Typically, people take castor oil as a laxative, but the oil has some potential benefits for the skin.
This article will outline what castor oil is and discuss its benefits for the skin.
Contents of this article:
- Castor oil comes from seeds of the ricinus communis plant, which is native to tropical areas of Africa and Asia.
- Castor oil is typically applied directly to the skin using a cotton ball.
- Castor oil is relatively safe to use, but some people have reported side effects after applying it to their skin.
- Castor oil is thought to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, moisturizing, and some other useful properties.
What is castor oil?
Castor oil is derived from a tropical plant, and is primarily used for it's skin benefits.
In appearance, castor oil is a translucent liquid with a yellow tint. It is an ingredient in a wide variety of household items from cleaning products to paints.
It has also been used to treat a range of medical conditions, most notably digestive issues. Castor oil is broken down into ricinoleic acid in the small intestine, which speeds up the process of digestion in the intestines. Although the evidence is less conclusive, castor oil has also been found to have some potential benefits for the face and skin.
Castor oil and ricinoleic acid are thought to increase absorption in the skin and are sometimes used in the treatment of various skin conditions, including dermatosis, psoriasis, and acne. There are also anecdotal reports of castor oil promoting hair growth, though no scientific evidence is currently available to verify this.
By containing ricinoleic acid and several other fatty acids, castor oil has some properties that make it a useful skincare product, particularly for the face.
Five benefits of castor oil for the face
- Acne: The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil make it useful in reducing acne. The ricinoleic acid produced by castor oil can inhibit the growth of bacteria that causes acne.
- Texture: Castor oil is also rich in other fatty acids that can enhance smoothness and softness when applied to facial skin.
- Complexion: The fatty acids in castor oil can also promote the growth of healthy skin tissue, making it helpful in restoring uneven skin tones.
- Sensitive skin: Castor oil has a low comedogenic score, which means it is unlikely to clog pores in the skin, making it appropriate for use on sensitive skin with a low risk of developing blackheads.
- Inexpensive: Skincare products, and in particular facial creams and oils, can be very expensive. Castor oil is relatively low-cost and shares many of the similar properties, such as promoting skin complexion or moisture.
Five benefits of castor oil for the skin
Castor oil may be used on the face and body, but sensitive areas such as the mucous membranes or damaged skin should be avoided.
- Anti-inflammatory: Both castor oil and ricinoleic acid have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which make them useful in treating irritated skin.
- Antimicrobial: It may also protect the skin from bacterial infections by helping to keep out invading pathogens.
- Moisturizing: Castor oil contains triglycerides that help maintain moisture in the skin, making it useful in treating dry skin.
- Hydration: Castor oil may have humectant properties, which means that it can draw moisture from the air into the skin, keeping the skin hydrated.
- Cleansing: The triglycerides found in castor oil are also helpful in removing everyday dirt from the skin.
How to use castor oil
It can take time for the skin to absorb castor oil fully, but it is possible to enhance the skin's ability to absorb the oil by diluting it.
If they choose, people can dilute castor oil with other oils, such as olive oil or peanut oil, and experts recommend a 50/50 split.
It is best to patch test castor oil on a small area of skin before using it, to see if any adverse reactions occur.
While castor oil has a range of promising properties, it is important to note that the scientific evidence supporting many of these claims is not conclusive, and much of the evidence tends to be anecdotal rather than scientific.
These are often relating to allergic reactions such as:
- skin rashes
Anyone who experiences an allergic reaction to castor oil should seek medical attention immediately.
Skin irritation and the development of rashes are the most commonly reported side effects.
Using castor oil is a useful and inexpensive way to promote skin health, and it may have particular benefits for the face.
However, much of the evidence underlying these benefits has yet to be deemed conclusive, and a greater degree of scientific research will be required to determine the full benefits of castor oil.
Castor oil is relatively safe, but it can cause some side effects that should be considered when deciding whether to use castor oil on the face and skin.