Today, we will talk about the benefits of jojoba oil for skin and jojoba oil for acne. But what even is jojoba?
Your curiosity is justified. Until recently, modern science, medicine, dermatology and - by extension - the cosmetics industry were firmly rooted in their skepticism towards natural, alternative, or traditional treatments. However, as time passed, it became clear that some of these ingredients were used for a reason - and finally, scientific curiosity prevailed. Slowly but surely research mounted, and it opened the doors for a variety of treatments, organic skin care products and home remedies that harnessed the power of plants to improve our skin.
One of these plants is the jojoba plant, whose benefits for the skin are best represented by its amazing oil. Looking at it, jojoba can easily be confused with green olives, and the trees of the two even look alike. However, that’s where the similarities end. The jojoba plant is technically a shrub, and it’s endemic to areas of North America. Jojoba’s (pronounced ho-HO-bah) botanical designation is Simmondsia chinensis, but it has a number of conventional names too. Among the locals, jojoba is often referred to as coffeeberry, goat nut, deer nut, pig nut, quinine nut, wild hazel, gray box bush and so on.
The names should tell you something - it’s a tough, resistant plant, thriving in the dry, scorching heats that would kill most living things. The harsh condition and the plant’s tenacity result in the precious jojoba nut, brimming with skin-restoring ingredients. The jojoba nut is used to make the famous jojoba oil, which offers powerful benefits for achieving a healthy skin and helps heal acne.
Jojoba oil has a long history of medicinal use. In the past, Native Americans used to crush the jojoba seeds and extract the oil. The jojoba oil was then used to treat wounds, sores, and for other skin related purposes. However, it wasn’t until the early 1970s that the jojoba plant was domesticated and first planted industrially. Before that, the jojoba nuts were picked from natural occurrences of the plant in the wild.
Despite that, the U.S. had reserves of jojoba oil at the ready, which it used in its war efforts during World War II. Umm, what? You heard that right. Jojoba oil was added to a variety of motor oils, and even used to lubricate weapons such as machine guns.
Now, why would a plant oil be used to lubricate machines, you might ask. Wouldn’t it dry up or get sticky? Something seems off, right? You’re not wrong. The answer to that question is that jojoba oil isn’t actually like most plant oils. Jojoba oil is a wax ester - a specific type of oil that, as the name tells you, is closer to wax than to oil.
One main difference between waxes and oils is that while most plant oils are digestible, wax esters are not. So, if you ever think of consuming jojoba oil, it will just pass through your intestines untouched. But better not do that!
You don’t need to consume jojoba oil in order to harness its benefits for your skin. Jojoba oil is used topically for the benefits it has on the skin, by applying the oil over the desired area. You can use jojoba oil for dry skin, to treat acne, or to merely soften your skin. Additionally, since jojoba oil is wax-based, it’s perfect as a carrier oil that you can mix with other natural and essential oils.
This means that you can get pretty creative with jojoba oil, and use it in a variety of natural home remedies for the skin or for treating acne. Here is a list of some of the most distinguishing benefits of jojoba oil for skin.
In the science of moisturizers, there is a class of important substances. These substances are called humectants, which, translated from scientific jargon, means a ‘substance that keeps things moist.’ Well, guess what? Jojoba oil is a humectant. And not only that, it is one of the most widely used humectants in a great variety of skin care and anti acne products. As a humectant, jojoba oil acts as a sort of seal over your skin thanks to its waxy molecules. This prevents your water molecules from evaporating, thereby keeping your skin hydrated. But this is not the only benefit of jojoba oil for your skin, because...
But I can almost hear you there, thinking to yourself, “So an oil… Moisturizes? How special. Not!” And - I totally get you. But jojoba oil is special not only because it moisturizes, but because it combines many beneficial skin care properties in one substance. One of the most powerful, and precious qualities of jojoba oil are its antifungal and antimicrobial powers.
While lab tests show that jojoba spares many fungi and bacteria, it nevertheless kills others. And it’s the ones that it kills that make it such a powerful ally in getting healthy skin. Jojoba oil kills E. coli, and a number of other bacteria that cause candida, salmonella, and other nasty diseases. All of this makes jojoba oil suitable for acne too. If you’re down with an acne inflammation, and it looks infected, it won’t hurt to apply some jojoba oil on the affected area. Correction: it will hurt, but only the bacteria.
Antioxidants are nature’s answer to the harmful, cell-damaging free radicals. Antioxidants protect your cells - including your skin cells - from harmful damage, by hunting down and eliminating free radicals from the environment.
