The next time you find your skin and hair looking dull or your eyebrows sparse, you may want to reach for the castor oil.
Seriously? Castor oil? Isn’t that what our grandmothers used to treat constipation?
It’s true-castor oil, when taken internally, can get the bowels moving. But there’s so much more to this ingredient. Here’s why you need to have some in your home right now!
What is Castor Oil?
Castor oil is a vegetable oil that comes from the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis). This is a perennial shrub native to the Mediterranean, Eastern Africa, and India, and several tropical regions. It can grow as high as about 35 feet, with glossy leaves and yellowish-green flowers. The plant produces a seed that is the source of the oil.
The oil itself is a pale, yellow oil with a wide variety of uses, but today we’re going to focus on how it helps in skin and hair care. Like most oils, it’s full of moisturizing fatty acids, including stearic, palmitic, oleic, linoleic, and more.
What makes castor oil unique, though, is its “ricinoleic acid (RA),” a monounsaturated, 18-carbon fatty acid. RA is the main component in castor oil, accounting for about 90 percent of the total. It’s the RA that has that laxative property, but studies have also found that it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-reliever.
Researchers say that RA is similar to “capsaicin,” the topical pain reliever that comes from peppers. You’ve probably seen this pain reliever in over-the-counter creams and gels that are made for relieving muscle and joint pain. Studies have also shown that RA helps speed wound healing, reducing swelling, inflammation, and pain.
7 Ways You Can Use Castor Oil
Castor oil has been used in traditional medicine for centuries as a way to ease constipation and as a natural remedy for skin and eye irritations. We think if you take a minute to revisit castor oil and its many benefits, you’ll agree that it’s time to resurrect this oil as a key home remedy.
- Helps treat dry skin, but good for oily skin too. Castor oil is one of those oils that works equally well for both dry and oily skin. Its natural moisturizers sink deep into skin to plump and hydrate, but it’s not a thick or greasy oil, so it can also help balance oily skin.
- Great as a lip balm. We often recommend our Restorative Skin Balm as a lip balm and this is one of the reasons. Our product contains castor oil, and castor oil even by itself is a good remedy for chapped lips. It combines moisture with a taming anti-inflammatory action that helps restore soft and plump lips.
- Fades redness. If you have redness anywhere on your skin, castor oil can help because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also a great treatment for sunburn.
- Helps remove makeup. Some makeup-removing solutions contain castor oil because it helps to remove water-resistant products. It can help you get stubborn shadows and mascara off so your skin can really benefit from your night cream.
- Encourages hair growth. Studies have suggested that castor oil may be a helpful treatment against hair loss. Male pattern baldness, for example, is frequently blamed on hormonal changes. Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) inhibits hair growth and is elevated in men who are losing their hair, but scientists reported in 2015 that ricinoleic acid from castor oil inhibited PGD2 with minimal adverse skin reactions. Researchers suggested that it could have potential for future hair loss treatment. Some eyelash- and eyebrow-enhancing formulas already include castor oil in them, but you may be able to get good results by simply applying the oil to the affected areas a few times a day.
- Makes hair shiny. If you are experiencing “aging” hair, where it becomes sort of dull and lackluster, you may want to give it a castor oil treatment. In 2003, researchers reported that castor oil increased the luster of hair, helping it to appear shinier. Some manufacturers are putting castor oil in shampoo and conditioner now. The oil can also help repair damage if you use it regularly, say, once a week.
- Helps treat dandruff. Because of its moisturizing capabilities, castor oil can help you get rid of dandruff. It is a good source of vitamin E and fatty acids that help soften and restore the health of the scalp, while its anti-bacterial properties fight off any bacterial invaders. Simply rub the oil on your palms and massage into the scalp before bed.
- Treats cracked heels. These can be stubborn, but if you exfoliate and then apply castor oil (or our Restorative Skin Balm) you can beat them! The oil combats the extreme dryness and restores soft heels within a few weeks.
- Treats skin infections. If you have ringworm, rashes, athlete’s foot, or other types of skin infections, castor oil can help. It has a powerful antibacterial action that helps kill off bugs and encourage healing.
- Eases pain. As mentioned above, the RA in castor oil is similar to capsaicin, in that it helps to ease pain and swelling when applied topically. If you have joint pain or muscle pain, try rubbing some castor oil into the area for relief.
As you can see, castor oil can provide you with a number of skin and hair benefits! Make sure you have some in your medicine cabinet, and you may also want to give our Restorative Skin Balm another look. It’s an award-winning product because it’s so effective, but you have to try it to see!
Have you used castor oil for skin and hair benefits?
Celme Vieira, et al., “Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation,” Mediators of Inflammation, 2000; 9:223-228, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1781768/pdf/11200362.pdf.
Fong P., et al., “In silico prediction of prostaglandin D2 synthase inhibitors from herbal constituents for the treatment of hair loss,” J Ethnopharmacol., December 4, 2015; 175: 470-80, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26456343.
McMullen R, Jachowicz J., “Optical properties of hair: effect of treatments on luster as quantified by image analysis,” J Cosmet Sci., Jul-Aug 2003; 54(4):335-51, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14528387.