Prickly Pear Seed Oil for Acne

Prickly Pear Seed Oil

‘Gentle’ and ‘hydrating’ are not words we would typically associate with a cactus, but the nutrient-rich organic prickly pear seed oil is derived from just that. The prickly pear cactus, sometimes referred to as the barbary fig, can be distinguished by its round, flat pads that produce fruit pods containing small seeds which the oil is extracted from. The golden oil is ample in weight and texture and bears a scent reminiscent of hay.

8 tons of fruit pods are required to produce 1 liter of prickly pear oil since each seed only contains around 3-5%, but favorably, the crop is highly sustainable and easy to propagate. The seeds are handpicked and cold-pressed on-demand over a period of several days.

The labor-intensive and time-consuming process gives way to prickly pear oil’s premium, but its versatility and range of benefits come unmatched. It has the highest concentration of vitamin E on the market and is loaded with linoleic acid (watch out argan oil). This vegan, gluten-free, non-comedogenic oil is suitable for all skin types and quickly gaining traction in the beauty world as a new holy grail ingredient, and rightfully so.  

Healing Powers

The flesh of the prickly pear cactus can be used to aid with a number of health issues such as high blood pressure, asthma, headaches, osteoporosis, inflammation, and digestion. It has a long history of use in traditional Mexican folk medicine to treat diabetes and high cholesterol. The Aztecs would extract juice from the plant to produce an ointment for treating burns and the Chinese used it to dress abscesses. Many of the same remedies are still being used today for cuts, insect bites, sunburn and windburn. 

Do-it-all Oil

You may have seen it making rounds in the form of a vibrant magenta beverage, but prickly pear has been used in medicinal and culinary practices for centuries treating everything from burns to illnesses. Only recently have the prickly pear skincare benefits been discovered. Packed with vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids, protein, and antioxidants, organic prickly pear seed oil is a unique health and beauty asset. When applied topically to the skin, the oil hydrates and soothes, refines and tightens pores, reduces redness and inflammation, brightens under-eye circles, lightens dark spots, and restores elasticity.

Prickly Pear Seed Oil for Acne

As a carrier oil, it’s especially suited for treating acne due to these key components:

Linoleic Acid

One of the most effective ingredients in skincare, linoleic acid (omega 6) promotes healthy cell activity and strengthens the skin’s barrier, helping it to repair and retain moisture. Prickly pear oil contains over 60% linoleic acid which makes it great for oily and congestion-prone skin. The regenerative properties help treat and prevent future breakouts. When skin is deficient in linoleic acid, the natural sebum becomes thick, leading to clogged pores and acne.

Oleic Acid

Oleic acid (omega 9), a fat naturally produced in our bodies, penetrates deep into the skin and makes organic prickly pear seed oil intensely moisturizing without feeling heavy. It also comprises antioxidant compounds that neutralize free radicals and promotes healing as an anti-inflammatory substance. A proper balance of oleic to linoleic acid ensures a higher concentration of the latter.

Vitamin E

Also known as tocopherol, vitamin E is recognized as a potent antioxidant and moisturizer. It’s fat-soluble and easily absorbed, leading to faster acne healing. It promotes cell turnover, reduces hyper-pigmentation, heals scar tissue and improves the overall texture of skin.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K’s ability to strengthen capillaries and aid the body’s process of blood clotting gives it its healing properties. When applied topically, it combats acne and acne scarring while reducing redness and hyperpigmentation for a brighter, clearer complexion.


A powerful anti-inflammatory, zinc helps the skin to heal. It works to clear acne-causing bacteria, reduce oil production, defends against free radicals and protects collagen-producing cells to promote faster cell turnover.


Organic prickly pear seed oil contains flavonoids and betalains, potent antioxidants that neutralize toxins and inflammation. They protect the skin from free radicals that can cause acne breakouts and help repair the skin.


Betalains are a group of powerful antioxidants, often found in dark red berries like the prickly pear. They reduce inflammation-causing enzymes and assist in neutralizing toxins and the cell’s natural detoxification process.


Structurally similar to cholesterol, this component binds to water which can help the skin retain moisture.


Micronutrients that boast antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties that help with redness and irritation. Polyphenols also help manage oxidative stress- an imbalance between free radical production and the body’s ability to defend against them.

The powerful combination of these compounds gives prickly pear seed oil efficacy and versatility in addressing a wide range of skin-related problems. It’s the oil that oily skin needs. It moisturizes, softens, brightens and restores the skin while tackling specific concerns such as spider veins and eczema. It’s compatible with dry, oily, young or mature skin. You wouldn’t know from its prickly exterior that the cactus native to dry, heated climates can be so beneficial to the delicate nature of your skin.

Sunia K. Cosmetiques Authentiques

Prickly pear oil is sustainably sourced from an eco-certified grower in Zelfene, Tunisia where the climate is ideal for the cactus to grow. The crops are harvested and slowly cold pressed over a 10 day period for 100% pure prickly pear seed oil. 

With all the concentrated nutrients, the oil is soothing and gentle enough for everyday use on skin, hair, and nails. 2-3 drops of oil are sufficient for the face and neck and can be used all over. It’s a great alternative to argan oil and other serums and moisturizers and can even be used to remove makeup before cleansing. For more sparing uses, the oil can be applied as a spot treatment for under eyes and blemishes. The lightweight consistency effectively penetrates the skin without leaving behind an oily residue and works well with any skin type- especially dry, sensitive, mature skin.