Bottle of pure jojoba oil as part of your skincare routine

Can Jojoba Oil Repair The Skin Barrier?

Jojoba oil is a type of emollient that is found in a variety of skincare products available over the counter. It is well-tolerated by most people and closely resembles skin’s natural sebum. When the skin barrier is damaged, it can be difficult to find skincare ingredients that lessen irritation and encourage hydration, without making the skin more sensitive or inflamed. 

Jojoba oil can effectively hydrate the skin and contribute to repairing the skin barrier in a few weeks. 

Let’s dive into everything you need to know in regards to jojoba oil when it comes to your skin. We will cover exactly what jojoba oil is, how it can improve your skin barrier, why it works, and how you can incorporate this wonder ingredient into your routine today.

Combining jojoba oil with good skincare habits can provide your skin with the nutrients and moisture it needs to fight against dehydration and loss of collagen, which are detrimental to your skin’s barrier.

What Is Jojoba Oil?

Jojoba oil is actually not really an oil. It is commonly known as jojoba oil in the cosmetic industry for clarity, as its consistency is much like many other oils available on the market. In reality, it is a wax ester.

A wax ester is the combination of a fatty acid and fatty alcohol. The most important one when it comes to the health of your skin’s barrier involves fatty acids. Let’s look into fatty acids and why they are an integral component of your skin’s moisture barrier.

Fatty Acids and Their Role In Skin Health

The skin is made up of a variety of different molecules, such as proteins, lipids, collagen, and other structural components that contribute to the integrity of the skin barrier.

All of these come together to form a network of molecules that keep the skin healthy and safe from environmental stressors, pollution, and other types of external concerns that cause damage to the skin.

One of the main ways in which the skin keeps itself healthy and stabilized is epidermal surface lipids. These include sebum and fatty acids that keep the skin moisturized and the water content in the skin balanced.

Fatty acids make up about 10% of sebum composition, and include substances like phospholipids and fatty acid derivatives. Ceramides are a type of fatty acid derivative that play a large role in regulating water content in the skin. 

Phospholipids play a large role in keeping the skin barrier intact. The interesting thing about this ingredient is that it can actually change the behaviour of skin cells when applied topically. Especially when applied to dry, inflamed skin, phospholipids have been shown to increase hydration.

In general, topical application of fatty acids can really influence the health of your skin, which is why it is so important to incorporate fatty acid-containing products into your skincare routine

Wax esters (a combination of fatty acids and fatty alcohols, as mentioned previously) makes up about 25% of sebum. Needless to say, fatty acids contribute to a significant portion of the skin’s barrier. 

Once I dove into learning about the role of fatty acids in the skin, I came across something called the golden ratio that you can read more about here. It involves the use of products containing a specific amount of fatty acids and other ingredients that can effectively repair the skin’s barrier.

How Can Jojoba Oil Improve The Skin Barrier?

Wax esters have very distinct properties. Due to its wax-like nature, it creates a protective barrier on the skin once applied.

This helps to keep out pollution and other types of external factors that cause damage to the skin.

The great thing about jojoba oil is that it has low irritation potential as it is similar to our skin’s sebum. Therefore, it will work to soothe inflamed skin, rather than causing reactions that could make your skin barrier worse.

Due to jojoba oil containing fatty acids, it can deposit fatty acid content onto the skin and increase moisture and reduce transepidermal water loss.

In addition, jojoba oil is an emollient which plays a large role in softening skin cells. It has even been shown to enhance the penetration of other topical ingredients, making your skincare routine work better for you.

It is anti-inflammatory, speeds up wound healing, and can be used to repair altered skin barriers most commonly found in dermatological conditions such as acne and eczema.

How To Incorporate Jojoba Oil Into Your Skincare Routine

When incorporating jojoba oil into your skin routine, it can be helpful to follow these few tips:

1. Ensure that the product you choose contains pure jojoba oil without any additional additives, such as fragrance or active ingredients.

Fragrance can wreak havoc on the skin, and it is often not listed as “fragrance” in the ingredients. Ingredients like essential oils and geraniol are fragrance compounds as well. Here is a list of ingredients that include fragrances that can clog your pores.

In addition to fragrance, skip any products that contain active ingredients that can further irritate your skin (such as acids) while your skin barrier is repairing.

2. If you are trying jojoba oil for the first time, it is a good idea to patch test the product first. This involves using the oil on a small portion of your face and seeing how it reacts over the course of 24 – 48 hours. If there are no reactions (such as redness, irritation, or breakouts), then you can proceed to use this particular product on the rest of your skin.

3. When it comes to the correct order of applying skincare products, the general rule involves applying products from least to most thick or heavy. The products with the thinnest consistencies should be applied first.

Jojoba oil should be applied after water-based serums, and before heavy moisturizers. This way, it can create a bit of a barrier and lock in the ingredients present in watery serums. If preferred, it can also be applied as the last step of your skincare routine after moisturizers, as it has a similar consistency to thicker creams. 

4. If you are not a fan of oils or wax-like substances on the skin, you can apply jojoba oil only at night before bed. Even better, you can apply jojoba oil to certain areas of your skin rather than your entire face. Apply it to the thinnest and most sensitive areas on the skin, such as around the eyes, mouth, and neck for best results.

Chart describing the key substances in jojoba oil


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