Have you ever heard of prickly pear seed oil? It’s time you should!
Prickly pear is a type of cactus. And the oil made from its seeds is light, moisturizing and amazing. Let’s learn more about prickly pear seed oil (also called cactus seed oil or Barbary fig seed oil).
Properties of Prickly Pear Seed Oil
There are so many names for prickly pear. Some call it Barbary fig. Others call it cactus pear or Indian fig.
Either way the botanical name for this plant is Opuntia ficus-indica. So be sure to check for this name when buying the oil.
Color & Smell
Prickly pear seed oil ranges in color from clear to yellow to light green.
Since the oil is cold-pressed, it has a light, nutty smell. Some say prickly pear seed oil even smells like regular vegetable oil… At least it is not super strong like wheat germ oil.
If you apply a thin layer of this oil to your skin, it will probably absorb in less than half an hour. The oil is really nice and light and does not leave you feeling greasy.
The comedogenic rating of prickly pear seed oil is 0 out of 5. That means it should not cause acne, even if you have acne prone skin. That’s pretty awesome!
What is in prickly pear oil?
The oil’s low comedogenic rating is due to its high linoleic acid content. Linoleic acid can make up about 55% to 65% of the oil.
Prickly pear oil also contains other fatty acids. Oleic acid can make up 20-30% of the oil and palmitic acid can be 10-14% of the oil. Low levels of stearic and myristic acids have also been reported.
But that’s not all.
The oil contains high amounts of gamma- and alpha-tocopherol. You know these compounds as Vitamin E. The oil also has decent levels of Vitamin K1 and beta-carotene, the precursor to Vitamin A. These vitamins are all excellent antioxidants.
The oil also has high levels of sterols like beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol (according to this 2003 study).
Prickly Pear Oil Benefits
There is not much research on prickly pear seed oil benefits. So unfortunate!
There is one animal study published in 2016 that looked at the wound healing benefits of prickly pear oil. The study found the oil made burns and wounds heal faster. And the oil boosted collagen levels close to the wound.
Collagen is what keeps the skin strong and elastic. So you can use prickly pear seed oil for skin. It may keep your skin firm, strong, and beautiful!
There is another study on Pubmed that explored the in vitro antioxidant power of the oil in mice. The study showed the oil was antioxidant. But it also involved feeding the oil to the mice. So I can’t say if the oil is antioxidant when used on your skin.
But there is a lot of anecdotal evidence for prickly pear seed oil.
Quite a few redditors have shared their love for the oil like user, vespria. She posted:
So… after using prickly pear seed oil as a moisturizer, my skin felt brand new. It absorbed super fast, and didn’t sit on my skin or feel oily. My flakes were totally gone. My redness all but disappeared. Pimples almost never happened, and my face felt so soft and hydrated, all after 1 week. It stayed that way until I ran out. I just ordered 4 bottles. 🙂
She’s not the only one that loves the oil.
Reviewers on sites like Amazon say they used prickly pear seed oil for skin. They found the oil reduced wrinkles around the eyes and lips. Many also found the oil prevented breakouts and made their skin glow.
Who doesn’t want glowing skin?
Hopefully, we can get actual studies to back up the benefits of prickly pear seed oil. When that happens, I’ll definitely update this section.
Where to buy prickly pear seed oil
This oil is a little hard to find. But here are a few brands you can try:
The high linoleic acid levels in the oil makes it very stable. So it can last for a year or more. But don’t forget to always store your oils in a cool place and away from sunlight. Doing this will keep your oil from going bad too soon.
Prickly Pear Seed Oil Uses
Be sure to patch test before using this oil to make sure you are not sensitive to it.
If you are not, then you can use this oil:
Prickly pear oil is so light, it is perfect for oil cleansing.
Dab a little of the oil around your eyes. Massage it in gently and watch your dark circles lighten. But don’t get the oil in your eyes. It can burn.
Dab a little of the oil around the corners of your eyes and around your lips. The Vitamin E compounds and fatty acids help your skin stay soft, plump, and wrinkle-free.
Prickly pear oil may be a little too ‘dry’ for massage blends. But if you have oily skin, you’ll love it. Mix in your favorite essential oils too like lavender or tea tree and watch your skin glow. If you have dry skin, you can mix this oil with a heavier one like argan or avocado oil.
Have fun using your prickly pear seed oil. You won’t regret it!