Where does it come from?
It is a thorny cactus which grows in arid and semi-arid regions, it most likely originated in Mexico, yet has become a key domesticated crop important to the agricultural economies of many countries including South Africa, Spain, Tunisia, Morocco, and Turkey, among others.
South Africa – in the Free State region particularly – is now producing world-class quality that is pure and cold pressed.
The process of 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 only lasts for 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.
Opuntia Oil has been around for more than a thousand years thanks to its antioxidant, regenerative, moisturizing, soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Opuntia Oil versus Argan Oil
• 65% polyunsaturated fatty acids (nourishing) as opposed to 33% for argan oil
• Vitamin E (antioxidant) over 100mg/100g as opposed to 65mg for argan oil
• It contains 150% more vitamin E than argan oil
Opuntia Oil is extremely rich in essential fatty acids, including omega 6 and 9, antioxidants, polyphenols, amino acids, and vitamin K. It calms inflammation and rehydrates your skin. Its high Linoleic Acid content allows the oil to absorb easily and penetrate deeply, without leaving behind a greasy residue. The fatty acid profile of linoleic acid and oleic acid replenish lost lipids within skin which helps moisturise and restore skin’s elasticity. The high linoleic acid content, roughly 62%, ensures that even the most dehydrated skin is ameliorated. Sufferers of acne usually have higher levels of oleic acid in skin compared to linoleic acid. Its high linoleic acid content helps prevent sebum from hardening and thus prevents blocked pores which would lead to acne and spots.
This oil contains effective and potent antioxidants known as betalains which are red and yellow pigments found in plants. Prickly Pear contains the highest amount of betalains than any other plant including beetroot, Goji berries and Acai. These super antioxidant pigments help to protect skin against ageing from various types of damaging radicals which would otherwise encourage wrinkle formation.
Aside from its content of betalains, this seed oil contains amino acids which may help stimulate collagen production. Containing vitamin K, prickly pear oil helps to brighten hyperpigmentation areas such as dark spots as well as being of benefit for under-eye dark circles. Afrika Botanicals highly recommends Opuntia oil.
• Intensely hydrates the skin
• Suitable for all skin types but works particularly well on dry, mature skin
• Brightens skin and get rid of dark spots
• Reduces wrinkles and adds firmness
• Highly effective moisturiser
• Easily absorbed into the skin
• Does not clog your pores
• Calms down any inflammation and redness especially for those prone to rosacea
• Brighten under eye circles and minimize spider veins
Opuntia Oil is an excellent choice for dry, dull and lacklustre hair. As a hair treatment, simply use one or two drops and massage into hair every night; leave for 15 minutes before washing.
When applied regularly to the nail cuticles, this oil works to strengthen nails making them less prone to breakage.
Opuntia Oil is also used in herbal supplements for weight loss.
Afrika Botanicals supplies the highest grade of Opuntia Oil from South Africa, Tunisia, and Morocco. African botanical oils at their best.
Afrika Botanicals – Bringing Africa to the World.