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Jojoba oil for your skin: Potential benefits and side effects

Your skin will love this non-comedogenic oil, and your hair might too!

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 7, 2023 • 6 min read
Medically reviewed by Donna McIntyre, NP-BC
woman applying serum on her skin
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 7, 2023 • 6 min read
Medically reviewed by Donna McIntyre, NP-BC
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Jojoba oil is becoming increasingly popular in the self-care world, and for a good reason—it’s nourishing and moisturizing, and it may have beneficial antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Using jojoba oil for your skin may help fight conditions such as dryness, acne,¹ eczema, and psoriasis. Better yet, research shows it’s also great for your hair!² You can use it alone or combined with other oils.

Here we’ll explain why jojoba oil has earned a place on our must-try list of skincare ingredients.

What is jojoba oil?

Jojoba oil is derived from the jojoba plant’s seeds. Jojoba is a long-lasting, drought-resistant perennial³ that grows in North America, thriving in harsh desert climates. The oil it creates has many potential benefits for skin and hair. Jojoba seed oil is typically extracted by cold pressing. 

Potential benefits of jojoba oil 

High in vitamin E, jojoba oil is moisturizing, lightweight, and all-around pretty incredible. It has many potential benefits that our dermatology providers just can’t get enough of. Here are some positive effects jojoba oil may have on your skin:

  • It’s anti-inflammatory: Jojoba oil may have soothing anti-inflammatory properties.⁴ This is particularly helpful for conditions characterized by dry, itchy, flaky skin, such as eczema and psoriasis. 

  • It’s hydrating: Jojoba oil may offer helpful skin moisturization.⁵

  • It’s non-comedogenic: Jojoba oil is similar to the skin’s natural sebum and is unlikely to clog your pores. 

  • It’s antimicrobial: Jojoba oil is so potent that it can inhibit the growth of some (but not all) bacteria and fungi, including candida and salmonella.

  • It’s an antioxidant: Jojoba oil may have beneficial antioxidant properties.

  • It may help fight breakouts: Research suggests jojoba seed oil can moisturize your skin, inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, and fight inflammation, all of which may help prevent new acne from forming.

How to use jojoba oil 

Many people apply jojoba oil daily as part of their skincare routine, but when you apply it depends on which form of oil you’re using. If you’re using a lighter, thinner serum formula, we recommend applying it before heavier products such as your Curology personalized prescription formula. If you have a richer moisturizer containing jojoba oil, you can use it after lighter products.

Using straight jojoba oil? Apply it as your last step, like an oil serum (you don’t need to dilute it in carrier oil). 

There are several ways to use jojoba oil in your skincare routine: 

  • Use it to reduce the appearance of signs of aging:⁶ Applying jojoba oil directly to your face as the last step in your skincare routine may boost your skin’s hydration and help temporarily reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. If you have dry skin, it may prove to be an effective moisturizer.⁷

  • Incorporate it into your favorite skincare products: Add a few drops of jojoba oil to your favorite skincare products (like foundation or tinted moisturizer) to give them an extra-glowy boost.

  • Remove makeup with it: What can’t it do? Jojoba oil is a good option for a  non-greasy makeup remover. All you have to do is massage a few drops of the oil onto your face and gently wipe it away with a damp cloth. 

  • Use it to fight acne: After cleansing but before creams, use a reusable cloth or cotton round to wipe a few drops of jojoba oil over your face. This oil’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce breakouts.

  • Use it to moisturize dry lips: Jojoba seed oil makes great lip balm, too. Apply it directly to your lips, or grab Curology’s lip balm, which contains a nourishing blend of jojoba seed oil, shea butter, and other moisturizing ingredients.

bowl of jojoba oil

Jojoba oil for your hair 

Jojoba oil is an excellent addition to your hair care lineup. It’s packed with vitamins your hair will love, and it can be deeply hydrating for strands that need a little extra help. Here’s how you can incorporate it into your daily hair care routine: 

  • Use it to moisturize: Add small amounts of jojoba oil directly to dry hair for hydration, softness, and shine. 

