Back during the 1960s, sperm whales were becoming an endangered species due to harvesting for their squalene oil containing ninety percent wax esters which were used in literally thousands of cosmetic products. Later, in the early 1970s, importation of whale oil to the US was outlawed and researchers discovered the properties of jojoba (pronounced ho-HO-ba) oil. It was so superior to whale oil that scientists were excited to discover that jojoba oil benefits skin in ways whale oil did not.
WHAT IS JOJOBA OIL?
Jojoba oil is extracted from seeds of the jojoba plant (which itself takes 3 years to grow into a plant from a seed) scientifically known as Simmondsia chinensis, which is indigenous to the southern United States and the Sonora desert of northern Mexico. It was even used by the Aztecs who said it had magical powers.
Most seed oils (such as grapeseed oil and coconut) yield triglycerides, but Jojoba oil is unique. It is actually a mixture of long-chain monounsaturated liquid wax esters. The pure version of jojoba oil has a bright, golden color whereas the processed version is clear and transparent. Because it does not contain triglycerides which oxidize easily, it is a stable liquid and has a long shelf life.
WHY USE JOJOBA OIL?
Being a mixture of long-chain monounsaturated liquid wax esters. Jojoba oil is not actually an oil at all, but a liquid wax, which is structurally and chemically very similar to human sebum (skin wax). Jojoba oil can actually be used as a substitute to human sebum while at the same time giving additional benefits.
It is non-toxic (although a patch test should be done prior to use to assure an individual is not sensitive to the oil) and has high a very high content of Vitamin E and many other natural minerals. Therefore, it acts as an antioxidant protecting skin from the damaging effects of free radicals which contribute to premature skin aging.
Jojoba Oil is also non-comedogenic which means that it will not clog pores and it is non-greasy.
It is so antibacterial that most bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Candida (a fungus) cannot reproduce and die in the presence of Jojoba Oil.
HOW TO USE JOJOBA OIL
Jojoba oil is so easily absorbed by the skin that there are many applications for its use. In essence, jojoba oil can help prevent and treat any skin condition that is a result of a lack of natural oils in the skin.
Sebum is deposited into hair follicles, resulting in dandruff and/or seborrhea, split ends, or excessively dry or greasy hair. It is suspected the resulting itching may contribute to hair loss. Jojoba oil penetrates and dissolves sebum deposits and regulates excessive secretions in the scalp. Hair growth is stimulated and thus looks fuller and healthier. In fact, Jojoba oil can noticeably improve the condition of fragile and mistreated or colored hair. Jojoba oil is found in numerous hair care products such as shampoos and conditioners because it is so beneficial for these reasons:
- It deeply moisturizes the scalp
- It prevents hair from looking greasy or oily
- Jojoba oil may prevent or stop hair loss and thinning
The scalp needs to be moisturized well just like as the skin. Dry scalp is often mistaken as dandruff, causing flaking and severe itching. Unlike using water-based conditioners, jojoba oil moisturizes the scalp deep down to its pores, doesn’t evaporate, and seals in the moisture. As a result, it causes a regulation in sebum balance in the scalp leading to a balanced pH in the scalp.
For dull, dry hair jojoba oil is definitely the way to go. For weak and brittle hair it can strengthen the follicle shaft and since it’s 100% natural, you can use it as often as you like without the danger of harsh chemicals further irritating your scalp.
If you have long hair, you know that oily scalp problems are hard to manage. Most products promising grease-free hair usually ends up over-drying them because they are detergent in nature and strip the hair shaft and scalp of necessary oil. That is why shampooing doesn’t help and conditioning then makes the hair greasier than ever. Because Jojoba oil helps to control the sebum production of the scalp, it helps promote a healthy shine to your hair while regulating the flow of sebum from clogged pores. This way, it balances the amount of oil on your scalp perfectly.
Hair loss is often caused by blocked hair follicles which results in the hair breaking off at the shaft. If too many pores are clogged with sebum, hair cannot grow. While jojoba oil can dissolve and clear these blockages it may be able to reduce hair loss. Fungal infections of the scalp can also cause hair loss, and jojoba has antifungal properties which can benefit scalp health. Because jojoba oil helps detoxify the scalp, it improves micro-circulation in the scalp which can stimulate new hair growth.
