What Is Prickly Pear
You may be wondering what this unusual sounding ingredient is and to be honest, so was I.
I first began to notice prickly pear listed as an ingredient on natural skin care products, predominantly oils and serums. After a little bit of research I realised that I was more familiar with the exotic fruit than I thought. Originating in the Americas, the prickly pear is an oval shaped, spiny fruit that grows on top of the leaves of the Nopales cacti, so yes it looks a lot more like a cactus than the traditional pear that shares its name. It is also known by several other names including Barbary Fig in Europe, which my father loves to buy from the farmers market on holidays to the South of France, and Tuna in Mexico which I enjoyed as part of my breakfast on many mornings while holidaying there. Not only did I know what a prickly pear was, I had eaten one!
It was some time later that I came across Prickly Pear again in the form of a pure oil by Lux Aestiva sitting on the shelf of an eclectic homewares store in Byron Bay. A quick read over the box and I discovered one its key uses was to reduce hyper-pigmentation; “do they sell it by the litre” I joked with the store owner. She sung its praises and told me she saw impressive results in the overall brightening and hydration of her skin. I was intrigued. Pregnancy dealt me some curly beauty conundrums and chief among them was a blob of pigmentation across my forehead. I purchased Lux Aestiva’s Prickly Pear Oil and decided I would trial it consistently over the next few months to see if I experienced any results.
The prickly pear fruit is a nutrient dense powerhouse combining vitamins C, E and K, and B group vitamins with minerals magnesium, potassium, calcium and copper, high levels of antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Unsurprisingly, this unique composition of nutrients also works effectively when applied topically to the skin. Lux Aestiva states that “Prickly Pear Oil contains more vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids than any other known oil, high linoleic acid, vitamin k and the highest levels of betalains (super antioxidants) of any known plant". So basically it is jam packed with the key ingredients to improve skin health. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which protects the skin against sun damage and prevents free radical damage to cells, vitamin K is essential in aiding the body's process of blood clotting, helping to heal wounds and scars (also helps to reduce dark spots and under eye circles) and vitamin C plays a vital role in the production of collagen to protect against premature ageing. Betalains are the most powerful of antioxidants stimulating cell production and repairing skin to keep it firm and youthful.
I incorporated Lux Aestiva’s Prickly Pear Oil into my night time routine after my serum and before my moisturiser (tip: always give your serum a chance to absorb into the skin before starting with an oil). Following the product recommendation I warmed 5 drops in my hands and spent a little bit of time massaging it into my skin. It is a dry oil so it absorbs quickly not leaving any greasy residue (good news if like me you favour a silk pillow slip). It has a gentle, calming aroma which I can only describe as somewhere between an olive and a nut oil infused with a herb. The 30ml bottle lasted about 4 months and I started to see actual results after a couple of weeks. To start with my skin felt softer and more hydrated, I noticed this particularly in the morning when I cleansed my skin. After a month or so I saw some definite separation and lightening of the hyper-pigmentation on my forehead and this continued to improve over time. Lastly, I believe it helped to firm my skin, it looked and felt plumper and my make up didn’t gather into fine lines as much as it had previously.
It is a beautiful product and an easy step to add into your skin care regime if you are not currently using an oil. I have recently purchased my second bottle and needless to say I am impressed.