Properties of Human Body Oil

Human skin secretes a natural oil, known as sebum, to protect and lubricate the skin and hair. According to a 2001 report from pharmacy researchers at Rutger’s University, “Human sebum is a mixture of triglycerides, fatty acids, wax esters, sqalene, cholesterol and cholesterol esters.”

Jojoba Oil is Probably Most Similar

Scientists sometimes turn to jojoba oil when they want to duplicate human sebum in the lab. A 2009 report in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science said researchers successfully used a synthetic sebum that was 25 percent jojoba oil. Since jojoba oil contains wax esters and fatty acids that are similar to human sebum, it’s a favorite ingredient in cosmetics and skin products.

Bottom Line

No oil exactly matches the natural oils in human skin. While jojoba is favored for its similarities to sebum, other oils have similar properties as well. For instance, the fatty acids in coconut oil and avocado oil are similar to those found on our skin.