Use in Hair
- As a hair mask prior to shampooing, warm just a few drops of jojoba oil in the palm of your hand and then rub it into your scalp. Leave it for 30 minutes or so and shampoo. Alternatively, you can apply the oil before going to bed and wash it out in the morning. Repeat once or twice weekly.
- If your shampoo doesn’t contain jojoba oil already, add a teaspoon of jojoba oil and thoroughly but gently scrub it on your scalp and hair. After a few minutes, rinse off carefully with a towel. Do not re-shampoo.
- To control frizz, add a few drops to your conditioner (experiment to find the right amount).
- For additional results, apply one or two drops to your hair after shampooing to get a healthy shine.
Jojoba oil is probably the best massage oil because it glides on the skin easily and is absorbed by the skin at the optimum rate. With so many different types of massage oils (some are even blended oils) on the market, each serving a specific purpose and with different benefits, they may leave you with a greasy feeling after the massage. Some may even leave you with an “odd” smell because of oxidation. Jojoba oil massage leaves your skin refreshed and energized after a massage, even if you don’t shower afterward.
Although a WebMD search will indicate more investigation is needed, a prevalent theory of why jojoba oil is effective in treating acne has to do with its similarity to natural sebum.
Jojoba oil has the ability to trigger the skin into believing that it has already produced enough sebum. This way, the production of sebum decreases and balances out the skin’s oiliness. Over time oil production by the glands on the face minimize and become moisturized and protected with no further clogging of pores.
Jojoba oil is also deep acting…cleansing pores, and releasing built-up dirt, hardened sebum and dead skin cells to the surface where they can be washed off.
As a result, when first used, “purging” occurs and all the non-inflamed acne-like whiteheads are brought to the surface. As these erupt naturally, hardened sebum, bacteria and dirt are released.
Since jojoba oil has a very high Vitamin E content compared to other typical oils (therefore is antioxidant in nature) and contains minerals it encourages skin health making it more resistant to infection. The oleic and linoleic acids in jojoba oil are essential building blocks for rebuilding and regenerating healthy skin as a wound healer, clearing up acne caused lesions, hastening the healing process of sores, scabs and other marks left by pimples and cysts. It also prevents scars from forming.
The antibacterial properties of 100% organic jojoba oil are effective against Propionibacterium acnes (the bacteria that can cause acne) and also act as a fungicide against skin disorders similar to acne.
The soothing effects of jojoba oil remove symptoms of inflammation including pain, itchiness, heat, redness, and swelling. These successful anti-inflammatory effects of jojoba oil have been researched including by the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in Cairo, Egypt (Jojoba-Oil-Benefits-Acne-Fifa-Players).
As always, when treating a medical condition, consult your healthcare provider first. However, here are a few tips if you decide to try using jojoba oil to treat your acne:
- Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser. This will remove any dirt or oil allowing the absorption of jojoba oil into the pores.
- Pat your skin to dry gently. Some protocols advise mixing jojoba oil 50/50 with aloe vera. Apply gently and immediately with clean fingers after cleansing. Avoid scrubbing which can aggravate and further inflame the acne. Pat off any excess to avoid attraction of more dirt particles.
- Treating acne is a process, not an immediate fix. Continue for a few weeks and avoid discouragement caused by the purging process.
- Use of jojoba oil/aloe vera can be continued with use of prescribed oral and topical medications.
Although not officially FDA reviewed, the safe long lasting use of jojoba oil verifies its safety. The American College of Toxicology’s scientific literature review concluding that jojoba oil is safe as a cosmetic ingredient in 0.1% to 25% concentrations. Jojoba oil may also be used as a pimple spot treatment once the acne is gone or under control.
Cradle cap is so common, it affects 50% of all newborn babies. Symptoms are usually a very dry, scaly scalp or even a mild rash on the scalp which may cause discomfort, although it is not usually itchy (rarely it can appear in other places). Cradle cap is characterized by rough flakes coming from the baby’s scalp and if not treated will persist well into later childhood.
Although there are a wide range of treatments available for this condition including antifungal shampoos, specially formulated lotions and petroleum jelly most of these are not suitable for use on newborn babies because of harshness. The best natural alternative is to use 100% organic jojoba oil. Even if a parent mistakes a fungal infection on the scalp as cradle cap, since jojoba oil is also antifungal, it would still be a good first choice.
1. Use a few drops of jojoba oil and apply it on your baby’s scalp. Gently massage the oil into the affected areas for 5 minutes, making sure that it is properly absorbed.