One of the best antioxidants for the skin, specifically, is Vitamin E and its many analogs. Besides cleaning your skin from free radicals, Vitamin E also acts as a powerful natural sunscreen, shielding your sensitive skin from the harsh UV rays of the sun. Additionally, Vitamin E helps the skin in repairing itself. And I could go on, but I’ll only say this - jojoba oil is chock full of Vitamin E. Want to protect yourself from UV radiation, oxidative stress, and the random pollutants we encounter every day? Then jojoba oil is your answer.
But what about jojoba oil for acne? What makes it so special? Well, as I said above, jojoba oil is great because it combines tons of beneficial skin care properties in one neat, natural package. Now get this - among other things, jojoba oil is also elegantly non-comedogenic. Meaning that, while most other plant oils become sticky and clog your pores, jojoba oil won’t.
The weird (or amazing) thing is that while jojoba oil is a plant-based, botanical substance, its composition is actually very similar to the skin oil (sebum) we excrete ourselves. That’s the mildly yellow gunk that you squeeze out of your pores, by the way. And since jojoba oil is close to our natural skin oil in its composition, it’s a lot less likely to clog up our pores. Clogged pores, by the way, lead to blackheads and whiteheads, which in turn, lead to acne.
All of these wonderful properties of jojoba oil make it the perfect ingredient to include in your skin care routine. However, if you want a more thorough solution for cleaning your pores, you can always try a high quality pore cleanser based on natural ingredients.
Did I mention that jojoba oil isn’t the most… Normal of oils? Yes, I did. It’s more of a wax, and wax isn’t digestible. But that’s not all - wax isn’t even absorbed by your skin. So, whenever you apply jojoba oil over your skin, guess what? None of it actually enters your system. It protects your skin gently, forming a smooth, shiny shield above it.
This means that jojoba oil is a hypoallergenic substance. In the vast majority of cases, it won’t irritate anyone’s skin, and it won’t cause you any side effects or allergic reactions. And while allergic reactions to jojoba oil do happen, they’re very rare. All of this makes jojoba oil one of the safest natural skin care ingredients, especially when compared to the rest of the plant oils.
Jojoba oil, as we mentioned above, is very similar in composition to the normal, human skin oil, called sebum. This similarity works in peculiar ways. For example, when you apply jojoba oil on your skin, it moisturizes it in such a way that’s very close to our own, human moisturizing process.
This tricks the human body - jojoba oil is so similar to sebum, that the body believes that your skin has been naturally moisturized. After a while, it sends a ‘Stop’ signal to the sebaceous glands in the pores and hair follicles. So, in a way, jojoba oil is a natural skin care hack into your own, natural skin care system. Needless to say that this prevents the excess production of skin oil, which reduces the chance of clogging your pores and producing acne.
Did I mention antioxidants? Yes I did. Well, those same antioxidants that jojoba oil has aren’t just good at ridding your body of harmful free radicals. The antioxidants in jojoba oil also work in other ways - for example, they increase your collagen production. You probably know this, but collagen is a key protein that acts as the building block in many tissues in the human body. And while collagen also plays a crucial role in the construction of the cartilage of your joints, it is also the ‘glue’ that holds your skin together. As we age, our collagen levels naturally stall, and introducing jojoba oil in your skin care routine can help fix that. This is just another reason why people recommend using jojoba oil for skin.
Earlier in this article, I shared the fact that the first uses of jojoba oil were by the Native Americans. Various tribes who lived in the area between the U.S.A. and Mexico (where the jojoba shrub generally grows) had discovered the medicinal properties of the jojoba fairly early.
Besides eating the jojoba nuts, they eventually discovered that by smashing them, they could create balms that would close up cuts and wounds in the skin. This means that jojoba oil is also very useful in treating acne scars, helping the wounds close up better and heal faster. That’s why so many people recommend jojoba oil for acne.
Which makes it not only useful in your skin care routine, but in the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of skin conditions as well. There are many reports by people with psoriasis, eczema and a number of other skin conditions, who have put jojoba oil to good use. The anti-inflammatory nature of the plant helps soothe the skin, and reduce the itching, flaking, redness and the pain. Last but not least, since jojoba oil is a wax ester rich in Vitamin E, it is also particularly well-suited for people with dry skin.
Damn. The beneficial properties of jojoba oil just don’t end, do they? We’ve already mentioned like a dozen or so properties of jojoba that make it beneficial for skin, but there’s more. Jojoba oil is also a popular natural booster for sunscreens. Its molecular structure, made up of mainly wax esters and Vitamin E, provides a slightly reflective shield that can reflect some of that harmful UV radiation. Remember - jojoba oil doesn’t get absorbed or digested, and it can never replace an actual sunscreen. Instead, it functions as an invisible cover over your skin. This helps your skin retain its moisture, protect your skin from dust and dirt, and reflect a small amount of sunlight away from your skin.
