Can you eat jojoba oil?
In this short article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat jojoba oil?” with an in-depth analysis of jojoba oil, the chemical composition of jojoba oil, topical uses of jojoba oil, and the health risks of jojoba oil.
Can you eat jojoba oil?
No, you can not eat jojoba oil. Though jojoba oil is edible, our body can not assimilate it. For this reason, you should not eat jojoba oil.
Sweet Almond (SAO), Evening Primrose (EPO) and Jojoba (JJO) are three popular and commonly utilized natural seed oils, with wide applications in the cosmetic, dermatological and ‘health’ markets. Global business data indicate that these oils were collectively valued in 2020, at approximately 2080 Million USD. In 2020, the global EPO market was valued at 170 Million USD, SAO was worth 1756 million USD in 2019, and the JJO market size was valued at USD 133.2 million in 2019. In addition, all three oils are expected to grow between 4 and 10% by 2027.
What is jojoba oil?
Jojoba oil, scientifically known as Simmondsia Chinensis, comes from the seeds of a jojoba shrub, also called deer nut, that grows in northern Mexico, California, and Arizona. Nearly half of the seed constitutes the oil. It is often used in cosmetic products. This oil is used widely in a variety of skin applications which exploit its sebum-like characteristics (1).
The chemical composition of jojoba oil
Jojoba oil is composed of some fatty acids including oleic acid, palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic, and arachidic acid. The fatty acids present in the oil vary with the climate and soil where the plant has grown, as well as the processing of oil.
Jojoba oil is a mixture of straight chain esters of monounsaturated long-chain fatty acids and long-chain primary fatty alcohols. Of the fatty acids, oleic acid (30%–45%) and 11-eicosenoic (20%–40%) acid are predominant. The wax esters produced by jojoba oil are very similar to human skin sebum (1).
Jojoba oil is also composed of considerable amounts of vitamin E, which further increases the beneficial characteristics of jojoba oil. Vitamin E includes different tocopherols, each function as free-radical scavengers in cell membranes and lipoproteins. Tocopherols play an important role as a quality parameter in the oil by protecting it against lipid oxidation. Furthermore, tocopherols play an important role in the skin as protection against lipid cell membrane oxidation which can lead to inflammation and apoptosis (1).
Why can we not eat jojoba oil?
Jojoba oil was utilized by natives as a cooking oil. As it is indigestible, it has no digestible calories. The oil has14 percent erucic acid. Jojoba oil has been proposed as a frying medium to enhance the shelf life of fried foods. However, animal studies have demonstrated incomplete digestion of jojoba oil wax esters, with damage to the GI tract. In spite of potential toxicity to children through accidental ingestion, jojoba oil is widely used in cosmetic products and as an industrial lubricant (2).
In large concentrations, erucic acid is poisonous to humans. It has been associated with myocardial fibrosis (3). Jojoba seed is very sour, it consists of cyanide and other harmful substances (4). For this reason, it is considered inedible for consumption and is mostly used for topical purposes.
Topical uses of jojoba oil
Jojoba oil is considered to have healing characteristics, mostly due to the beneficial fatty acids and vitamin E it has.
Usually, jojoba oil is massaged onto the skin or applied to a particular body part to get these benefits. It also has emollient qualities. It smoothes out the skin by trapping moisture.
Other health benefits provided by jojoba oil when applied on the skin include:
Reduction of Acne
Jojoba oil plays a significant role in reducing pimples, blackheads, and other facial imperfections. It is non-comedogenic, which implies that it can not clog pores. Studies have suggested that jojoba oil helps during the wound healing process and has some antimicrobial benefit, lending itself to acne product formulations (1).
It has been found that the frequent use of a facial mask comprising jojoba oil and clay could help to get rid of whiteheads, blackheads, and lumps.
Helps in healing wound
Jojoba oil is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants. It may also help treat wounds quickly.
Cure for eczema
Eczema is a skin condition characterized by dry, itchy skin that peels off and sometimes inflammation. Restoration of normal skin barrier functioning is crucial in the management of the condition and cosmetic emollient products are one of the first-line methods of enabling this (1).
Jojoba oil contains aliphatic alcohol, γ-linolenic acid, that reduces these symptoms.
Cure for psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin condition that is also characterized by dry, flaky skin and inflammation.
Jojoba oil may help relieve pain and prevent the intensification of psoriasis that aggravates due to continuous inflammation (1).
The antioxidant properties of jojoba oil help to improve skin elasticity and treat wrinkles and fine lines.
It has been shown that the presence of linoleic acid prevents skin from peeling and the loss of epidermal water, while at the same time improving skin softness and elasticity and regulating the process of epidermal keratinization. High levels of linoleic acid strengthen the epidermal barrier, normalize excessive loss of water through the epidermis and improve smoothness, after both topical and oral applications (1).
Jojoba oil builds a barrier around the skin to retain moisture which prevents flaky, itchy dandruff from appearing.
Vitamin E and antioxidant properties of jojoba oil may help to reduce sunburn signs and to protect their skin from sun damage. It helps to soothe the symptoms of sunburn and may promote healing (5).
Health risks associated with jojoba oil
Usually, jojoba oil is regarded as safe for applying to the skin. Although it gives a lot of benefits when used topically, it may have some negative aspects. These may include:
Jojoba oil can lead to an allergic reaction, in some people, resulting in an itchy rash, red skin, hives, and in critical cases the closing of the airways. If an allergic reaction occurs, you should stop using it immediately. If the symptoms lead to shortness of breath or an eruption of hives, consult your doctor.
However, patch tests on humans did not reveal allergic reactions except in hyperallergic people. Prick tests with people exposed earlier to jojoba oil for two years revealed no allergic reactions to either the crude or refined oil (6).
It is advisable to perform a test on a small patch of your skin when you use jojoba oil for the first time. If you see any reaction, you should quit using the oil.
Jojoba oil is not suggested for ingestion and should only be used topically. Absorbing jojoba oil can result in symptoms such as diarrhoea, stomach discomfort, unrest, and dry eyes (7).
In this short article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat jojoba oil?” with an in-depth analysis of jojoba oil, the chemical composition of jojoba oil, topical uses of jojoba oil, and the health risks of jojoba oil.
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Blaak, Jürgen, and Peter Staib. An updated review on efficacy and benefits of sweet almond, evening primrose and jojoba oils in skin care applications. Int J Cosm Sci, 2022, 44, 1-9.
Barling, Peter Michael, and Yi Huan Foong. Oily fish, liquid wax esters and keriorrhoea–a review. Int e-J Sci Med Educ, 2015, 9, 21-25.
Wallace, Heather, et al. Erucic acid in feed and food. EFSA Journal, 2016.
Patel, Ketan Desaibhai. Determination of cyanogenesis and total cyanide in deoiled jojoba. San Jose State University. 1992.
Lin, Jing-Yi, et al. UV photoprotection by combination topical antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E. J Am Acad Dermatol, 2003, 48, 866-874.
Gad, Heba A., et al. Jojoba Oil: An updated comprehensive review on chemistry, pharmaceutical uses, and toxicity. Polymers, 2021, 13, 1711.
Minckler, Michael R., et al. Unusual etiology of gastrointestinal symptoms: the case of jojoba butter. Open Access Emerg Med OAEM, 2017, 9, 27.