To survive in dry climate, Opuntia ficus indica plant uses its “leaves” (cladodes) to save water. Under the prickly surface, cladodes contain a juicy and tender gel full of mucilages and other polysaccharides that bind and preserve water molecules. In the southern Italy, the farmers working in the fields know very well the properties of this natural gel and they are used to putting Opuntia cladodes on to moisturize and protect skin and wounds. OPUNTIA BIOCOMPLEX SH can be considered a plant origin Hyaluronic Acid. OPUNTIA BIOCOMPLEX SH is a powder extract obtained from the juice of Opuntia cladodes, containing the natural blend of mucillages and fibers.

When topically applied, it produces a physical barrier on the skin, protects against environmental stress factors, deeply moisturizes skin and promotes cutaneous reparative processes.


OPUNTIA BIOCOMPLEX SH can be used to keep skin moisturized and promote cutaneous reparative processes. As reported in several testing studies, topical application of Opuntia polysaccharides has the power to increase skin hydration degree and the rate of skin regeneration by re-epithelialization of cutaneous lesions (1).


OPUNTIA BIOCOMPLEX SH can be used to formulate several cosmetic products such as skin moisturizer, anti-aging, wound-healing products for face and body.

Recommended usage concentration: 2-5 % (w/w)


Mucilages contained in Opuntia cladodes are complex polysaccharides, composed of arabinose, galactose, rhamnose, xylose and galacturonic acid, which form molecular networks able to retain large amounts of water (2). Moreover, bioadhesive properties of Opuntia polysaccharides were recently underlined in scientific researches using a cell model (3). Hydrating and protecting effects of OPUNTIA BIOCOMPLEX SH have been proved by in vitro and in vivo models (1). Tests on keratinocyte cell line (Time Lapse Experiment) showed that OPUNTIA BIOCOMPLEX SH can induce strong skin repair effects (wound-healing action), similar to hyaluronic acid (Fig.1,2). In volunteers, topical application of 2% OPUNTIA BIOCOMPLEX SH formulation produced about 15% skin hydration increase after two weeks of treatment.

Fig.1 Time Lapse Experiment images; Ctrl: control; OP: 0.1% OPUNTIA BIOCOMPLEX SH; HY: 0.1% hyaluronic acid.

Fig.2 Wound closure percentage in cell model induced by hyaluronic acid (HY) and OPUNTIA BIOCOMPLEX SH (OP).

1. Bionap report. Opuntia ficus indica extract in skin hydration and repair.
2. Manpreet K, et al., Pharmacological actions of Opuntia ficus indica: a Review. JAPS 02(07):15-18(2012).
3. Rizza L, et al., Caco-2 cell line as a model to evaluate mucoprotective properties. Int J Pharm 422(1-2):318-322(2012).

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