There are few ingredients found within skincare and beauty products that sound as fun and adorable as prickly pear oil. But what exactly is prickly pear oil and how can it benefit your skin?
Well, prickly pear oil comes from — you guessed it — the prickly pear! Even though it sounds like a delicious fruit that you’d find served at brunch, the prickly pear is more like a cactus. However, it is edible and many people choose to add it to their diet if they have diabetes or inflammatory conditions. Limited evidence shows that it can decrease one’s blood sugar.
Some people have also chosen to consume prickly pear juice due to its anti-inflammatory properties from high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, carotenoids, and betalains.
The seeds found inside the fruit-like cactus contain an oil that is rich in phenols, fatty acids, vitamin E, antioxidants, and phytosterols. While it’s not considered an essential oil, it is often added to essential oil blends so skincare and health enthusiasts can reap the benefits of pear oil.
Most commonly, prickly pear oil is added to skincare products to reduce inflammation and irritation, which can be very helpful for those who battle acne and redness. It’s said to be the pear oil’s antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral properties that can calm the skin. Because of its calming properties, some people find it soothing when applied to a sunburn.
Beyond these magical anti-inflammatory properties, prickly pear oil has been proven to be effective in helping with the absorption and delivery of vitamin A. This vitamin can promote the production of collagen to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, reduce oil production and inflammation, and even promote cell turnover.
Prickly pear oil can also be very hydrating because it contains a significant amount of linoleic acid, an omega-5 fatty acid that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Linoleic acid can help one’s skin retain water, giving it a plump and hydrated look and feel.
What to look for
If you’re considering using prickly pear oil on its own instead of opting for a skincare product that includes it as an ingredient, make sure that it is labeled “100 percent pure prickly pear oil.” This will ensure you aren’t exposing your delicate skin to any harmful ingredients and additives.
Additionally, prickly pear oils that state they are unrefined, virgin, organic, and even cold-pressed are likely going to be of higher quality. Like with all new beauty and skincare items that you add to your routine, doing a patch test on a small area of skin before using it all over your face or body is a wise decision. This is an easy and effective way to rule out any allergies or negative reactions to the ingredients.
Prickly pear oil can be a game-changing ingredient for those who struggle with inflammation, acne, and redness on their face. It gently addresses these problems through its natural properties and nutrients, and you can rest assured that your skin is getting the hydration it needs without being exposed to any harmful chemicals or toxins.
It’s incredibly important to know exactly what ingredients are in the products you use on your face, body, around the house, and on your loved ones. By downloading the Think Dirty App, you can learn more about ingredients and even scan your products to see if they contain “clean” or “dirty” ingredients.
If prickly pear oil doesn’t work for you, don’t stress. There are many other plant-derived oils that may be capable of the same benefits, like coconut oil and marula oil. Sometimes finding the right skincare products for you and your unique skin takes a bit of trial and error, so be patient!
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Ingredient Breakdown: Health Benefits of Prickly Pear Oil was originally published in Think Dirty on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.