Jojoba oil is produced from the seed of the Simmondsia Chinensis plant that grows in southern North America, primarily in Arizona, California, and northern Mexico.
Jojoba oil is very powerful and has a lot of cosmetic benefits for skin which is primarily what it is used for. Some of the benefits include: moisturization, antioxidants, promoting collagen synthesis, improving wound healing, and more. Many of these benefits are well understood by scientists and have a lot of research to back them, which solidifies jojoba oil as a very viable skin care option.
Albeit the fact that jojoba oil can make your skin glow, not as many people recognize the potential benefits that jojoba oil carries for your hair, and possibly for hair loss as well.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the benefits using jojoba oil on your hair may have, as well as if there are any benefits that apply to people dealing with androgenic alopecia (AGA; pattern hair loss). As always, research will be taken into account to determine the viability of the claims about jojoba oil and ultimately if it could be worth implementing into your hair loss regimen.
Jojoba’s benefits for hair
Sebum is a waxy, oily substance that is naturally produced by the skin on the scalp. It is very important because it helps protect your body from infections and also keeps your hair and scalp moist.
A common condition that a lot of people with unhealthy hair have is that their scalp is either over or underproducing sebum, which can both cause a range of issues.
When there is an underproduction of sebum it can cause hair to become dry, brittle, and malnourished. This can be problematic, especially for someone with hair loss, because it can cause hair to break which, if prolonged, can lead to overall thinning.
But that is relatively minor compared to what overproduction of sebum can cause: dandruff. There are a range of conditions that can cause dandruff, although sebum overproduction is one of the more common causes. Studies have shown (1) that when the sebaceous gland (the gland that produces sebum) is overactive it contributes to dandruff.
This happens because one of dandruffs underlying causes is a fungus called malassezia. When sebum is overproduced, it gives malassezia a source of food, causing it to proliferate and results in flaking, scalp itching and more. Dandruff is also bad news for people with hair loss because when the scalp is itched, it can damage the hair follicles, sometimes permanently, and lead to exacerbated thinning.
So what does all of this have to do with jojoba oil?
Well, jojoba oil is a conglomeration of long-chain monounsaturated liquid wax esters (2), which is very close to the structure of sebum. This means that when jojoba oil is applied to the scalp it can help balance sebum levels, therefore preventing issues such as dry scalp, brittle hair, and potentially dandruff. At least these are the claims that are commonly made…
The reality is that there haven't been any scientific studies done on jojoba oil for how it affects hair, meaning that there is no benefit that will be certain when using it. Nonetheless, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting that jojoba oil can improve hair's overall health by controlling sebum, which may prove beneficial for someone suffering from pattern hair loss (important: it is not going to cure pattern hair loss which is caused by DHT, rather it could improve your current hairs condition).
Jojoba oil has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant (3) (one of the properties that makes it good for skin care).
When applied to the hair and scalp it may be able to protect against the damaging effects that oxidative stress can cause. Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals form in the body. Free radicals are uncharged molecules with unpaired electrons that go around the body stealing electrons from other molecules. When this occurs in the hair it can cause premature graying and possibly contribute to hair loss (4).
Again, since the research in jojoba oil for hair is lacking we cannot say for sure that the antioxidant properties of jojoba will apply to protecting hair and/or hair loss, but the implication is certainly there.
The last major benefit that jojoba oil may have for your hair is to prevent damage from inflammation.
It has been proven that jojoba oil helps with inflammation in general (5). A common cause of inflammation is the overproduction of sebum (which, as we know, jojoba may help with as well), and for people dealing with hair loss inflammation is bad news.
Inflammation is the body's response to DHT, the androgen responsible for hair loss. When DHT binds to receptors in the hair follicles, the body responds by sending white blood cells that cause inflammation. While the inflammation does not directly cause hair loss, it can exacerbate it (6).
If jojoba oil were shown in future studies to reduce inflammation in the scalp specifically, there would be a much stronger case for it being able to help hair loss.
Jojoba oil has been largely untouched by researchers in terms of its benefits for hair. There is plenty of evidence suggesting that it is great for the skin, and some of the properties such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and its sebum-like structure may transfer to hair. But despite all the claims, ultimately there has been little-to-no research conducted on jojoba oil directly for hair benefits, but that doesn't mean it is useless.
If you have the capital, jojoba oil may be worth adding to your regimen because it has many properties that commonly are highly beneficial for optimizing hair health and protecting it against damage. Just make sure you don’t use it as a hair loss treatment, it will not stop hair loss and has no evidence supporting the notion that is can aid in regrowth either.