Opuntia ficus-indica is a species of cactus that has long been a domesticated crop plant important in agricultural economies throughout arid and semiarid parts of the world. It is thought probably to have originated in Mexico. Known as Prickly Pear or Barbary fig Seed Oil this is the holy grail in the world of seed oils, with the amazing Argan Oil being it's first cousin. Prickly pear seed oil is extracted during a very time-consuming and laborious procedure. The production of 1-liter prickly pear seed oil takes 36 hours of manual labor, and about 1 million prickly pear seeds are needed. These seeds are cold pressed ensuring absolutely no chemicals are added during the oil extraction process, or heat, which damages the active plant compounds. 

Why is Prickly Pear oil so healing for your skin?

Vitamins// Antioxidants // Essential Fatty Acids // Source of Bioactive Compounds - and large doses of them!

Lets take a closer look at a breakdown of the different compounds: 

  • Essential fatty acids (EFA) Very high amounts (88%) in natural compound - the high fatty acid content plumps the skin, reducing wrinkles and adding firmness
  • Omega 6 fatty acid - 70% of linoleic acid - This is a polyunsaturated Omega 6 fatty acid and is considered as an essential fatty acid, i.e. this fatty acid is absolutely indispensible for many different metabolic processes of the human organism, which is not able to produce this acid itself.
  • Linoleic acid is essential in stimulating healthy cell production and turnover

MINERALS:  

Calcium - Vital for healthy bones and teeth, muscle function blood pressure and helps to regulate skin cell production and repair. A skin strengthener. 
Potassium - Helps to control the balance of fluids in the body and is required for proper nerve and muscle function helps to protect against dehydration. 
Phosphorus - Along with calcium, is one of the most important minerals in the body for maintaining bone structure and strength. In fact, more than half of all bone is made from phosphate. Phosphors helps form bone mineral density that prevents bone fractures, breaks and osteoporosis. A general immune system booster and important for energy levels. 
Magnesium - A stress busting nutrient, helps to reduce stress and relax muscles with helps with good quality sleep also helps to maintain moisture levels.
Sodium - The body uses sodium to control blood pressure and blood volume. Your body also needs sodium for your muscles and nerves to work properly.
Zinc - helps reduce redness and inflammation of acne lesions and decrease oil production.

VITAMINS:

Pro-vitamin A (47mg per 100g). (Beta Carotene)Is a fat soluble vitamin that is also a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin A plays a critical role in maintaining healthy skin. Vitamin A like all antioxidants are involved in reducing inflammation through fighting free radical damage. 
Vitamin ERich in tocopherols (720 mg/liter). Tocopherol is the generic term for at least eight chemically similar structured compounds. Prickly pear seed oil consists of:

  • 9 % Alpha-Tocopherol 
  • 9 % Gamma-Tocopherol
  • 3% Beta-Tocopherol
  • 2% Delta-Tocopherol
  • Provides protection and helps skin retain moisture is a free radical scavenger and increases cell renewal. Most of the time, the term vitamin E is wrongly used for alpha-tocopherol – the most studied form of vitamin E. Vitamin E is used as general term for a group of sixteen liposoluble chemical compounds, which differ in their strength of efficacy. Those compounds also include all tocopheroles alpha, beta & gamma tocopherols. 
    Vitamin K1 - Helps even out skin tone and reduce spider veins and broken capillaries. 

    ANTIOXIDANTS:

    Tocopherols are responsible for the impressive effectiveness of prickly pear seed oil as natural antioxidant. Tocopherols are in charge of protecting all valuable unsaturated fatty acids against the destruction by free radicals. Free radicals are known to promote the skin ageing process.
    Flavonoids - exhibiting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are a diverse group of plant pigments. These substances are responsible for color in many fruits, vegetables and flowers. In addition to providing color that attracts insects or animals, these pigments protect plants from environmental stress. In addition to being potent antioxidants, some flavonoids have antiallergic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity. Over 4,000 flavonoids have been characterized and classified, but only a few have been researched. 
    Tannins - These plant polyphenols are potent antioxidants that may protect against free radical damage caused by exposure to UV light and, in turn, reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging. 

      Free radicals - originate from:

      • Cigarette smoke // also from passive smoking
      • Environmental poisons // ionized radiation: televisions // computers// mobile phones // ultraviolet rays // smog // ozone
      • Alcohol // drugs // physical strain.

      Phytochemicals

      Anti-inflammatory - Phytochemicals, namely plant sterols, campesterol, stigmasterol, beta-Sitosterol and flavonoids that have an anti-inflammatory action helping to reduce inflammation that damages collagen.

      Phytosterols - Are similar to cholesterol, as it binds to water. When applied topically, water-binding phytosterols help the skin retain moisture, making for a strong, healthy skin barrier. They also assist in collagen production; you will feel the immediate skin-softening effects and your skin will glow.

      Polyphenols - Not only do they have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties, but they also fight oxidative stress—an imbalance between free radical production and the body’s ability to defend against them. Like tocopherols, they are also free radical scavengers. Polyphenols prevent and treat sun damage, and can help with redness and irritation.

      CONCLUSION

      We uncompromisingly only use Certified Organic Prickly Pear Seed oil sourced directly from a sustainable co-op in Morocco, which helps to support a local community of women. We use Prickly Pear as our foundation oil in our Certified Organic Superb Serum [face] launching early 2018.

      be human | be kind | be you

      founderGabrielle is the founder and creator of Human & Kind {Organics} The aim of my blog is to share information to educate the reader with the latest research on skin health. I believe we can all achieve beautiful, radiant, healthy, glowing skin without using products containing toxic chemicals which will damage your skins microbiome. Certified organic (ACO) skin care is better for your skin health and the planet Earth.

      SIGNUP (using the 'JOIN US , PLEASE' form at the bottom of this page) to our Newsletter and receive $10 (AUD) towards your first order. Signing up and commenting on our blog posts enters you into our bi-monthly draw to receive a FREE bottle of *Superb Serum [face]. (*this draw will commence after the launch of our first product Superb Serum [face] early 2018.)

       

       

      Reference
      Prickly Pear Seed Oil and the Skin - Billie A. Leyendecker
      Aromatic Scholars Program Graduate with The School for Aromatic Studies




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