Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) is commonly used in skin care (jojoba oil) to treat a range of skin conditions, namely dry, chapped skin.
Jojoba is being studied for various other benefits, including its appetite suppressing effect.
Jojoba oil is the fatty acid component of the seeds of the jojoba plant. It is found in a variety of cosmetic products, such as soaps and shampoos where it is believed to have certain emollient and restorative effects.
According to a recent dermatological review, jojoba has an anti-inflammatory effect and can be used on a variety of skin conditions including skin infections, skin aging, as well as wound healing.
Jojoba may have an appetite suppressing effect. In a study of lean and obese rats, the addition of simmondsin (an extract of jojoba seeds) to their diet resulted in a reduction in food intake in both groups. While growth was slower than in control rats in both obese and lean simmondsin-treated rats, the food intake-reducing effect was more pronounced in the obese rats than in the lean rats (1).
This appetite-suppressing effect has been noted in other animal studies, where the effect of simmondsin on meal patterns (decreased meal size, meal duration and eating rate, and increased latency to eat) was observed to be greatest at the highest concentration. So much so that it is believed to have resulted in the death of some rats at very high doses due to reductions in food intake (2).
Jojoba oil may help speed wound healing. The fatty acid component of jojoba seeds is sometimes referred to as jojoba liquid wax and has long been used in folk medicine to treat bruises and wounds.
Several clinical studies so far appear to back these claims. In a 2011 in vitro study, the effects of jojoba liquid wax on keratinocytes and human dermal fibroblasts, which are involved in wounded skin repair, were evaluated.
Keratinocytes are the major cellular components of the epidermis (the top layer of the skin), and they have several critical roles in the wound healing process. Human dermal fibroblasts are responsible for generating connective tissue and allowing the skin to recover from injury.
Scratch wound experiments showed that jojoba notably accelerated the wound closure of both keratinocytes and fibroblasts and was found to stimulate collagen synthesis (3).
Jojoba may have anti-aging properties. The global anti-aging market is growing rapidly and is projected to hit $331.41 billion by 2021 (4). In the ongoing search for the fountain of youth, researchers hypothesize that jojoba oil may be a useful addition to anti-aging products.
Several of the characteristic features of premature skin aging (photoaged skin), such as wrinkling, are thought to be caused by damage to the dermal connective tissue brought about by chronic UV radiation. UV radiation increases matrix metalloproteinase activity which is an important factor influencing the development of age-related changes in skin such as loss of collagen.
It has been shown that a basic preparation containing jojoba oil inhibits the UV induced up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinase that causes UV-induced degradation of collagen (5).
Jojoba is an effective moisturizer. The increased demand for safe botanicals in skincare has led researchers to evaluate the role of jojoba oil and many other plants.
In a small pilot study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, researchers found that hydrolyzed jojoba esters are able to increase skin hydration and improve sensory skin “feel” when included in a variety of skin, hair and nail care cosmetic/personal care formulations.
Moreover, when hydrolyzed jojoba esters were combined with glycerol, they effectively worked in tandem to enhance skin moisture for at least 24 hours (6).
Additional studies are currently underway.
Jojoba oil may help treat mild acne. The application of clay facial masks is a cosmetic procedure generally used to reduce skin lesions and to improve overall skin condition. In an observational pilot study, researchers collected data about self-treatment with clay jojoba oil masks on participants with acne-prone, lesioned skin and acne.
For 6 weeks, 133 participants applied the masks 2–3 times per week. A 54 percent reduction in total lesion count was observed after 6 weeks of treatment with the clay jojoba oil facial mask. Both inflammatory and non-inflammatory skin lesions were reduced significantly after treatment compared to baseline (7).
Jojoba extracts have antibacterial and antiviral properties. In a 2017 review of the history and the medical and industrial importance of the jojoba plant, authors presented that jojoba extract has effective antimicrobial activity against some bacterial and fungal species. The species noted included Bacillus cereus, Salmonella typhimurium, Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli, Aspergillus flavus and Candida albicans (8).
Simmondsia chinensis leaf extract has also shown antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection (9).
Jojoba oil has anti-inflammation properties. Jojoba liquid wax has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties in a number of experimental models with promising results.
According to Pharmacological Research, it caused reduction of carrageenin-induced rat paw edema (a model used in clinical studies to test anti-inflammatory drugs) in addition to diminishing prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) level (a potent inflammatory mediator).
In rats with lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation, supplementation reduced nitric oxide level and tumor necrosis factor a (TNF-α) release — two pro-inflammatory mediators.
Further investigations are needed to identify the active constituents responsible for the anti-inflammatory property of jojoba liquid wax (10).
It has been reported that application of moisturizing cream contain jojoba oil can cause contact dermatitis. It is best to perform a patch test before use.
Jojoba should not be ingested. Jojoba contains a chemical called erucic acid, which can cause serious side effects such as heart damage (11).
Jojoba oil is available in many commercial skincare products for use as a skin moisturizer. It can also be found in shampoos and conditioners. A few drops of oil can be added to creams and lotions or used directly on the skin.
Jojoba oil is the fatty acid component of the seeds of the jojoba plant that is regarded for its emollient properties. It can be found as an ingredient in many skincare and hair care products. Jojoba is being studied for various other benefits, including its appetite suppressing effect and ability to help heal wounds and treat mild acne.
Studies also show jojoba oil’s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammation properties.