If you’re looking for a multi-tasking, heavyweight beauty product that can basically help improve you from top to bottom, jojoba oil may be the answer.
From acne to dry skin to parched tresses, jojoba oil has the potential to help with all these issues – and more. This golden oil is an amazing addition to any skin and hair care regimen.
Jojoba (ho-HO-bah) oil is a liquid extract derived from the seed of a plant native to the Southwest. The shrub, known as Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) flourishes in areas of Arizona, Southern California and Northwestern Mexico and has been used in herbal medicine by natives of that region for centuries. The seeds of this plant contain rare fat compounds known as triglyceride long-chain fatty acids, well-known for their useful healing abilities. Because jojoba oil contains large amounts of this rare fatty acid, jojoba oil makes a wonderful natural preservative for homemade cosmetics, as it increases shelf life stability without the use of chemicals.
Traditionally, Native Americans of the Southwest used the jojoba seeds and oil extracts to speed the healing of topical wounds and as an emollient for dry, itchy skin. This plant grows in arid environments and for this reason is very popular among desert dwellers with sun-parched skin.
Jojoba seeds contain a wide range of essential and non-essential fatty acids including:
Palmitic acid. One of the most common saturated fatty acids, palmitic acid can be found in some very common foods including dairy products. It also has been shown to contain approximately between 20-30 percent human fat depot. This fatty acid is most commonly used in soaps and cosmetics.1
Palmitoleic acid. This fatty acid is in the rare omega-7 category and is naturally found in human fat cells. This makes it ideal for use as an emollient. This essential fatty acid provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protective benefits.2
Stearic acid. This saturated fatty acid has an 18-carbon chain and is one of the most common fatty acids found in nature. Stearic acid is used as an emulsifying agent, and it is found in many soaps, shampoos, and lotions.
Oleic acid. This omega-9 fatty acid is found in many different animal and vegetable fats. A chemical compound also found in large amounts in olive oil, oleic acid is most commonly used as an emulsifying agent and an emollient.
Arachidic acid. Also known as eicosanoic acid, this saturated fatty acid is a found naturally in many superfoods, including cupuacu butter, peanut oil, and cocoa butter. The 20-carbon essential fatty acid is naturally found in the human brain, liver, and glandular organs.
11-Eicosenoic acid. Also known as gondoic acid, this omega-9 fatty acid can be found in a number of seeds and plant oils.
Behenic acid. This saturated fatty acid can also be found in the seeds of other oil-bearing plants including canola, peanut, and behen.
Erucic acid. This monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid is also found in wallflower seed, canola oil, and mustard oil.
Lignoceric acid. Also known as tetracosanoic acid, this saturated fatty acid is additionally found in wood tar and peanut oil. It is also a byproduct of lignin production.
Nervonic acid. This monounsaturated fatty acid is naturally produced in nature, alongside oleic acid and erucic acid. It is abundant in the brain and nervous system of mammals, including humans. Chemically, it falls into the category of long-chain fatty acids, and includes more than 20 carbon atoms.
Over 97 percent of jojoba oil is comprised of these fatty acid esters. The rest is made up of a combination of mixed tocopherols, free sterols, and other unsaponifiable materials.
Tocopherols. These are the antioxidant compounds also found in Vitamin E that make jojoba oil an effective preservative. Because of jojoba’s tocopherol content, it has powerful antioxidant activity, making it one of the best carrier oils for plant essences (essential oils). Jojoba oil contains alpha, delta, and gamma tocopherols.3
As an antioxidant, alpha-tocopherol protects cells in the body from free radical molecules known to contribute to signs of premature aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to the fatty acids and antioxidants, jojoba oil contains a range of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin E, B complex, copper, selenium, iodine, chromium, and zinc.
Uses of Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil offers thousands of health benefits, but some of its most noted uses include personal care and skin healing.
Jojoba seeds contain approximately 50-54 percent extractable liquid, however, jojoba “oil” isn’t really an oil at all. What is commonly known as jojoba oil is actually liquefied wax esters derived from jojoba seeds. These esters are high in molecular weight and composed almost entirely of fatty acids. Jojoba esters’ chemical structure is almost identical to the natural oil (sebum) produced by human sebaceous glands. Out of over 350,000 identified plant species on Earth, jojoba is the only plant that produces large quantities of these esters. For this reason, jojoba seed oil is believed to be one of the best oils for skin care.
