Find out all about jojoba oil, including what it does, the benefits of using it and how much you might need
Written by Victoria Goldman on March 19, 2019
Reviewed by Dr Nicole Chiang on March 24, 2019
You may have seen it in your beauty products such as a moisturiser or face mask, but why is jojoba oil so good for our skin?
What is jojoba oil and what does it do?
Jojoba oil, which is actually more of a wax than a liquid, is extracted from the seeds of the jojoba bush or Simmondsia chinensis,1 native to desert regions of northern America.2
Traditionally, jojoba oil was used as a herbal remedy for indigestion and wound-healing.3 Nowadays, the oil is often used:4
- in cosmetics, for example sunscreens and moisturisers
- to relieve dry skin
- reduce acne symptoms
- in combination with medicines – a 2018 Taiwanese study reported that jojoba oil can help medicines be absorbed into the skin
Jojoba oil is available on its own or combined with other oils, or you might find it as an ingredient in a skincare product, such as in a cream, face mask or body scrub.
Benefits of jojoba oil
What does jojoba oil do in the body?
Researchers looking into the effects of jojoba oil on the skin have suggested that it may have the following effects:5
As a result, jojoba oil may help the following skin concerns:
It can repair the skin barrier – as jojoba oil is a liquid wax, it remains on the surface of the skin for longer than other natural oils. So as well as moisturising, it can help repair a damaged skin barrier, for example in eczema.6
It may ease the appearance of mild acne – as well as being anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, jojoba oil is – in general – non-comedogenic, which means it won’t block pores.7 A 2012 study by Germany’s Institute for Social Medicine found that using a clay jojoba oil facial mask two to three times a week for six weeks reduced the number of spots in mild acne.8 However, experts warn that results can vary among individuals, depending on the formulation of the oil and your specific skin type.
It can improve wound healing – a 2011 Italian laboratory study on human cells found that jojoba oil may help to stimulate wound repair, for example by speeding up collagen synthesis, although more research in needed in this area.9
How much jojoba oil is safe to use?
Jojoba oil should never be swallowed or taken internally, but when applied to the skin, jojoba oil is safe to use regularly.10 Always read the label for dosage instructions.
Talk to your doctor or dermatologist before using jojoba oil if you are pregnant; no studies have looked at using jojoba oil during pregnancy, but theoretically it should be safe. Children should avoid using it for the same reason.
What are the side-effects of using jojoba oil?
Side-effects are rare but can include a skin rash.11 Less often, you can experience a more severe allergic reaction to the oil, for example hives and swelling of the face. Seek emergency medical help if this happens to you.12
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.
1. Lori Smith. Medical News Today. Can jojoba oil treat acne?
2. University of San Diego. Summary of jojoba and its traditional use
3. As above
4. Lin T-K, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils
5. As above
6. As Source 4
7. As Source 1
8. Meier L, et al. Clay jojoba oil facial mask for lesioned skin and mild acne – results of a prospective, observational pilot study
9. Ranzato E, Martinotti S, Burlando B. Wound healing properties of jojoba liquid wax: an in vitro study
10. Everyday Health. What is jojoba topical?
11. As above
12. As Source 10