Jojoba Oil — The Skin and Hair Elixir You've Been Searching For

June 6, 2018

Valued over centuries for its medicinal qualities and exceptional use in treating skin problems, jojoba oil has become a key part of the cosmetic industry. From shampoos and conditioners to face masks and tinctures, jojoba oil is everywhere. Beauty bloggers rave about it and skin care experts tout its healing qualities.

Jojoba oil, pronounced “ho-HO-ba,” is a rich oil that has found its home in the cosmetic industry thanks to its amazing skin and hair benefits. With the ability to clear up clogged pores, prevent acne breakouts and create shinier hair, jojoba oil deserves a prominent place in every skin and hair care regimen.

What Is Jojoba Oil?

Jojoba oil is produced from the liquid wax found in the seed of the jojoba plant, known scientifically as Simmondsia chinensis, which is native to the United States and Mexico — mainly southern California, southern Arizona and northern Mexico.

About 50 percent of the weight of each jojoba seed is made up of this essential oil. The jojoba plant is a slow-growing shrub that is cultivated for small-scale applications and used most commonly by the cosmetic and skincare industries.

Appearance

Pure jojoba oil has a transparent, lightly golden appearance and emits a nutty odor while refined jojoba oil is colorless and odorless. Jojoba oil contains a high amount of fatty acids, which contribute to its thick texture and health benefits.

History

The history of jojoba oil use dates back hundreds of years, although it only became widely popular about 40 years ago. Jojoba oil was used for centuries by Native American tribes as a salve for wounds and open sores. However, it wasn't until the 1970s that jojoba oil really took off as part of the mainstream cosmetics industry.

After environmentalists ran campaigns to stop the use of spermaceti — waxy substances found in whale heads and whale oils that were widely used in cosmetics and leading to reduction in sperm whale populations — cosmetic manufacturers began to search for alternatives. By 1981, when a total ban on the importation of sperm whale products was passed, major cosmetics companies were already substituting jojoba oil in their skin and hair care products.

Jojoba oil is still a well-known elixir for hair and skin health. Offering a wide range of health benefits, this essential oil is also a carrier oil, meaning it can be combined with other oils that should not be applied directly to the skin.

Health Benefits of Jojoba Oil

1. Naturally Moisturizes Skin

Jojoba oil is a natural moisturizer that can help treat dry, cracked skin and restore skin's healthy moisture content. Jojoba oil contains high levels of ceramides, which are waxy fatty acids that surround skin cells to protect and seal in hydration. These wax esters are essentially comprised of long-chain alcohols that produce anti-inflammatory properties to treat skin infections and heal wounds.

The barrier created by jojoba oil ceramides in skin cells helps to keep out free radicals caused by pollution along with preventing the loss of moisture. Jojoba oil can be used all over as a face and body lotion or you can target specific dry spots to promote moisture where you need it most.

Jojoba oil can also help to prevent stretch marks. Simply rub a small amount of jojoba oil on existing stretch marks to diminish their appearance or apply on your belly when pregnant to prevent them from occurring. Jojoba oil can be used to seal in moisture after shaving and prevent painful razor burn.

2. Good For All Skin Types

Jojoba oil is non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores or cause excessive oil buildup that leads to breakouts. This means you can use jojoba oil on all skin types, even if you have sensitive skin or oily skin. Jojoba oil is particularly useful for people with oily skin as it is a purging oil.

Jojoba prevents the secretion of excess oils in skin glands and evens out production of oil with regular use. Jojoba oil gently breaks up clogged pores so you may see an increase in breakouts initially before your skin in cleansed and adapts to the new oil balance.

3. Gets Rid of Fine Lines and Wrinkles

One of the most common uses of jojoba oil in the skin care industry is as an anti-aging tool. Jojoba oil's powerful moisturizing properties lead to firmer, tighter skin and the appearance of fewer fine lines and wrinkles. Jojoba oil also works to reduce the appearance fine lines and wrinkles thanks to its high vitamin E content.

Studies have shown that vitamin E is an essential agent in the fight against premature aging. Vitamin E contains antioxidant properties that help shield skin cells from free radicals such as UV radiation that can damage skin and cause wrinkles.

