What is prickly pear for the skin? Benefits, Uses, Best Products of 2022

There always seem to be hot beauty ingredients hitting the industry with promises of improving a range of conditions. One of these this year is prickly pear for the skin, which, like ceramides, has been named an ingredient to watch in 2022 by the Whole Foods Trend Council.

“Skincare fanatics are always on the lookout for natural ingredients that have clinical evidence of helping the skin barrier and provide antioxidant properties strong enough to have an effect on the skin,” says a board-certified dermatologist. Dr. Nava Greenfield the rise in popularity of prickly pear in cosmetics. But what is it ?

Below, experts discover just how beneficial prickly pear is for the skin as well as the best ways to incorporate the ingredient into your beauty routine.

What is prickly pear and how does it benefit the skin?

“Prickly Pear Seed Oil is a highly hydrating oil derived from a cactus plant,” says a board-certified dermatologist. Dr. Hadley King. “The prickly pear, also called nopal or Opuntia, is native to the Americas and is often used as food.” She adds that it’s rich in essential fatty acids, omega-6 and -9, and vitamin E, further providing antioxidant protection against free radicals, as well as anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. “It is also rich in amino acids, which stimulate collagen production and promote faster cell turnover. And it contains vitamin K, which helps skin elasticity and some believe it can help lighten dark circles,” she says.

Essentially, as Greenfield says, this means the cactus-derived ingredient has been shown to have beneficial effects on the skin, hydrating and supporting the skin barrier while improving elasticity and pigmentation. “It softens the skin and gives a luminous glow,” says King.

What is the best way to bring prickly pear to the skin?

Greenfield explains that those looking to start using prickly pear should use serums, oils, or moisturizers rather than an alcohol-based product like a toner. She goes on to say that it can take six to eight weeks to see results, like any skincare product: “Skin cell turnover is slow, so it takes several weeks to notice an effect. .”

Per King, “Unless you’re allergic to it, prickly pear seed oil is generally suitable for all skin types. It’s especially good for dry, sensitive, and mature skin. Additionally, Greenfield notes that it’s especially good for “anyone looking for hydration, antioxidant effects, or who has pigmentation issues on their skin” – even rosacea.

Patricia J. Callender