What Is Castor Oil?
Castor oil is an oil pressed from castor seeds from the Ricinus communis plant. Castor oil is a thick oil rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, making it a great oil to help replenish moisture in your skin and hair.
Castor oil’s medicinal and cosmetic uses date back as far as ancient Egypt. It is still widely used in Ayurvedic medicinal practices. More recently castor oil is being used to help promote hair growth on the scalp, brows, and lashes and is often recommended as an aftercare product for lash lifts and brow laminations.
Castor oil has been well studied for its moisturizing benefits to the skin, as well as its mild antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, research suggests that these benefits are not as significant as compared with other moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, or antibacterial ingredients. This is why it is rarely used by dermatologists or doctors. Despite this castor oil can be a good moisturizer for the hair, skin, and nails.
In terms of castor oil’s benefits to hair growth, there is little evidence to suggest that it helps hair growth at all. However, some research suggests that moisturizing the hair follicle and shaft may help to support hair health.
How Does Castor Oil Help Hair Growth?
Currently, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that castor oil is beneficial for hair or hair growth. However, due to its thick texture, nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, and high-fat content, castor may help to strengthen hair strands and nourish the scalp.
Nourishment and moisturization of the scalp and hair shaft may help to support natural hair growth. This may be because it may create a healthier environment for the hair.
Castor oil may also be beneficial for those who have issues with flakiness and dryness on the scalp as it is known to be an effective cleansing ingredient, lifting dirt and oils from the skin.
Castor oil also contains a high content of ricinoleic acid which may help increase blood circulation. However, it is important to keep in mind that castor oil for hair growth still isn’t supported by the science.
What Are The Benefits Of Castor Oil To The Skin?
In terms of benefits to the skin, castor oil may have mild antibacterial properties, may help to moisturize the skin, and can help to soothe irritated skin.
Castor oil may have mild antimicrobial properties which may help to support the treatment of acne or blemishes. Castor oil also has a low comedogenic score, meaning it is unlikely to contribute to congestion and clogged pores.
Castor oil is rich in fatty acids which help to soften and moisturize the skin. Fatty acids can also help to support the skin’s natural barrier. The skin’s natural barrier helps to prevent water loss or transepidermal water loss. Transepidermal water loss or TEWL refers to when the skin loses water to the air, this is particularly common in dry environments and when the skin’s natural barrier is damaged or disrupted.
Castor oil is an affordable skincare oil. Many skincare oils are expensive and can be hard to track down. Castor oil is widely available and is a relatively inexpensive option.
Castor oil has been studied for its potential to mitigate inflammation in the body. This ability comes from ricinoleic acid which is found in high concentrations in castor oil.
While castor oil shows some promise in terms of benefits to the skin, the science is still limited regarding the dermatological benefits of the oil. It may be an ingredient that is used best alongside other, more researched treatments.
Can Castor Oil Help Grow Eyelashes And Eyebrows?
There is little evidence to support the claim that castor oil can help to grow hair and lashes. However, nourishing the scalp, lashes or eyebrows may help to support natural hair growth.
Is Castor Oil Comedogenic?
Castor oil has a low comedogenic rating which means it is unlikely to clog pores or contribute to blackheads and blemishes.
Is Castor Oil Good For Acne?
Castor oil may be beneficial for acne-prone skin as it helps to nourish the skin and may have anti-inflammatory benefits. However, there isn’t enough research to support its use. Given the many options for acne-prone skin, it may be best to try ingredients and treatments that have more scientific backing. Always speak to your doctor or dermatologist first.
Is Castor Oil Safe For Eyes?
When applying castor oil to your lashes or eyebrows be careful not to get the oil into your eye.
While castor oil is generally considered to be safe it is best to patch test before use as some people may have allergies to the ingredient, resulting in an allergic reaction.
Is Castor Oil Safe For Preganancy?
Castor oil has traditionally been used to help kick-start labor and treat constipation. However, it is not used for these conditions anymore, partly because it tastes terrible and it can cause diarrhea.
As with any supplement or skincare product always check with your doctor or specialist before use.
In terms of using castor oil on the skin whilst pregnant or lactating, it is generally not recommended. This is because castor oil may be absorbed through the skin and given that it is traditionally used to induce labor, it is not something you want to be using whilst pregnant.
Where Does Castor Oil Come From?
Castor oil comes from the castor oil or Ricinus communis plant, chiefly grown in India, China, and Brazil.
The seeds contain a toxic enzyme called ricin which is destroyed during the heating process that the oil undergoes before use.
Is Castor Oil Vegan?
Castor oil is a vegetable oil derived from castor seeds. It is considered to be a vegan ingredient. However, it is always good to check with the brand to determine if they are cruelty-free if you are looking for a vegan product.
Is Castor Oil Safe?
Castor oil is generally considered to be safe, except for use during pregnancy. It can also cause allergic reactions in some people so it is always best to patch test before use.
Other Uses Of Castor Oil
Castor oil is a powerful laxative. It is classified as a stimulant laxative which means that it stimulates the bowel muscles to contract to help to clear the bowels. Due to the contractions that it produces, it is not safe during pregnancy as these contractions may simulate or induce labor contractions. The stimulating ingredient in castor oil is ricinoleic acid.
Castor oil can also be used to induce labor when used by a medical professional under supervised conditions.
Patel VR, Dumancas GG, Kasi Viswanath LC, Maples R, Subong BJ. Castor Oil: Properties, Uses, and Optimization of Processing Parameters in Commercial Production. Lipid Insights. 2016;9:1-12. Published 2016 Sep 7.
Maduri VR, Vedachalam A, Kiruthika S. “Castor Oil” – The Culprit of Acute Hair Felting. Int J Trichology. 2017;9(3):116-118.