Benefits & Uses of Castor Oil for Skin & Hair
Dr. Sneha Ganatra
November 23, 2020
When it comes to products for skincare, haircare, or general wellness, opting for naturally occurring substances is usually a smart idea. These are generally safer, more reliable, and have several benefits with minimal downsides. This is exactly the case with castor oil, which is a substance obtained from the seed of the Ricinus communis plant. The uses of castor oil date back to thousands of years and the oil has been popular for a wide variety of things. For instance, applying castor oil on hair or eyebrows has been known to promote hair growth and keep hair healthy.
Besides the common castor oil benefits for hair health, there are numerous medicinal properties to castor oil too. For this reason, it is quite common to find it being used to treat health problems like constipation and skin ailments. This can be attributed to the fact that castor oil has cleansing, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and moisturising properties, all of which come with many upsides.
To best highlight the value of this vegetable oil, here are a few well known benefits of castor oil for you to keep in mind.
Works well as a moisturiser
Given the popularity of castor oil, how to use tips flood the internet and almost every natural hair care guide recommends using it as a conditioner. This is because the fat content in it lubricates hair, makes it a lot more flexible, and reduces the chances of breakage. What’s more, due to its moisturising and anti-inflammatory properties, it may also work well to alleviate dandruff caused by seborrheic dermatitis. Further, it also reduces scalp flaking and transforms dry and irritated scalp skin into healthy and moisturised skin with regular use.
Moving on from hair care to skin care, it is important to know that castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid. This retains moisture and promotes hydration by reducing water loss from the outermost layer of skin. What’s more, since castor oil is a natural oil, it is smart to use it as a moisturiser, especially if you’re looking to steer clear of products full of preservatives. Common practice includes mixing castor oil with other skin-friendly natural products like coconut, almond, or olive oil to create a complete skin hydrating oil.
Another notable benefit of ricinoleic acid is that it has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. As such, when castor oil is applied topically, it can help keep inflammation in check and also relieve pain. These effects may be best observed when treating inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or psoriasis.
Some animal studies have also found that castor oil helps reduce swelling as well. While more human studies need to be conducted to discover its true capabilities in this regard, when dealing with problems like RA, it may be quite a cost-effective solution.
Minimises acne breakouts
As mentioned earlier, castor oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which are great at combating acne breakouts. These generally occur either due to inflammation on the skin or due to a bacterial imbalance or overgrowth. When applied topically, castor oil can help reduce inflammation and therein, any symptoms that follow.
This is also the case with bacteria overgrowth, including that of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. A test tube study found that the extract of castor oil had antibacterial effects that kept the growth of this and other bacteria in check. As a result, if acne breakouts are brought on due to either of these reasons, using castor oil on the skin (mixed in with a carrier oil) can work as an effective remedy.
Stimulates tissue growth for wound healing
Common advice for certain wounds or sores is to provide a clean and moist environment for recovery. Wounds that dry up have a build-up of dead cells, which can lead to delayed healing. Applying castor oil to wounds prevents just that while also stimulating tissue growth. This tissue creates a barrier between the environment and wound, thus reducing the risk of infection too. In fact, a study found that those who used castor oil to treat wounds had quick healing times and a higher rate of complete healing than those who used other measures.
Serves as a powerful laxative
Using castor oil as a natural laxative may be the most commonly known benefit of the oil. This natural laxative is classified as a stimulant laxative, which means it increases activities of the muscles that are responsible for pushing material through the intestines. Castor oil has a quick laxative effect because of ricinoleic acid and is often used to treat constipation. In addition to that, it was found to help the elderly have complete bowel movement and reduce the need to strain during defecation. There are numerous benefits to having healthy bowel movement and castor oil can work for all ages too.
Keeping these reasons in mind, you should definitely consider using castor oil to improve your hair, keep your skin healthy, or better your overall health. However, even with all its benefits, castor oil usage must only take place after consulting a trained specialist. This is because there are side effects when using castor oil for skin problems or otherwise, and being unaware can make it worse. In some cases, it can trigger an allergic reaction, especially when used on the skin, and in other situations it can cause diarrhoea, both of which come with their own set of complications. This is why it is best to get a doctor’s opinion before use. Now, with the Bajaj Finserv Health app, you can get expert recommendations to leverage the power of castor oil for your benefit.
This app allows you to find the best specialists in your area and access healthcare through your smartphone! You can book appointments online and consult with doctors virtually over video. What’s more, you can maintain digital patient records, track your vitals, and share all this information in a paperless and wireless format with your doctor as needed. This makes it much simpler to get the care you need, especially when a visit to the clinic isn’t possible. For all these benefits and more, download the app for free from the Apple App store or Google Play today and make sure you include castor oil in your everyday grooming activities!