Prickly Pear cactus with several red fruit


Prickly Pear Seed Oil: A Skin Superfood

Prickly Pear seed oil, also known as Barbary Fig Seed Oil, is a powerful skincare ingredient derived from the seeds of the Opuntia ficus-indica cactus.It's renowned for its high concentration of linoleic acid, a fatty acid essential for skin hydration and barrier function, making it a wonderful ingredient for a face oil.

 Native to Mexico and Central America and now widely grown around the world, particularly in the arid regions of the Mediterranean, North America, and North Africa, the prickly pear cactus thrives in dry environments, making it extremely drought and cold-tolerant, able to survive in temperatures down to -10°C. The fruit, which has been popular in these regions for generations and is quickly gaining acclaim worldwide, is known for its dramatic magenta color, its deliciously unique taste, and especially for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Rich in vitamins E and K, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants, Prickly Pear seed oil offers comprehensive benefits for the skin. Its unique composition enables it to support the skin barrier’s ability to retain moisture, promote elasticity, and provide protection against environmental stressors. As consumers increasingly lean towards plant-based skincare and vegan ingredients, prickly pear seed oil stands out as a testament to the power of nature in nurturing and revitalizing skin.

Benefits of Prickly Pear Seed Oil for Older, Aging Skin


Attractive, older African American woman in the bath


Prickly Pear seed oil has emerged as a potent ally in the fight against skin aging, due to its chemical profile which is rich in polyphenols and phytosterols which provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.  The lipid profile is approximately 60%  linoleic acid (omega-6), 20% oleic acid (omega-9), vitamins E and K, and carotenoids.  The lipid profile is approximately 60% linoleic acid, 20% oleic, 13% palmitic, and 3% stearic acids.   Linoleic acid easily absorbs into the skin improving elasticity and barrier functions. It is a great oil for oily and acne-prone skin as it leaves a dry non-greasy feeling. Oleic acid is very moisturizing and the stearic and palmitic acids help to improve moisture retention and form a protective layer on the skin, respectively. These omega fatty acids help the skin retain moisture and improve elasticity.

Prickly Pear seed oil contains vitamin K which helps protect the collagen in the body. When healthy collagen production is maintained, skin appears more, plump, and smooth. Moreover, prickly pear seed oil contains significant amounts of tocopherols and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from oxidative stress caused by environmental aggressors like UV rays and pollution.  

What truly sets this oil apart as an ingredient as a superstar face oil ingredient is that itsupports the health of older skin is its high content of betalains -bioactive compounds and potent antioxidants that protect and support the skin. Betalains help to stimulate cell renewal and repair damaged collagen fibers, thereby firming up the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines over time. With consistent use, prickly pear seed oil can significantly improve skin texture and appearance, while smoothing and softening the skin.

These benefits for older skin are one of the reasons we included cold-pressed, organic prickly pear cactus seed oil sourced from Morocco and Tunisia in our Daily Nourish Face Oil.  While it has benefits for older skin, we believe that this oil is wonderfully nourishing and revitalizing for all skin types!

The Moisturizing Power Of Prickly Pear Seed Oil: Helping Skin Retain Moisture


Prickly Pear cactus farm


The oil from the seeds of the desert-born prickly pear cactus, with its resilience and ability to thrive in arid conditions, supports the skin barrier’s ability to retain moisture. Extracted from the tiny seeds of the fruit, prickly pear seed oil contains a large percentage of linoleic acid, a fatty acid important for maintaining a healthy skin barrier, and which also supports the skin’s ability to retain moisture.

Additionally, this wonderful oil is rich in Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that helps protect skin cells from oxidative damage. When applied, it absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue, making it beneficial for those seeking healthy, nourished skin and an ideal plant-based oil for the face. 

Rich In Antioxidants: How Prickly Pear Seed Oil Protects Your Skin


Prickly Pear cactus with fruit


Prickly pear seed oil contains a range of antioxidants, including Vitamin E and betalains, which are paramount in the battle against environmental stressors. These potent antioxidants provide a formidable shield for the skin, safeguarding it from the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons - naturally generated during our body’s metabolic processes but exacerbated by environmental stressors like sun exposure. As these molecules bond with others in our skin, they disrupt collagen production, weaken our skin’s elasticity, and diminish its natural healing abilities. 

The high levels of Vitamin E in prickly pear seed oil not only neutralize these harmful molecules but also contribute to the skin’s ability to retain moisture and reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL). These antioxidants also offer protection against UV radiation and environmental pollution. This dual action of moisturizing and protecting makes prickly pear seed oil an invaluable ally in preserving the skin's integrity and overall health.

