Castor oil benefits, where to get it and how to use it on face
Castor oil benefits and how to use it on face
What is castor oil?
Castoir oil is derived from the seeds of the Castor plant (Ricinus communis), which is also known as the “Palma Christe” because the shape of its leaves resembles the palm of Christ. It is a viscous liquid with a bright yellow color and an unpleasant taste. It comes from Africa and India and has a long history of use. Many civilizations have used that oil as a natural medicine for centuries, such as Egyptians, Chinese, Persians, Romans, Africans and Ancient Greeks. Today it is widely used not only as a food additive, but in the textile and rubber industry and (of course) cosmetics.
Castor oil is considered to be pretty unique because it contains a great amount of ricinoleic acid (a fatty acid) which is not found in many other substances. Ricinoleic acid is extremely beneficial for our health because it has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Moreover, the high levels of unsaturated fatty acids in castor oil make it a great antioxidant agent.
It is important to keep in mind that some parts of castor plant seeds are toxic in case you consume them in any way or swallow them. The seeds are ready for consumption only after having undergone the specific process of removing their oil. Do not worry! Castor oil is completely safe, since toxins are contained only in the raw seeds of the castor plant.
In this article, you will be informed about the amazing castor oil benefits and learn why you should start using it in your daily life.
Castor oil health benefits
Besides its wide use for beauty enhancing treatments, castor oil has a long history of being used for many healing treatments too. Its use for medical purposes can be found back to 1550 B. C., when the ancient Egyptians used it to treat eye irritation and as a powerful natural skin care remedy. Castor oil has always been highly valued in India for its skin-healing, digestive-soothing, antibacterial properties, while it has been commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine practices.
Most of castor oil’s benefits arise from its chemical composition. Almost 90% of its fatty acid content is a rare compound called ricinoleic acid. Ricinoleic acid has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which make it the most valuable castor oil’s ingredient. It is believed to be responsible for the excellent therapeutic effects that castor oil has.
There are many castor oil health benefits and the following are just a few of them.
1. Castor oil supports the immune system
Scientifically, castor oil has demonstrated immune stimulating properties. It is believed to improve lymphatic drainage, blood circulation, thymus gland health and other immune system functions. Castor oil causes an increase in the production of lymphocytes, which are released and stored within the lymphatic tissue from the thymus gland, spleen, lymph nodes and tissue that lines the small intestine. Lymphocytes form antibodies that attack outside invaders such as toxins, bacteria and other perceived threats. The lymphatic system also has an impact on the circulation and gastrointestinal system, and that’s why castor oil also has benefits for helping you detox, supporting your heart function and treating digestive issues.
A study published in the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine assessed lymphocyte values of 36 healthy subjects before and after castor oil was applied topically. This study indicated that castor oil has antioxidant properties and also impacts the lymphatic system, enhancing immunological function.
The same study also showed that castor oil pack therapy (of minimal two-hour duration) led to an increase in the number of T-11 cells within a 24-hour period after the treatment, with a parallel increase in the number of total lymphocytes. This increase represents a general boost in the specific defense mechanisms of the immune system.
2. Castor oil balances hormones and improves libido
The proper absorption of fat molecules within the gastrointestinal system is essential for the formation of healthy hormones. Castor oil can help with that and offer a natural way to balance your hormones. Also, with fewer toxins present within and around cells and a better blood circulation, sex organ function is more efficient and people complain less about PMS symptoms, fatigue, mood swings and depression.
3. Castor oil against skin infections
Due to its low molecular mass, castor oil has the ability to penetrate the epidermis. Castor oil packs anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that fight skin infections. It also contains unsaturated fatty acids that help the regeneration of the skin.
Castor oil has the advantage of promoting the blood flow when applied topically, helping the body better fight infections and accelerating the healing process in case of cuts and wounds. Furthermore, it improves lymph flow, which can help speed up the removal of cellular-related toxins and therefore reduce swelling, redness and inflammation that most skin diseases cause.
Castor oil works for sunburns as well. Its anti-microbial properties make sure that infections don’t happen and ricinoleic acid helps alleviate sunburn pain. Many people seem to think that castor oil is even more effective than Aloe Vera when referring to skin conditions.
If you have an itchy and dry skin, a cut or a wound, skin inflammation, acne, or even stretch marks, all you have to do is soak a piece of cotton in castor oil and apply it to the skin twice a day.