Most of the aforementioned benefits of jojoba oil for skin, translate to reasons to use jojoba oil for acne. The richness of its Vitamin E content, the moisturizing properties, the anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties… They all combine into one, making jojoba oil one of the most well-rounded natural anti-acne solutions.
Jojoba oil is also non-comedogenic - which means that it directly prevents the formation of acne. Additionally, it regulates the production of skin oil (sebum), and can enhance collagen production. Jojoba oil helps wounds heal faster, reducing the likelihood of acne scars. All of these wonderful benefits for the skin make jojoba oil one of the most powerful natural allies in preventing acne inflammation.
Well, that about rounds up most of the properties of jojoba oil when it comes to skin care. I’m sure there are many others we haven’t mentioned here, but let’s shift gears and talk about the practicalities.
So let’s say you’ve read this article, or read many others, or didn’t read anything on jojoba oil… Or maybe you just skipped most of it and scrolled down - it doesn’t matter. You have some jojoba oil at hand, ready to use. What should you do then?
First, even though jojoba oil is natural, indigestible and therefore hypoallergenic, it still doesn’t hurt to perform a patch test. A patch test is when you take a small amount of the skin care remedy, or product, that you intend to use, and apply it to a small patch of skin. This is intended to see how your body reacts to the substance, as well as limit the adverse effects that your skin might go through once it comes into contact with the ingredient. Performing a patch test will help you learn if you’re allergic to the substance, and it’s always good to perform one before trying out new products or skin care formulas.
Jojoba oil doesn’t need any diluting, and can be used as is. Here’s one practical way to perform a patch test for jojoba oil:
Apply 2-4 drops of jojoba oil on your inner forearm. You can spread it around a bit, but don’t wipe it off. Then, leave the jojoba oil on the skin for at least 24 hours. In order to make sure that it doesn’t become wiped away or removed, you can cover the area with a clean piece of cloth, or a bandage.
You can remove the bandage or check the area the next day (or, roughly after 24 hours have passed). If you didn’t feel any itching, pinching, or pain, it should be fine. But a visual check is important as well. Does the patch of skin where you applied jojoba oil show redness, hives, or any other type of change or irritation? If yes, you should stop using jojoba oil immediately and talk to your doctor or dermatologist. If there are no signs of allergy or irritation, you can use jojoba oil freely.
Jojoba oil can be used in almost any imaginable way. So, the way you use it will depend on the problem, or area, that you seek to treat or improve. For example, if you’re suffering from dry, chapped lips, you can use jojoba oil as a natural lip balm solution. Or, if your hands feel dry, or you’re experiencing dry skin on your face, you can use jojoba oil as a natural moisturizer.
If, on the other hand, your problems are related to the natural process of aging, such as blemishes or wrinkles, no worries. Just take some jojoba oil and apply it over your face before going to bed, using it as a natural alternative to an anti-aging mask. Jojoba oil can also be used alone, or mixed with other acne-fighting ingredients, as a DIY anti-acne mask. Being natural and harmless, jojoba oil is also safe to use around your eyes - it won’t cause any sensation of burning or irritation.
All right, all right, it’s less of a guide, but more of a tip. It’s not that complicated, really. When it comes to shopping for jojoba oil, always go for the product that contains organic, cold-pressed jojoba oil. Why? Because cold-pressed jojoba oil goes through the least amount of processing, and thereby retains most of its antioxidants, and other natural healing properties. Understandably, the hot-pressed jojoba oil is similar, but the process eliminates a significant part of its natural ingredients.
Jojoba oil is one of the best natural solutions for skin care and the prevention of acne. It is a completely natural wax ester, making it hypoallergenic and harmless. Its structure also makes jojoba oil very versatile when it comes to application - it can be used as a moisturizer, a spot treatment, a cleanser, or even as a face mask.
It can be anything you wish it to be. It can be used as a lip balm, to a solution for treating wrinkles and preventing acne, all the way to healing scars and serious skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
All of this, and more, makes jojoba oil the closest thing humanity has to a one-size-fits-all solution to skin care and acne. As always, if you are experiencing any irritation or allergic reactions, you should stop using it and consult with your doctor and dermatologist.
This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances, and its goal is to offer a general view of the subject. In case you are suffering from a severe case of acne, you should consult with a dermatologist or a certified medical professional.