2. Leave it on for about 2 hours for maximum absorption into the hair follicles in the scalp. Then use a soft brush and gently brush the scalp in a small, circular motion to loosen the scales. Do not use a hard, rough brush as it will irritate your baby’s scalp.
3. As you brush, the scales should come right off easily and without any pain because of the jojoba oil. Do not try to force out or peel flakes that are still stuck to the scalp.
4. Next, use a comb to comb out the loosened flakes and scales.
5. Once you’re sure you’ve gotten rid of most of the flakes, shampoo your baby’s scalp with a gentle shampoo and wash out the remaining oil and small flakes thoroughly.
If the condition still persists, see a doctor for follow-up treatment.
Diaper rash is also very common and almost impossible to avoid. Treating it can be difficult and ineffective in many cases. Again, a natural approach to skin treatment may be in order since some babies have skin that is sensitive to the lotions made for “treating” diaper rash. Often times, they are just soothing ointments that treat the uncomfortable symptoms rather than treating the rash itself.
There are two main categories of diaper rash. One can be caused by a skin infection, for the treatment for which you need to consult a doctor. The second is irritation resulting from prolonged contact with urine or feces and vigorous cleaning of the area.
Using jojoba oil to treat basic diaper rash is natural, effective and not as messy as using drugstore creams, salves or lotions. It does not leave an oily feeling on the skin and is readily absorbed by the body to soothe and protect the skin. Additionally, your baby will be more comfortable with the treatment and won’t feel like a sticky, oily mess. If the baby is having loose stools, you may wish to also cover the jojoba oil with an occlusive cream.
OTHER REPORTED USES
Jojoba oil can also be applied to chapped lips to bring back moisture and give them a soft and lush look. You can also prepare a jojoba lip balm by mixing jojoba oil with beeswax.
ECZEMA, PSORIASIS, ROSACEA
Regular use of jojoba oil can attack an underlying fungal or bacterial infection and provide skin healing emollient properties to the skin. However, jojoba oil can also help reduce inflammation. Pharmacological Research has published studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of jojoba liquid wax and found that jojoba oil is effective in reducing inflammation.
For wounds, scrapes, cuts, and scratches, applying this oil (typically diluted with aloe vera liquid) can help speed up the healing process, while also protecting against infection. The antioxidants found in this oil, including vitamin E, can stimulate blood flow to these areas and speed production of healthy new cells.
Jojoba oil can be used to remove makeup, dirt, and bacteria from the skin naturally instead of using cosmetic make-up removers that are high in chemicals. You can also safely use this oil to remove eye makeup.
More and more people are looking for ways to easily and effectively relax and unwind naturally. Because of the links between stress and illness, it is important to your health to be able to wind down and step back from the pressures of life.
- Soaking in a warm tub mixed with jojoba oil
An excellent way to help you unwind involves adding jojoba oil to a warm water soak. The warm water loosens up your muscles and creates a feeling of deep relaxation while the jojoba oil slowly soaks into your skin and moisturizes your body. An ideal soak would last 20 minutes to allow the skin to absorb the jojoba oil, clear your mind and relax your muscles.
Adverse side effects caused by jojoba oil are rarely reported; however, a patch test is advised to assure do are not overly sensitive. Due to the potent nature of the oil, more than 2 teaspoons is rarely recommended for hair treatments, and for direct topical applications, sometimes 4-5 drops are enough to have an effect on a concentrated area.
There is such a wide range of uses for this oil that a particular dosage limit is not possible. Speak with your natural health practitioner about different recipes, preparations, and blends of jojoba oil for your particular health concerns.
Internal Consumption: Under no circumstances should jojoba oil be consumed. The oil contains high levels of erucic acid which can cause cardiovascular irregularities and stomach upset.
Pregnancy: While many natural oils are not recommended for pregnant women, the soothing and skin-boosting properties of this oil make it a popular choice among those who are pregnant. Numerous studies have shown that this oil is great for hydrating dry skin, preventing stretch marks, and helping keep the skin healthy during the hormonal and physiological changes of pregnancy.
Jojoba oil benefits to the skin are numerous…from preventing infection, to protecting the skin, aiding in wound healing and making hair shiny. It is important to note, however, that these benefits come only from using 100% organic jojoba oil. This assures the oil you use has no additives, the plants from which it was harvested had no pesticide use or were not genetically engineered to produce higher crop harvest and that the oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the jojoba plant.