The humble Prickly pear is native to Mexico and South America and is also widely sourced
from Morocco. Also called the barbary fig or Indian fig, it is a member of the cactus family. It
is not the most appealing fruit, but it is what is inside that we are interested in. Prickly pear
seed oil has been a beauty secret among the Berber women for centuries.
How is the oil sourced?
The seeds are generally extracted from the fruit by hand, washed, dried in the sun and then
cold pressed to retain their therapeutic qualities. The season only lasts for a few months.
Each fruit contains between 150-300 seeds, but the seeds are very small and producing just
one litre of oil takes around one ton of fruit. This is why prickly pear seed oil is the most
expensive facial oil in the world. It is, however, a very sustainable crop.
So, what’s so special about prickly pear seed oil?
Prickly pear oil contains the highest amount of vitamin E than any other facial oil on the
market. (3 times higher than Argan oil). Vitamin E is a an amazing moisturiser, hydrating the
skin, thereby preventing water loss. It is also exceptionally high in linoleic acid (an essential
fatty acid, - known to protect the skin barrier, increase moisture, reduce water loss and
lighten sun-induced hyperpigmentation). It is also high in vitamin K, proven to help minimise
under-eye dark circles and reduce the appearance of sun-induced hyperpigmentation.
Prickly pear seed oil is known for its antioxidant benefits, in part due to the presence of
carotinoids, vitamins and phytosterols in the oil. Phytosterols (plant sterols) are similar in
composition to cholesterol, and they bind to water. This is great for the skin because it helps
with moisture retention in the skin, preventing transepidermal water loss (TEWL). This is
why prickly pear seed oil can really help with dry skin conditions, helping repair the
damaged skin barrier to make the skin moisturised, hydrated and properly conditioned.
Phytosterols are a true remedy for lots of skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, rosacea
scarring and sunburn damaged skin. Phytosterols also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Betains present in prickly pear seed oil act as humectants (give moisture) to the skin, giving
your skin a plumped, dewy look. This ability to increase hydration
has been shown to have an anti-wrinkle effect. They can give superior hydration to the skin,
without leaving a residual stickiness that you can get from products that have lots of
glycerine in them, Betains can give the face a much smoother appearance giving the skin a
silky feel – they act as a as a texture enhancer.
In short, prickly pear seed oil can be used as a skin softener to support sensitive, mature, dry
or inflamed skin due to its potential regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties.
What can I expect from using prickly pear seed oil on my skin?
A reduction in the appearance of fine lines
A reduction in the appearance of dark under-eye circles
Softer, moisturised, nourished skin
A more even-toned, brighter complexion
A reduction in redness if prone to rosacea