Benefits Of Castor Oil On Skin

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Castor Oil Benefits On Skin

Pressed from the seeds of the castor plant or Ricinus communis, castor oil is a major ingredient in skin care products and cosmetics. It is both antifungal and antibacterial making it a good remedy for acne, skin diseases like eczema, and in treating wounds. But its main use in skin care is attributed to its moisturizing properties. To apply, mix with a carrier oil like coconut oil.

In many cultures around the world, castor oil is one of the first things that is fed to a newborn child, writes Yvonne Lefeber and H.W.A Voorhoeve in their book Indigenious Customs in Childbirth and Child Care.1 While Asian countries use it to clean the baby’s stomach of any womb fluids it may have accidentally ingested, Latin American countries use castor oil to help the baby cough up mucus.

Pressed from the seeds of the castor plant or Ricinus communis, castor oil has a unique chemical composition. It is a triglyceride, composed of fatty acids, 90 percent of which is ricinoleic acid.2 It was used medically in Ancient Egypt, China, Persia, Africa and Europe and is now also widely used for industrial purposes, as a biofuel and as a major ingredient in skin care products and cosmetics.

Confused how an oil that was used as an aircraft lubricant in wars and is used to make plastic and paint can be beneficial for your skin? Here’s how:

Castor Oil Benefits On Skin

1. It Is Antibacterial And Heals Wounds

Although castor seeds have potential toxic effects, the oil pressed from it has been proven to have antibacterial properties. In a study published in the journal Biomacromolecules, wound-dressing films in which castor oil was used as the main ingredient was found to effectively fight bacteria and expedite the healing process.3

2. It Lubricates And Tones Dry Skin

This property of castor oil is what makes it a primary ingredient in many branded skin products. According to a study published in the International Journal of Research in Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics, castor oil is proven to be a good lubricant that can be used as a soothing emollient to treat conditions like dry skin, dermatitis, sunburn, and open sores among others. 4

3. It Helps Manage Eczema And Other Skin Diseases

The oil’s antifungal properties help manage skin and scalp conditions like eczema and cradle cap. A patented composition to fight the two conditions contains more than 80 percent of castor oil, which is mixed with 20 percent of other mineral oils. For best results, this mixture has to be sprayed at the affected area and then massaged into the skin or scalp.5

4. It Moisturizes And Cleanses The Skin

Castor oil is also used as a common massage oil for its moisturizing effects. Massaging the body with castor oil before bath not only keeps the body hydrated and moisturized, but also induces good sleep.6 Such an oil bath is recommended once every week for a healthy and supple skin.

Castor oil can also be used on hands and feet before going to bed to keep them soft. In some cultures, women who have just had children massage their breasts with castor oil as it is believed to stimulate the mammary glands and increase the flow of breast milk.

A hydrogenated version of the oil is also used in skin cleansing agents mixed with substances like liquid paraffin, colorants, and perfumes to clean out the pores and keep the skin youthful for longer.7 Castor oil is also known to work wonders for mild acne, thanks to the fatty acids present in the oil.

How To Use Castor Oil For Skin Problems

Now that you know the benefits of castor oil for your skin, let’s look at how it can be used to yield the best results. To use it as a moisturizer, mix it with another vegetable oil like olive oil or jojoba oil in a ratio of 1:3 and apply to skin. Mixing castor oil with coconut oil and leaving it in for 20 minutes before rinsing off is the best way to deal with dry, scaly skin. For acne, wash your face with warm water first and then massage in a little castor oil with your fingers. You can leave it overnight before rinsing it off in the morning.

Castor oil is one of the must-have oils in your pantry because of its many proven health benefits. However, do not ingest it without supervision as it has been found to lead to diarrhea and dehydration. Pregnant women and lactating mothers too should not ingest it orally. So with a little care, you can achieve soft, beautiful skin.

References   [ + ]

1. Lefeber, Yvonne, and Henk WA Voorhoeve. Indigenous customs in childbirth and child care. Uitgeverij Van Gorcum, 1998.P-56.
2. Castor Oil and its Chemistry, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.
3. Díez-Pascual, Ana M., and Angel L. Díez-Vicente. “Wound healing bionanocomposites based on castor oil polymeric films reinforced with chitosan-modified ZnO nanoparticles.” Biomacromolecules 16, no. 9 (2015): 2631-2644.
4, 6. Ladda, Padma Laxmikant, and Rupali Bhimashankar Kamthane. “Ricinus Communis(Castor): An overview.” International Journal of Research in Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics 3, no. 2 (2014): 136-144.
5. Nur, Waeil Ali. “Skin treatment compositions and methods of use.” U.S. Patent 8,399,030, issued March 19, 2013.
7. Stolz, Hermann-Josef, Robert Bornicke, and Manfred Matzel. “Skin cleansing agent with particles containing hydrogenated castor oil.” U.S. Patent 8,563,492, issued October 22, 2013.