Exactly as its name suggests, prickly pear cactus are a type of cactus with sharp, spiny offshoots. It is a plant native to Mexico and is commonly eaten and used as a medicine.  It is even prominently incorporated into the design of the official flag of Mexico.

What is a Prickly Pear Cactus

  • Prickly Pear Cactus (also known as Nopal or Opuntia) is a species of flat-stemmed cactus that produces a red, green, or yellow/orange edible fruit called ‘tuna fruit’.
  • The flowers, fruit, leaves and stems are eaten and prepared in various types of Spanish foods.
  • They have been used for medicinal purposes over many generations in Mexican culture.

Where is Prickly Pear Found

  • Prickly Pear Cactus are predominantly found in Mexico and the Southwestern region of the United States.
  • They typically bloom in the early summer months of June and July but there are also some cooler climate varieties.

Benefits of Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus has been said  to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels by reducing absorption. It also has been reported to have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.

When used in skin care products, Prickly Pear Cactus is:

  • Known for its soothing properties
  • Super hydrating and helpful in caring for dry and sensitive skin
  • Useful in treating skin that is prone to breakouts and inflammation/irritation
  • Rich in antioxidants and omega fatty acids, which are powerful anti-aging ingredients
  • Packed with vitamin K which brightens the skin and reduces the appearance of dark circles and patches.

While there are some reported digestive side effects when eaten, there are no known side effects from Prickly Pear Cactus or its seed oil in skincare use, so it is generally safe for use on almost all skin types.