The benefits of jojoba oil are earning it a popular place in modern skincare -- with good reason. Learn more about this powerful golden elixir. Whether it’s used to moisturize dry skin, treat oily skin, help minimize acne problems, heal wounds, or simply provide a defense against the natural aging process - jojoba oil is shown to work.
Centuries before cosmetic companies starting including the benefits of jojoba oil in their formulations, Native Americans were using the oil from jojoba seeds to treat their skin wounds and sores.
In the eighteenth century, Jesuit missionaries discovered the plant in Baja, and learned how to soften the plant’s seeds using heat, creating a medicinal salve from the extracted oil. The missionaries used the salve to treat a wide range of skin conditions, as well as to nourish hair and provide moisture to the skin.
Prior to jojoba oil’s wide acceptance in America, Americans were using sperm whale oil for cosmetic products and perfumes, and to lubricate machinery parts. But sperm whales were being hunted to extinction, and the U.S. banned the hunting of sperm whales in 1972. That’s when it was discovered that jojoba oil was not only a substitute for sperm whale oil but that it was in fact superior to it. Not only does jojoba oil come from plants - it doesn’t require anything to be killed in order to obtain it for commercial use.
Once the oil is extracted from the plant’s seeds, the remarkable plant keeps growing and lives for more than one hundred years, continuing to produce its oil as it grows older. The plant grows quite easily with minimal effort, thrives in extremely harsh growing conditions, and is thought to be the most eco-friendly ingredient that is currently used in cosmetic products. Jojoba oil is a readily renewable resource!
The jojoba plant (Simmondsia chinensis), is a shrub that grows in the deserts of Arizona (photo provided by the Sonoran Desert National Park Service of Tucson, Arizona), California, Mexico, and now even in Australia.
Its oil is a waxy substance that actually mimics human sebum. Sebum is produced by the skin’s sebaceous gland and protects the skin from losing moisture. Jojoba oil also contains a large amount of vitamin E, which is a strong antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from aging. That’s why cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies hold jojoba oil in such high regard.
Jojoba oil is different from every other plant oil because other plants produce glyceride oils, where fatty acids are connected to a glycerol molecule. The good news is that jojoba oil doesn’t contain any glycerides or glycerol, making its molecular structure more similar to human sebum than conventional vegetable oils.
This golden oil is already in use in products that are effectively treating psoriasis, eczema, sunburn and chapped hands. Here’s another benefit - jojoba oil enhances the penetration ability of many topically applied drugs.
As a natural moisturizer and one that actually mirrors the molecular structure of human sebum, jojoba oil is ideal for use on the face. Here’s why, soaps and skin cleansers used daily in skin care routines actually strip your skin of the natural sebum produced by your sebaceous glands in the skin. Sebum is designed to lubricate the skin while providing protection from dryness.
Each time you wash your face, you're essentially robbing your skin of a protective layer of sebum. But environmental factors help dry your skin too, including dry air in the winter months and air conditioning during the hot summer. Even when you shower, the water dries out your skin, and your skin glands simply can’t keep up replacing the moisture it loses.
One of the key reasons that jojoba oil helps facial skin is that it doesn’t clog the skin’s pores. And the oil is rich in iodine, which is shown to tackle harmful bacteria growth on the skin’s surface.
Germs are constantly looking for ways to burrow through your skin, and a lack of moisture makes your skin more vulnerable. This is especially true with dry and irritated skin. By moisturizing your skin, particularly your facial skin, you’re protecting it from the environment and helping to seal in your natural moisture. That’s why many people use jojoba oil products every time they wash their face, and also apply it at night so it can work its magic.
It’s also important to remember that jojoba oil is rich in antioxidants, which take on free radials - the enemies of skin that cause fine lines and wrinkles. Jojoba oil acts to protect the skin from the aging process, while minimizing the effects of aging that include loss of skin elasticity.
But dry skin isn’t the only reason to consider the benefits of jojoba oil for your face. Oily skin presents an entirely different set of problems, but they can be just as bad as dry skin. Often oily skin can present with a shiny nose and forehead, which is difficult to mask with makeup.
When you have overactive sebaceous glands in your skin, which are more prevalent in the face and the scalp, oily skin is the result. Imagine your skin having a film of oil on it - it would attract all types of dust and other environmental irritants. Well, that’s just what happens with oily skin. The more dust and dirt oily skin attracts, the more you wash your face to remove it all. This vicious cycle can cause all types of skin problems including acne, seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of jojoba oil, your skin will remain well hydrated and your sebaceous glands will cut back on producing excess sebum. You may be wondering why you would put jojoba oil on your face if your skin is oily, but because it modulates sebum production it helps to reduce the oiliness.
When we think of acne, we usually think of teenagers and adolescents. It’s caused by hormonal changes at puberty, which stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum. But acne can be a problem for people of all ages. The excess sebum and other debris that cells produce, end up blocking hair follicles, and may first appear as a whitehead or a blackhead on the skin.
