The Benefits of Castor Oil in Skincare

Benefits of Castor Oil in Skincare

The organic obsession over the last few years has revived our interest in botanical skincare.

With a plethora of nicely packaged oils to easily introduce oneself to, it seems there is one for every occasion.

Yet little is known about castor oil, this quiet, unsung hero.

It has been around for a while, but we’re only beginning to really appreciate the scope of its work.

In its pure form has a whole host of benefits for the skin, hair, and lips.

We’ve long touted the wide-ranging benefits of rosehip, avocado and coconut oil, castor oil.

Yet castor oils long list of uses have been left out of the beauty-oil buzz. Well, us folks at NC are just about to change all that.

What is castor oil?

The oil is extracted from the castor plant’s seeds; a tough, thorny shrub, the seeds are cold-pressed, which produces this lovely, thick oil that has a lot of shine.

It is really compatible with beeswax, which is why you will see it often used in lipsticks and balms, combined they work to keep the oil on your lips and prevent them from feathering into fine lines.

It has a low molecular weight, so it penetrates the skin easily, it acts as a softening oil and is really nourishing.

It has a fascinating fatty acid profile; containing around 6% oleic acid, 4% linoleic acid, and 90% ricinoleic acid.

Ricinoleic acid: This is an unusual fatty acid that balances transepidermal water loss in the skin tissues, making it an important humectant. Ricinoleic acid is considered an analgesic and anti-bacterial. There are indications it may act as an anti-fungal. For these reasons, it is sometimes used to treat various skin conditions, including eczema, acne, and psoriasis.
Phytosterols: Castor oil contains phytosterols in the form of ß-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol, which is where it gets its anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties, helping to end the cyclical nature of itching and irritation.
Acanthotic: If all of that isn’t enough, castor is unusual in the fact that it has ‘acanthotic activity’, meaning it can help increase the thickness of your skin, which is why we include it in our Nectar treatment balm – designed to deliver penetrating, healing, and regenerative nourishment to cuts, burns, cracked heels, and damaged skin.

Castor doesn’t have the best slippage on the skin and can be quite tacky to touch, which can put people off. In the cosmetic industry, castor oil is referred to as a thick oil, due to it having a viscosity of around 293. Compare this to olive oil, which has a viscosity of 47, and you can see why it’s so thick.

The beautifying benefits of castor oil

Personally, we think castor oil is really underestimated, look at some of its awesome skin benefits:

Anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties: The triglycerides found in castor can help to fight skin infections.

Anti-inflammatory: The oil is also well-known for its healing properties against eczema, dermatitis, rosacea, and psoriasis. It is the perfect antidote if you have irritated, inflamed skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to calm and soothe your sensitive skin.

Anti-microbial: Castor plays a protective role on your skin, keeping invading pathogenic bacteria at bay.

Anti-Acne: One of the main benefits of castor oil is that it retards the growth of harmful microbes, this is due to ricinoleic acid; a potent fatty acid that helps to protect your skin against invading viruses and bacteria. It inhibits the growth of P Acnes bacteria that lead to acne breakouts. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil, also make it useful in reducing acne.

Anti comedogenic: That, coupled with the fact that it is low comedogenic, makes it an interesting oil when treating acne. The fact that it is low on the comedogenic scale means it won’t congest or annoy skin suffering from pimples, pustules, and papules, that often have inflammation associated with them.

Anti-ageing: Castor oil is a penetration enhancer. It penetrates deep and helps to boost the body’s production of collagen. Our collagen reserves deplete as with age—especially in delicate areas where the skin is thinner on the face; such as around the eyes and mouth, where expression lines tend to appear first. To help prevent this, pour a small amount onto a cotton pad and apply it to your skin at night just before you go to sleep.

Cleansing: The triglycerides found naturally in castor oil, help remove dirt from your skin.

Dispersant: Another interesting fact about castor oil is that when it has been hydrogenated, it forms the base of a common dispersant in water, making it a great as a carrier for essential oils in bath oil.

Hydrating: As discussed above, because of humectant rich ricinoleic acid, Castor oil works as a natural humectant, pulling moisture from the air and trapping it close to your skin’s tissues.

Improves Texture: Castor is rich in oleic and linoleic acid. Both of these are wonderful fatty acids that are perfect for softening and soothing dry, parched skin.

Moisturising: The triglycerides present in the Castor oil help restore the skin’s natural moisture balance, making it a perfect ingredient if you have dry skin conditions.

With a list of benefits like this, we could hardly overlook this potent ingredient.

Fatty Acid Profile

C12-OH 18:1 mo Ricinoleic Acid 89 -90%
C16:0 st Palmitic Acid 1%
C18:0 st Stearic Acid 1%
C18:1 mo Oleic Acid 3%
C18:2 pu Linoleic Acid 3-4%

Conclusion

As you can see, the benefits of castor oil in skincare are vast.

However, there has been limited research into the dermatological benefits of applying castor oil topically to date. Therefore, we recommend implementing oil alongside your other skincare products when treating specific skin conditions.

