The promising potential of jojoba oil in addressing stretch marks

Vantage Specialty Chemicals puts jojoba oil to the test to determine its efficacy in wound healing, with a particular focus on stretch marks.

Stretch marks are more common than you thought. They affect 80% of the adult population, both female and male. Also known as Striae distensae, stretch marks are a form of scarring on the skin. They are most often associated with pregnancy, but also frequently happen during rapid body changes, such as puberty or the accelerated growth of extreme body-builders due to weight and muscle gain.

Where hormonal changes are involved (pregnancy for instance), some researchers also see the increased production of oestrogen as possibly leading to a rise in matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). These enzymes are in turn responsible for an unusually high rate of collagen and elastin breakdown, further depriving skin of the fundamental structural network that provides its integrity and leading to local inflammation and cellular oxidation.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Pregnancy statistics on stretch marks

A closer look at treatments

Stretch marks are an emotional and beautifully symbolic part of the human body. Reactions to them can vary greatly from one individual to the next. Some people will happily embrace their stretch marks while others seek cosmetic solutions to hide them. While the leading cause of stretch mark formation hasn’t been clearly identified, their general prevalence and the emotional impact of the visible scarring has led to an interest in finding topical solutions aimed at alleviating them.   

Some treatments have been identified such as collagen-stimulating ingredients or retinoids, used during the active phase (right after development of the immature striae, or striae rubra), to help mitigate the metabolic pathway at the origin of stretch marks. However, this class of molecules is known for its potential irritancy and may not be suited to all skin types. Additionally, the use of retinoids is prohibited during pregnancy. These challenges have inspired the team at Vantage to look to nature for an alternative that is more suitable for sensitive skin and at-risk consumers.

The results of the study on jojoba oil

Putting jojoba oil to the test

After reviewing existing data and research, jojoba oil was selected for the study. Scientific literature contains plenty of evidence about the efficacy of jojoba oil for moisturisation and overall skin improvement, likely due to its unique liquid wax ester composition and rich content in primary and secondary metabolites. Vantage’s technical team designed a plan to study the efficacy of jojoba oil on wound healing; its mechanism of action can be compared to the one involved in stretch mark formation. For the first part of the test, a gene expression study was performed, which involved 36 000 transcripts and variants. The second part of the test involved a fibroblast scratch test, where both jojoba oil and retinol were put to test.

a-Gene expression study results

0.3% of jojoba oil was used on a reconstructed model. The gene expression study showed the upregulation of 32 genes and 30 genes downregulated, versus non-treated material. Scientists extracted the genetic data related to the biological pathways involved in the formation of stretch marks.

In particular, three key areas were highlighted:

  1. Extracellular matrix – jojoba upregulated IGFBP5 and DNC genes, which are expected to help in the assembly of the extracellular matrix.10, 11
  2. Cytoskeleton assembly – jojoba oil upregulated ANLN, which is believed to regulate the assembly of the actomyosin cytoskeleton. It also downregulated ACTN1 and MAP4, which could lead to loosened bundling of tubulin and to loosened fibroblast fibres, helping with the overall recovery of skin flexibility and smoothness.12, 13
  3. Inflammatory pathway – jojoba oil downregulated the expression of KLK8/9, KLK12, VWF and IL1α, which are involved in the innate immune system response. The downregulation of their activity should lead to decreased local inflammation.14, 15, 16

b-Fibroblast scratch test

During this test, jojoba oil at 2% was used on a human skin fibroblast monolayer culture. The culture was scratched and wound width measurements were taken at 0, 2, 8 and 24 hours. Jojoba was tested against retinol (positive control) and untreated cells (negative control).

Retinoids are known to demonstrate significant improvement in the appearance of early stretch marks compared to placebo formula.17 The result of the test carried out by Vantage revealed that jojoba oil has a comparable benefit to retinol in a fibroblast scratch test. Each result in the graph is statistically significant compared to the negative control while the 24-hour results show jojoba improved wound healing significantly compared to retinol. These excellent results led Vantage to hypothesise that jojoba oil might help improve the appearance of stretch marks.

Innovative formats for skin care formulations

These results are extremely encouraging and open the door for various new opportunities for the use of jojoba in would healing treatments, stretch mark treatments and cosmetics/treatments targeted for diabetic patients. Additional clinical studies are being carried out to further determine the potential benefits that jojoba brings to personal care formulations.

As a leader in jojoba oil and derivatives, Vantage has created many formats to deliver this ingredient in cosmetic formulations, such as golden and colourless jojoba oil, encapsulated jojoba in Lipobead or Liposphere technologies, Iso jojoba butters, jojoba oil captured in the nano-emulsion of DW jojoba milk and more. Contact Vantage today for more details on its on-going studies on jojoba oil.

References:

  1. Decreased expression of collagen and fibronectin genes in striae distensae tissue. (Clin Exp Dermatol. 1994 Jul;19(4):285 8)
  2. The cause of striae distensae . (Acta Derm Venereol Suppl ( Stockh ). 1979;59(85):161 9)
  3. In vivo study of dermal collagen of striae distensae by confocal Raman spectroscopy. (Lasers Med Sci. 2018 Apr;33(3):609 617)
  4. An investigation of striae distensae using reflectance confocal microscopy. ( Australas J Dermatol. 2012 Aug;53(3):181 5)
  5. Striae distensae are characterized by distinct microstructural features as measured by non invasive methods in vivo. (Skin Res Technol. 2014 Feb ;20(1):81 6)
  6. Inflammation in Striae distensae Dermatopathology: Practical & Conceptual, Jul Sep 1997, Vol. 3, No. 3
  7. Topical management of striae distensae (stretch marks): Prevention and therapy of striae rubrae and albae . Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (
  8. Contractile forces generated by striae distensae fibroblasts embedded in collagen lattices. Arch Dermatol Res. 2005 Jul;297(1):10 7.
  9. Matrix Metalloproteinases in Normal Pregnancy and Preeclampsia, Juanjuan Chen and Raouf A. Khalil, Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2017; 148: 87–165.
  10. IGFBP 5 Promotes Fibrosis via Increasing Its Own Expression and That of Other Pro fibrotic Mediators. Frontiers in endocrinology (2018) 9 , 601.
  11. Targeted disruption of decorin leads to abnormal collagen fibril morphology and skin fragility. J Cell Biol . 1997;136(3):729 743.
  12. The myriad roles of Anillin during cytokinesis, Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, Volume 21, Issue 9, 2010, Pages 881 8 91
  13. Contractile forces generated by striae distensae fibroblasts embedded in collagen lattices. Arch Dermatol Res. 2005 Jul;297(1):10 7
  14. Protease activated receptors and itch. Handbook of experimental pharmacology , (2015) 226 , 219 235.
  15. Von Willebrand factor and inflammation. J Thromb Haemost . 2017 Jul;15(7):1285 1294
  16. Interleukin 1 α and the inflammatory process. Nature immunology , (2016) 17 (8), 906 913. doi:10.1038/ni.3503
  17. Topical retinoidimproves early stretch marks. Archives of dermatology. (1996) 132. 519 26.


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