4. Castor oil as a joint pain reliever
Castor oil is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as a natural remedy for joint or tissue pain and other conditions, such as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. A double-blind study published in the journal “Phytotherapy Research” showed that castor oil is effective in reducing the pain in patients with osteoarthritis.
What to do: Take a piece of fabric and fold it into squares. Soak it in castor oil. Then, place it on the painful areas and try massaging for a little while. Afterwards, cover it with a plastic wrap and leave it for about an hour. Practicing this process twice per week can give you a bit of relief from the joint or tissue pain.
You can also make a mixture of castor oil and turmeric powder or cayenne powder and then rub the mixture on your joints. Be careful not to get this in your eyes, especially if you choose to use cayenne pepper instead of turmeric.
5. Castor oil reduces back pain
Being an excellent anti-inflammatory agent, castor oil is a natural and effective remedy when it comes to treating back pain. Massaging castor oil on your back is a great way to get rid of any pain and stiffness.
What to do: Take a piece of a clean and soft cloth and soak it in castor oil. Then, place it topically on the painful areas of your back and try massaging for a little while. Thereafter, ask someone to help you cover the area with a plastic wrap. Place a hot water bag on your back for about an hour, as it helps the oil to permeate the inflamed tissues. Repeat this process for three subsequent days to get a relief from the pain.
6. Castor oil eases constipation and spastic colitis
It would be impossible to talk about castor oil without mentioning its benefits for constipation. When it is consumed orally, castor oil acts like a mild laxative and helps with proper bowel movements during defecation and feeling of complete evacuation afterwards. Ricinoleic acid (its precious ingredient) gets released in the intestines, where it helps with the process of digestion, nutrient absorption and cleansing the system. With better function, the intestines can remove “bad” bacteria and toxins that interfere with proper bowel movements. A healthier intestinal system can reduce constipation, cramping, bloating (edema), leaky gut syndrome and possibly other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. One teaspoon of castor oil in the morning will quickly have your bowels moving again. However, you should not consume it for more than 3 subsequent days and do not use it if you are pregnant.
Another one of castor oil benefits is the relief of spastic colitis, which is an irritating and painful intestinal disorder.
What to do: Take a piece of a clean and soft cloth and soak it in warmed castor oil. Then place it to your abdomen, cover it with a plastic wrap and let it impact for a couple of hours. Repeat this process up to twice a day.
7. Castor oil treats ringworm and other fungal infections
Ringworm is a common and stubborn fungal skin infection which usually affects the skin on the body, the scalp, the feet (also known as athlete’s foot) and the groin. Castor oil contains an active compound called undecylenic acid which has anti-fungal properties. Therefore, it is an effective and natural treatment for fungal skin infections, including ringworm. For best results, apply the castor oil and leave it on overnight.
8. Castor oil for calluses and corns
Castor oil is beneficial for calluses and corns because, when applied topically, it helps remove the dead cells from the skin on the legs. All you have to do is dampen a piece of cloth with some castor oil and apply it on the affected areas. Wrap the cloth with gauze or use a sock to keep it in place. Leave it on overnight for better results.
You can also massage some castor oil into corns to help reduce the pain and swelling that they cause. Repeat the massage daily for a period of about a week and ultimately make them disappear.
9. Castor oil for hemorrhoid treatment
Castor oil is assumed to work on shrinking hemorrhoids and easing the pain and itching that they cause. Just note that it only works for hemorrhoids that are outside the body. You just have to take a cotton ball and dampen it with some castor oil. Then apply it to your hemorrhoids. Leave it on for about 15-30 minutes before washing. You can practice this process multiple times per week.
10. Castor oil is a natural sleep aid
More and more people suffer from insomnia today. Castor oil can help you fall asleep easier and put you into deep sleep for an extended period. It is not clear exactly how castor oil induces sleep, but people who use it around their eyes have vouched for its effectiveness.
For this purpose, rub a bit of castor oil on your eyelids before you go to bed. Just make sure that you don’t actually get it in your eyes. The oil will offer you a peaceful night’s sleep and you will wake up refreshed in the morning.
Castor oil benefits for hair
1. Castor oil promotes hair growth
One of the very well-known castor oil benefits for hair is the promotion of hair growth. It boosts blood flow to the follicles, leading to faster hair growth. The oil also has a great amount of omega-6 (Ω-6) and omega-9 (Ω-9) fatty acids that are really important for healthy hair. It also helps prevent and repair split ends, controls hair breakage and moisturizes your hair.
