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The jojoba plant (pronounced ho-HO-ba)is a wild, perennial shrub that grows in North America - more specifically, in Oregon and Southern California. It’s a no-frills, hearty bush, and its seeds have been the source of one of the most popular (and beneficial) oils in skincare.
And this stuff is popular for a reason. Jojoba oil is vitamin-rich, non-comedogenic, and it can help keep your products shelf-stable for longer - and that’s just scratching the surface.
Here’s why you can’t sleep on this staple face oil.
Jojoba oil first emerged in the 1970s as an eco-friendly alternative to the once-popular sperm oil (sourced directly from the whale - gross).
It quickly gained popularity, in part, as a matter of convenience: the seeds themselves are ultra-rich in oil (ten grams of seed yields five grams of oil, making it one of the most efficient oil-producing crops) and the plants can thrive on previously untillable, arid land. Plus, it grows great in areas that provide work opportunities to Native American communities.
But utilizing this oil (or wax ester, if we’re getting nitpicky about it) is hardly a compromise, as its benefits are just as abundant as its growth.
For starters, jojoba oil is biomimetic, meaning its composition is super close to our skin’s own sebum. In fact, jojoba oil and sebum are a 97% chemical match! This similarity allows the oil to penetrate deeply into the skin rather than simply sitting on top like many oils with larger molecule sizes.
It also prevents irritation because the oil will never get stuck in the pores or cause congestion. This makes jojoba oil suitable for all skin types - even sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Jojoba is rich in a ton of vitamins and nutrients, including:
Check, check, check, and check!
Jojoba is also naturally antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, analgesic (pain-relieving), hypoallergenic, andanti-inflammatory.What?!
While that doesn’t mean that it can kill allbacteria and fungus species, it has been proven effective against majorly aggressive strains like salmonella, E. coli and candida.
In addition to being a deep skin conditioner, jojoba is also a powerful humectant, meaning that it provides a protective barrier on the skin that seals moisture in.
Because of these humectant characteristics, jojoba can play a key role in restoring a compromised natural barrier and helping prevent things like infection, acne, and flaking.
Because jojoba is so similar to our own sebum, applying it regularly can actually trick our body into thinking that we are producing more oil than we really are. This, in turn, signals our hair and sweat follicles to slow down production, thereby reducing shine, preventing acne, and leading to a more even complexion.
This is particularly helpful for those who have stripped their natural barrier by using harsh products and over-cleansing, or for those with oily or combination skin that just can’t seem to escape that mid-afternoon shine.
At the end of the day, a lot of inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema are largely exacerbated by harsh conditions and, you guessed it, a stripped natural barrier.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it’s antimicrobial properties, and its function as a humectant, jojoba oil can ease a lot of the symptoms associated with these conditions. And again, it won’t cause irritation - even for the most sensitive skin.
So, oxidative stress/free radical damage is the number one cause of aging in the skin and in the cells. And the damage is no joke: free radicals attack all of your cells and macromolecules - including your DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. This leads to major cell damage and homeostatic disruption, and eventually, major disease.
Jojoba is chock full of antioxidants. While there aren’t studies that directlylink jojoba to fewer wrinkles, the reality is that antioxidants, in general, fight this damage and stop free radicals from forming.
And all the moisturizing and anti-inflammatory effects don’t hurt either.
At least one clinical trial has shown that jojoba oil can help keep acne at bay. And it’s a two-pronged solution: on one hand, jojoba is a natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, so it can work to kill acne bacteria and calm inflammation.
On top of that, it’s moisturizing and healing, meaning that it can promote healing of any existing breakouts.
Multiple studies show that jojoba is effective at enhancing the absorption of topical drugs and active ingredients. In other words, it helps actives work better. This, in part, has to do with the fact that jojoba oil can penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin - and it can take actives - like glycolic acid and antioxidants - along for the ride.
The benefits don’t stop with the skin. Jojoba oil also makes an amazing treatment for dry hair or an irritated scalp.
Even better? It doesn’t weigh hair down like thicker oils like olive oil or coconut oil. We recommend that you start by adding a few drops of jojoba to your favorite conditioner or leave-in treatment. Alternatively, you can make a DIY mask beforeyou shampoo and condition.
Jojoba is the only plant known to produce pure liquid wax esters.These long molecules, in the plant, are designed to coat the leaves and prevent UVB rays from penetrating them.
The good news? It does the same thing for your skin, providing a degree of barrier sun protection alongwith all the antioxidant benefits.
Many producers have found that, when it’s mixed with other oils and ingredients, jojoba oil actually improves the overall stabilityof the product, giving it a longer overall shelf life. That’s why it’s often considered an ideal “carrier oil.” And this isn’t just a benefit for the companies: longer shelf life means you get to enjoy your products for longer, worry-free.
Plus, it can offset and balance ingredients that would otherwise be too thick for the skin. For example, almond oil is super beneficial for the skin, but it can often seem thick and overbearing on its own. When you mix it with jojoba, it sinks in more quickly and effectively.
Jojoba can also help fade acne scars and hyperpigmentation. This has to do with both the moisturizingeffects and the antioxidant componentsof jojoba oil - particularly vitamin E. That said, jojoba won’t break down thicker scar tissue, so don’t expect a miracle worker here.
Even though you’ve probably seen it everywhere, you may not have truly looked into the benefits of jojoba oil. Now that you know a little more, you may start to prioritize this superstar - and under the radar - ingredient.
Looking for some new, jojoba-rich products? Find it in: