Castor Oil

Castor oil

Best used: AM Or PMCaution: Ingestion will reveal the value of castor oilBest for: Constipation
Comments: Traditionally used to move bowelsMode of action: Emollient, anti-oxidantScience Score:



What is the science behind castor oil?

This oil has been used for decades- it’s main use is to treat constipation. Possibly the scientific evidence is equal to the best-known effect of this widely searched oil. Castor oil is derived from the Ricinus plant beans. It is rich in fatty acids including tocopherol (vitamin E). Much like other oils, it has emollient properties & reduces skin dehydration – or more accurately, reduces transepidermal water loss. The occlusive properties of various oils make them a popular treatment for dry hair & split ends. 

What are the skin effects of castor oil?

If there was ever an oil that can do just about anything, it is castor oil. It lubricates farm machinery, moves impacted bowels, treats wrinkle, split ends, promotes growth of eyelashes & treats inflamed skin. The reported skin effect of this oil includes-

  • Emollient properties: Rich in mono-saturated fatty acids this oil acts as a humectant, reducing water loss in turn functioning as a moisturiser. Castor oil can hydrate skin & hair and reduce split ends. 
  • Antioxidant properties: High levels of fatty acids & tocopherol (vitamin E), accounts of this oil’s antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect the skin from free radical damage caused by UV radiation and pollutants. 
  • Reduces skin inflammation: Ricinoleic acid, the main fatty acid found in castor oil, has impressive anti-inflammatory properties. This oil can reduce inflammation from skin ailments such as psoriasis & eczema.
  • Promotes wound healing: Applying castor oil to wounds creates a moist environment that promotes healing and prevents sores from drying out. There are a few case studies on the use of oils for pressure ulcers.

Can castor oil be used to treat wrinkles?

Castor oil contains fatty acids that act as a moisturiser, reducing water loss from the skin. This emollient effect can improve your skin’s texture, reducing fine wrinkles (to be fair, any occlusive moisturizer can do the same). Fatty acids may help in preventing wrinkles as they are shown to have antioxidant properties. There are very limited studies to suggest castor oil can actually increase the production of collagen. Retinol & retinoids do a much better job! 

Davin’s Viewpoint on Castor Oil

I get it, everyone wants a cost effective solution to cure baldness, grow eyelashes, reduce wrinkles, cure inflamed skin, treat split ends, protect against free radicals, stimulate collagen as well as clear your digestive tract of impacted faeces by curing constipation. Sounds good? Try castor oil. For less than 5 cents a day, placebo works. The biggest advantage of castor oil is the last effect of this ingredient- it is great for bowel movement. 

I do believe that castor oil is trying very hard to be a jack of all trades, but only mastering the role of a cost-effective traditional laxative. There are over 100 better ingredients one can use on the skin. Criticism aside, any occlusive oil can reduce wrinkles, so that is a plus. Oils can also soothe inflamed skin, so if you run out of moisturizer, then raiding your grandmother’s medicinal cabinet may reveal a bottle of castor oil. Much like the skin benefits, the use of castor oil for hair treatments may have some merit. Oils can ‘moisturise’ dry hair and split ends. In the context of anti-wrinkle treatments, the science of collagen stimulation with castor oil is weak, you are much better off with retinol-retinoids- skin care acids. Nevertheless, castor oil continues to trend upwards in the Google searches for 2023.


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