Pregnancy brings plenty of changes to a woman’s life, from the welcome anticipation of becoming a mother to the sometimes not-so-welcome world of pregnancy aches, pains and irritations, like weight gain, stretch marks and unexpected acne. Jojoba oil is a natural product that many alternative-medicine product manufacturers claim can alleviate or even prevent some of these problems. While jojoba oil isn’t linked to any known risks during pregnancy, health professionals contend that using the oil isn’t as effective as many people believe. Speak to your obstetrician first before using jojoba oil for any reason while you are pregnant.
What Is Jojoba Oil?
Jojoba oil comes from the bean of the jojoba shrub, a plant native to the southwestern regions of the United States and northern Mexico. Native American tribes living in these areas traditionally used the oil from jojoba shrub beans as a conditioner for both the hair and skin and as a treatment for minor skin problems like sunburns, bruises and sores. Modern cosmetics manufacturers use jojoba oil as a cleansing, moisturizing and softening agent in a wide variety of personal care products, including shampoos, conditioners, lotions, bath soaps and makeup.
Using Jojoba Oil for Stretch Marks
The most commonly recommended use of jojoba oil during pregnancy by naturopaths and alternative medicine proponents is as a massage oil to prevent stretch marks. Some supporters advise smoothing a few drops of jojoba oil mixed with sweet almond oil into the skin of your abdomen daily, while makers of many belly oils, creams and lotions advertise jojoba oil as being an essential part of their compounds. However, although the oil has been used for hundreds of years to soften and condition skin, there is no direct scientific evidence that shows it is effective in preventing or treating stretch marks.
Using Jojoba Oil for Acne
For many women, acne becomes a problem during pregnancy, most likely because changes in their hormone levels cause them to produce excess amounts of sebum, or oil. Alternative medicine practitioners frequently recommend using jojoba oil to treat acne, and a Ben Gurion University Medical Center study presented in 1984 at the Sixth Annual Jojoba Conference appeared to indicate that the oil may help to control acne. However, the results of the study have not been independently confirmed and did not specifically address acne that occurs during pregnancy.
Possible Side Effects
According to the site altMD, jojoba oil contained in cosmetics or lotions does not cause serious side effects. Rarely, some people experience allergic reactions from jojoba oil that result in contact dermatitis. No scientific evidence exists, however, to prove that jojoba oil use on the skin or face during pregnancy is safe. To be certain of its effects on a pregnant woman or her unborn child, more clinical studies need to be conducted.
What the Experts Say
Products purporting to treat stretch marks or acne are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration for purity, effectiveness or safety, and the MayoClinic.com site strongly advises that, if you are pregnant, you should not use any of these products without first speaking to your doctor. The site adds that there is no solid evidence that using products like jojoba oil can either prevent or erase stretch marks.