Benefits of Castor Oil for The Face and Skin

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

People typically take castor oil as a laxative, but the oil has potential benefits for the skin. This article will outline what castor oil is and discuss its benefits for the skin, as well as how to use it and possible side effects to expect.

  • Castor oil comes from seeds of the ricinus communis plant, which is native to tropical areas of Africa and Asia.
  • It 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 can help rejuvenate the skin. Castor oil is a translucent liquid with a yellow tint. It is an active 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. This speeds up the process of digestion. Although the evidence is less conclusive, castor oil has also demonstrated 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, including eyelashes, though no scientific literature that supports this. By serving as a source of ricinoleic acid and several other fatty acids, castor oil has some properties that make it a useful skincare product, particularly for the face.

Benefits

Castor oil is said to provide the following benefits for the face and skin:

Skin

While castor oil contains many chemicals linked to improved skin health, there has been limited research into the dermatological benefits of castor oil. It might be more effectively put to use alongside other treatments.

Use

It can take time for the skin to fully absorb castor oil, but diluting the oil can promote absorption into the skin. People can dilute castor oil with other oils, such as olive or peanut oil. The recommended ratio is 1: 1 the quantity of castor oil should be the same as the oil with which it is mixed.

Side effects

Castor oil can have a range of side effects. 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. This means that most studies are about one particular instance in which treatment with castor oil was successful, rather than providing wide-ranging and accurate data. These are often reports that relate to allergic reactions, such as:

  • skin rashes
  • swelling
  • itching

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.

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