You can try to make your own homemade hair mask by warming up some castor oil until it’s hot to touch. After allowing it to cool for a bit, apply the oil to the scalp with your fingertips, massaging it in and then spread it all over your hair. Make a bun and cover your hair with a cap and leave it for a few hours (or overnight if you prefer so) before washing it off. Repeat this process every night and you will notice the difference in about two weeks.
If you think that the consistency of castor oil is too thick and makes your work harder, then you can make a mixture of castor oil and coconut oil or sweet almond oil in proportion 1:1 and use it as described above. Your hair will be shinier and silkier and will grow faster in no time.
For split ends, just apply a few drops of castor oil directly to the ends of your hair to decrease the amount of breakage that you have noticed. This way your hair will appear much less brittle.
2. Castor oil thickens hair
Castor oil contains omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, both of which are useful for nourishing and strengthening your hair. When using it regularly, castor oil will encourage new growth and thicken existing strands to give you beautiful and thicker hair. All you have to do is warm up a bit of castor oil and apply it to your roots and all over your hair. Leave it on for half an hour or more and then wash your hair with a shampoo. Repeat this process at least once a week.
3. Castor oil treats scalp conditions
Scalp infection can cause major and discomforting hair problems, such as bald patches, dandruff and an itchy scalp. Castor oil has both antifungal and antibacterial properties, which make it capable of fighting pathogens and microorganisms that cause the infection. Therefore, it can actually help you get rid of these conditions.
Make a mask: Mix 1 tablespoon of castor oil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add ¼ cup of lemon juice. Apply the mask on your scalp for about 30 minutes, and then wash your hair with your regular shampoo. If you have both oily hair and dandruff, then mix 1 tablespoon of each of the following products: castor oil, organic honey and aloe vera gel and then add ¼ cup of lemon juice. Apply the mask on your scalp for about 30 minutes before shampooing and conditioning your hair.
4. Castor oil prevents premature graying
If your hair has started to show the first signs of graying, the regular use of castor oil may prevent your hair from losing more pigment and delay it turning gray or white. Again, you can make your own mask. Warm up some castor oil and apply it to your scalp and all over your hair. Leave it on for half an hour or more and then wash your hair with a shampoo. Repeat this process at least once a week.
5. Castor oil as a hair conditioner
You don’t need expensive, manufactured conditioners to condition your hair. Castor oil is considered to be extremely helpful in treating dry and damaged hair. After using it regularly, castor oil will make your hair smoother and softer.
Make a mask: Mix 1 tablespoon of castor oil with your regular conditioner and shake well. Apply the mixture on the ends of your hair for half an hour before shampooing. This mask will improve the overall appearance of your hair and make your locks shine with health and glossiness.
6. Castor oil enhances hair color
Castor oil can enhance the natural color of your hair and make it look rich and shiny. When applied on the hair, its humectant properties help preserve the moisture in the hair. Simply warm up 1 tablespoon of castor oil and dip your fingers in it. Run the fingers through your hair to get the oil on to as many strands as possible. Then, wrap your hair in a towel and leave it on for half an hour or more before shampooing.
Castor oil benefits for skin
As you probably already know, the health of your skin is often a reflection of the health of your gastrointestinal system, immune system and hormonal balance. Loading your skin with chemical ingredients found in manufactured skin care products often leads to its irritation. Castor oil is completely natural and can be easily absorbed by the skin, resulting in several amazing outcomes for skin’s appearance.
1. Castor oil heals inflamed skin
Castor oil is a great natural remedy when it comes to healing skin inflammation that can be caused by acne, sunburns or dry skin. It has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that help with skin inflammations of all sorts and offer a more youthful glow to your skin.
What to do: Take a piece of cotton and dip it in castor oil. Apply directly to the affected skin areas for immediate relief.
For treating sunburn, apply a mixture of castor oil and coconut oil in proportion 1:1 to the affected areas, or try the same remedy as a natural lip balm to heal chapped or sun-burnt lips.
2. Castor oil relieves the pain from scratches
We all know that scratches can be painful and annoying, but you can decrease the pain from scratches and other abrasions by using castor oil on them. You may not mix it with anything. Just rub a few drops of castor oil on your scratches and its healing properties will begin to act quickly.
3. Castor oil removes blemishes and scars
Once again, the fatty acids (specifically the omega-3) present in castor oil come to save you. They have the ability to penetrate deep into the scar tissue and ward it off while encouraging the growth of healthy tissue around it. This leads to the reduction of the appearance of blemishes and scars. Note that castor oil works slowly in this case and needs to be used regularly to see discrete results.
