Jojoba Oil Review - The Acne Experiment

Jojoba Oil Review - The Acne Experiment

I wish you Happy Holidays, a Festive Festivus, and a Drunken New Year. My gift to you for these final days of 2014 is a review on oil. Merry Greasemas.

Oil is a really scary thing for someone like me who's already shiny faced and prone to stubborn "reactionary" acne (my skin is not shy about letting me know when it doesn't like something: silicone, alcohol, New York, whatever). I was taught from a young age that oil on oily/acne prone skin is a major no-no. What I've learned more recently is that so long as you're smart about it, and choose the right oil/method, it might not be such a she-devil.

Research I must. It is my duty.

First, I figured out that certain oils are better for oily skin because they're "drier." Oils in this category include grapeseed oil* and tea tree oil. Certain oils are super pore cloggy and should generally be avoided if you have acne. Oils in this category include coconut oil and wheat germ oil. Certain oils are considered non-comedogenic and are the most likely to not mess up acne-prone skin (this not a guarantee, of course). Oils in this category include hemp oil. Finally, certain oils aren't oils at all. "Oils" in this category include shea butter and jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is actually a wax, which is not oil apparently; more interestingly, jojoba is the "oil" that most closely matches the oil our skin produces.

So jojoba, an already low-comedogenic oil, seemed like the best choice for my very first oil experiment. I almost chose hemp oil because it's less comedogenic than jojoba, but it needs to be refrigerated. F that.

  • Jojoba Oil (Trader Joe's)
  • Aztec Healing Clay
  • Raw, Unfiltered, Organic Apple Cider (TJoes)


Because oil is so terribly scary, I decided to test it out on my forehead only for a week before putting it all over my face. Each night, I applied a basic Aztec Healing Clay Mask, removed it, then applied a few drops of jojoba on my forehead only.

Next, I researched oil cleansing. A lot of people tout oil cleansing as a fantastic alternative to traditional cleansers. The idea is that "like dissolves like" so the oil you cleanse with will loosen up the sebum in your pores and leave you clean, refreshed, and with less acne. I found a good tutorial that involves applying the oil, rubbing it on for 10 minutes, then wiping it off with a damp washcloth. Ok, sounds simple enough. I tried it on the first day, then fell a little farther down the rabbit oil and discovered "like dissolves like" is a load of crap.

I slipped even further into the oil hole and discovered that oil cleansing is an actual horror show (these are real review excerpts from Makeup Alley):

Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) Reviews :: The Acne Experiment

(cries softly)

The man takes two steps back and bursts into flames, revealing himself to be a Balrog. "Welcome to the pits of hell, my friends. Here is a face-load of impenetrable zits."

Yeah. No oil cleansing for me. I decided to just use the jojoba as a moisturizer post Clay Mask application. About 3-4 drops was more than enough. On some days I applied and left it on, on other days, I applied, left it on for a few minutes then rinsed it off with a washcloth and water. I didn't use cleanser at all while testing the jojoba oil.


Before I get to my results, I want to comment briefly on oil cleansing (which I didn't fully test, mind you). My thoughts are as follows:

  1. I don't think oil cleansing is bad for everyone, but if you have oily skin or are acne prone it may not be worth the risk.
  2. If you do try it, for the love of all that is good and holy, use non-comedogenic or super low comedogenic oils. It seems a lot of the people having problems used coconut oil, olive oil, and/or castor oil. I know castor oil is supposed to be fantastic for ocm, but you might want to spot test it before rubbing it all over your face so vigorously.
  3. Don't put a hot washcloth on your face. It's probably not a good idea to do this regardless of whether you're oil cleansing or not (it can break capillaries and aggravate sensitive skin).
  4. Come to think of it, maybe rubbing your acne prone face for 10 minutes is a terrible idea. I know my skin does not like my fingers, and rubbing oil into it sounds plain mean. Instead, I'd just apply it like you would lotion, leave it on for 10 minutes, then wipe it off.
  5. If you start breaking out, stop using it immediately. Oil cleansing will not ever result in purging. Ever. Full Stop.

