Cactus fruit, Barbary fig, Indian fig — Opuntia Ficus Indica goes by many names, but no matter what you call it, prickly pear is trending in the beauty world and has earned its rightful status as a skin superfood. And for good reason: this moisturizing extract is the star ingredient in serums, moisturizers, and spot treatments alike.
With all the buzz around prickly pear oil, you may be wondering if this extract is right for your skincare routine. Thanks to its nutrient-rich profile, prickly pear oil is an excellent fit for all ages, complexions, and skin types. Read on for our guide to prickly pear oil, how your skin can benefit, and what other complementary ingredients work in tandem with prickly pear oil to bring your skincare to the next level.
What is prickly pear oil?
Prickly pear oil is the nutrient-dense extract of seeds found in prickly pear cactus. The cactus has long played a role in people’s diets, domesticated and harvested for its fruit and juice for centuries. It also has a rich history in folk medicine, being used to treat burns in Native American communities. In addition, this resilient plant can grow in drought conditions, thriving in dry climates on multiple continents.
While prickly pear plants thrive in abundance around the world, harvesting the oil is not an easy process. Extracting oil from prickly pear seeds is painstaking and laborious, conducted completely by hand. Harvesters separate the prickly pear seeds from the fruit, and then the seeds are sent through a machine to press out the oil. The oil can be cold pressed — extracted without chemicals or solvents — or it can be extracted through a chemical process.
Why prickly pear is good for skin
Prickly pear oil is beloved by beauty enthusiasts for its impressively high concentrations of vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants, including two highly-coveted skincare ingredients: Vitamin E and linoleic acid. Here’s how prickly pear oil can support glowing skin:
1. Ultra-moisturizing. Its desert origins may imply dryness, but prickly pear oil is anything but dry. A 2015 study published in Molecules found that a prickly pear emulsion boosted skin’s water content for several hours after application. Not only does prickly pear help moisturize it also helps your skin retain those hydration levels: the oil’s significant phytosterol levels bind to water when applied topically, assisting with natural moisture retention.
2. High in Vitamin E. Prickly pear oil has one of the highest levels of Vitamin E of any plant-based source. In fact, prickly pear oil contains 150 percent more Vitamin E than the longtime facial favorite, argan oil. Vitamin E is a beloved ingredient in skincare, found in moisturizers, facial oils, face masks, and so much more.
3. It can contribute to a bright skin appearance. Prickly pear oil’s moisturizing properties and high concentrations of vitamins — including Vitamin E and Vitamin K — can help contribute to your skin’s bright and healthy appearance.
4. Clean pores. If you have oily skin and want to try this oil, you’re in luck. Prickly pear oil is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores or trigger problem skin.
How do you pair your prickly pear?
Whether you have dry skin or you’re prone to an oily complexion, prickly pear oil supports healthy moisture levels. However, there’s no need to slather your face in prickly pear everything — just a few drops can go a long way. Prickly pear oil is quick to absorb and doesn’t leave a greasy film behind, although you may want to put on prickly pear oil at night to maximize absorption time.
Just as important as the prickly pear oil: the ingredients paired with it. Prima’s Night Magic facial oil harnesses the power of prickly pear oil and phytocannabinoid-rich whole plant hemp extract, blending them with a multitude of vitamins, phytosterols, and active botanicals. Among these companion ingredients are organically extracted, fatty acid hemp seed oil, rose hip extract with pro-Vitamin A, moringa oil, avocado oil, and chia seed oil, a powerful source of ALA. All are vibrant, natural sources of fatty acids, essential vitamins, and antioxidants key to balanced and vibrant skin. It’s the nightly step you can take to put your best face forward each day.
Don’t just take our word for it: An independent clinical study has shown that Night Magic improves skin hydration by 33 percent and visibly enhances skin firmness by 16 percent. The study found that 93 percent of participants saw an overall improvement in their skin appearance, while nine out of 10 saw visible improvement in their skin texture, agreeing that their skin looked healthier, felt calmer, and benefited from an enhanced luminosity and radiance.* The results truly speak for themselves.
*Based on an independent clinical study of 30 women after 8 weeks of use