Jojoba oil is a waxy oil extracted from the seeds of the jojoba shrub (Simmondsia chinensis), a native of the Sonoran Desert. The oil has moisturizing properties and is used in a variety of skin-care applications, including tattoo aftercare.

Why it Works

Jojoba oil acts as a moisturizer and is chemically similar to sebum, a product of the human body. Because of this, a tattoo treated with jojoba oil has access to air but maintains moisture needed to heal.


People indigenous to the Sonoran Desert have used jojoba oil for hundreds of years. It became part of U.S. popular culture in the 1970s, when the United States outlawed the use of whale oil, a substance with similar properties.

Antibacterial properties

Clinical tests show jojoba oil has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which help keep infection out of a healing tattoo.

Adverse reactions

A dermatological study by Christensen and Packman showed jojoba oil caused adverse reactions in only two out of 50 people known to have sensitive skin. Reactions cleared up after 24 hours, even with continued use.


As of 2009, jojoba oil cost a median $3 per ounce. It can be found at health food stores and stores specializing in all-natural items. Jojoba oil can be obtained in larger quantities from stores specializing in cosmetics or soap making.