By Evelia Torres
How many of you grew up eating nopales? Nopales are a staple food in Mexican cuisine. It’s symbolic of our culture and you will find it growing abundantly all over Mexico. It’s also becoming a recognized beauty ingredient that contains so many skin-loving benefits that work wonders on our complexion.
What are Nopales a.k.a Prickly Pear?
The nopal cactus is a genus of flowering plants in the cactus family Cactaceae. It’s an edible plant that grows and thrives in arid and drought-prone climates, producing fruit that contains small black seeds (prickly pear or tunas in Spanish). It’s so resilient and it can be easily propagated by rooting its leaves. Nopales also goes by the Latin name Opuntia ficus indica, Prickly Pear, and Nopal. It’s very symbolic to Mexico (it’s on our Mexican flag) and it grows abundantly all over the country (in over 18 Mexican states to be exact).
In many countries, prickly pears are eaten for their high water content and body-cooling abilities, especially during hot summers. For example, in Mexico, people use the prickly pear to prepare dishes such as appetizers, soups, salads, desserts, beverages, candy, and jelly during summer. Nopales, specifically the cactus pads, are often used in Mexican cooking. We especially love to eat them with eggs or tacos de carne asada (yum!).
How are Nopales a.k.a Prickly Pear good for the skin?
Prickly pear oil is derived from the seeds contained in that tiny little fruit that grows on the cactus plants (la tuna del nopal). It has 150% more vitamin E than any other skin oil, making it an amazing anti-oxidant for our skin that also helps with hyperpigmentation. It is loved by beauty enthusiasts for its impressively high concentrations of vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants. Here’s how prickly pear oil can support glowing skin:
1. Ultra-moisturizing. Although nopales can be found in drought and dry climates, this oil is anything but drying. Not only does prickly pear help moisturize it also helps your skin retain those hydration levels: the oil’s high level of omega fatty acids, linoleic acid, and polysaccharides bind to water when applied topically, assisting with natural moisture retention.
2. High in Vitamin E. Prickly pear oil has one of the highest levels of Vitamin E of any plant-based source. Vitamin E is a beloved ingredient in skincare as it contains incredible antioxidant properties. These antioxidants help to increase cell turnover, restore elasticity, brighten your complexion, and reduce redness and dryness.
3. Prickly Pear Oil is non-comedogenic. The word “oil” may sometimes stress people out, especially if you experience oily skin. Prickly pear oil is non-comedogenic, which means that it can deeply penetrate your skin without clogging pores or causing breakouts.
4. Prickly Pear Oil is great for all skin types! Acne-prone, dry, red, sensitive, eczema-prone skin can greatly benefit from the amazing restorative properties of prickly pear oil. Full of vitamins to visibly brighten your complexion and reduce the look of hyper-pigmentation caused by UV damage.
Which De Mi Tierra products currently carry Nopales a.k.a Prickly Pear?
We have learned that the nopal thrives in extremely harsh and dry conditions. It is able to rebound and grow beautifully even after being drastically dehydrated. It is bountiful, it is beautiful, it is resilient. She is also the star ingredient in our Cactus Concentrate Beauty Cream and Awaken Brightening Eye Serum.
Our Cactus Concentrate Beauty Cream helps to soothe the skin in the most beautiful way, providing the perfect level of hydration and healing, helping to eliminate redness and irritation. This day and night cream has a high concentration of Vitamin E, K, and omega fatty acids that helps to increase cell renewal while fighting against signs of premature aging. Upon contact with skin, this concentrate melts immediately to a gorgeous fluid. It’s effective both as your primary moisturizer and as a special treatment for skin that is sensitive, inflamed, damaged, acneic, or irritated.
Our Awaken Brightening Eye Serum is powered by omega fatty acids and an antioxidant-rich blend of organic plant oils such as Prickly Pear, Coffee Bean, Argan, and Sacha Inchi that work together to hydrate and help reduce the appearance of fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles.
So next time you see the nopal cactus either in cuisine or simply growing on the beautiful grounds in Mexico, you will get to appreciate its skin-loving benefits a bit more.
Thanks for reading!