Jojoba oil (pronounced ho-ho-ba) is the liquid that comes from the seed of the Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) plant, which is a shrub native to southern Arizona, southern California and northwestern Mexico. Although called an oil, it’s actually a liquid plant wax and has been used in folk medicine for a number of ailments. Native Americans use jojoba oil for treating sores and bruises.
Today, it’s commonly used to treat acne, psoriasis, sunburn and chapped skin. It’s also used by people who are balding because it encourages hair regrowth. Because jojoba is an emollient, it soothes the skin and unclogs hair follicles. Many people know jojoba oil to be a carrier oil for essential oil uses, such as making skin and hair products, but it’s actually an effective skin moisturizer and healer on its own.
What Is Jojoba Oil?
Mature jojoba plants are woody perennial bushes that don’t shed their leaves when the seasons change. When planted from seeds, jojoba plants can take up to three years to produce flowers, and the gender can only be determined by the flowers. The female plants produce seed from flowers, and the male plants pollinate. Jojoba seeds look a little like coffee beans, but they’re typically larger and the shape is not always uniform.
The chemical structure of jojoba oil is different from that of other vegetable oils because it’s a polyunsaturated wax. As a wax, jojoba oil is especially useful for protecting the skin, providing moisture control, and soothing the skin and hair. At room temperature, jojoba oil is liquid because of its unsaturated fatty acids. Like some oils, jojoba oil does not break down or become rancid; it actually has a very long shelf life, which makes it good for cosmetic products and applications.
Jojoba oil contains beneficial ingredients, including vitamin E, vitamin B complex, silicon, chromium, copper and zinc. It has a very high percentage of iodine at 82 percent, which gives jojoba oil its power to heal. It contains three fatty acids: erucic (13.6 percent), gadoleic (71.3 percent) and oleic (11.2 percent).
8 Proven Jojoba Oil Benefits
1. Moisturizes Skin
Our sebaceous glands are microscopic glands in our skin that secrete an oily or waxy matter called sebum. The texture and use of sebum is very similar to jojoba oil, so as we age our sebaceous glands produce less sebum, which is why we get dry skin and hair — it can even lead to dandruff or itchy scalp.
A jojoba oil benefit is that it plays the role of sebum and moisturizes our skin and hair when our body stops doing it naturally. On the other hand, too much sebum, which happens during puberty or when hormone levels are high, can result in oily skin and acne. Jojoba oil removes sticky buildup or excess oil, too; it keeps your oil levels balanced. That makes it a strong natural treatment for eczema as well as home remedy for acne, plus well suited for other dry-skin conditions.
Jojoba oil is an emollient — meaning it moisturizes our skin and prevents irritations, or scaly and rough patches. Dry skin is caused by a loss of water in the upper layer of the skin. Jojoba oil works by forming an oily layer on the top of the skin that traps water in the skin. It works on your face, neck, hands, feet and hair; you can use it anywhere on your body because it’s completely natural and contains no chemicals that lead to an allergic reaction.
2. Removes Makeup Safely
It’s perfectly safe to use jojoba oil on your face; in fact, it’s good for your skin. Instead of using makeup removers that contain chemicals, jojoba oil is a natural tool that removes the dirt, makeup and bacteria from your face as you use it. It’s even safe for cleaning eye makeup, and it’s hypoallergenic.
3. Prevents Razor Burn
You don’t have to use shaving cream anymore; instead, jojoba oil’s waxy texture eliminates the threat of shaving incidents like cuts and razor burn. Plus, unlike some shaving creams that contain chemicals that clog your pores, jojoba oil is 100 percent natural and promotes healthy skin. Try applying jojoba oil before you shave so it creates a smooth surface for shaving, and then apply it after you shave to moisturize your skin and heal cuts quickly.
4. Promotes Skin Health
Jojoba oil is noncomedogenic, meaning it doesn’t clog pores. Although it’s an oil — and we usually think that oil that sits on our skin is what causes breakouts — jojoba oil works as a protectant and cleanser. Jojoba oil is rich in iodine, which fights harmful bacteria growth that leads to breakouts. The antioxidants present in jojoba oil soothe fine lines, wrinkles and naturally slow down other signs of aging.
Jojoba oil can also accelerate the wound-healing process, as indicated in a study done at the Department of Environment and Life Sciences in Italy. The results proved that jojoba oil speeds up wound closures and stimulates collagen synthesis; the study also noted that jojoba oil had extremely low toxic effects when used on the skin.
A 2012 study conducted in Germany examined jojoba oil’s ability to reduce skin lesions and improve overall skin condition for 194 participants, who applied clay masks with jojoba oil to their faces two to three times per week; 54 percent of the participants reported that skin lesions were reduced significantly after six weeks of using jojoba oil.
5. Promotes Hair Health
Jojoba oil replenishes the moisture and improves the texture of your hair; it also treats dry scalp and gets rid of dandruff. You can use jojoba oil to add shine and soften your hair, plus it eliminates frizz naturally. This is a much better option that using conditioners or hair products that are full of dangerous chemicals, which only make your hair more dry and limp.
To detangle your hair, add a few drops of jojoba oil to your brush or directly to your hair — your brush will go through smoothly, eliminating the threat of broken pieces.
Jojoba oil is getting attention recently for treating alopecia, which is the loss of hair as a result of fungal infection or damage to the hair shaft and follicles. Studies have found that using aromatherapy is effective in treating hair loss. A study from the University of Maryland Medical Center found that massaging the scalp with a combination of several essential oils improved hair growth; oils such as lavender oil, rosemary oil, thyme oil and cedarwood essential oil proved to be effective.
