Why Cactus Water Is a Miracle Hydration Ingredient

Cacti are designed to thrive in harsh conditions — think hot, dry, and relentlessly sunny. Without regular rainfall to draw from, they’re mostly left on their own to survive in the wilderness, hence the spikes and thick skin. But because of that, they’re also self-sufficient, and thus packed with nutrients and oils. Think of it as a little enclosed ecosystem of goodness, which can (and should) be liberally applied to your skin as cactus water. 

The spiky stuff is, not surprisingly, a winner in terms of hydration. “Cactus water is loaded with electrolytes that support your cells to regulate water levels in your body,” says Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, a dermatologist in Westport, CT. “Water follows electrolytes, which means they will aid in adding hydration to the skin.” Cactus water is also ideal for moisture retention in the skin. Since the plants are responsible for sourcing moisture in arid conditions, it only makes sense that they would be good at retaining that all-important moisture. It’s strategic for the cactus’s survival — and also a major perk for your skin.

But cactus water does much more than hydrate. “Cactus water and extract are also rich in antioxidants, which fight against free radical damage and provide UV defense,” says Robinson. Free radicals, which result from UV exposure, pollution, everyday stress, and other environmental aggressors, damage cells as well as destroy collagen and elastin. In neutralizing these, those antioxidants within cactus water can repair and protect skin, keeping it firm, radiant, and healthy.

And it doesn’t end there; cactus extract is a multitasker, after all. Not only is it safe for all skin types, but “cactus extract also has antimicrobial benefits, which can help people with acne,” Robinson says. Plus, one 2012 study concluded that cactus extract may also offer anti-inflammatory benefits, calming and soothing skin. So, let’s revisit: Incredibly hydrating? Check. Full of antioxidants? Check. Deserves a spot on your shelf? Without a doubt.

Naturally, it’s the perfect addition to our new Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner, where the prickly pear extract hydrates and soothes skin while our blend of acids get down to business, exfoliating and clearing out pores. In a few pats, it leaves skin smooth and glowing. Plus, cactus water is responsible for the toner’s springy, stretchy texture. Clearly, it was a non-negotiable.

Who knew that one hardy plant could offer so much? The bottom line: Get this MVP ingredient into your routine, stat. 

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Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner

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