As far as face oil goes, jojoba oil has superstar status, and for good reason.
It has the same molecular structure as sebum, the natural oil found within our skin.
It restores balance – literally helping your skin behave as it was always designed to do
And the really great thing, jojoba is easily absorbed, making our skin, much more receptive to receiving its vital nutrients.
How jojoba works
Its chemical composition is really unique, which allows it to sink quickly into the skin in an interesting way.
It has the same molecular structure as the natural wax esters that are found in our skin.
Sebum contains around 30% wax esters, which is why our skin recognises this important oil as its own – mixing well with the sebum on our body it is readily absorbed deep into the layers of the skin, where it creates a thin, non-occlusive protective layer, reinforcing the skins protective barrier function.
This is also the reason why it is said that jojoba allows our skin to “breathe” it penetrates through the hair follicles – but it doesn’t block the hair follicles.
These wax esters are important for skin health; keeping it plump and supple, maintaining pores, and balancing oil. Unfortunately, these esters deplete with age, resulting in dry, flaky skin, which can lead to premature ageing.
Being the only known botanical source of wax esters that mimic our skins own oil, it’s no wonder jojoba is touted as giving you that that oh-so-covetable healthy glow.
What exactly is jojoba oil?
Jojoba is a rich, oil-bearing desert shrub. It is the only plant that stores liquid wax in its seeds, and although it is referred to as an oil, it is, in fact, a liquid wax ester.
Its beauty-boosting properties are largely due to its unusual fatty acid profile, which is not seen in other oils:
Stearic acid: Offers improved moisture retention, flexibility of the skin, and skin repair.
Oleic acid: Well absorbed by our skin, it helps to moisturise and nourish. It also has potent anti-inflammatory properties. This study found, that those people with acne were found to have imbalanced levels of oleic and linoleic acids, the two fatty acids that makeup sebum. Concluding that botanical oils high in linoleic acid are ideal for oily skin.
Polyphenols: These are the structural backbone for most anti-oxidants found in plants. they help to ward off damaging free radicals which can lead to premature ageing.
Tannins: Jojoba oil contains around 3% tannins, which accounts for that dry feeling you get when using jojoba oil neat.
Phytosterols: The oil contains around 0.5% phytosterols, these penetrate into the skin to reduce inflammation and itching, as well as being extremely moisturising.
Fatty acid profile
C16:0 st Palmitic Acid 0-2%
C18:1 mo Oleic Acid 10-13%
C20:1 mo Eicosenoic Acid 66-71%
C22:0 st Behenic Acid 0-1%
C22:1 mo Docosenoic Acid 14-20%
Jojoba oil beautifying benefits
Anti-inflammatory: The oil is rich in lovely phytosterols and myristic acid, which help to calm inflamed skin.
Barrier repairing: The oil mixes with our own sebum to create a breathable, protective film on the surface of the skin.
Conditioning Hair Treatment: In hair care formulae, jojoba penetrates deep into the cortex so hair is beautifully conditioned. It makes a great treatment for the scalp, unlike many other occlusive carrier oils, jojoba oil won’t just sit on the scalp clogging pores. Instead, it penetrates deep into the hair follicles, breaking down sebum and cellular debris that has built up on the scalp so that it can be easily washed away.
A skin hero for oily, acne skin
Oily skin requires oil just as much as a non-oily, dry skin.
Now we appreciate this might sound just a little counterintuitive, but there are actually a few reasons why it’s a good idea to put oil on, well on oily skin.
Our skin naturally contains oil, which is a combination of lipids (oil), cholesterol, and ceramides. Hyaluronic acid and urea are humectants also naturally found within the skin which help to prevent water loss – keeping the skin hydrated, the protective barrier intact and protecting from environmental pollutants.
It is possible the reason that our skin can appear oily is that it’s overcompensating. In a bid to erase that daily shine, many of us are guilty of using a cocktail of products, drying acids and alcohol-laden toners, that seem to be doing their job and getting on top of the oil slick, but in reality, they are stripping away the natural oils in our skin that it uses to protect itself. As the skin starts to get drier, it needs to produce more oil – it’s a vicious cycle.
Fortunately, an overproduction of sebum and inflamed, acne skin can be balanced topically by using jojoba oil.
It’s a unique chemical profile, which we discussed earlier, means that it can regulate our natural sebum production, replenishing and restoring the barrier without causing excess oil on the surface. If that is not enough it also creates an invisible veil over your skin, reinforcing the protective barrier, so the skin doesn’t feel the need to pump up the production itself.
A study from 2012 tested the effects of clay face masks containing jojoba oil in 133 people with mild acne. After 6 weeks of treatment, they reported a 54 percent decrease in acne lesions, including papules, cysts, and comedones.
The naked truth
We appreciate there is a lot to take in when it comes to the beautifying benefits of this oil, so just to recap:
- the oil balances the production of oil and breaks down the buildup of sebum in plugged pores
- contains hardly any triglycerides, so it is considered a dry emollient. This is why it doesn’t offer much slippage on the skin
- It is readily absorbed into the skin via the hair follicles, but it won’t block the follicles
- it combines with our own sebum to create a thin, non-occlusive layer on the skin
- unlike other oils that are mostly occlusive, jojoba oil is unique in the fact that it allows the skin to breathe normally
It has to be said jojoba oil really does have an affinity with the skin, and we think you’ll agree, it certainly is deserving of its cult status.