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A large shrub that may grow up to 15 feet in height, the jojoba plant grows in North America, specifically northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. Contrary to its name, jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax distilled from the seeds of the jojoba plant and used extensively in the cosmetic industry as an ingredient in shampoos and lotions. While it helps your body in various ways, jojoba oil’s most prominent abilities and features benefit your skin.

Acne Treatment

MedlinePlus, a service of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, notes that acne—a skin condition characterized by clogged pores and skin pimples—occurs in three out of four teenagers in the United States. Many moisturizers and skin creams contain animal-based fats, such as lanolin, which weigh your skin down and clog pores, sometimes contributing to severe acne problems. Its non-greasy texture, light weight and anti-inflammatory properties make jojoba oil an ideal ingredient to use for treating acne-related skin problems.

In its 2002 book “Jojoba: New Crop for Arid Lands, New Raw Material for Industry,” the National Research Council notes that acne treatments containing jojoba oil may slow the outbreak of skin breakouts arising from acne. This may be due to the similarity in molecular structure between jojoba oil and sebum, the oil that your skin produces. According to Leda Hadady, author of the book “Asian Health Secrets,” jojoba oil actually dissolves the sebum that clogs your pores, which gives you relief from acne and allows your skin to breathe more effectively.

Moisturizes Skin

A natural emollient, jojoba oil’s similarity to sebum allows it to absorb easily and readily into your skin, making it a gentle, skin-softening moisturizer for all skin types. Although you can use it by itself as a massage oil, a bottle of pure jojoba oil generally comes at a fairly steep price, often more than $8 for a 2 oz. bottle, so you’ll want to use just a teaspoon or two at a time. Consider blending it with another plant-based massage oil, such as sweet almond oil, to help it go further.

If massage isn’t your thing, the NRC points out that jojoba oil provides a prime base oil for skin creams and moisturizers due to its lack of odors and impurities, as well as the fact that it doesn’t go rancid like other base oils. Consider dabbing several drops of it on your face or eyelids as a mild yet effective facial cleanser or makeup remover that works double duty by also moisturizing and nourishing your skin.

Treats Skin Infections

In addition to acne, jojoba oil provides a treatment for various other skin infections and health ailments, mainly due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. According to Shirley Price, a renowned aromatherapist and co-author of the book “Aromatherapy for Health Professionals,” jojoba oil may improve and relieve an assortment of skin conditions, including psoriasis, chapped skin, sunburn and eczema. Talk to your baby’s doctor about using it as a natural treatment for diaper rash, as well. Price states that the anti-inflammatory ingredient known as myristic acid also makes jojoba oil a beneficial topical treatment for both rheumatism and arthritis.