What is Opuntia Oil (Opuntia ficus-indica)?
Opuntia ficus-indica oil is known as Prickly Pear Seed oil, Barbary Fig Seed oil, Indian Fig oil, and Cactus oil. It contains more natural Vitamin E than any other plant oil – even more than Argan oil – and is non-irritating and ideal for sensitive skin.
Where does Prickly Pear Oil come from?
It is a thorny cactus that grows in arid and semi-arid regions. It most likely originated in Mexico yet has become a critical domesticated crop important to the agricultural economies of many other countries, including South Africa.
Growing in the Free State and Northern Cape regions mainly, South Africa is now producing world-class quality that is pure and cold-pressed.
Extracting the fruit from the seeds is a lengthy operation, which can take three to four days. It is a manual operation, and the season lasts only a few months. It is worth noting that half a ton of these cactus fruits only produce one litre of Prickly Pear Seed oil.
The seeds contain only 5 percent oil, making extraction difficult with low yields per batch. Thus, it is one of the most expensive oils available.
This oil has been around for over a thousand years thanks to its antioxidant, regenerative, moisturizing, soothing, and anti-inflammatory properties.
What is the difference between Opuntia Oil (Prickly Pear Seed Oil) and Argan Oil?
Argan oil is extracted from the kernels of the argan tree, a large evergreen tree that grows in the mountains of northern Morocco. It has been used for centuries as an antiseptic and cosmetic treatment. It is also widely used in the Middle East and in Europe. The oil is harvested by hand after the kernels have been dried, crushed and mixed with a solvent to extract the oil.
Prickly Pear Seed oil contains 65% polyunsaturated fatty acids (nourishing) while Argan oil contains 33 % polyunsaturated fatty acids. Prickly Pear Seed oil contains 150% more vitamin E than Argan oil.