Long before the popular brands that dominate the beauty industry were born, women (and men) found ways to enhance their appearance and for both beauty and health. These remedies have increasingly found their way into modern skin care routines in recent years as more natural, rather than synthetic, approaches have grown in popularity.
A well-known product that is making a strong comeback for beauty and skin care health purposes is castor oil. This natural substance has been used for thousands of years, and castor oil benefits for skin are well documented. If you have ever wondered about this oil and questioned whether or not castor oil is good for your skin, look no further. This article explores what this oil is and why you should consider it for regular skin care maintenance.
Table of Contents
What is Castor Oil?
The castor plant, originally native to Africa, is now grown in many tropical climates as a source of the bean it produces. The castor bean (or seed) has long been used for health remedies, with reports of its uses going back over 3000 years, and found in burials from over 6000 years ago through Egypt. Although the hull of the bean contains ricin, which is a deadly poison, when it’s removed the bean, it can be pressed for oil which has long been used in both internal and external medicinal remedies.
The high amounts of a fatty acid, ricinoleic acid (not the same as the poison found in the hull), present in the oil is the main source for the healing properties it displays. This fatty acid, which is also found in lower concentrations in other popular oils, is effective in preventing the growth of many bacterias, yeasts, viruses, and molds.
Therefore, when used as a topical medicinal, it obviously is an excellent addition to your medical cabinet- but it also boasts many other applications that you can take advantage of.
What to Watch For
There are very few (if any) side effects associated with the topical application of the oil. In rare cases, it may be mildly irritating to the skin, especially if left on for long periods of time. Castor oil for skin use is considered fairly safe overall, but as with anything different, people have different sensitivities to products. If ingested, it may cause dizziness abdominal cramping and low blood pressure. If you are at all concerned about using it in any way, always consult with your health care professional.
The biggest complaint about castor oil is its smell- described as oily and pungent. It is thick and greasy as well, making it a bit difficult to work with. It gets on easily on bedding and clothing but is fairly easy to remove with rubbing alcohol because of its molecular structure.
Skin Benefits and How to Apply
Castor oil benefits for the skin are well known. Not only for health purposes but also for beauty aids. The following describes how it can be used and in which ways it is best applied.
Treat Corns and Remove Warts
The softening effects of the oil can work to remove corns, callouses, and even warts when applied over the affected area. Soak a cotton pad and tape it over the area until results begin to be seen.
Relieve Menstrual Cramping
The anti-inflammatory properties can be helpful with menstrual cramping and ease the pain by placing a cloth soaked in oil over the abdomen and held in place for up to an hour. There are also studies that suggest fibroids can be shrunk in this manner.
Alleviate Hemorrhoid Swelling
Soaking a cotton ball in oil and placing over affected areas can also alleviate hemorrhoid swelling and pain. It also serves as a gentle cleanser for those suffering from this affliction.
As an antibacterial application, it combats the bacteria that can cause acne, helps with healthy skin turnover, and soothes inflamed acne flare-ups. Regular use as part of a daily skincare routine helps ease mild to moderate acne breakouts and heal active acne. Simply add to moisturizer as a leave-on treatment or massage gently into facial and neck skin.
Promote Healthy Skin Tissue Growth and Smooths Wrinkles
Castor oil helps with skin rejuvenation and cellular turnover. This allows the skin to look more smooth and healthy as it smooths fine lines and wrinkles, and promotes elasticity. Use with a favorite moisturizer or massage into your skin.
Combat Fungal and Bacterial Infections
It’s antimicrobial properties combat fungal infections of the skin and nails, as well as bacterial infections. Skin conditions and wounds benefit from an application of the oil and should be used regularly until healing occurs.
This is a great way to gently remove dirt and makeup from skin. Simply apply to a cotton round and smooth over the area that needs cleaning. Great for wound cleaning in children, you can remove dirt from scraped knees and elbows in a gentle manner- which in turn also treats the wound. It is also gentle as an eye makeup remover to avoid any pulling of the delicate skin tissues of this area.
Heal Inflamed Skin
Highly anti-inflammatory, this oil works well for a myriad of reasons. Smooth over sunburned skin to help alleviate pain and heat, as well as over sore areas that have swelling such as minor bruises and superficial wounds to avoid infections.
Castor oil is a highly moisturizing treatment and non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores). It is an excellent solution to dry skin for whole body application. Either mix with a favorite lotion or apply as is and massage into troublesome spots- such as knees, elbows, and face.
Fades Dark Spots
If you have uneven skin pigmentation due to scarring or sun damage, this oil can help smooth your skin tone and lighten dark patches of skin due to its promotion of healthy skin growth. Apply directly or mix with your favorite moisturizer before bed and smooth over your face for an all-night treatment. Regular use is needed for good results.
Prevents Stretch Marks
Stretch marks due to pregnancy and weight loss or gain typically occur due to a lack of skin suppleness. The fatty acids of the oil will soak into the skin, making it more elastic and easy to stretch, helping to keep the worst of stretch marks away.
Head and Hair Treatment
Dandruff and itchy scalps can benefit from an application of the oil which helps hydrate the skin, combat any fungal activity, and soothes inflammation. Prior to cleaning your hair, simply massage into your scalp and allow to sit for a few minutes before washing out with your regular routine. This also stimulates blood flow to the scalp and nourishes your hair roots, which can result in thicker, healthier hair.
If you ever have had any questions about castor oil uses for skin, hopefully, this has been a helpful article explaining what this ancient remedy can do when used topically. The strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties make it useful in both medical and beauty aids. As a fairly safe application, it seems to have no side effects except in the most skin sensitive of situations (which are mild and easy to correct with the removal of the oil).
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know below. And, as always, please share.