  • Apply a deep conditioning mask: Coat your hair in jojoba oil from the roots to the ends, and leave it on for a few hours—or overnight! Don’t forget to protect your bedding if you sleep in it, and rinse it out. 

  • Add it to your hair products: For an extra special treat, add a few drops of jojoba oil to your in-shower or leave-in conditioner.

  • Treat your scalp directly: If your scalp feels dry, a few drops of jojoba oil may help soothe it.

  • Use it to reduce frizz: Use jojoba oil sparingly on dry hair to reduce frizz and flyaways while adding shine. 

Does jojoba oil clog your pores?

Not all oils clog pores. The idea that face oils make you break out is, in fact, a skincare myth. Everyone’s skin is unique, and not all oils are appropriate for all skin types. Luckily, jojoba oil is non-comedogenic, meaning it’s unlikely to clog your pores. This is because it’s strikingly similar to your skin’s natural oil, sebum. 

Potential jojoba oil side effects

If you’re considering adding jojoba oil to your skin or hair care routine, you’re in luck: It’s generally well-tolerated with a low risk of irritation. In rare cases, it may cause a rash or reaction, which may indicate an allergy. If you want to be extra cautious, you can test any new product on a small patch of skin before applying it over your entire face.

Curology: Care you can trust

The Lip Balm by Curology - Original Vanilla Mint Passionfruit and SPF 30

Curology was founded in 2014 by board-certified dermatologists. We’re a full-service skincare company that offers products made with proven effective ingredients (including jojoba oil!). Our dermatologist-designed vegan lip balm locks in moisture and effortlessly nourishes dry, sensitive lips with ingredients including jojoba oil and shea butter. We also use prescription-strength ingredients, like tretinoin and clindamycin to treat acne, fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and rosacea.

Our experts can help take the guesswork out of your skincare routine by providing a custom treatment plan and personalized prescription formula to help you meet your skin goals. We’ll determine the products you need to help you tackle your skin concerns. 

Signing up is easy. Just answer a few questions and snap some selfies so we can get to know your skin better. If Curology is right for you, we’ll pair you with one of our in-house licensed dermatology providers, who will be with you every step along your skincare journey.

FAQs

Does jojoba oil remove dark spots?

If you want to reduce hyperpigmentation, such as dark spots and sun spots, jojoba oil probably isn’t your best option. Research shows that this oil has a wide range of pharmacological applications, including antioxidant, anti-acne, anti-psoriasis, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, analgesic, and antimicrobial applications. There is no strong evidence, however, that jojoba oil lightens dark spots.

Who should not use jojoba oil?

Jojoba oil is similar to your skin’s sebum and is generally considered appropriate for oily skin, sensitive skin, or any other skin type. Because it’s unlikely to cause adverse reactions, most people should be able to use jojoba oil with no problems. If you do experience adverse side effects or an allergic reaction, discontinue use and speak with your local medical provider.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Meier, L., et al. Clay jojoba oil facial mask for lesioned skin and mild acne--results of a prospective, observational pilot study. Forsch Komplementmed. (2012).

  2. Gad, HA., et al. Jojoba Oil: An Updated Comprehensive Review on Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Uses, and Toxicity. Polymers (Basel). (2021).

  3. Lin, T.K., et al. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. (2017).

  4. Pazyar, N., et al. Jojoba in dermatology: a succinct review. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. (2013).

  5. Gad, HA., et al. Jojoba Oil: An Updated Comprehensive Review on Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Uses, and Toxicity. Polymers (Basel). Ibid.

  6. Blaak, J., Staib, P., An updated review on efficacy and benefits of sweet almond, evening primrose and jojoba oils in skin care applications. Int J Cosmet Sci. (2022).

  7. Vaughn, A., et al. Multi-Center Randomized Clinical Study of The Effects of Natural Oils on Xerosis and Skin Barrier Properties.Journal of Cutaneous Medicine. (2018).

Donna McIntyre is a board-certified nurse practitioner at Curology. She obtained her Master of Science in Nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA.

* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary. 

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Donna McIntyre, NP-BC

Donna McIntyre, NP-BC

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