For this purpose, take a cotton ball and soak it in some castor oil. Apply the oil to the blemishes or scars. You must do this every day for one or two weeks in order to begin to see this healing effect.
4. Castor oil as a skin moisturizer
One of the tremendous castor oil benefits for skin is its ability to moisturize skin. By penetrating deep into the skin tissue, the oil nourishes it with essential fatty acids, removes dry patches and restores hydration of the skin. Many manufactured moisturizers contain castor oil, but you can get all of its benefits from direct application as well.
What to do: After thoroughly cleaning your skin, apply to it a bit of castor oil with your fingertips. It may be kind of sticky at first, but you only have to get it on the skin in a thin layer. If you want an easier application, try to mix it with a little coconut oil (in proportion 1:1). Then, try to massage it in using gentle, circular moves. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes, then wash off and pat dry. Remember that castor oil gets absorbed rather quickly, leaving no oily feel. After practicing this process a couple of times, your skin will become softer and dryness will disappear.
An alternative way to moisturize normal or oily skin is by mixing 1/4 cup of castor oil with jojoba oil, grape seed oil or olive oil. Gently massage the dry areas of your skin with this mixture and allow the treatment to act for a few hours (or overnight if you prefer so) and then rinse well in the morning with warm water.
Castor oil will leave you with smooth, supple, and revitalized skin. So if you are looking for an inexpensive and natural skin moisturizer, you now know what to reach out for.
5. Castor oil prevents stretch marks
Stretch marks are usually a result of pregnancy when the skin on the abdomen and pelvis experiences drastic stretching over a short period of time. More elastic skin means fewer stretch marks, and this is where castor oil plays its part. Castor oil is rich in fatty acids, which help your skin be more elastic. Consequently, when used topically during pregnancy, castor oil can prevent stretch marks.
Simply apply some castor oil on your abdomen and pelvis with your fingertips and massage the oil into your skin. Do this daily during your pregnancy and it will help prevent the stretch marks from forming. You can also use it after birth to help the marks heal.
6. Castor oil heals skin infections on pets
Castor oil is beneficial not only for us but for our pets as well. Dogs and cats usually tend to lick their wounds and areas on their skin that may have been infected. This only worsens the skin infection and results to the ingestion of any medication applied on these spots.
Castor oil is considered to be safe for usage on minor cuts and infected areas on animals. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties will help healing quickly. Besides, the taste of this oil is unpleasant so our pets may leave off licking the spots. In case they don’t, this edible oil will probably not cause anything more than loose stools.
Apple cider vinegar is also known about its benefits for our skin.
Castor oil benefits for hands
1. Beautiful nails
The daily use of castor oil on your nails for a couple of months will give you long, strong and beautiful nails. All you have to do is massage a bit of castor oil into your cuticles and on your fingernails and leave it on for 15-30 minutes before washing your hands. You can also use it on your toenails not only for strengthening but for keeping the fungus away too.
2. Castor oil as a natural treatment for brittle nails
Brittle and cracked nails are clearly unhealthy and inelegant, and people surely want to get rid of these. Castor oil seems to be effective in treating this condition. Just massage your nails with the oil every evening, as you watch TV or before you go to bed, and soon you’ll see your nails transform from brittle to healthy.
3. Create your own homemade hand cream using castor oil
Many manufactured hand creams contain castor oil, but you can also make your own cream of castor oil at home. Mix castor oil with sesame oil in proportion 1:1 and use it every night. Your hands will definitely be softer and more moisturized.
Castor oil benefits for face and how to use it on it
Castor oil has been used for centuries for getting a delicate facial skin and treating facial skin conditions, such as acne and eczema. It can be an effective emollient for dry skin and can even help detoxify and cleanse skin. Be careful to only use pure castor oil in order to take all its beneficial nutrients and be protected from skin allergies caused from chemically processed products.
There are many ways to use castor oil for making a face mask, but there is one simple way to apply it on your face.
How to apply castor oil on your face
Before you apply the oil (or the mixture you’ve made with castor oil and other ingredients), thoroughly wash your face with warm water to open up your facial pores.
Castor oil is a viscous oil and that’s why it’s more convenient to mix it with a carrier oil (like almond oil, coconut oil or olive oil) to help the application.
When you are ready, apply the oil (or the mixture) to your face with your fingertips and start massaging it well into your skin using gentle, circular moves.
