Evaluation of additive effects of hydrolyzed jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) esters and glycerol: a preliminary study

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2008 Dec;7(4):268-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2008.00405.x.


Background: Glycerol has long served the topical prescriptive and personal care industry as a versatile and functional active and inactive ingredient. In skin care products, it acts primarily as an emollient, softening the skin through robust humectant hydration action. Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters K-20W (K-20W) have been shown to increase skin hydration and improve sensory skin "feel" when included in a variety of skin, hair, and nail care cosmetic/personal care formulations. The addition of glycerol and hydrolyzed jojoba esters provides a substantial long-acting 24 h (moisturizing) skin hydration effect for topical products.

Aim: A small pilot study was conducted to support the "proof of concept" that an enhanced, additive role exists between these two ingredients resulting in a long-term (24 h) skin moisturization effect.

Method: Topical treatments were applied to the skin (lower leg) of subjects, and evaluations were made at baseline and 8- to 24-h post-application. Skin hydration data were obtained via bio-instrumental transepidermal water loss (TEWL) measurements and expert clinical skin grading, including standardized digital clinical photography.

Results: Clinical skin grading evaluations and TEWL measurements found that significantly lower evaporative (P < 0.05) TEWL values occurred in the topical formulations containing 3.75% glycerol and 1.25% K-20W (hydrolyzed jojoba esters) than with glycerol alone in a standard base skin care lotion at 8 and 24 h posttreatment.

Conclusion: This preliminary data "proof of concept" supports the position that glycerol and hydrolyzed jojoba esters work in tandem to enhance skin moisturization for at least 24 h. This unique moisturizing potential may prove valuable in the future development of cosmetic and over-the-counter/prescriptive topical products, including new medicaments containing botanicals. This fact is further reinforced with the recent greater commercial use and demand for defined safe botanicals in cosmetic as well as pharmaceutical topical formulations. Additional mechanistic studies are underway.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Emollients / administration & dosage*
  • Esters
  • Female
  • Glycerol / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Middle Aged
  • Photography
  • Pilot Projects
  • Skin / chemistry*
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin Care / methods
  • Solvents / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Water / analysis*
  • Water / metabolism
  • Water Loss, Insensible / drug effects
  • Waxes*


  • Emollients
  • Esters
  • Solvents
  • Waxes
  • Water
  • jojoba wax
  • Glycerol