Jojoba oil is one of those unicorn ingredients that can literally be used from head to toe. Rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, jojoba oil is actually a wax ester that mimics the skin's natural sebum. Oh, and it antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and doesn't clog pores, so it suits acne-prone and sensitive skin.

"This means that jojoba oil is able to balance out the skin by helping to control excess oil and prevent the overproduction of sebum in areas where it is not needed," says Dr. Michele Green, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City. "Since it is non-comedogenic, jojoba oil won't clog the skins pores and is safe for use on acne-prone skin types."

Because jojoba oil is a wax ester, it's extremely lightweight and absorbs quickly, yet it can penetrate deeply — and that's exactly why it's beneficial for hair, too. "Jojoba oil is the perfect treatment oil for a dry scalp or dry hair, says Dr. Green. "Additionally, the oil is so lightweight that it won't weigh your hair down."

Given jojoba oil's slew of benefits and flexibility with all skin and hair types, it pops up in a number of beauty products. "In my opinion, it's a great addition to skin care and hair care regimens because risk of side effects and irritation are incredibly low, while improvement in hydration and moisture can be easily achieved," says Dr. Rachel Nazarian, board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology in New York City.

Ahead, find out everything you need to know about the ingredient in so many of your skincare and haircare products.

What Is Jojoba Oil?

"Jojoba oil is oil extracted from the jojoba plant, a plant native to the north and central American desert. It is used in many different forms due to being easily extractable in large quantities from this plant source," says Dr. Nazarian. "It's also used often in cosmetics, thought to restore health of hair and skin."

Because jojoba oil has been shown to restore skin's natural shine, Dr. Nazarian adds it's often used as an emollient agent in haircare products to boost hydration and shine.

Should You Use Pure Jojoba Oil to Get the Most Benefits?

Pure jojoba oil can be used on the skin, but Dr. Green says even though the ingredient is safe for all skin types, it's always best to check with a dermatologist before adding anything new to your skincare routine, if possible.

The concentration of jojoba oil is also important to consider. "Unfortunately, the concentration of jojoba oil in each product is an important aspect in determining efficacy and results," Dr. Nazarian explains. However many products do not disclose the percentage being used, making it hard for the consumer to choose wisely."

As for all of the products you see with jojoba oil in them, the ingredient actually boost other actives, helping them penetrate deeper. "The lightweight nature of jojoba oil makes it the perfect carrier oil for other cosmetic treatment products and active ingredients which may not otherwise be able to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin," says Dr. Green.

Dr. Nazarian adds that jojoba oil can help counteract retinol side effects. "Because jojoba oil was specifically studied being used with a retinoid, leading to a better therapeutic effect in some patients while leading to no irritation, it would be an appropriate addition to your anti-aging regimen, especially if it includes retinoids."

And What Can Jojoba Oil Do for Hair?

"The natural concentrations of palmitic acid and stearic acid in jojoba oil are known to help condition and protect the hair," says Dr. Green.

On top of using jojoba oil as a pre-shampoo treatment or leave-in conditioner, it also works well a scalp treatment with tea tree oil to target dandruff. "Combining jojoba oil with tea tree oil and massaging into the scalp to leave overnight is a great at-home treatment for reducing dandruff," she suggests. "Be sure to rinse the hair and scalp in the morning."

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