Castor oil can help moisturize the skin, reduce irritation, and ease eczema flare-ups.

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Eczema is a common inflammatory skin condition affecting 1 in 10 people in America.

It causes extremely dry, itchy, and painful skin patches. Excessive scratching can lead to blisters and skin infections and interfere with daily life.

There is no cure for eczema. However, proper skin care, which involves implementing a daily bathing and moisturizing routine and avoiding a person’s unique eczema triggers, can help prevent flare-ups.

Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications can also help manage flare-ups when they occur. People can also successfully reduce eczema symptoms using natural remedies, including natural gels and oils.

This article explores the use of castor oil for eczema, its properties, and its benefits. It also discusses how to use it and the precautions before applying castor oil to the skin.

Castor oil is a vegetable oil with a rich fatty acid profile. It primarily contains ricinoleic acid and other minor fatty acids such as:

The specific benefits of castor oil for eczema symptoms are as follows:

Soothes irritated skin

Castor oil contains natural antioxidants such as tocopherols, which gives it its anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it helpful in providing a protective barrier against skin irritation during an eczema flare-up. It enhances smoothness and softening.

Controls excessive skin growth

As with psoriasis, eczema is a skin disease characterized by keratinocyte hyperproliferation.

Castor oil has antiproliferative properties and can help manage accelerated skin cell growth.

Provides pain relief

While the hallmark symptom of eczema is itching, this can lead to pain and inadequate sleep. Castor oil has pain-relieving properties that can ease discomfort.

Kills bacteria and promotes wound healing

It is common for people with eczema to experience cracked and broken skin, putting them at risk of skin infections. Castor oil has antimicrobial and wound-healing properties that can help kill bacteria and promote accelerated skin healing.

A 2021 study found that using a castor oil-derived biocidal agent as a wound dressing facilitated healing by encouraging:

  • fibroblast cell migration, which is an essential process for repairing wounds
  • collagen maturation, which helps provide structure to strengthen the skin
  • vascularization to the damaged area, which helps bring oxygen and nutrients to grow blood vessels and promote skin healing

Moisturizes the skin

People with eczema have damaged skin barriers. This makes it more difficult for their skin to retain water and makes them prone to allergens and bacteria.

Castor oil is a fatty emollient. Emollients exert many effects on skin barrier function, including permeability and improving skin repair.

Experts also consider it an occlusive moisturizer. Occlusive moisturizer reduces water loss through the epidermis by forming a barrier.

There is limited research on how to best use castor oil for eczema. In anecdotal reports, people use castor oil for their eczema in the following way:

  1. Cleaning the affected area.
  2. Soaking a clean, soft wool or flannel cloth with castor oil and spreading it over the affected area. Alternatively, a person can apply oil on the affected area and then cover it with the fabric.
  3. Using a plastic sheet or another dry cloth to then fully cover the area and lock in the moisture.

As castor oil is very thick, some people dilute it 1:1 with another oil to allow the skin to absorb it faster.

Castor oil is generally safe when applied to the skin.

However, applying undiluted castor oil to the skin may cause mild irritation. Even if it is not a significant irritant, it may cause allergic and severe skin reactions in those with severe eczema and sensitive skin.

However, despite its wide range of skin benefits, there is limited research on its effectiveness for eczema.

Castor oil is not only beneficial in treating eczema symptoms. Many people also use it for other skin conditions. These include:

Find out more about other benefits of castor oil for the skin and face.

Doctors may also advise pregnant individuals to use castor oil to induce labor after they have reached full term.

Aside from castor oil, anecdotal evidence suggests other oils that can benefit people with eczema, such as:

A person should discuss using these types of oil with a medical professional before trying them on their skin.

Castor oil is a popular natural remedy for treating eczema symptoms. It reduces inflammation, promotes repair, hydrates the skin, and may ease pain. However, research on its effects on eczema is limited. Therefore, it is crucial for a person to speak with a doctor before trying this remedy for eczema.

Castor oil may also treat other skin conditions such as acne, sunburn, and psoriasis and help with wound healing.

Other oils that may benefit people with eczema include coconut oil, tea tree oil, flaxseed oil, neem oil, eucalyptus oil, and lavender oil.