Prickly Pear Oil



  • Active Oil
  • INCI: Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Prickly Pear) Seed Oil
  • Comedogenicity: 0
  • Composition: Linoleic acid (up to approx. 70 %), oleic acid (up to approx. 20 %), palmitic acid (up to approx. 15 %), stearic acid (up to approx. 3 %), tocopherols, phytosterols.
  • Iodine number: 101,5.
  • Cosmetic use: Aging, mature, dry skin.
  • Shelf life: up to 12 months.



The prickly pear grows in dry and semi-dry areas in North Africa, Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of Australia. The prickly pear grows either shrub or tree-like and reaches a height of about 5 meters. The oval, elongated stems are between 20 and 60 cm long and are covered with glochids. The glochids themselves consist of many piercing bristles, which fall off easily when touched. The prickly pear typically possesses one or two thorns but a thornless variant can also be cultivated. The flowers are located at the ends of the stems and are yellow to red. The fruits of the prickly pear are yellow to red berries, which are also covered with glochids and thorns. Inside the fruits are black seeds with relatively low oil content.

Extraction of prickly pear oil

After ripening, the fruits are selected based on color, flesh pH level, and total titratable acidity. The fruit is peeled and seeded for gentle oil extraction of the golden yellow prickly pear seed oil. The seeds are washed, dried, and then cold-pressed. Another option is to extract the oil from ground seeds using chloroform/methanol.

Cosmetic use of prickly pear oil

The combination of the ingredients of the oil makes it a good addition to every skincare regimen. The high content of linoleic acid relieves pain and soothes skin irritations. The water-repellent properties of the oil’s prostaglandins support wound healing and protect against dehydration. Besides, prickly pear oil has a high concentration of tocopherols, which are responsible for the antioxidant effect of the oil. These counteract the aging process and can prevent cell damage caused by oxidative stress due to radical formation. The oil supports natural cell renewal and slows down the formation of fine wrinkles. Age and pigment spots also fade when the oil is used regularly.


Benefits of prickly pear oil for skin

  • reduces pain
  • soothes skin irritations
  • supports wound healing
  • antioxidant effect counteracts aging
  • slows down the formation of fine wrinkles
  • promotes cell renewal and can prevent cell damage
  • helps to reduce age and pigment spots

Internal use of prickly pear oil

According to several studies, prickly pear oil is said to have positive effects on our health. Prickly pear oil has an antioxidant effect, which can reduce oxidative stress and prevent resulting diseases. The oil is also said to have a positive effect on the cholesterol level, which is probably due to the contained β sitosterol.

Other studies, which were not yet performed on humans, showed on the one hand that induced tumor cells die by the use of prickly pear oil. On the other hand it was determined that prickly pear oil can lower high blood sugar levels and can therefore work against diabetes.

Buy prickly pear oil – what to consider?

Since the production process of prickly pear seed oil is quite laborious, the oil the oil is solt at a rather high price. You should pay attention to the name of the product. You can often find cactus oil or prickly pear flower oil. With these names you can assume, however, that no cold pressing process was used. The oil was most likely produced by maceration (placing the flowers of the prickly pear in another oil for a certain period). These oils do not have the same effect as pure prickly pear seed oil, but are bought by many people because of the lower price. As already mentioned, the oil should be obtained by cold pressing. It should not contain any other additives, therefore no other ingredients should be mentioned on the label. As with other oils, a product sold in a dark glass bottle is preferable.

Sources: Krist, Sabine (2013): Lexikon der Pflanzlichen Öle und Fett. Vienna: Springer Verlag. | Braunschweig, R. (2020): Pflanzenöle - über 50 starke Helfer für Genuss und Hautpflege. Wiggensbach: Stadelmann Verlag.

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