Jojoba is a perennial woody shrub grown primarily in the desert regions of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. Native Americans have long used jojoba oil to help heal sores and wounds. Today jojoba oil is still mostly used for cosmetic purposes, particularly for the maintenance of healthy skin.
Jojoba oil helps promote healing of the skin in many ways. It has antimicrobial properties, which means it actually discourages the growth of some bacterial and fungal microbes that attack the skin. In addition, the chemical composition of jojoba closely resembles that of the skin’s natural sebum, so it is easily absorbed and rarely causes allergic reactions, even in the most sensitive individuals.
Jojoba oil is actually composed of liquid wax esters rather than oil. The body’s natural sebum also contains wax esters, which act as a sort of natural moisturizer and environmental barrier for the skin. However, wax ester production steadily decreases with age, causing the skin to appear dull and emphasizing wrinkles; a reduced ester content in the skin can also lead to the development of conditions such as psoriasis, dandruff, and rosacea.
Jojoba oil can prevent the skin from becoming too oily. Because of the structure of jojoba oil so closely resembles natural sebum, it can actually trick the skin into producing less natural sebum, which, unlike jojba, can clog pores. Jojoba oil may help treat acne, both by reducing sebum production and by protecting the skin from harmful bacteria.
Jojoba oil contains many important nutrients, such as vitamin E, B complex vitamins, and the minerals silicon, chromium, copper, and zinc. It also contains some iodine, which may be where jojoba gets its ability to fight against bacterial and fungal infection. In addition to acne, jojoba has traditionally been used to treat canker sores, cold sores, athlete’s foot and warts.
Jojoba oil became very important to the cosmetic industry in the 1970s, when whaling was banned and sperm whale oil was no longer available. Today, thousands of tons of jojoba oil are produced each year in the United States alone, and the majority of it is sold at a high price for cosmetic use. Sher-Ray Organic Cosmetics filter their jojoba oil to obtain the pure silky wax for their formulas.