!

  • Reply
    February 5, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Amazing review, Carol!
    About the actual mask, I don’t know. I think that I agree with most of the people that have commented about the ingredient list: why are they using carcinogen knowing that it might be really harmful? I know that everything, when you use it exessively, might be harmful, but… I’m not sure if I’d buy this.
    I hope you have a great day, Carol! I’ve missed reading your posts! xx


  • Reply
    Gabrielle Crystal RoseBonniee ~
    February 5, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Looks nice and interesting! ♡

    ♡ Bed Head Colour Goddess ♡

  • Reply
    February 7, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    I just used it and loved it! So bad about that ingredient, if it’s not advised to put it into cosmetics I really wonder what’s doing there! xx
    Gyudy @ Gyudy’s Notes Of Beauty

  • Reply
    October 23, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    I tend to go for exfoliating products with natural AHA’s. I like how the pumpkin mask also has hyaluronic acid and vitamins C and E. The only thing is I don’t like spicy scents but i will definitely be trying it.


  • Reply
    November 15, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Ok…so, this same mask was applied to my face, as part of what was supposed to be a relaxing facial – in my dermatologist’s office. I have somewhat sensitive skin, but have never ever had a problem with any product. It didn’t just “tingle.” It burned! Trusting that this was a medical office, I tried to tough it out, and lasted about 3 minutes, before I had to have it removed. An ‘8’ level pain, where 10 is intolerable. It’s been 3 days since that application. My skin still burns. I have faithfully used (expensive) intensive moisturizers night and day, since that application. This morning was the first time I decided to gently cleanse my face (also, with expensive cleansers), but wait a bit, to let my face fully dry, so that I could assess my skin texture. I hoped, that after – what I thought was (again, expensive) pampering my skin, within a respected dermatologist’s office, that my skin would at least feel a bit healthier, and that “softer” feeling I kept hearing was the result of this pumpkin enzyme product. Not so. Not at all. My skin still burns, particularly near the corner of one eye…there are small, darkened blotches…it’s drier than it has ever been. Not just dry, but with heavy scaling. Crusty. Really crusty. It looks as though I’ve been burned. I now have to figure out what to do, to heal and fix my skin – as a result of only one application of the pumpkin enzyme. I look bad. My skin feels bad. I would strongly caution the use of this product. Disappointed and miserable in Seattle.

    • Reply
      Carol in a
      November 16, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear this! It’s definitely not a mask for sensitive skin, and with any product it’s always better to patch test first… Although I have to admit I rarely practice what I preach. 😉

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