Jojoba oil, extracted from the seeds of the jojoba shrub, is a common ingredient in acne treatments. But is it effective, and are there any risks?

Many people who struggle with acne vulgaris are interested in trying natural, over-the-counter products to reduce the severity of acne, or to remove acne scars. Research is still ongoing into the effects of jojoba oil for this condition.

This article takes a deep look at the uses, risks, and benefits of using jojoba oil on acne-prone skin, and whether jojoba oil can reduce acne scars.

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Jojoba oil is derived from the jojoba shrub and can be used to treat acne, eczema, and dermatitis.

Jojoba oil is extracted from the seed of the Simmondsia chinenis shrub, or jojoba shrub. Despite its name, jojoba oil is a waxy substance. It may appear clear or yellow, and can have a slightly nutty smell.

The consistency of jojoba oil is thought to mimic the natural oils in human skin, called sebum. Sebum plays a key role in supporting overall skin health by maintaining moisture and protecting the skin from infection.

According to a 2018 review, jojoba oil may help the skin to absorb other substances better when used alongside them, including medications. This may make jojoba oil a useful addition to many cosmetics and moisturizers.

This research also suggests that jojoba is an anti-inflammatory, and that the waxy texture of jojoba oil may improve the symptoms of a range of disorders, including:

Jojoba oil may also have anti-inflammatory properties, according to a 2013 review.

Jojoba oil has been proven effective in treating acne and skin lesions, and may also play a role in wound healing.

A study from 2012 tested the effects of clay face masks containing jojoba oil in 133 people with mild acne. After 6 weeks of treatment, they reported a 54 percent decrease in acne lesions, including papules, cysts, and comedones.

Another lab-based study on cells found that jojoba oil wax may be effective at treating wounds. As such, it may also help with the symptoms of open wounds left by acne.

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A person can gently apply jojoba oil to the face with their fingers or a soft cotton pad.

Jojoba oil is suggested to benefit the skin without clogging the pores. It is used in a range of commercial products that have the following uses:

  • skin moisturizer
  • makeup remover
  • lip balm
  • hair conditioner
  • massage oil

A person can try using jojoba oil as a skin cleanser by placing a small amount onto the fingertips or a soft cotton pad and rubbing gently on their face.

Otherwise, it can be mixed with another oil, gel, cream, or a clay face mask before being applied to the skin.

A person can purchase jojoba oil from health shops or online stores.

While acne can be caused by a variety of factors, jojoba oil itself is non-comedogenic, which means that it should not clog the pores.

The effects of any oil may vary, however, depending on an individual's skin type. A person should do a patch test on a small section of skin to test its effects before using it on acne lesions. If the skin reacts to the oil, the person should not use it.

More research is required into the benefits and possible risks of jojoba oil.

As with other oils and products used for medication, jojoba oil may be toxic if swallowed. Always keep oils and other medications out of the reach of children.

If a person is pregnant or nursing, they should consult their doctor before using any new oils.

People should be aware that oils are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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Aloe vera may also help to treat acne, as it has natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

While there are many oils on the market that can be used on acne-prone skin, their effects may vary. It is important to speak with a skin specialist to determine the best and most appropriate choice.

Other oils that may help to fight acne include:

  • Tea tee essential oil. A small-scale 2016 study showed that tea tree oil, which is a natural antiseptic, successfully reduced mild to moderate acne lesions when used as a face wash. Tea tree essential oil should be diluted in a carrier oil before use.
  • Aloe vera gel. According to a 2015 review, Aloe vera has natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. A 2014 study suggests that combining Aloe vera and a drug called tretinoin could be beneficial for treating acne.

It is important to speak with a qualified skin specialist to determine how and when to use any oils on the skin as some may require dilution and other preparation before use.

Finding an oil to treat acne-prone skin and skin lesions can be challenging. It may require experimentation until the right topical oil is found. Jojoba oil has been proven to have positive effects on acne and acne-prone skin.

Results may vary from person to person. Other natural products such as tea tree oil and aloe vera gel are also available if jojoba oil is not effective.

A person may benefit from consulting a skin care professional with experience in natural oil use.