Jojoba (pronounced ho-HO-ba) oil is extracted from the seeds of an American shrub, jojoba, and native to the American southwest, particularly the deserts of California and Arizona. Its most popular use is in cosmetics products. The extracted oil is clear and a golden color. It has a slightly nutty odor. When the oil is refined, it is clear and has no odor. It is considered shelf-stable when compared with other vegetable oils, such as safflower oil, canola oil, almond oil, because it does not contain triglycerides.
Although it is called “oil,” the product of the shrub is actually a wax ester, and it is most similar to human skin oil. That property makes is a prime component of skin care products. Jojoba is commonly used to treat acne, psoriasis, sunburn, and chapped skin.
Use of jojoba oil has gained popularity since 1971, when the United States banned imports of whale oil. Jojoba has taken the place of whale oil for products in the cosmetics and other industries.
Benefits of Jojoba Oil
The wax ester of the shrub is most commonly used in products to deliver and maintain moisture in the skin. Products containing jojoba generally have the following properties:
- Non comedogenic (does not block the pores);
- Does not evaporate and continues to deliver all-day moisturizing;
- Edible, but, non-caloric;
- Has a stable structure and does not spoil or become rancid, even during long periods of storage; and,
- Malleable consistency, easy to spread, and absorbs well.
Jojoba is generally considered safe for use by most people. If the user is allergic to the wax ester or the shrub, he/she may develop a rash or other typical allergic reactions.
Other than an allergic reaction, the most prominent negative effect from jojoba is the result of using too much product. High amounts can cause sheen on the skin, so moderate use is recommended to balance oil production in the skin and reduce shine. Use at night is sometimes preferred.
Uses for Jojoba Oil
The list of potential uses of jojoba is long, and, many products are underdevelopment ongoing. Products containing jojoba can be purchased over-the-counter; however, you may generally add a few drops of jojoba (the product is available at health food stores and at some mainstream markets) to products you currently use.
To use jojoba oil directly as a skin cleanser, makeup remover, or moisturizer, simply moisten a cotton ball with a few drops of the oil and wipe in circular motions over the skin. A popular second step for cleansing is to dampen a washcloth with warm water, hold the cloth to the skin to open pores and allow the jojoba to penetrate more thoroughly, and then wipe the skin with the cloth.
Certain categories of cosmetic products are prime candidates for the moisturizing benefits of jojoba:
- Eye and face makeup remover;
- Facial cleanser;
- Facial and body moisturizer;
- Massage oil;
- Bath and after-shower oil;
- Hair and scalp massage;
- Deep hair conditioning treatment; and,
- Cuticle oil.
It evident that jojoba has been shown in numerous medical studies, treatments, and daily usage to be effective for certain topical purposes.
Negative effects from jojoba use are not expected; however, some people are allergic to the wax ester of the shrub. If you are using jojoba as a topical treatment, be vigilant for changes that might signal an adverse reaction and seek medical attention, if necessary.