Sebum is a waxy, slightly oily substance naturally produced by the skin to protect it from dehydration, germs and environmental irritants. Most skin care products, including soap and body washes, can strip away the sebum of the skin. Even plain water can slow the skin’s natural sebum production. Jojoba’s content of fatty acid esters gives it the ability to mimic sebum production, providing skin the esters it needs for intense hydration and natural moisture.
Although jojoba seed esters are oily, jojoba seed oil has the surprising ability to control oily skin types for acne sufferers. Oily skin is caused by the overproduction of sebum by sebaceous glands in the skin. By applying jojoba oil to oily skin, the sebaceous glands receive the message that no additional sebum is needed. As a result, skin becomes less oily, but remains hydrated.
Jojoba seed oil is also a powerful astringent due to its natural antibacterial properties. When used as a spot treatment, jojoba oil may help to reduce bacterial growth deep within pores to dissolve blockage of dirt, debris, and leftover makeup.
3. Scar Softening
Jojoba seed oil provides a unique compound called triterpenoids. These fatty acids are known to soften scar tissue, reducing the visibility of unsightly scars, including stretch marks.
4. Hair Care
Jojoba seed oil is extremely moisturizing, making it an ideal beauty oil. For hair care, it offers many different benefits.
5. Frizzies and Dryness
Just a few drops of jojoba oil can repair dry, damaged hair and tame frizzies at the same time for tangle-free strands. When applied to hair before (or after) washing, it helps to rehydrate hair cells with the fatty acid esters commonly stripped away by shampoos containing surfactants. For best results, apply the jojoba oil to damp hair after shampooing for intense hydration. Smooth away fly-always and frizzes on completely dry hair with a few additional drops.
Dry, itchy scalp affects millions of people and it is one of the leading causes of dandruff – an irritating and embarrassing condition. The dryness is easily soothed and repaired with regular jojoba oil application.
Additionally, jojoba oil is rich in minerals, including zinc and selenium, to help address dandruff complicated by a fungal infection.
7. Hair Loss
There are many different causes of hair loss, including genetics, poor nutrition, and follicle damage. Every day, it is normal to notice between 50-100 hairs in the drain or hairbrush as “hair fall.” Jojoba oil is able to counteract the effects of increased hair fall for both men and women.
Jojoba works for hair loss by clearing away blockage from hair follicles, including left-behind hair product and sebum buildup. When applied to the scalp, jojoba oil first clears away clogged hair follicles, and then is absorbed by the sebaceous glands inside the follicles. When new hair starts to grow, that hair shaft carries a thick coating of sebum with it from the jojoba oil. This sebum provides protection to the hair strands, preventing breakage and hair fall.
8. Nail Care
Jojoba seed oil’s natural anti-fungal properties make it an ideal solution for athlete’s foot and other types of nail fungus.
Also deeply nourishing to nails, jojoba oil is able to repair damaged collagen matrix inside nail beds, improving strength and promoting healthy nail growth. Just a few drops every day is known to deliver results.
How to Use Jojoba Oil
There are thousands of personal care uses for jojoba oil. It makes one of the best carrier oils for spreading plant essences (essential oils). It can be dabbed onto trouble spots for acne sufferers. It applies easily with a dropper to dry, itchy scalp, and it can be added to diapers to ease rashes – plus so much more!
Should I Use Jojoba Oil?
Jojoba seed oil provides so many different benefits, and it is safe to use topically at all ages. However, for use on infants, opt for a jojoba oil specifically formulated for babies.
For consumption, be sure to purchase a food-grade jojoba oil.
How to Buy Jojoba Oil
There are many different types of jojoba oil available for purchase in health food stores and online. As a general rule, try to always purchase Certified Organic jojoba seed oil. If you require the oil for a specific use such as a makeup remover, an acne spot treatment or for baby rash care – purchase an oil specially made for that purpose.
1 K. J. Kingsbury D. The fatty acid composition of human depot fat. PubMed Central (PMC). 1961. Accessed November 28, 2016.
2 Bernstein AM e. Purified palmitoleic acid for the reduction of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and serum lipids: a double-blinded, randomized, placebo controll… – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnihgov. 2014. Accessed November 28, 2016.
3 AL-Qizwini H, AL-Khateeb E, Mhaidat N, Maraqa A. ANTIOXIDANT AND ANTIMICROBIAL ACTIVITIES OF JORDANIAN SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (LINK) C.K. SCHNEID. Eujournalorg. 2014. Accessed November 28, 2016.