    (Edit 3/27/15) A note on purging: Proper skin purging can only be caused by ingredients that can change the cell turnover of skin, ie retinoids + AHAs and BHAs. Purging typically manifests as whiteheads in places you normally break out in, then goes away within a reasonable amount of time (1-2 weeks for AHAs/BHAs or  6 weeks for retinoids). Inflamed/painful/red acne is just a plain-ole breakout. Whether your skin recovers from that breakout depends on many things because skin is seriously complex and I don't have the expertise or space to discuss it in this footnote. Summary: Scars are no fun guys. Be kind to your skin. (source, source, source)
Okay, the results:

Jojoba Oil Before and After :: The Acne Experiment
Before = 2 weeks after Tea Tree Test; Forehead Test = After 1 week of applying Jojoba Oil to my forehead only;
After = After 1 week of applying Jojoba Oil to my entire face

Jojoba Oil Before and After :: The Acne Experiment
Jojoba Oil Before and After**

These were taken two weeks after the forehead jojoba test, and one week after the full-face jojoba test. I don't see much of a difference, but more importantly, I'm not really seeing nasty new acne either. There are some new spots that cropped up over the course of the test, but not enough for me to call it a full-on "break out."

My takeaway is that jojoba seems like a safe ingredient for my skin, but ultimately, I found it too damned greasy to use on its own. I don't need that much moisture on my face, but I'm not opposed to using jojoba as a spot moisturizer, eye "cream," or eye makeup remover. If I ever do start using a facial moisturizer full-face again, it's going to have to be way lighter than jojoba.

Next Up: Aspirin


*Grapeseed oil, like jojoba oil, has a 2 (out of 5) comedogenic rating. If you are trying oil and have acne-prone skin, I would probably not try grapeseed first. If you have combination or oily skin (and are not acne prone), grapeseed might be a good option for you.

**Note: I have some fat zits going on in my chin area, but considering that they showed up before I tested Jojoba on my chin, I don't attribute it to the oil. I attribute it to my old face wash that I tried using the week prior. Ugh.

PS: During the Aspirin test my forehead broke out more than usual. I'll comment on that experience in a separate review, but there is a possibility the break out was due in part to a delayed response to the jojoba oil. I'm not sure though. I don't want to put it on my forehead again anyway, so I suppose this point is moot.

ALL Acne Experiment Posts are listed at The Acne Experiment MOTHER HUB.

Jojoba Oil Review - The Acne Experiment
Jojoba Oil on Acne-Prone Skin :: The Acne Experiment

All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment


  1. So I feel the need to comment which I never do! Its interesting that you think the OCM never results in purging. I'm interested to know why you are saying that. The reason I felt the need to comment is because despite that I don't do a traditional OCM, I was able to almost fully cure my skin with oils, jojoba being 98% of the oils I use. Did it purge? YES. This happened intensely on my forehead, but it also happened pretty much everywhere on my face. It took a good 2 weeks of use to see any improvement. Eventually, the breakouts subsided more and more. There are reasons as to why this happens or why I think this happens. I'm no doctor or aesthetician by any means and I have no research backing up what I am saying other than that I experienced first hand, an absolute skin miracle. And I say its a miracle because I can't believe I waited those 2 weeks and I can't believe it eventually worked! Its honestly CRAZY to me that this actually worked. I have my many reasons as to why I think it did, but most of those reasons can be found through research in many many areas. My skin is INSANELY OILY and VERY ACNE PRONE and I will always look at negative OCM and oil reviews and just laugh, because if you don't wait, then you won't ever believe. With all that said I know that you said you still decided to use jojoba and nor did I choose to do traditional OCM, but what I do is pretty much the same thing. Anyways, take this for what you wish!

    1. Thanks for your comment! Because skin is so complex, acne treatments effect everyone differently - you are proof of that. While I believe some people could breakout then see clearer skin after using OCM (or anything, really), a breakout post-OCM is just that: a breakout. Some people's skin gets better after a breakout, while other people's skin will just continue breaking out. I've scarred my face riding out what I thought was a "purge." This is why I cannot recommend someone continue to use oils if they're having a reaction to it. The potential for permanent skin damage isn't worth it. (see this: http://www.acne.org/messageboard/topic/330490-oil-cleansing-method-ruined-my-skin-and-now-i-cant-fix-it-no-matter-what-i-do-please-help/ ).

      Skin "getting worse before it gets better" on OCM, is not purging because a skin "purge" is a very specific thing. Purging is characterized by whiteheads and non-inflamed acne in areas of your face you break out in. This can only be caused by ingredients that can actually effect the cell turnover of skin: retinoids, AHAs, and BHAs. More often than not, long-lasting, painful, and/or red acne is a legit breakout caused by something in a product your skin doesn't like. I'm going to add a few links to this article, because I'm not making this up, I swear it! One of these sources is Caroline Herons who is far more qualified than I: http://www.carolinehirons.com/2013/10/beauty-myths-no-2-skin-purging.html ; this is another article that has advice from a dermatologist: http://www.beautylish.com/a/vmiii/beauty-myth-does-your-skin-purge-impurities

      If you come back and read this (I hope you do!) I'd be curious to know what kind of acne you experienced during those 2 weeks. Where you using anything else other than jojoba? What were you using before you started on OCM? I know that a lot of people love OCM and using oils, so I'd love to know more about your experience.

