Does Jojoba Oil Lighten the Skin

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When it comes to using jojoba oil as a part of your skin care routine, there is a bit confusing. Some people believe this oil provides numerous skin-health benefits. Unfortunately, most of these claims haven’t been scientifically confirmed. However anecdotal reports on this are ample, too. How about its skin lightening effect?

Jojoba oil and skin health

Unlike the name implies ‘oil’, jojoba oil is a liquid wax. What makes it so special, its structure is almost similar to the structure of natural oil found in the skin! Therefore people believe it’s safe for most skin types.

It’s practical to use, and not greasy. It’s easy to penetrate the skin without carrying a greasy residue on the skin. It also provides nutritious things for skin. For examples; antioxidants, vitamins (B and E), and minerals (e.g. zinc, copper, and chromium) – all play a role to help protect and nourish your skin.

Plus, it’s less likely to clog skin pores. Its natural structure, which is similar to natural oil produced by the skin as mentioned earlier, is the answer. This benefit is so helpful if your skin is susceptible to acne.

It might work in fighting signs of skin aging, though more studies are required since many evidences on this are anecdotal reports. What’s more? It might work effectively to help moisturize the skin, ease sunburn, and prevent growth of bad bacteria in the skin (it has anti-microbial properties) [1].

For more comprehensive information, see also skin health benefits from jojoba oil!

Does jojoba oil lighten the skin?

One of common ways to lighten the skin is by targeting melanin, a pigment of your skin. Melanin plays a key role to give the color of your skin. It is important pillar to determine your skin complexion. But a number of factors can drive more melanin production, causing darkening skin (hyperpigmentation). These include excess exposure to UV light (sun damage), acne /wound scars, and sometimes hormone fluctuations.

Skin lightening creams are overwhelming out there. But most of them aren’t regulated by the FDA. Before attempting any, probably you’re likely to choose and use natural ingredients since they carry fewer risks and more affordable. How about jojoba oil?

Again, jojoba oil has some potent properties such as antioxidants, anti-bacterial properties, and humectant ingredient. Its antioxidants may promote collagen synthesis, which is good to deal with signs of skin aging [2]. Does it work to lighten the skin?

It’s hard to find scientific evidence between jojoba oil and its effect on lightening the skin. But it’s always worth a try to have adequate antioxidants for your skin health. Even one study suggests that antioxidants, such as vitamin C, may have a role to help treat hyperpigmentation resulting from sun damage [3].

But even though jojoba oil has a range of promising properties for skin health, it is probably not your best bet to effectively lighten the skin naturally since there is still no sufficient evidence supporting in that regard.

If you’re still pursuing skin lightening with natural ingredients, there are some options to choose from. Even some are commonly found in skin lightening creams, here are a few examples [4].

  1. Kojic acid, a natural antioxidant derived from fungus. It can break down to help prevent unnecessary production of excess melanin in the skin. Study has shown it acts as a skin-lightening ingredient. In skin-lightening products, it is usually found in 1% to 4 % concentrations. Sometimes it is formulated with different agents to lighten the skin more optimally.
  2. Soy. In skin-care products, this legume is one of common natural ingredients to help promote moisturizing effect (in fact, it’s commonly used in moisturizers). It may also have an effect to obstruct the transfer of pigment (melanosome), which is helpful to prevent skin-darkening.
  3. Liquiritin. It comes from licorice root. It may have an effect to promote skin-lightening since it inhibit the production of melanin. It’s available without prescription (OTC).
  4. Arbutin. This natural acid is derivative of hydroquinone produced from berry plants (e.g. cranberry, blueberry, and bearberry plants). It can be found in 3 % concentrations in some cosmetic ‘OTC’ products. Research has found that it may lighten the skin significantly.
  5. Ellagic acid. This kind of antioxidant can help block an enzyme involved in the production of melanin. It is derived from natural sources such as cherries, pomegranates, and strawberries.

What else you need to know!

It’s easy to buy and get OTC skin-lightening creams, especially from online stores. But not all of them are safe to use, even some contain ingredients that may result in undesirable negative reactions and serious side effects. So choose one carefully!

Here are a few common ‘bad’ ingredients found in OTC skin-lightening products to be wary:

  1. Hydroquinone. Although it’s OTC available in the U.S for concentrations of 2 percent or lower (stronger concentrations require prescription), it has been banned in some countries since it could be potential to be a carcinogenic. Using it improperly may also lead to a bluish-black darkening of treatment area.
  2. Mercuric chloride. It has been banned in many countries, including in the U.S! It poses the risk of numerous health problems from skin rashes to kidney damage [5]. The labels such as mercuric, calomel, mercurous chloride, and mercurio are all indicates mercury.
  3. Clobetasol propionate. The use of this strong steroid should be only prescribed by dermatologists, and at very low dose (typically 0.05 % strength). It’s not allowed to be used for skin lightening, especially on sensitive area such as face. Because it can cause side effects such as acne, skin thinning, and depigmentation.

To keep safe, it bears repeating that seeing your doctor /dermatologist is recommended before trying a new skin-lightening product. This is especially true if you have certain skin condition!

Also, there are probably some considerations you need to follow beforehand. For instance; before trying any treatment, you may need to wait for weeks or longer if you have uneven skin tone or dark spots until the discoloration fades completely. This is important because in this period your skin cells are being regenerated (including for cells that carry melanin) and sloughed off.


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