This is exacerbated by bacterial infections that plague the skin, along with inflammatory skin reactions. So why do teenagers get acne more than most other age groups? The answer is that during puberty the body produces androgen, a hormone that stimulates the excess production of sebum within the skin. Fortunately, most teenage acne disappears by the time the teen enters his or her twenties, because the body’s hormone levels tend to stabilize at that age.
Depending on the amount of excess sebum produced, acne can appear as mild, moderate, or severe. But to teenagers, even mild acne and occasional pimples can be extremely disconcerting, as it impacts a teen's social and dating life. The sooner treatment begins, the sooner the problem can be eradicated.
Jojoba oil helps minimize acne on the skin due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, cleansing, and moisturizing effects. It contains a high amount of vitamins E, B and A along with silicon, copper, zinc and other ingredients. It’s also a potent antioxidant, which helps to keep free radicals at bay preventing further skin irritation.
It may take a regimen of daily use of jojoba oil to clear up moderate acne, but because it is not known to cause any side effects, it’s an effective and natural way to treat problematic acne. In fact, jojoba oil has been used in a wide range of products by millions of people over the past decades without any adverse effects. And the American College of Toxicology determined that jojoba oil is completely safe when used as a cosmetic ingredient.
For centuries jojoba oil has been used for its healing properties on the skin. Whether it’s used to moisturize dry skin, treat oily skin, help minimize acne problems, heal wounds, or simply provide a defense against the natural aging process - jojoba oil is shown to work.
So why does jojoba oil work so well in rejuvenating the appearance of the skin? Research has shown the highly effective ingredients found in skin care products are those that have physical and chemical properties that mimic the skin’s own layers. Jojoba oil is very similar to the skin’s sebum, produced in the sebaceous glands within the skin.
When applied to the skin, it provides exceptional moisture balance and control, and unlike other oils or petroleum products, it is non-greasy. It is also an excellent and powerful moisturizing agent that leaves a non-oily feel on the skin’s surface. At the same time, it prevents water loss which gives a more supple feel to the skin.
The skin’s pores continue to do their job after applying jojoba oil as it doesn’t interfere with their mechanisms. It’s easily and quickly absorbed in both skin pores and hair follicles, which stay open even after the jojoba oil is applied. It has been shown to moisturize and soften skin by forming a lipid (fat) layer while it is absorbed into the skin’s cells.
Because jojoba oil has a compatibility with just about all types of cosmetic formulation ingredients, it is an excellent alternative to mineral oil, triglycerides, lanolin, and synthetic esters. This helps to boost the functionality of all types of skin care products.
The healing properties of jojoba oil are well known, and that includes helping to reduce scars and stretch marks. Jojoba oil has both anti-inflammatory and anti-degenerative properties and helps to nourish the cells. The oil’s liquid wax esters and tocopherols are also proven emollients with rapid absorbency, which makes it an excellent candidate for topical applications.
The components of jojoba oil are tocopherols, which are compounds that are fat-soluble and have high antioxidant properties that are very important in helping to stabilize cell membranes. They’re high in vitamin E as well, which serves as an excellent antioxidant to fight free radicals, which damage skin and accelerate the aging process.
The benefits of jojoba oil aren’t limited to skin. It is also an extremely important ingredient in hair and scalp preparations. Many types of scalp issues are caused when there’s a build-up of sebum, which tends to clog hair follicles and produces scaling on the scalp’s surface. If you don’t remove that scaly buildup, it becomes hard and can cause damage to the hair shaft, and ultimately will destroy the hair follicle.
Because of jojoba oil’s ability to penetrate down through the scalp and into the hair shaft, it helps dissolve the hardened, scaly build-up. Once the hair shaft and follicles are cleansed, they can resume their regular function without any problems or damage.
If you look at all the uses of jojoba oil, whether as an anti-inflammatory, wound healing, and other medicinal uses, perhaps the most promise lies in its antioxidant impact on aging skin. As we age, skin loses its youthful radiance and feel, mostly due to the loss of skin elasticity. Due to this loss, fine lines and wrinkles begin to appear. Due to cellular changes and loss of structural proteins, other external symptoms appear including stains, marks, "character lines" and more.
Other symptoms may happen during aging, like dermatitis and acute and chronic inflammatory processes. It’s due to free radicals and the oxidative stress they cause. And that’s where jojoba oil can help, with its powerful antioxidants. Tests have shown that antioxidants have the ability to halt the degradation of structural fibers due to free radicals, including collagen and elastin.
There are also studies and tests currently underway (including clinical trials) to determine whether using antioxidants as the main tool against free radicals is a viable strategy. Those tests and trials will help to determine if the powerful antioxidants like jojoba oil will continue to provide the remarkable anti-aging benefits that have been shown so far. There is no question that the benefits of the topical application of jojoba oil are many; the only question remaining is how far will it go in the anti-aging process.