    2. Hi I have also started using the OCM method but I want to know the right way to use it. I experimented with just cleaning my face with jojoba oil and then washing it off with a warm wash cloth. My skin felt fabulous but after workouts as i tend to sweat a lot i use a herbal facial cleanser and then leave the jojoba oil overnight. I don't know but my skin does not feel smooth there is no visible breakouts or anything but tiny grains which was the reason i started to use the OCM method. Any help please?

  2. Hi shay (this is a response to you from my original post that began with "So I feel the need to comment which I never do!") I don't like to put my full name in various locations on the Internet (haha) so I'm just making sure it's clear that I'm continuing the convo. This is going to be long (SORRY!)

    So I definitely agree with everything you said, especially not recommending to people to try something that could break you out because your right, it could not actually be a purge for some people. I guess I would say you need to find the right timeframe as to when to know when its not a purge. Or maybe there are certain ways to tell, I don't know. I will say though, a purge doesn't always happen in the area where you are acne prone. This was the case with me as I broke out intensely on my forehead as I said and I very very rarely would ever break out there. But anyways, let me tell you what I did and a little backstory.

    I'm a male, and I started getting acne when I was in the 8th grade. Overall, I would say I had moderate acne. It was never severe, but it was most definitely obvious in my early years of high school (consistent 5-6 breakouts or so not counting general skin imbalance.) Just like most peoples stories, I tried pretty much everything including medications multiple different dermatologists recommended. It wasn't until my junior year of high school when I decided to use a simple clearisil salicylic microbead wash and 10% benzoyl peroxide cream when I saw cleaer skin. This treatment FULLY cured me almost immediately. Within a week or so my skin was dry, but it drastically improved. Because I have oily skin, 2 hours after washing my face the dryness would be gone and my face would feel great the rest of the day. I didn't use any moisturizer. I did this routine for 8 years until after college I wanted to try something new because I just really didn't feel like I was treating my skin well for the long wrong despite the salicylic wash and benzoyl peroxide kept me 100% clear. No one ever would have guess I had acne, thats how successful this treatment was for me. However, It didn't exactly do much for the complexion of my skin and I knew it was just masking my acne issue.

  3. I started trying new things including La Roche Posay products, natural products, and also Tazerac which is a Vitamin A type produce similar to most of the acne proscriptions out there because my sister had tremendous success with it for reasons not only including acne. Long story short, I thought it was working for me, but I still had to use benzoyl with it and I experienced a "purge" for much longer than it was suppose to give me one. This could have been because I didn't follow my dermatologists recommended routine exactly, but either way, it didn't work the way I wanted it to and nor did any other new products I tried. Plus, I didn't like the idea of using Tazerac. All the new attempts I made from this point on gave me no success and I went through periods of time when my face became worse than it had EVER been before.

    I finally cut everything out and didn't wash my face with anything other than water for a good week (so this is about 1 year after stopping my 8 year routine and trying new products with no luck.) After extensive research on the OCM and various oils, along with gaining some experience with them during my 1 year trial period, I decided to give jojoba a chance despite that it didn't seem to work well with my skin during previous attempts. What I did (and still do), is mix about 2 ounces of jojoba oil with about 5 drops of tea tree oil and a couple drops of lavender oil. All I do is use a generous amount to wash my face (just as you would with any other normal face wash). This video explains exactly what I do with the jojoba/tea tree/lavender mixture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvaMw80VLvw

  4. This caused me to break out primarily on my forehead at first in very small red bumps and continued into cystic acne along my jaw/beard area. Overall, pretty much my entire face had a combination of cystic acne and small red bumps 2 weeks later (my forehead started to improve at the two week mark.)

    For whatever reason, primarily due to the consistency in the success stories I read about jojoba, I continued to use it in the same exact way as I started. The only time I would venture away from this routine is when I would randomly do OCM with the exact mixture which was probably once a week whenever I felt like it. If you find the success stories about jojoba they almost all say "wait wait wait you need to wait".. and I did just that and it worked. I believe this is because, as you know as well, of the similarity of the oil to your own sebum. It seems to me, without having much knowledge on this, that the jojoba mixes with your own oils and is able to free all that is backed up within your skin. It seems as if it was able to just blend with my own oils and cause everything to come out. And once everything did, I just had to heal.

    4 weeks later (which is now,) my skin is significantly less oily and the breakouts I have are very minimal and are healing quickly. Basically, my skin is getting better and better everyday and the new breakouts I'm getting are barely breakouts at all but rather tiny tiny red bumps that go away pretty quickly.