Because essential oils can cause skin irritations for some people, the study showed that mixing them with jojoba oil is effective. Research suggests that adding three to six drops of essential oil to one tablespoon of jojoba oil serves as a hair loss remedy because it treats dry hair follicles. By restoring moisture, the scalp is in a healthier state and hair is more likely to grow.
6. Contains Vitamin E
Vitamin E plays the role of an antioxidant. It strengthens the capillary walls in your skin and improves moisture and elasticity, acting as a natural anti-aging nutrient within your body. Studies show that vitamin E helps reduce inflammation both within your body and on your skin, helping maintain a health and youthful appearance. These antioxidant properties are also helpful when you’re exposed to cigarette smoke or ultraviolet rays from sunlight, protecting against skin cancer.
When using jojoba oil containing vitamin E, it’s absorbed by the epidermis layer of the skin and can be used to treat sunburn, which is one of the leading causes of skin cancer. Because it speeds up cell regeneration, it can also be used to treat scars, acne and wrinkles. Another vitamin E benefit is its ability to help thicken hair; this is due to its antioxidant and moisturizing properties.
7. Contains Vitamin B Complex
B vitamins also act as antioxidants, and they help the body fight off free radicals and cell damage. B vitamins are great for your skin and for maintaining hormone balance naturally. Vitamin B5 (called pantothenic acid), for example, helps in treating skin reactions from radiation therapy and may speed up wound and cut healing. It’s also known to delay the appearance of premature aging, like wrinkles and dark spots on the skin.
Data gathered from recent studies suggest that pantothenic acid induces an accelerating effect on the normal healing process due to certain mechanisms that it helps control. This vitamin B5 benefit, which you can get from using jojoba oil, keeps your skin free from infection and bacteria as it tries to heal.
8. Fights Fungi and Infections
Jojoba oil has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It can treat toenail fungus, athlete’s foot and gets rid of warts. A 2005 study found that jojoba oil was an effective anti-inflammatory agent that was able to reduce the symptoms of inflammation in rat paws and ears. The study also found that jojoba oil, or the liquid wax, was able to decrease the formation of wounds and speed up the healing process.
Jojoba Oil Uses
You can purchase jojoba oil from any health food store, and recently it’s been in department stores and supermarkets as well. Typically, it costs between $5–$10 for a bottle. When shopping for jojoba oil, stick with the organic brands — you want to make sure it’s 100 percent jojoba oil and there aren’t any additives that may irritate your skin.
There are so many ways to use jojoba oil, so don’t be afraid to experiment with your hair and skin products by adding a few drops of this beneficial ingredient. Here are some recommended uses:
Apply four to six drops in the morning and at night before bed.
Add three to five drops to your conditioner or apply one to two drops to damp hair after showering.
Use one to three drops of jojoba oil and apply it to wrinkled areas, then rub it into your skin in a circular motion until it’s absorbed.
Add three to five drops of jojoba oil to a cotton ball or pad and wipe off makeup.
Apply one to two drops of jojoba oil to your lips whenever needed.
Add one to three drops of jojoba oil to the infected or irritated area twice daily.
Jojoba Oil History & Interesting Facts
The first commercial cultivation of jojoba was in the Negev Desert and Dead Sea areas of Israel. Jojoba oil became very important to the cosmetic industry in the 1970s, when whaling was banned and sperm whale oil was no longer available. Jojoba oil was deemed a suitable replacement for sperm wale oil, and it was used in cosmetic products throughout the United States.
By 2000, the International Jojoba Export Council expected the global jojoba production to increase 15 percent over a five-year period, and with the popularity of DIY recipes and skin care these days, jojoba oil continues to gain recognition.
Jojoba oil can be used as a natural and safe pesticide. Today, it’s used to control white flies on all crops and powdery mildew that builds up on grapes. It forms a physical barrier on the surface of the crop, keeping the insect off of it. This is a great substitute for many common commercial pesticides because it’s non-toxic and won’t pose a risk to other organisms in the environment.
Jojoba Oil Recipes
Jojoba oil is used as a carrier oil in many skin-care products. Mix it with your favorite essential oils to create your own unique face wash, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion or massage oil.
Conventional lotions can be full of chemicals and harmful synthetic fragrances; instead, try this Homemade Body Butter Lotion. Jojoba oil mixed with coconut oil is a powerful combination of antioxidant and moisturizing properties that leave your skin looking fresh and youthful.
My Homemade Body Wash recipe is all-natural and chemical-free. It cleanses your skin and kills bacteria while providing nourishment and vitamins to keep it hydrated and healthy.
Add 1/4 cup of jojoba oil to my Homemade Vapor Rub, and you’ll be amazed at how it helps open up the respiratory system and improve the ease of breathing — it also smells super refreshing.
Total Time: 2 minutes
- 1/4 ounce jojoba oil
- 1/4 ounce evening primrose oil
- 1/4 ounce pomegranate oil
- 15 drops vitamin E
- 20 drops lavender oil or frankincense oil
- 10 drops carrot seed oil
DIRECTIONS: Mix all of the ingredients together into a dark glass bottle. Use every morning and night on face, neck and chest.
Possible Jojoba Oil Side Effects and Precautions
Using jojoba oil is safe for most people when applied to the skin, even women who are pregnant or breast feeding. Side effects may include a rash and allergic reactions. It’s not safe to take jojoba by mouth because it contains a chemical called erucic acid, which can cause heart damage and other serious side effects. Stick to using jojoba oil for external topical use and not for consumption.
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