Prickly pear seed oil is particularly characterized by a high content of vitamin E, sterols, and fatty acids. The linoleic acid is a major polyunsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid is the dominant monounsaturated fatty acid, and palmitic acid is the major saturated fatty acid

Fatty Acids that Nourish the Skin


Prickly Pear Fruit Assorted


The outermost layer of our skin is called the stratum corneum, or skin barrier, and it serves the dual purpose of protecting us from external harm like UV radiation and pollutants and of locking in essential moisture and important nutrients in the inner layers of our skin. One of the critical functions of the stratum corneum is to regulate the flow of moisture in and out of the skin. This is important because the skin needs to stay hydrated to function correctly. The stratum corneum prevents excessive water loss from the skin’s deeper layers while allowing a controlled amount of water to evaporate from the surface, which helps regulate body temperature. As we age, the stratum corneum loses its resilience, getting thinner and less effective at retaining moisture. The fatty acids in lipid oils can help boost the skin barrier.

What are fatty acids?  They are emollients - ingredients that help trap moisture in the skin and keep it hydrated. Prickly pear oil is full of emollients, including fatty acids and phytosterols. Phytosterols, natural compounds found in plants, also work to strengthen our skin’s natural barriers by supporting the preservation of cell membrane structures and promoting collagen production.

Prickly pear oil is rich in essential fatty acids, including linoleic and oleic acids - fatty acids known for their ability to moisturize and restore elasticity to the skin. Linoleic acid plays a crucial role in fortifying the skin’s barrier, helping it retain essential moisture and nutrients. The fatty acids in prickly pear oil delve deep into the epidermis, promoting hydration and keeping your skin plump and supple without leaving a greasy residue behind on your face. 

Vitamin K to Brighten and Heal the Skin


Prickly Pear fruit sliced in half


Prickly pear seed oil provides multiple benefits for the skin, including its ability to brighten and even out skin tone. This seed oil is rich in amino acids, vitamin K, and antioxidants, which work in harmony to revitalize the skin, giving it a bright, luminous glow. Moreover, vitamin K plays a crucial role in lightening under-eye circles and hyperpigmentation, contributing to an overall even complexion.

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it can dissolve in fats and oils and also be stored in body fat. It is a vitamin that is critical to the normal functioning of the many proteins within the body such as the coagulation factors that control bleeding.

Antioxidants have always been acknowledged as an important substance in promoting healthy skin as they prevent the harmful effects of free radicals, and Vitamin K has been found to work as a potent antioxidant. Free radicals are most commonly caused by exposure to smoke, environmental pollution, and the harmful rays of the sun.

Apart from its antioxidative properties, vitamin K is also found to be involved in tissue renewal and reducing inflammation while promoting wound healing. These particular vitamin K effects are significant in maintaining a healthier complexion. 

Other important functions of prickly pear oil are promoting collagen production and supporting rapid cell turnover, which can help address hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Vitamin K, in addition to helping heal our skin, naturally brightens and evens out skin tone.

Harnessing the Power of this Skin Superfood

 Close up of Prickly Pear cactus ruby red fruit


 Rich in vitamins E and K, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants, Prickly Pear Seed Oil offers a comprehensive solution to many skin concerns and is a wonderful addition to any face oil. Its unique composition enables it to help the skin retain moisture, promote elasticity, and provide protection against environmental stressors. As consumers increasingly lean towards natural and sustainable beauty products, Prickly Pear Seed Oil stands out as a testament to the power of nature in nurturing and revitalizing skin.

A meticulous cold-pressing process is used to extract the oil from the fruit; the seeds are ground and pressed slowly to release the oil while preserving its strong nutrient profile. What emerges is an oil rich in vitamins E and K, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants to help protect and rejuvenate the skin; it’s a superfood for your skin! 

Renowned for its rejuvenating properties and nutrient-dense profile, prickly pear seed oil is recognized as having a wide range of benefits for older, mature skin.  Rich in vitamins E and K, essential fatty acids and antioxidants, prickly pear oil is a superfood for the skin. These nutrients combine to protect your skin, fortify its barriers, lock in essential moisture, and impart a healthy glow and luminosity to the skin.  Its high concentration of linoleic acid helps in balancing oily and combination skin types, making it suitable for nightly use without worrying about clogged pores and it provides support for older skin, which is why we included it in the formula for our Daily Nourish Face Oil


February 28, 2024 — The Caraline Team

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