Prickly Pear Seed Oil
OPUNTIA FICUS INDICA
Stimulates healthy cell production and turnover, protects, retains moisture, reduces inflammation and slows ageing
The Opuntia Ficus Indica plant is a member of the cactus family native to Mexico (where it appears on the country’s flag), the plant can grow up to 2 meters in height and withstand severe drought. The oil is extracted from the black seeds within the fruits. In Mexican traditional medicine, prickly pear cactus is used for the treatment of diabetes and high cholesterol. The Native Americans used the fruit for food and also made syrup from it to treat whooping cough and asthma. It’s quite difficult to extract. Some sources say that about 800 kg prickly pear fruit seeds need to be cold-pressed in order to make just a litre of prickly pear seed oil.
In evaluating a vegetable oil’s potency, there are several chemical components to take into account, above all essential fatty acids (which promote skin integrity), fat-soluble vitamins (which scavenge free radicals and prevent damage from the environment), sterols/phytosterols (which promote water binding in the skin and manufacturing of collagen), and polyphenols/phenolic compounds (which help prevent damage from oxidative stress like UV exposure).
Research has shown that cactus oil is rich in with essential unsaturated fatty acids specifically linoleic acid which the body cannot synthesise itself. In fact, linoleic acid is 3 times more prevalent in this oil than oleic.
It is also rich in Vitamins, especially tocopherols, the various forms of Vitamin E, which one study found at 150% of concentration found in popular Argan Oil.
This desert beauty is also plentiful in polyphenols and phytosterols, for example β-sitosterol, which support the process by which blood vessels form, allowing delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues.
Other tests found that cactus oil had in vitro antimicrobial/fungal properties and in vivo wound healing activity.
From a physical perspective, cactus oil is also exceptionally light and absorbs well into skin for a comfortable, non-cloying skin feel.
All these facts taken together show what a true natural wonder the Prickly Pear is for keeping skin in tip top condition.