- Jojoba oil is an acne-fighting oil that is commonly found in skin care products.
- The makeup of jojoba oil is similar to the sebum our skin naturally produces, helping it to regulate oil production.
- Jojoba oil is noncomedogenic and fights bacteria and inflammation.
- Organic jojoba oil is generally considered safe and has a low incidence of side effects.
Jojoba oil is a natural, noncomedogenic oil that may be used to alleviate symptoms of mild acne. It’s found in a number of over-the-counter facial care products and has been scientifically shown to reduce acne symptoms in some people.
What Is Jojoba Oil?
Jojoba oil is an ingredient that’s commonly found in skin care products such as cleansers and creams. This oil contains minerals, vitamins and nourishing properties that smooth and moisturize skin.
In addition to moisturizing the skin, jojoba oil has been proven to minimize visible signs of aging and aid in wound healing. It has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.
All these beneficial properties lend themselves to fighting acne. Because of this, jojoba oil could be an excellent addition to your skin care routine.
Best type of jojoba oil for skin
When choosing jojoba oil for acne, 100% organic, unrefined jojoba is best. Organic products are produced without chemicals, herbicides or insecticides and are therefore healthier and safer for your skin.
Unrefined jojoba oil hasn’t been filtered or processed, and it contains no additive ingredients. In contrast, refined jojoba oil has been processed and may have also been bleached during processing.
In addition to organic, unrefined jojoba oil, you should also seek out a low oleic acid formula. Oleic acid is comedogenic–meaning it clogs pores. Comedogenic ingredients can worsen acne and cause breakout, particularly if your skin is sensitive.
Does Jojoba Oil Help Clear Up Acne?
Jojoba oil has been proven to successfully treat and clear acne breakouts. It can be used by itself or as an ingredient in skin care products formulated for acne.
One study showed that face masks made with jojoba oil helped to heal mild acne and lesions on the skin. The individuals who participated in the study used a jojoba oil mask two to three times weekly and experienced an improvement in their acne symptoms. Additional evidence supports jojoba oil as an effective treatment for acne.
Jojoba oil helps the skin to self-regulate, in part because its formulation is similar to the sebum naturally produced by human skin. Rather than being an oil, jojoba oil is considered a wax ester. Its texture and makeup are very similar to sebum, so applying jojoba oil to your skin helps moisturize your skin, while also signaling that your skin does not need additional sebum.
Can jojoba oil remove acne scars?
Jojoba oil is high in vitamin E, which can help to soften and heal the skin to help prevent scarring. While it can soften existing scar tissue, it’s probably best used as a preventative for future scarring.
There is little evidence to support vitamin E’s role in scar healing or the minimization of existing scars. If you have acne scars, minimally invasive procedures such as laser skin resurfacing might be a more effective choice.
How to Use Jojoba Oil for Facial Acne
There are many ways to incorporate jojoba oil for acne into your regular skin care routine. It may be used on its own or as part of a skin care formulation.
Jojoba oil makeup remover
Jojoba oil may be used as a makeup remover. You can apply a bit to a makeup sponge, then swipe over your face to remove makeup. Sleeping in makeup can clog pores and make your acne worse, so it’s crucial to take your makeup off every night.
Jojoba oil facial cleanser
Jojoba oil is also a gentle, effective facial cleanser. To wash your face with jojoba oil, massage a tiny amount of the oil into your skin, starting from the center and working your way out and around. Rinse the oil off with a soft washcloth and lukewarm water, pat dry, then continue your skin care routine.
Jojoba oil face mask
Jojoba oil can be incorporated into a do-it-yourself face mask at home. Use two to three times per week for best results.
- In a small bowl, mix jojoba oil and bentonite clay 1:1
- Stir until smooth
- Carefully apply to face
- Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes
- Gently rinse off with warm water
- Continue your regular skin care routine
In a face mask, jojoba oil helps to moisturize and regulate the skin’s oil production. Bentonite clay helps to gently exfoliate the skin and tighten pores.
Jojoba oil moisturizer
Jojoba oil may be combined with aloe vera gel to make a nourishing skin moisturizer. Combine equal parts aloe vera and jojoba oil in an empty cosmetic bottle (tube or pump) and use as needed.
Combined with other products
Jojoba oil is commonly found in over-the-counter skin care product formulations. Most often, it is a featured ingredient in moisturizers and cleansers. In one study, jojoba oil and glycerol were found to be an effective combination for moisturizing skin.
