Virgin prickly pear oil – why this powerhouse of antioxidants and essential fatty acids is fantastic for skin health
By Rossi Cartlidge, guest contributor from Handmade Naturals
A number of new products that we’ve released this year include our Skin Reviving Face & Neck Super Serum, which contains prickly pear oil and we also offer the Cold Pressed Prickly Pear Oil as a separate item. Why is this ?
Prickly pear is a relative newcomer to our range but it is no surprise it has been flying off the shelves since we introduced it! I first discovered this amazing oil at the hair salon, when they offered to style my then really dry as a bristle hair with an oil containing prickly pear.
Afterwards I looked it up and having read about the amazing benefits it offers to both skin and hair I ordered a small bottle to try. Over two years later, I have not looked back, nor used any other oil on my face. And it’s amazing not just on the face but anywhere on the body.
Feels good to use
It makes an exquisite massage oil, and a hair conditioning one too. We all love the faint clean, fruity scent it has, the amazing feel on the skin and the fact that it leaves no greasy film after application. But guess you are here to read all about the plant and the oil, so here it is….
Also known as barbary fig, Indian fig or cactus pear, prickly pear is a cactus native to Central and South America. It is bushy to treelike plant and grows to a height of 5.5 metres. It bears large yellow flowers followed by white, yellow, or reddish purple edible fruits. The hard seeds are used to produce the oil.
Packed with vitamin E
Prickly pear contains the most vitamin E of any beauty oil on the market (150% more than argan oil), and the highest percentage of unsaturated fatty acids (88%) – making it an incredibly powerful oil for skin health. It is exceptionally rich in Vitamin E & essential fatty acids yet it is a very dry oil which easily absorbs without leaving a greasy residue. Essential fatty acids in Prickly Pear Oil keep the collagen layer of your skin moist and healthy.
Prickly pear contains the highest levels of betalains of any known plant (more than acai, pomegranate, blueberries, goji, and beets). Betalains are super antioxidants with powerful anti-aging effects. With such an amazing nutritional profile it is no surprise prickly pear oil is considered a superhero among skincare products. The benefits it offers are summarised below:
Skin protection & brightening
Prickly pear oil is packed full of antioxidants helping to protect your skin from environmental stressors and giving your skin a more even tone as it reduces redness and hyper pigmentation.
Due to the high linoleic acid content prickly pear oil brings moisture and hydration to the most dehydrated skin. Being a very light dry oil means the oil absorbs very quickly without leaving a greasy shine on the skin. You will feel it, but won’t see it!
Dark spots and under-eye circles reduction
Due to the high content of vitamin K, prickly pear oil will help to lighten stubborn dark spots and under-eye circles. It doesn’t mean you no longer need your beauty sleep, but if you need something topical to help with dark circles then prickly pear oil is your best option.
Collagen is made in our bodies and it gives the skin that firm and elastic feel, connective texture and structure. Nourishing the skin with fatty acids, which are found in abundance in prickly pear oil, helps collagen synthesis and that means your skin will have better tone and will look more plump.
Additionally due to the antioxidants contained within the oil (these are the super heroes that prevent fine lines from environmental damage) and the intense hydration it provides, it is a no brainer, this oil is fantastic for ageing skin and fine line/wrinkle prevention
Prickly pear is a light, non-irritating oil so is perfect for sensitive skin. It has soothing properties which calm inflammation and reduce redness. A high (60%) linoleic acid content and a low (20%) oleic acid content makes this oil non-comedogenic, meaning it will not clog your pores and lead to breakouts.