    I now truly believe in not drying out your skin. Because one thing I didn't mention, is that during that 1 year trial period, I was washing my face twice a day (up from once a day during my 8 years of sucess) and my face because extremely extremely extremely oily. Now that I'm using this jojoba routine, my face never gets dried out from washing and I know that is a significant reason as to why my face has improved.

    I could go on about other things I have learned, but I think I've said enough to give you the idea of what caused my success and why it helped my skin. I can't even tell you the amount of research I have done about skin care. And being an Architect, that is not easy to find the time for. I think clear skin lies within a lot of things, not just the products you use. The fact that this is worked for me in a way that has literally brought my skin to NORMAL is seriously amazing. I truly now believe in natural skin care and 100% am against all the products out there for many many reasons.

    All the best to you.

  5. Sorry for all the posts! Wouldn't let me post at once and thought you would want to read it all.

  6. Thanks for getting back to me. I enjoy reading about other people's experiences because I too am a big time researcher, especially when it comes to skincare. I had a similar experience as I have always considered my skin oily, but when I stopped washing my face with cleanser for a month, it "normalized." For me, the jojoba was excessive. To each their own, I suppose.

  7. you should try sweet almond oil :) almond is supposed to be a natural anti-inflammatory so if you experience inflammatory acne it could be a good substitute for jojoba oil. i've been using it as a moisturizer for the past month or so and it's seemed to have helped smooth out my skin and reduce the amount of breakouts that i've experienced. i bought jojoba oil last week on a whim because it was on sale and i (mistakenly) thought it was lower than almond oil is on the comedogenic scale. i tried it one night and BOOM my skin broke out like crazy the next day!! i'll never use it again. only sticking to sweet almond oil from now on. if i have extra dry spots i'll also use petroleum jelly w/ shea butter that i bought in a drug store since those ingredients are both 0 on the comedogenic scale but only on super dry spots. i've ditched all my prescriptions (clindamycin gel, clindamycin lotion, differin, aczone) except tazorac at night and i stick to almond oil only during the day and it's really helped calm my skin down. try sweet almond oil! not all oils are the same :)

  8. In all seriousness if u have acne / skin issues, research and then try urine therapy. U can thank me later. I am serious.

  9. Hey...Urine therapy is the same as the caveman method. You're still just washing with water...but its urea rich water and I don't recommend it. There are compounds in urine that your body rejects for a reason. Is that any better than using synthetic chemicals?
    You should have taken the hint when Shay replied only ONCE to your half dozen posts.
    Why are they approved? It's hilarious to read.

    1. I have comment approvals in place because of spam. Spam makes me rage. >:|

  10. Cut out the clay and acv and moisturize with a lighter oil. Those new pimples should stop.

  11. This writer is hilarious! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article! Informative too... I learned " Oil cleansing will not ever result in purging. Ever. Full Stop." which is exactly what I was searching for.

    I've been dousing my nose with jojoba oil on a nightly basis hoping it will "loosen" hardened gunk and eventually shrink my pores into oblivion. After about a month of this, my nose resembles an orange peel; HUGE pores! Huge, scary pores! You can see my pores 10 ft away. This is why I'm doing a search about this mythological "purge". I might give 'clean skin' a try and see what happens.

    1. Indeed the oil(s) will soften the hardened gunk on ur nose but not make it disappear. For whiteheads (I refer it as comedos here) still, need to be extracted, perhaps it would be easier to be extracted after u used the oil(s) regularly.

      If u dont mind, I suggest u to do a scrubbing using sugar mixed with olive oil, scrub well especially on your nose.

      Wipe your face with warm cloth until most of the oil removed then wash ur face with ur regular facial wash.

      Before it getting dry (even just damp) apply a pore pack (I use biore pore pack for men) on your nose.

      Remove it when the pack completely dry. Cleanse the remaining sticky residue. Extract the left over whiteheads (comedos) with extractors.

      Hope it will make ur pore appearence better.

  12. Hello Shay. Nice to saw your post! I found your post while searching for jojoba oil picture to post on my Path acc.

    Then I read your, let me say, rants about OCM and so on related to oils for acne-prone skin.

    I would like to say things about those issues, if u dont mind. All things I said is based on my personal experinced.

    Let starts from the shortest!

    1. I agree with you that coconut oil can cause breakouts, though wellnessmama said that coconut oil is a miracle. My skin rejects it.