Sadly it is worth mentioning, as, with most things in nature, castor oil is subject to refining, which robs the oil of its important properties.

Ideally, the only castor oil you should use in your skincare should be the cold-processed variety, which retains many of its nutrients and doesn’t lose its important skincare properties or medicinal value.

If your keen to find out more about castor oil, the following article is an interesting read.

RESEARCH

Topical use of castor oil: https://ndnr.com/dermatology/topical-use-of-castor-oil/
The therapeutic action of castor: https://www.clinicaleducation.org/resources/reviews/the-forgotten-therapeutic-applications-of-castor-oil/
Just a spoonful of castor oil: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2012/05/just-spoonful-castor-oil
5 castor oil benefits: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/a20707265/castor-oil-uses/

24 thoughts on “The Benefits of Castor Oil in Skincare

  1. Goyum says:

    Castor oil sure is a life saver I have a sensitive and eczema prone skin and since i’ve incorporate it in my skincare my skin is much better… I’ve just started using it around the eye with a retinol serum hopefully it will give a great result !

  2. James says:

    I take oil daily as per ayurved oleation. I typically mix oil in warm milk with powder herb (churna), oil or ghee in warm milk is easy to digest, sipping warm tea to assist assimilation. I use three tbs hemp seed and several drops of castor. Aavarthi can be dangerous unless taken on empty stomach as acid reflux may result if bowels aren’t vacated. I am wary of ricin, but who doesn’t dabble with heral oils.

  3. Wendy says:

    I have been using organic cold pressed castor oil on my melasma for 6 months now and it has almost completely removed the dark patches on my face. I rubbed it into my skin, especially on affected areas every night before bed.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Wendy

      This is a really interesting case study, any further information that could help my readers or if you would like to include a paragraph I could add to my article that would be really welcome. Samantha

  4. Kim says:

    As I’ve been getting older I’ve noticed that the outer parts of my eyebrows have started thinning (a lot). I read that using castor oil could help the hair grow back. I started rubbing a little into my eyebrows at bedtime every night and I honestly see a difference. It’s not a tonne yet but it’s coming. I also noticed that it’s making my eyebrows a bit darker. I will continue to use it because I’m very happy with the results. After reading this I think I’m also going to try it for washing my face. I’ve used sweet almond oil with a few drops of lavender and 1 drop of frankincense for a while now but I’m still finding parts of my face are slightly dry. Maybe this will be what I need. Thanks for the information.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Kim.
      I would love to know the long term results in the future. Thinning eyebrows in the outer parts can indicate a thyroid problem not sure if you are aware of that. Thanks for reaching out..kind regards Samantha

  5. Harvey Lee says:

    Wow!! Castor oil really makes me feel good on my face… All my acne on my face vanished and my skin looks healthy now. This is really a wonderful product that work to treat many skin problems naturally.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Harvey, I don’t acceptspam sorry so have removed the link. However I will keep your comment because there are some wonderful properties in castor oil that should not be ignored, not sure if treating acne is one of the benefits, but I will take your word for it.Samantha

  6. S says:

    Love your detailed information on Castor Oil. It’s the only thing I use for makeup removal and for moisturizing my skin from scalp to toes (including hair).

    I’m not sure why others claim it’s ‘drying’ to skin, but that’s certainly not the case for me and I’ve found that when I massage it into my skin, it does actually absorb after some time, leaving skin feeling baby soft.

  7. Rachel Joyce says:

    Your blog posts are wonderful! I am a passionate skincare advocate making the turn to a holistic, all natural approach to beauty after years in the prestige beauty industry. I am hungry for education on the topic and a have found your site to be one of the best! I recently started a cleansing regimen with Castor Oil. I haven’t used a traditional soap or facial cleanser on my face in a month. My skin looks great! Pore less, calm, plump.

    Thank you for the education … I look forward to reading more posts!
    Xxx

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Rachel thankyou so much for the inspiring message and taking the time to write. Knowledge is what essentially life is all about and its great for me to have a medium to do it through. I am so glad you have come across the many benefits of castor oil, its funny how it goes largely unnoticed by the skincare industry! Another friend of mine just uses pure aloe out of the plant for everything skin and hair and her skin looks fantastic ..inspires me to write a post called the one ingredient love for the future.Samantha x

  8. senay says:

    I was really happy to come across your website, so useful..It would be great to chat ot you more about skincare, such a fascinating subject.

    with best regards

    Senay Yacob

  9. Mary Kinlen, CMT, BA says:

    I was happy to find you as I too share your passion. I have skin care products, one kind of which are bath oils that are to be water-dispersant. Does it have to be 100% castor oil for my bath oil products are do I dilute it in carrier oils such as Grapeseed or a combination of other oils???

    One more question about my castor oil I bought almost a year ago….I don’t know if it smells rancid or not since I’m not sure what castor oil is supposed to smell like especially as this is “red turkey” castor oil. Do you know?

    Thanks a lot,
    Mary

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