Jojoba oil also contains other antioxidants such as linoleic acid that can help skin cells regenerate for a more youthful appearance. Most studies have shown that while eating vitamin E can improve skin, the best results are achieved by applying topically like you would with jojoba oil.

4. Treats Common Skin Conditions

Jojoba oil has shown promise in treating common skin ailments such as eczema and rosacea. One study published in Pharmacology Research showed that jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory properties that work to reduce redness and inflammation associated with irritated skin conditions. This could potentially help sufferers of rosacea to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of redness.

Jojoba oil can also treat chronic dry skin and areas where skin tends to dry out more quickly. Apply jojoba oil to cracked heels or dry hands after spending time out in the cold winter months. You can also slather your feet or hands in jojoba oil and cover with gloves or socks overnight to deepen the moisturizing effect. For the best results, moisturize regularly using jojoba oil or simply add a few drops to a cotton ball and apply directly to any trouble spots.

5. Alternative to Harsh Makeup Removers

Jojoba seed oil is a great alternative to strong makeup removers than can irritate and aggravate skin. Since it mimics human sebum, jojoba seed oil won't dry your your skin like other harsh makeup removers do. Take extra care around your eyes since the skin here is thin and more sensitive than elsewhere.

Simply soak a cotton pad or ball in jojoba oil and swipe over your face before bedtime. You can use jojoba oil to remove makeup and cleanse skin in two steps. First use a cotton ball soaked with jojoba oil to remove all makeup products. Next, use a dry cotton ball to remove the leftover residue and add one final layer of jojoba oil for moisturizing overnight. Alternatively, you can use jojoba oil to remove the bulk of your makeup and follow up with a gentle cleanser or face wash.

6. Treats Acne

While it might seem counterintuitive to treat clogged pores with oils, jojoba oil contains special compounds that help to improve skin health and diminishes acne. Jojoba oil is a great treatment of acne since it helps to both clear and minimize pores, thus eliminating existing breakouts and preventing future ones.

A German study published in 2012 showed that jojoba oil combined with a clay mask was able to treat mild cases of acne and minimize lesions and scars caused by the condition. Of the 133 participants who completed the study, 54 percent saw a decreased amount of lesions after six weeks of using the clay jojoba oil masks. Participants applied the masks two to three times per week and there was a mean individual reduction in pimples of 49.4 percent by the end of the six-week study.

Since jojoba oil is actually a wax ester and not technically an oil, it works most closely to mimic the job of human sebum which regulates oil production. Acne is caused by the overproduction of sebum when it gets trapped in pores. By applying jojoba oil scientists believe your skin cells receive the message to stop producing as much oil, thus resulting in clearer skin.

Rub 5 to 6 drops of jojoba oil directly onto your skin and massage in a circular motion. You can also add 2 to 3 drops of jojoba oil to your moisturizer and apply as usual.

7. Improves Nail Health

Many people suffer from dry, cracked nail beds thanks largely in part to the use of chemicals and soaps throughout the day. Jojoba oil can replenish the moisture in cuticles and improve overall nail health. Vitamin E works to seal in moisture and keep out free radicals that can dry out skin while also reducing the chance of breakage. The antibacterial and antiviral properties also help to prevent infection in your cuticles and antifungal properties keep out invaders that can cause warts and athlete's foot.

8. Accelerates Hair Growth

Adding oils to your hair can increase shine and reduce the amount of hair that falls out. Jojoba oil is a great choice for hair health as it can help you grow healthy strands faster. Hair falls out when the body produces too much sebum, which blocks the hair follicle and causes breakage. These clogged hair follicles are then slow to produce new hairs, resulting in thinner, weaker locks.

A study published in Toxicological Research found that mice treated with a combination of jojoba oil, peppermint oil and lavender oil all saw increased rates of hair growth compared to a control group. While more research is needed, there is evidence that jojoba oil can help to build up hair health thus resulting in less breakage and fuller hair.

To reap these healthy hair benefis, add 2 to 3 drops of jojoba oil to you shampoo or conditioner. You can also create a hot oil hair mask by heating a tablespoon of jojoba oil in the microwave. When lukewarm, apply directly to hair and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. You can increase the effectiveness of the hot oil treatment by covering your hair with a warm towel or shower cap to seal in heat and moisture. Rinse and let hair air dry.