    2. I suggest u to not use apple cider vinegar as a toner if u would use it along with (any) oil(s). Th ACV would react badly with the oil(s), let's say that the acid in ACV would breakdown the oils into, bad substances for your skin so it would cause breakouts. I can say that ur skin has some similarities with mine: it can't stand ACV when it used as a toner, even at lowest proportion! I have ever used ACV toner (I mixed it with water) with 20:80 and the highest was 50:50. IT WAS MY WORST DECISION I MADE TO MY SKIN. Better u used a commercial toner which is more stable than ACV as to used with any oil application later. I used clean n clear toner since it's formulated for oily and. acne-prone skin. There's nothing wrong happened while I used this later mentioned combination.

    3. I used to used OCM as a cleansing method while I put a makeup on (foundation, cream foundation, bb cream, thick suncream, any face product that need to be cleansed thoroughly). I mixed olive oil with rice brand oil with 25:75 or 50:50 proportions. Later I used olive oil alone since I found olive oil is more vulnerable. But, the olive oil and rice bran oil mix give u the best cleansing sensation. If u use olive oil solely, yes still it clean, but too moist, and harder to be wiped. I used it like this: put the oil(s) on my face (don't too much), massage for around 10 mins (if u mixed it with rice bran oil, u will feel like there's sands coming out from ur pores, it's actually your dead skin cells, the dirt and comedos), and wipe it with warm cloth until most of the oil removed, then wash my face with my regular facial wash (I currently use one Hada Labo, it's non drying but not overly moisturized ur face). Then I apply the oil I prefer on my face. Wash it the next morning.

    4. As I know, OCM is not recommended to be used as a daily routine of cleansing if u not using makeup daily, since some people think that it clog ur pores (whatsoever).

  13. 5. Sometimes I use OCM once a week in case I feel the need to remove piles of dead skin cells on my face.

    6. I have an (slightly, sometimes) oily face, acne-proned, and with a sensitive forehead skin (u can see the word PROBLEM there).

    7. By the time I wrote this long post (July 2, 2016) I put few drops of jojoba oil on my skin. Got some acne caused by my laziness. In a matter of an hour, it reduce redness on my cheek (caused by dryness provoked by sleepless night) and redness around the pimples freshly appeared.

    8. While using oils as remedy for ur acne, please get a nice and adequate sleep.

    9. Don't use oils at day as a moisturizer, especially olive oil. Better use it at night. Better use a non drying toner and a sunblock for day use (I use Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion as a toner and Clarins for sunblock).

    10. Cleanse thoroughly, if u using oils as a treatment. If u use it as a moisturizer at night, cleanse it with a facial wash next morning would enough. If u use it as a cleanser, don't forget to wipe it first with warm cloth so most of the oil is removed.

    11. I used OCM for cleansing routine since I found no (not yet) commercial cleansing oils out there which suit my skin. I even try a cleansing oil from Sulwhasoo (a high-end Korean skincare), it ended leaves my skin looks dry, flaky, and zits appeared.

    12. Dont use aztec clay mask daily. I'm afraid that it will dry and irritates ur skin and will cause more acne to appear.

    Hope this long post(s) will make OCM and oil(s) regain your trust!

    Note: I found grapeseed oil is nice on Hope this long post(s) will make OCM and oil(s) regain your trust!

    Note: I found grapeseed oil is nice on my skin too, it brightens the face and acne scars. It seems I would be in love with jojoba oil too.


  14. Hi there. I think you're witty and cool. I recently have been using hemp oil and it's honestly really great! I too have tried most everything under the sun, although I'm a holistic hippie mama so I haven't dipped into the pharma solutions. Basically it truly is non-comedogenic. I tried mixing it with castor and jojoba (that shit totally clogged my pores) then just hemp and jojoba (and like your results the jojoba clogged my pores) and now I'm just doing the hemp oil. It's surprisingly dry and my skin is looking better everyday. I think your review would be worth the hassle of refrigeration... please?

    1. Hello! I think I didn't jojoba when I first tested it because I was using too much. I've been using a tiny bit of jojoba with a bit of tea tree oil (~10:1 ratio) and I have had much better results. I use maybe 2 drops for my whole face, concentrating on the dry areas.

      I definitely do want to try hemp, but my testing sched is backed up. I'll get to it eventually!

  15. I am way late with a comment, but in case anyone else is just coming across this article, I recommend Evening Primrose oil for acne-prone skin. I break out super easily and it's the only oil that won't cause breakouts for me. It has a very high ratio of linoleic acid (75%) to oleic acid (6%), and that's the key to avoiding acne breakouts when using oil.

    It does have one downside: because oleic acid is the stuff that keeps oil fresh for a long time on a shelf and it has so little of it, it will go rancid in as little as 2-3 months. So don't buy more than a couple ounces at a time unless you are going to wash your whole body with it.


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