Leave it on your face for a few hours or maybe overnight and then rinse with warm water for spectacular results.
After informing you about its application, it’s now time we refer to castor oil benefits for face and how to make your own masks to use on it.
1. Castor oil for face glow and moisturizing
Castor oil contains a great amount of fatty acids which penetrate deep into the skin, softening and hydrating it like no other oil.
Make a face mask: To moisturize dry skin, mix 2-3 drops of castor oil with 6 drops of sesame oil and rub the mixture on your face for an amazing glow that lasts for many hours.
For normal or oily facial skin, mix 2-3 drops of castor oil with 6 drops of jojoba oil, grape seed oil or olive oil and apply the mixture as mentioned above.
An alternative way to make a fast-active facial mask is by mixing 1 teaspoon of castor oil with 1 egg yolk. Apply the mixture to your face for 10-15 minutes, then wash off with warm water and pat dry.
2. Castor oil fights signs of aging
One of the greatest castor oil benefits for face is that when it is used topically, it can slow down aging. Castor oil has the advantage of penetrating deeply into the skin and stimulating the production of collagen and elastin. This helps soften and hydrate the skin. As a result, the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines is delayed and the skin gets a more youthful appearance.
All you have to do is apply castor oil on face like we’ve mentioned in “How to apply castor oil on your face“.
3. Castor oil as a natural treatment for acne
Acne appears when there’s an overproduction of sebum in the skin gland and it is often complicated by secondary microbial infections.
Castor oil actually works great as a natural remedy for mild acne. It is rich in ricinoleic acid which fights against the acne-causing bacteria and decreases the inflammation, while softening and hydrating irritated skin at the same time. The oil also helps solve deeper issues causing breakouts, like hormonal imbalances and an unhealthy balance of bacteria within the intestinal system. In addition, it works really fast, so apply it daily on your face before you go to sleep and you will notice a drastic improvement within one or two weeks.
What to do: After washing your face to open the pores, apply a few drops of castor oil to the affected areas with a cotton swab. Leave it on overnight and wash it off the next morning with cold water.
You can also try to mix apple cider vinegar and essential oils with a small amount of pure coconut oil. All of these options can reduce redness and swelling along with scarring and pain. (Caution: If you have acne problems, it is recommended to consult your doctor.)
4. Castor oil for longer lashes
If you desire to have longer eyelashes, but you don’t want eyelashes extensions, then try applying castor oil on them, as it helps the eyelashes look thicker and longer.
What to do: Apply 2 drops of pure castor oil to your eyelashes using an eyelash brush (like the mascara). Repeat this every day before you go to bed, do not rinse and in a couple of weeks you’ll get the eyelashes that you’ve always dreamed of.
You can also use castor oil to make your very own mascara. It is a messy process, but the homemade product is much safer for your eyelashes than any mascara you can purchase nowadays.
How to make homemade mascara: Mix 2 tablespoons of castor oil with 1 tablespoon of beeswax and warm up the mixture until it’s hot to touch. Then add charcoal powder for black color or cocoa powder for brown color and allow it to cool. You now have a natural mascara for longer eyelashes.
5. Castor oil for thicker eyebrows
As mentioned, castor oil stimulates the growth of hair, so it’s great for thickening your eyebrows. Just rub 2 drops of castor oil on each eyebrow every night before going to sleep for a couple of weeks to nourish and thicken your eyebrows.
6. Castor oil as a lip balm
Being an excellent moisturizer, castor oil can improve dry and cracked lips. As you may already know, castor oil is actually contained in many lip balms that you can purchase.
All you need to do is rub a bit of organic castor oil on your lips and this will help heal cracks while protecting from further chapping as well. You can even mix it with coconut oil (in proportion 1:1) to solve chapped or sun-burnt lips.
Are there any side effects from using castor oil?
The FDA has declared castor oil as safe to use, but just like with anything else, side effects have been reported. These are mostly related to the skin and gastrointestinal system. Some side effects are the following:
- Skin allergy/sensitivity
- Abdominal Cramps
- Muscle cramps
Also, some useful precautions are the following:
- Test the oil on a spot of your hand before using it to make sure that you are not allergic.
- It’s not recommended to use castor oil too often on your face, as it can clog pores, lead to breakouts and can irritate the skin.
- Pregnant women should avoid using castor oil orally because it can induce labor.
- If you think about using castor oil, make sure to consult your doctor before doing any self-treatments.