You heard it here first, folks: prickly pear seed oil – a moisturizing and soothing oil derived from the prickly pear cactus – is slaying the skincare game. Known as a protectant, prickly pear seed oil is literally brimming with antioxidants, making it one of the most powerful and rejuvenating natural skincare ingredients out there. In this blog, we’ll give you all the facts about prickly pear oil and how it can benefit your skin.
Prickly Pear Seed Oil Explained
Sometimes known as barbary fig oil or Indian fig oil, prickly pear seed oil is derived from the prickly pear plant (Opunia ficus-indica), which is a member of the cactus family. Similar to other cactuses, the prickly pear plant has glochids or prickles. Prickly pear cactuses can reach anywhere from one to seven feet in height.
The prickly pear cactus is native to Mexico, but can now be found in arid and semi-arid areas of the world like Morocco. Known as the miracle plant, the prickly pear cactus can survive during long droughts and still produce fruits (PS. prickly pear is now known as a superfood). The prickly pear fruit contains little black seeds from which prickly pear seed oil is extracted.
The prickly pear cactus has been utilized for centuries as it’s super versatile. The Aztecs used prickly pear to treat burns, while the Chinese dressed abscesses with it. Native Americans made syrup out of the prickly pear fruit to treat asthma, diabetes, and high cholesterol. More recently, prickly pear seed oil has become the “it girl” in the skincare realm.
Prickly Pear Oil Is Crazy Expensive to Make
Prickly pear seed oil is extracted using a laborious and time-consuming process; it takes over 1 million seeds and around 36 hours of manual labor to produce a single liter of prickly pear seed oil. It’s important to note that each prickly pear seed contains only 5% oil with each fruit producing about 150-300 seeds each on average.
During the production process of prickly pear seed oil, the seeds are commonly separated from the pulp, washed carefully, air-dried, and stored in a cool, dry place before being cold-pressed. Due to the strenuous cultivation process, prickly pear seed oil is known to be costly, but luckily, the prickly pear plant is an incredibly sustainable crop.
Pictured: Prickly Pear Seed Oil Extraction Process Source: ABC Machinery
The Benefits of Prickly Pear Seed Oil in Skincare
Compared to any beauty oil on the market, prickly pear seed oil contains the highest percentage (88%) of unsaturated fatty acids that are known to stimulate healthy cell production and turnover. Prickly pear seed oil also contains the highest level of tocopherol, or vitamin E (almost 150% more tocopherol than Argan oil), which protects the skin and helps it retain moisture.
Pictured: Chemical Composition of Prickly Pear Seed Oil Source: ABC Machinery
Here’s how prickly pear seed oil can benefit your skin:
Prickly Pear Oil Can Reduce the Appearance of Fine Lines and Wrinkles
It’s no secret that prickly pear seed oil is a rich source of antioxidants, fatty acids, phytosterols, and vitamins E and K – all of which can aid in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The protective antioxidants in prickly pear seed oil encourage new collagen production and can help skin that’s been exposed to environmental stressors – things like free radicals that can accelerate visible signs of aging.
Prickly Pear Seed Oil Can Soften, Smooth, and Hydrate Skin
Prickly pear seed oil is a natural emollient with phospholipids and phytosterols that may provide a lasting moisture, keeping the skin ultra-hydrated and velvety soft. The linoleic acid present in prickly pear seed oil can also help the skin retain water. Prickly pear oil is renowned for having the highest vitamin E content of all plant oils, helping to provide skin-beautifying nourishment for a natural radiance.
Prickly Pear Seed Oil Can Treat Inflammation
Prickly pear seed oil has been shown to be effective in treating acute inflammation thanks to its bioactive compounds of fatty acids, vitamins E and K, and phytosterols. It does this by regulating inflammatory mediators and oxidative stress markers. Prickly pear seed oil’s serious anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties can help wounds heal faster, repair damage caused by UV rays and environmental pollution, and potentially fade acne scars.
Blunt Skincare Is Excited to Bring Prickly Pear Seed Oil’s Benefits to You
Blunt Skincare is proud to be a pioneer of prickly pear seed oil as it’s a rare and unique skincare ingredient that possesses extraordinary qualities, which is why we’ve included prickly pear seed oil in our Moonrock Full Spectrum Renewal Face Oil to help promote an all-around more youthful appearance. We recommend incorporating this amazing oil into your skincare routine after water-based treatments for added benefits. Have any prickly pear seed oil questions for us? As you know, we always keep it 100% blunt and to the point, so ask away!
1. Al-Naqeb G, Fiori L, Ciolli M, Aprea E. Prickly Pear Seed Oil Extraction, Chemical Characterization and Potential Health Benefits. Molecules. 2021 Aug 19;26(16):5018. doi: 10.3390/molecules26165018. PMID: 34443606; PMCID: PMC8401162.
2. Bardaa S, Turki M, Ben Khedir S, Mzid M, Rebai T, Ayadi F, Sahnoun Z. The Effect of Prickly Pear, Pumpkin, and Linseed Oils on Biological Mediators of Acute Inflammation and Oxidative Stress Markers. Biomed Res Int. 2020 Aug 2;2020:5643465. doi: 10.1155/2020/5643465. PMID: 32802857; PMCID: PMC7421017.
3. Koshak AE, Algandaby MM, Mujallid MI, Abdel-Naim AB, Alhakamy NA, Fahmy UA, Alfarsi A, Badr-Eldin SM, Neamatallah T, Nasrullah MZ, M Abdallah H, Esmat A. Wound Healing Activity of Opuntia ficus-indica Fixed Oil Formulated in a Self-Nanoemulsifying Formulation. Int J Nanomedicine. 2021 Jun 9;16:3889-3905. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S299696. PMID: 34135583; PMCID: PMC8200171.
4. Koubaa, M., Mhemdi, H., Barba, F.J., Angelotti, A., Bouaziz, F., Chaabouni, S.E. and Vorobiev, E. (2017), Seed Oil Extraction From Red Prickly Pear Using Hexane and Supercritical CO2: Assessment of Phenolic Compound Composition, Antioxidant and Antibacterial Activities. J. Sci. Food Agric., 97: 613-620. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.7774
5. Letawe C, Boone M, Piérard GE. Digital Image Analysis of the Effect of Topically Applied Linoleic Acid on Acne Microcomedones. Clin Exp Dermatol. 1998 Mar;23(2):56-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2230.1998.00315.x. PMID: 9692305.