9. Balances Scalp Oil

Just like with skin, jojoba oil works to treat both oily and dry scalps. Oily scalps can lead to increased hair loss, excess drying of longer strands and can make hair appear dull. Dry scalp can cause irritation and severe itching that results in excess dandruff. By moisturizing and controlling oil production, jojoba oil evens out hair oil and leads to stronger, more brilliant-looking locks.

Jojoba Oil Uses and Recipes

Lip Balm

Jojoba oil is frequently used as a lip balm and making your own only requires three ingredients! You can make this in any container you want including old chapstick tubes or cosmetic jars depending on your preferences.

Start with equal parts jojoba oil and beeswax and melt together on the stovetop. Next, add in other essential oils such as rose and natural flavors including strawberry or orange. Pour into your container and allow to cool before applying. We recommend using the following measurements for a chapstick tube:

  • 2 teaspoons jojoba oil
  • 2 teaspoons beeswax
  • 3-4 drops natural flavor

Beard Oil

While most skincare and essential oil articles are tailored for women, we think the health benefits should also be enjoyed by men. Reap the positive skin benefits of jojoba oil with this easy-to-make beard oil.

Combine equal parts jojoba oil and sweet almond oil. We recommend using ½  ounce of each. Next, mix in 1 tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil. Add 3 to 4 drops of sandalwood essential oil or cedarwood essential oil. If you want an effervescent feeling, you can also add a few drops of tea tree oil.

After Sun Moisturizer

Your skin needs extra attention and care after a long, hot day in the sun. Moisturize and relieve a sunburn or deep tan with this two-ingredient jojoba oil sun moisturizer that takes just five minutes to make.

In a container, combine equal parts jojoba oil and aloe vera. Shake vigorously to mix and make sure to shake every time before use. You can also add additional ingredients such as vitamin E gel or other essential oils.

Side Effects of Jojoba Oil Use

Jojoba oil is deemed safe for use topically for most individuals when used in accordance to recommendations. As a cosmetic ingredient, jojoba oil is safe and hundreds of studies have been performed over the past 50 years demonstrating health benefits and few adverse side effects.

Oral Ingestion

While jojoba oil has a high temperature resistance and longer shelf life than other cooking and vegetable oils, it is not recommended to eat jojoba oil. Jojoba oil contains a chemical called erucic acid that can cause serious health issues including heart damage. Ingesting too much jojoba oil can also lead to a condition called steatorrhea, which is when excess fats are found in stool.

You don't need to worry if you get a small amount of jojoba oil in your mouth when applying topically on you face. Just avoid cooking with jojoba oil or consuming as a food and you'll avoid these negative side effects.

How to Pick High Quality Jojoba Oil

Since jojoba oil is a staple of modern skin care and cosmetic products, it's not hard to get your hands on this oil online or at your local grocery store. However, it is important to make sure you buy high quality jojoba oil to ensure the maximum of these health benefits.

Look for jojoba oil that is 100 percent organic and cold-pressed and 100 percent pure. Since you'll be applying jojoba oil topically to your skin and hair, organic oils are essential. Skin absorbs everything that is applied to it, so you don't want your body to absorb pesticides or chemicals that are used to manufacture non-organic jojoba oils. The processes of cold-pressing jojoba oil ensures that all of the beneficial nutrients and compounds remain in the oil. Jojoba oil that is 100 percent pure ensures your oil is not cut with low-quality oils and contains all the powerful healthy compounds.

Get Healthy Skin and Hair With Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil's moisturizing properties make this oil a go-to solution when it comes to skin and hair care. Jojoba oil is a carrier oil, like coconut oil, so you can use it in combination with your other favorite essential oils such as tea tree oil and jasmine oil when applying topically.

Use jojoba oil as a massage oil to unwind after a long week and reap the added benefit of moisturized, supple skin. As a natural oil, jojoba has few negative side effects and an extensive list of potential benefits for skin and hair. Grab a bottle of jojoba oil and you’ll have healthy, beautiful hair and skin in no time!

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