Other Benefits of Jojoba Oil
In addition to treating mild acne, jojoba oil has a host of other health benefits. Beyond treating acne, jojoba oil can help to:
- Alleviate symptoms of psoriasis
- Ease inflammation
- Fight infection
- Heal minor, superficial injuries
- Lighten skin and address hyperpigmentation
- Moisturize, condition and protect hair
- Protect skin against razor burn
- Reduce minor signs of aging (some wrinkles, fine lines)
Jojoba oil is rich in zinc, copper and silicon, in addition to its high vitamin E content.
Potential Risks of Using Jojoba Oil
In general, jojoba is considered a safe oil to use on the skin. Like any topical ingredient or product, jojoba oil should be patch tested on a small area of skin before use. Stop use immediately if you experience irritation, a rash or signs of an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions to jojoba oil are uncommon but do sometimes occur.
Jojoba oil isn’t safe to ingest.
Can jojoba oil irritate the skin?
Some individuals have reported skin irritation after long-term use. Be sure to combine jojoba oil with other ingredients when applying to the skin as a leave-on moisturizer. If you’re using pure jojoba oil to cleanse your face, be sure to rinse well before moving on to the next steps in your skin care routine.
Can jojoba oil cause breakouts?
Jojoba oil is noncomedogenic and won’t clog pores. It’s unlikely to cause breakouts. If you have sensitive skin, use it with caution.
Alternative Oils for Treating Acne
Jojoba oil isn’t for everyone, but there are other natural oils available for fighting acne. Some alternatives to jojoba oil are essential oils that include:
- Clary sage, an antimicrobial oil that may be used for minor skin injuries and infections
- Juniper berry, an antimicrobial, antibacterial oil
- Lavender, a soothing oil known for its relaxing properties as well as its ability to heal minor skin irritations and kill microbes
- Tea tree oil, an oil often used for mild to moderate acne that works as an antiseptic
Essential oils should always be diluted 1:1 in a carrier oil such as grapeseed oil before they’re applied to skin. They should never be applied undiluted.
Jojoba oil may help fight mild acne in some people and is not likely to cause severe side effects. Because of its noncomedogenic makeup and its similarity to sebum, it is possible that using jojoba oil could help regulate oil production in addition to treating and preventing breakouts.
Jojoba oil may be used to make at-home acne treatments, or it may be included in commercially-available, over-the-counter skin care products. It may be used or found in products such as makeup removers, facial cleansers, face masks and moisturizers.
It’s possible to experience an adverse reaction to jojoba oil, although it isn’t likely. If you do experience irritation or signs of a reaction, discontinue use and contact your doctor.
If jojoba oil isn’t right for you, alternative oils include clary sage, juniper berry, lavender and tea tree oil–all of which must be diluted and patch-tested before use.
- Filipowicz, N., Kamiński, M., Kurlenda, J., Asztemborska, M., & Ochocka, J. R. (2003). Antibacterial and antifungal activity of juniper berry oil and its selected components. Phytotherapy Research, 17(3), 227-231. doi:10.1002/ptr.1110
- Gavini, E., Sanna, V., Sharma, R., Juliano, C., Usai, M., Marchetti, M., … & Giunchedi, P. (2005). Solid lipid microparticles (SLM) containing juniper oil as anti-acne topical carriers: preliminary studies. Pharmaceutical development and technology, 10(4), 479-487. doi:10.1080/10837450500299727
- Meier, L., Stange, R., Michalsen, A., Uehleke, B. (2012). Clay Jojoba Oil Facial Mask for Lesioned Skin and Mild Acne – Results of a Prospective, Observational Pilot Study. Forschende Komplementärmedizin (2006). 19. 75-9. doi:10.1159/000338076
- Meyer, J., Marshall, B., Gacula Jr, M., & Rheins, L. (2008). Evaluation of additive effects of hydrolyzed jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) esters and glycerol: a preliminary study. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 7(4), 268-274. doi:10.1111/j.1473-2165.2008.00405.x
- Patel S. D, Shah S, Shah N. A Review on Herbal Drugs Acting Against Acne Vulgaris. J Pharm Sci Bioscientific Res. 2015 5(2):165-171 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d4cf/35bc5eff56e2bbb7791cb3a89db885e1b51a.pdf
- Pazyar N, Yaghoobi R, Ghassemi MR, et al. Jojoba in dermatology: a succinct review. Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia : Organo Ufficiale, Societa Italiana di Dermatologia e Sifilografia. 2013 Dec;148(6):687-691. https://www.sidemast.org/download/sidemast_20140401124048.pdf
- Tanaydin, V., Conings, J., Malyar, M., van der Hulst, R., & van der Lei, B. (2016). The role of topical vitamin E in scar management: A systematic review. Aesthetic surgery journal, 36(8), 959-965. doi:10.1093/asj/sjw046