Social media and beauty blogs are filled with stories of supposed super ingredients that did what countless elaborate treatments before them could not. One that often crops up in testimonials by people with acne=prone skin is jojoba oil, a scent-free oil that acts as an emollient, helping to moisturize skin.
But is it as useful for tamping down breakouts as it’s been made to seem it is? In a word: Yes. But there’s more you need to know before incorporating it into your skincare routine.
What is jojoba oil, exactly?
First off, jojoba oil isn’t an oil at all. It’s a liquid wax. Jojoba oil is 98% pure waxes – mainly alcohol, fatty acids, and hydrocarbons – which is how it can moisturize skin without clogging pores.
More specifically, jojoba oil acts as both a humectant, drawing moisture into the skin, and an emollient, softening and smoothing the skin.
How does it help acne-prone skin?
Jojoba oil’s composition is not all that different from natural human sebum, which enables it to normalize the skin’s own oil production in cases of mild to moderate acne. It also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which can also help with acne by calming inflammation and reducing breakouts.
Is jojoba oil safe for everyone?
Jojoba oil is noncomedogenic, so it’s generally well-tolerated by all skin types. That said, if you have sensitive skin, it’s always a good idea to introduce a new ingredient or product to your skincare regimen very gradually.
If acne is a persistent problem for you, see a board-certified dermatologist first. They’ll be able to assess the totality of your needs and develop a comprehensive strategy to treat your acne. You’re more likely to see results this way than by adding random products to your routine.
Jojoba oil is not likely to be helpful if you’re allergic to it, have very oily skin, or have moderate to severe acne. Deeper nodulocystic acne is notoriously resistant to topical oils alone. Instead, you may be a candidate for a prescription topical cream or oral medication.
How should I use it?
There’s no shortage of skincare and beauty products that feature jojoba oil – cleansers, moisturizers, serums. To get the most benefit, use unrefined, cold-pressed pure jojoba oil. It can be applied directly to the hair, skin, and nails without being diluted.
If you plan on using it as a moisturizer or as part of an anti-acne regimen, aim to apply it once or twice a day.