Skin is the largest organ in the body. And in the same way we advise you on how to eat to keep your heart pumping and your sex drive thriving, we want to share with you some tips on keeping this vital organ at its prime. That’s why we’re sharing everything we’ve discovered about castor oil benefits for skin.
And we haven’t just been reading up on this inexpensive skincare treatment. We’ve tried castor oil out for ourselves. And we can’t believe what we’ve discovered.
It’s true what they say, you learn something every day. And today we learned that grandma never taught us all the benefits of castor oil.
She might have forced it on us to get our gastrointestinal systems moving smoothly when we were kids. But maybe she was keeping the other secret about castor oil to herself. It turns out, this inexpensive product can be a miracle for your skin not to mention your hair. And it can even help you defy aging. (No wonder Granny looked so good!)
What is castor oil?
Castor oil is a fairly thick and odorless vegetable oil. It comes from the seeds of a plant called Ricinus communis. (You may also have heard it called castor bean or castor oil plant.)
The extracted oil is sometimes used as an additive in foods and medications as well as beauty products. In fact, you may already be using castor oil on your skin without knowing it.
The best-known use for castor oil
The most widely-known castor oil health benefit is in treating constipation, just the way Granny told you to use it. And it’s true, this oil is extremely effective as a laxative. That’s because when this oil is ingested, its main fatty acid gets absorbed by the small intestine and stimulates movement through your system.
If you are considering this application for castor oil, consider seeking medical advice. In too large of a dose, side effects may include cramping, nausea and vomiting.
But besides taking it orally, you can find many uses for that bottle of castor oil as a natural beauty and wellness treatment.
Is castor oil good for skin?
It might seem counter-intuitive to apply castor oil to your skin. After all, thick oils are known for clogging pores. But it turns out that castor oil can be great for skin care.
This oil is rich in a monounsaturated fatty acid called ricinoleic acid. And it turns out this type of acid is particularly good at moisturizing skin by preventing water loss through the skin.
As an anti-aging face moisturizer
Used on its own, the fatty acids in castor oil can effectively replace cosmetics counter moisturizers and lotions. (Some users find pure castor oil to be irritating to skin, so skincare professionals recommend diluting it with another skin-friendly oil like almond or coconut oil. You can also try a patch test before applying it all over.)
Of course, modern researchers aren’t the first to experiment with this oil as a beauty treatment for dry skin. It turns out that castor oil was used as a balm in ancient Egypt.
We can only guess that the ancient Egyptians saw anti-aging effects from using the oil as a regular skin treatment. We know today that it has the potential to reduce wrinkles, fade dark spots and slow other signs of aging because of its antioxidant content.
As a treatment for blemishes and acne
In addition, castor oil may be a beneficial treatment for blemishes and acne. That’s because the oil not only contains antioxidants but is also proven to be anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. (Be sure to patch test before using castor oil to treat blemishes because a small percentage of users find this oil irritating to skin.)
As a lip balm
You can also use it as a lip moisturizer. This fairly heavy oil works extremely well as a balm for dry, cracked lips.
As a full-body moisturizer
And castor oil is great not just for the face but for moisturizing the whole body. Some people say its moisturizing properties make it one of the best treatments for feet and can help heal dry, cracking heels.
If you want to try castor oil as a foot treatment, generously rub the oil on your feet at night then slip on a pair of old socks and let this moisturizing oil work its magic. (This oil is heavier and more viscose than the cooking oils you may be familiar with. You’ll want to make sure to cover it with thick socks to prevent staining clothing or sheets.)
Is castor oil good for hair?
Once we started researching this beauty oil, we discovered that there are a lot of rumors circulating that castor oil, specifically Jamaican black castor oil, can promote hair growth and slow hair loss. There is absolutely no evidence that either of these claims are true. However, this oil has some definite benefits to hair.
When applied to the scalp, the oil can lubricate the hair shaft and decrease the chances of breakage and split ends. (It can do the same for eyebrows and eyelashes.) However, those with long, thick hair should use caution when considering applying castor oil to the hair shaft. In rare instances, the weight of the oil has caused felting.
Some surprising topical uses
This almost magical elixir is supposed to aid in circulation. That explains why many athletes rub it into tired and sore muscles. In addition, it makes a great, seductive massage oil for the same reason.
Some say rubbing castor oil gently over your eyelids at bedtime can prevent insomnia. And another home remedy is to rub it gently across your forehead to reduce the pain of migraines.
Can you cook with castor oil?
Because castor oil is known for being high in Omega-6 fatty acids as well as vitamin E, you might be wondering if you should use it as a cooking oil.
Castor oil does have a high smoke point, which is desirable in cooking oil. However, as we discussed earlier in this article, it is recognized for having a laxative effect and can cause cramping, nausea or even vomiting. Although we know it is used occasionally by some home cooks, particularly in making Indian dishes, we recommend other oil choices like avocado oil.
Where can you find the best castor oil?
Cold-pressed castor oil is considered the best for skin and hair treatments. Cold-pressed means the oil from the castor seeds is extracted under pressure. It produces a light, clean oil and it doesn’t lose any nutrients through cooking the oil prior to extraction. And it isn’t extracted using chemicals.
Most medical experts will recommend organic cold-pressed castor oil for the cleanest and healthiest natural beauty treatment. It tends to be higher priced than many oils made through chemical extraction but if you’re looking for a clean beauty treatment, organic and cold-pressed is best.
You can find cold-pressed castor oil in the health care section of many grocery stores and pharmacies. (Many Whole Foods, Target and CVS stores carry organic, pure castor oil.) Be sure to look for a product that is 100% pure and organic.
If you can’t find it at your local store, you can always order online. This castor oil skincare set from Viva Naturals even comes with an empty, refillable mascara tube and wand so that you can safely apply the oil to your lashes for strength and shine.
Featured image by Chelsea Shapouri
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