What if I told you that a fig, a pear and a cactus could be the same thing? Wait, what? That doesn’t make sense, does it? We know figs, whether fresh or dried, are those tasty little round fruit native to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia. And pears are just sweet, teardrop-shaped fruit.. What do these have to do with the spike-filled cactus everyone is afraid to touch? Well, you’ve got the Scottish botanist Philip Miller to thank for that.
Philip was the first to classify cacti (which is plural for cactus). One of the many classes he gave a name to was the Opuntia species which includes a special cactus called the Opuntia ficus-indica. It has many common names like prickly pear, Indian fig opuntia, Barbary fig, cactus pear and spineless cactus. That’s why people are always confused when they hear about cosmetics that contain this plant. Like for example, prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil. Both are very popular skin care oils that people often mistake for two different things. Sure, pharmaceutical companies can add other ingredients to make the oil feel smoother, smell better and be absorbed much faster, but in the end, whether they call it prickly pear seed oil or barbary fig seed oil, the base is the same : Opuntia ficus-indica.
So now here’s the obvious question : what are these two oils and what can they do? Well, it was Mexico that first showed everyone how to make these oils. They’ve used the Opuntia cactus for thousands of years to make the alcoholic drink called “colonche”. The fruit of the Opuntia cactus is a major ingredient in their jam and jelly industry. They love the cactus so much, there’s actually an Opuntia cactus right beneath the eagle in the Mexican coat of arms. But most importantly, by cold pressing the seeds, you can extract the prickly pear seed oil or the barbary fig seed oil everyone is so hyped about. And there’s a reason pharmaceutical companies choose cold pressing. There’s little to no heat involved. This is important because you don’t want all the components that are valuable to your skin to get destroyed by heat. That means the oil is as natural as possible, containing all the original components of the cactus.
Both prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil are considered a cutting edge skin care breakthrough. Why? Well, who doesn’t want younger skin? Who doesn’t want a healthy looking, radiant complexion? If you could have one product that gets rid of wrinkles, stretch marks and scars ; keeps your skin hydrated and supple ; and even helps brighten dark spots, would you think twice? Well, I’d be skeptical. Which leads to the second question : how does prickly pear seed oil or barbary fig seed oil do it? It all comes down to its natural components :
-Fatty acids : ( oleic, linoleic, stearic and palmitic)
– Vitamins : ( C, K, E)
-sterols: (beta-sitosterol, campesterol, fucosterol and stigmasterol)
Fatty acids are one the most important elements that not only your skin, but your whole body, badly needs. They play a role in so many body functions you wouldn’t know where to start. Generally, there are two types of fatty acids : essential and non-essential. Their names are a bit misleading because both are absolutely vital to your skin. Your skin needs the right ratio of both to be able to regenerate and stay healthy.
So what’s the difference? The essential fatty acids are the ones your body can’t synthesize on its own. It needs you to eat, drink or topically apply these special fatty acids. You are the only way your body can get them. They’re so precious that your body never uses them for energy, no matter what. Non-essential fatty acids on the other hand, are allowed to be used as an energy source because your body can make them on its own. So why do we still need to take them? Because we can only make so little.
Wound healing and inflammation taming
So how do fatty acids work? Well, they have extraordinary healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Cuts and wounds knit up much faster when your skin has enough fatty acids to work with. If you have sensitive skin, even the smallest stimulus can make your skin itchy, red and agitated. Your skin can even become inflamed due to an underlying disease such as arthritis or lupus. That’s when you need an oil like prickly pear seed oil or barbary fig seed oil. The anti-inflammatory properties not only help calm your skin, but can also help soothe the joint pain associated with arthritis.
This is a big one that many people underestimate. Being well-hydrated is a necessity if you want your skin to look amazing. The problem is, most of us have dry, chapped or dehydrated skin. We might not even realize it. We just hate the way our skin looks but don’t know what to do about it. For one, you can start drinking a lot more water. Six to eight cups a day should be good. At least that’s what doctors say. But from experience, even drinking that much won’t be enough. Why? Because as humans, we sweat. We use the bathroom frequently. Our bodies have so many ways to lose water that barely a fraction of our intake remains in our skin layers. So what do we do? We let our body excrete all the water it wants but when it comes to our skin we don’t let that water go. How? Prickly pear seed oil or barbary fig seed oil.
Both of these oils are natural moisturizers. They keep your skin hydrated by trapping the moisture that wants to get out. These are “oils”, right? And what do you know about oils? A lot of them don’t mix with water. That’s why they don’t let the moisture in your skin pass through. They’re basically a barrier. And the great thing about prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil is their high oleic acid content. Oleic acid has a rich, heavy consistency and gives the oil an overall perfect occlusion and moisture-sealing ability. It’s ironic how some cactus oil from the desert is the secret to super hydrated skin.
Dry or oily skin?
Since prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil both increase skin hydration, you probably already know they’re perfect for dry skin. But if you have oily skin, you’re probably thinking that they’re bad for you. The last thing you need is an even shinier forehead, right? Wrong. These oils are still great even if you have oily skin. Actually, they might even help you fix it. One of the many causes of oily skin is dehydration. It’s almost like your skin compensates its lack of water with more oil production. By giving your skin the amount of moisture it needs, you’re keeping your oil production at bay.
We all hate scars. They can be unpleasant and painful both physically and emotionally. Most of them are permanent and even the temporary ones take forever to go away. So how do you speed up the process? Prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil.
