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Jojoba Nut Jojoba Nut By Katja Schulz from Washington, D. C., USA (Jojoba Nut) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Santa Special: Skincare Secrets of Jojoba Oil

Last month we learned more about the general make-up of skincare oils. This month we’re starting our first in-depth look at some of the more popular oils, to help you get to know your ingredients a little better. December’s oil of the month is Jojoba oil.

This is pronounced Hohoba by the way and what better oil for the festive season than this? If Santa Claus were in the business of skincare, surely this jolly-sounding oil would be part of his Ho-Ho-Ho (ba) brand?

This is a great little oil for not a lot of money, so Santa would probably do well with it. As for me, I love this oil, and always keep some in my skincare cupboard.

Jojoba oil glides on smoothly to the skin, feeling light, slippy, not at all greasy (it’s often described as a ‘dry’ oil), and smooth. It has a slight nutty smell, and is almost colourless. But the great thing about this oil is that, after about an hour, there is no oily residue whatsoever. In fact, it’s as if nothing has been applied, yet it leaves the skin soft, velvety and elastic, making it a perfect oil to include in facial serums, creams and lotions.

How does Jojoba perform this feat of beauty?

Considering this oil is really a liquid wax, you’d think it would hang around for longer, but actually Jojoba is not like a regular wax, acting more as a natural version of our own skin oil, sebum. It softens and smooths but leaves no waxy film behind. If we had a microscope, we’d see it absorbing into our hair follicles and skin pores without blocking them, mixing with our own sebum and even helping to lift out debris and dirt. Because of this, you can actually use Jojoba oil as skin cleanser and make-up remover.

What else can this hard-working oil do? Jojoba oil balances our natural sebum, whatever our skin profile. Oily skin types can suffer from over-production of sebum, which may lead to acne, so helpful Jojoba unblocks pores and clears out excess oils. Dry skin types need their sebum-levels boosting, so Jojoba comes to the rescue again with its lovely liquid waxiness. This makes it a great oil for treating eczema, as it helps to protect and heal those damaged lipids in the skin. Being rich in iodine, Jojoba also fights bacteria, and it’s been proven, in an Italian study, to speed up wound-closure whilst stimulating skin-strengthening collagen production.

Remember those fatty acids we looked at last month? Well, Jojoba has an unusual fatty acid profile including erucic acid (a ‘dry’ fat), and the mysterious gadoleic acid, which, at 57%, is the largest element of Jojoba oil.  So what is this? I can’t find any benefits listed for the skin from gadoleic acid, but discover instead that this fatty acid is found in Cod Liver oil. Suddenly this connects with another Jojoba story in my mind, one which I had been told in passing, by an elderly and very learned surgeon. Fish oils have unique fatty acids in them, like the above gadoleic acid, and have evolved to be stable at low temperatures, but they can also be very stable at high temperatures. Unfortunately one of the best stable oils of this type was Whale oil, and especially Sperm Whale oil. It was heavily used to oil machinery that ran at high temperatures, and to protect metals at low temperatures for the aerospace industry. However, the savage Whaling trade was thankfully decimated overnight by the discovery in the 20th century that Jojoba oil is better for these functions than Whale oil. All praise Jojoba! I would guess that gadoleic acid is one of the main elements that makes Jojoba a star in industrial applications.

So, if there weren’t enough other reasons to love Jojoba, then its role in helping to save the Whale surely clinches the case. No wonder Santa’s laughing.

Read 372 times Last modified on Sunday, 10 December 2017 21:47

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