Prickly pear is a member of the cactus family and is also known as nopal or prickly pear cactus.
This sweet pink fruit of cactus has been touted as a superfood. It is known to reduce inflammation and sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
The oil of prickly pear is extracted by pressing its seeds. It takes about eight tons of cactus fruit to make 1 liter of oil. Prickly pear oil has different types of fatty acids, phenol, nutrients such as vitamin E, phytosterols, and antioxidants. This oil can be used as a carrier oil for the various essential oil to enhance the goodness.
Prickly pear oil contains about 60% of linoleic acid that can easily get absorbed into the skin without leaving any greasiness.(1)
The products containing prickly pear oil can be suitable for all types of skin including acne-prone and dry skin.
Benefits of Prickly Pear Oil
Though not much research has been done to support the benefits of prickly pear oil, it is known to boost skin health in different skin types.
Antibacterial and Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidants are known to prevent skin damage from sunlight, aging, and other stressors. Antibacterial substances cleanse the skin and stop acne.
Prickly pear oil contains a high level of antioxidants and antibacterial properties and can be used to prevent skin damage and breakouts.(2)
It Can Be Effectively Used As A Carrier Oil
Prickly pear can be used as a carrier oil that can be combined and used with essential oils.
A study was conducted in which the scientist combined prickly pear oil with vitamin A and applied it to human and rat samples.(3) It was found that the fat content of prickly pear was effective in delivering vitamin A into skin samples.
Vitamin A is very beneficial for the skin but can cause side effects when used alone. Prickly pear oil can be a safe and effective carrier that can deliver its nutrients along with the other vitamins.
Linoleic acid present in prickly pear oil easily penetrates the skin. It helps the skin to retain water and stay hydrated.
More research needs to be done in proving the effectiveness of the hydrating effect of prickly pear oil.
Prickly pear is known to eliminate dark spots and brighten skin. It lightens dark circles under eyes and can also lower spider veins.
Eliminates Free Radicals
Vitamin E content of prickly pear oil helps in eliminating free radicals and assists cell renewal.
This reduces the chances of occurrence of wrinkles and adds firmness by preventing free radical damage.
How To Use Prickly Pear Oil?
Prickly pear oil is sold under various brand names and is easily available. Always look for a product that is labeled as 100% pure, unrefined, cold-pressed, virgin, and organic.
These are of a higher quality than those of which with no label.
Prickly pear oil can be used on its own. Take one or two drops of this oil and gently rub it into the skin. You will find, it gets absorbed easily and does not leave any greasiness.
Prickly pear oil can be used as a carrier oil. Mix this oil with a few drops of any essential oil. The amount of essential oil would determine the strength of the oil mixture, such as:
- One drop of essential oil to 1 tsp of prickly pear oil will make 1% solution
- 2 drops of essential oil with 1 tsp of prickly pear oil with make 2% solution.
- 5 drops of essential oil to 1 tsp of prickly pear oil will create a 5% essential oil solution.
- Prickly pear oil can be stored in a refrigerator and can be used within 1 to 2 years of purchase date.
Who Cannot Use Prickly Pear Oil?
Prickly pear is generally safe to be used by people with all skin types but if you are suffering from allergy to prickly pear or any other fruit, you should avoid using it.
For those with sensitive skin, you can do a patch test by applying small amounts of oil to the wrist. Wait for 24 hours. If you see any allergies within this period, do not use this oil.
Prickly pear oil contains healthful compounds and is known for its antioxidant properties. There are no risks associated with its usage, only people with sensitive skin need to be careful.