Scars are your skin’s failed attempt at self-healing. The normal amount of time your skin needs to heal a wound is about 1 to 2 weeks. More than that, a scar can start to form. That’s because in the first two weeks, collagen is deposited, along with other things, to seal up your skin injury. When you get to three or four weeks, the collagen has already built up excessively and has formed a thick scar-like appearance. The solution to that is fatty acids. They help regulate your collagen levels and promote wound healing so that your scar can slowly fade away. Prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil are rich in all kinds of fatty acids making them great at improving scars.
You don’t have to be old to have wrinkles and aged-looking skin. Your skin just has to be unhealthy enough to make you LOOK older. So how does this happen? Well, your skin gets exposed to hundreds of chemicals and harmful substances on a daily basis. Even if the air where you live isn’t heavily polluted, you still get exposed to sunlight, which can be just as harmful. In fact, certain types of UV rays from the sun are one of the most common causes of aged-looking skin. These UV rays react with different components in your skin layers producing harmful “free radicals”. These are unstable and very reactive chemical substances. They can damage your collagen which is basically the support structure of your skin. Without your collagen, your skin becomes loose and loses its firmness and suppleness. What are you left with? Wrinkles and age marks.
So how do you get rid of these free radicals that are ruining your skin? Antioxidants. Prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil contain Vitamin E which is one of the strongest natural antioxidants there is. It’s basically the Terminator. It searches your skin for free radicals, detects them and then neutralizes them. No more free radicals means no more wrinkles and age marks. Vitamin E is so important that many doctors recommend argan oil just for its high vitamin E content. Well guess what? Prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil contain 150% more vitamin E than argan oil. So step aside argan oil, there’s a new oil in town.
Dark spots or the scientific name for them, hyperpigmentation, can be very frustrating. You can have healthy, perfect skin, except for one flaw: an uneven skin tone. Prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil contain an important substance called “betalain” that works on those dark spots. They’re perfect for your “crow’s feet” area and the dark puffy circles around your sleep-deprived eyes.
How do I know it’s prickly pear or barbary fig seed oil?
Both prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil have a pale to yellowish green color. As soon as you open the bottle you’ll never want to close it again. The fragrance is absolutely divine. People have different opinions on what it smells like. Some people say it smells like cucumbers and melons. Others think it smells like fruits and sweet honey. Some have even described it as a “floral scent”. But everyone has agreed on one thing. Both the color and aroma are extremely pronounced and rich. That’s how you know the prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil are genuine. You’ll be able to tell if the oil is fake right away.
How big is it?
Prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil come in different size bottles but usually 10ml or 30ml. You’re probably thinking that’s not enough! On the contrary, it’s more than enough. You’re probably only going to need 3 to 6 drops a day to treat the area that’s bothering you. Yes, that’s how powerful these oils are. Now if you really want to calculate how long it’ll last, 10ml are about 200 drops, so you should be good for over a month if you use 3-6 drops a day. And that’s just with the small bottle.
Let’s say you buy it but don’t want to use it immediately. You’re probably afraid that something so natural might have a relatively short expiry date, right? Not at all. Most products can have a shelf like of up to 18 months as long as you keep it away from direct heat and light. The natural anti-oxidants that prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil contain protect against autoxidation and rancidity. Their oleic acid content helps prolong their shelf life as well. The last thing you want is for those precious few milliliters to spoil!
8000 kilos = 1 liter
The reason prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil come in such small quantities is because of how precious the oils are. The Opuntia cactus seeds are VERY hard and contain very little oil, almost less than 5 %. Karim Anegay, head of the cactus program at the Economic Promotion Office in Morocco talks about the fruit to oil ratio. He says that you need 8 tons (8000 kilos) of cactus fruit to get just 1 liter of prickly pear seed oil or barbary fig seed oil. Manufacturers work very hard just to be able to deliver such a scarce amount. And honestly, it’s a good thing that just a small amount of the oil does the job. You don’t need to rub your skin shiny with products just to make it healthy. It’s better to add a few drops and forget you even did it.
How do I use it?
Now that you know how important prickly pear seed oil or barbary fig seed oil is to your skin, here’s the obvious question: how do you use it? The great thing is, there aren’t any rules. Just cleanse your skin then apply it right on. It doesn’t matter whether your skin is dry or wet. You can apply it directly or put a drop or two on your fingers then massage it into your troublesome areas. Your skin will feel and more importantly, LOOK amazing.
Even my hair?
Many people use prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil for their hair. There are a lot of common elements between your hair and skin so the oil is perfect for nourishing both. Just like your skin, your hair can be dry; can be damaged by chemicals or heat; or can simply lack radiance and luster. Here’s the solution. Massage some oil into your scalp and hair. Then wrap it up in a hot towel for 30 minutes. The heat helps absorb even more of the oil. After 30 minutes, simple rinse it out or use a good non-chemical shampoo if you need to. And if your hair is perfect except for a few annoying, frizzy split ends, smooth them out with a few drops on your fingertips. That’s all you need to fix your hair. Easy, right?
You can tell that prickly pear seed oil and barbary fig seed oil are worth every drop. They’re powerful oils that work when all others fail. Some skin problems will disappear overnight, while others may take some time. Lots of hard work went into making just 10ml of this magically remedy from a cactus. So it’s definitely effective. And here’s a fun fact about cacti: the word cactus in Arabic is called “sabbar” which actually translates to “patience”. It took patience to make the oil. And it might need a bit of patience to see the difference you want in your skin. Just remember that it’s important to be consistent. And whether it takes a day or a week, you WILL get the results you’re looking for.