Rumor has it that jojoba oil can solve all your beauty dilemmas. It can be used on the hair, body, and the face. Many people even believe it can cure acne. Is this true?
Before I answer that question, let me explain the theory that's circulating behind this claim. Many jojoba oil advocates believe that because jojoba oil is so similar to human sebum, it can actually trick the skin into producing less oil. When you produce less oil, you don’t break out as much… Therefore it can cure acne.
I have no clue where this notion got started, but there is no sensor in the skin that determines whether or not you have produced enough sebum. If there were, no one would have oily skin.
Oily skin is determined by genetics and hormones.
The only other reason we may produce more oil is irritation. The nerve endings in our skin can trigger excess oil production, but avoiding irritating products that agitate these nerve endings to begin with should make this a non-issue.
What if you have irritated your skin? In that case, jojoba oil may not be a terrible idea.
Many experts theorize that one of the underlying causes for acne—especially adult acne—is an impaired barrier function. When this critical component of healthy skin is damaged, bacteria can easily multiply and get out of control. It is also more prone to reactions from traditional moisturizers. Applying something like jojoba oil to the skin can soften dry, easily irritated skin without occluding it, which could trigger more breakouts.
If you are experiencing dry skin and sensitivity in addition to your acne, you may see results from the right source of jojoba oil. (Dr. Fulton’s study on comedogenicity found that not all sources of jojoba oil are non-comedogenic, so shop carefully.) Flaky skin can fall off and into pores, which makes clogging worse. By using something like jojoba oil to moisturize the skin, the flakiness becomes less of an issue.
Jojoba oil may also soften the existing clogs in dry skin with acne because it can penetrate the pore. Some have speculated that jojoba oil even has antibacterial properties, which would certainly help.
If you choose to use jojoba oil, use it sparingly, and be sure to purchase a high quality, cold-pressed variety.
The science simply is not there to support any claims that jojoba oil will help your acne though. It could even make it worse. Jojoba oil is not a stand-alone treatment for acne. It’s only a potential moisturizer that you could consider if you’re struggling with both acne and dryness. However, you might also want to check out the other non-comedogenic plant oils like safflower oil before deciding if jojoba oil is the best choice for you.
This post reflects the views of the author and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice.