Castor oil is the go-to traditional cure for all kinds of skin and hair problems, as well as for a variety of health issues such as joint pains and upset stomach. Castor oil has been used for as long as since the ancient Egytians to induce labour.
Castor plants are mostly found in India and Africa. The oil is extracted from crushing the seeds and has been used as a centuries old remedy use by traditional healers for inflammation and bacterial infections. In the present time, it’s anti-oxidant properties has been vastly studied and thus it is more commonly used for its medicinal and therapeutic benefits. As a beauty care agent for the skin and hair, it is one of the most widely used ingredients in cosmetics, soaps, massage oils etc. Because of its high content of unsaturated fats, it is also used to treat major ailments such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, arthritis and rheumatism. One of the popular remedy for constipation is to ingest one teaspoon of this foul tasting oil for three days to facilitate healthier bowel movements. However, because of its efficient activity castor oil is not recommended for pregnant or lactating mother and people who have a weak constitution or are suffering from anaemia and diarrhoea.
According to some dermatologists, Oil Cleansing Method is an effective cleansing, toning, moisturizing regime that aims to deep clean the pores and get rid of blackhead causing debris. In order to use castor oil to deep clean pores, mix it with a light oil like apricot oil, olive oil or jojoba oil and massage it into your facial skin gently and thoroughly. The good fatty acids in castor oil displace the waxy debris that would otherwise cause blackheads and acne. After massage, soak a clean washcloth in lukewarm water, wring out the excess water and apply the hot cloth over your face until it cools. This will help to remove pore- clogging materials better. Be careful not to burn your face. You can repeat this steaming process a few more times. This way you remove make-up, dirt, moisturizers and excess oil from the pores and deep clean them while ensuring that the skill does not dry out.
It has long been used as a treatment against fungal infections, especially ringworms and yeast infection, a common skin problem that may affect you at any age. Athletes foot is more common in people with unhygienic habits. Castor oil has a biochemical called undecylenic acid which helps retard fungal growth. Castor oil is generally mixed with coconut oil and the mixture is applied over the affected area and kept overnight. The procedure is to be repeated until cured. Castor oil also helps to rejuvenate the skin in the affected area and prevents formation of scars.
8. Stretch marks
An old housewives’ remedy to remove those ugly stretch marks on your stomach or thighs is to rub castor oil over them and then wrap them in a thick cloth or plastic wrap to allow the oil to soak in. Of course, as all natural remedies, this takes time and must be applied regularly. Castor oil is also known to induce labour. However, using castor oil, especially ingesting it, is not recommended for pregnant women, because of its effectiveness in causing uterine contractions. It is advisable that you consult your doctor regarding this.
7. Fade scars
If you have a scar from an old injury that refuses to go after all these years, you can try using castor oil on it. The fatty acids in the oil penetrate through the epidermal skin layers over the scar tissue and erase it out while at the same time promoting growth of new cells. Slowly, but surely, it will get rid of the scar permanently.
The antimicrobial properties of castor oil make it useful to not only treat fungal infection but also minor cuts and scratches on the skin. In case of skin sores or inflammation of the skin, especially at joints, rubbing castor oil in the area helps to ease the discomfort and heals the symptoms.
Ricinoleic acid in castor oil helps to fight cystic acne-causing bacteria naturally and safely. To treat acne with castor oil, you should first wash you face with warm water which will help you open the facial pores and then either apply the oil topically over your problem areas or massage it into the skin in circular motions. Leave it overnight and wash it off the next morning. You will notice that the blemishes will have reduced significantly. However, you must take care to not use too much oil on your face as this might clog the pores and create more problems for your skin.
4. Massage oil
Castor oil has a lot of health benefits for the body, and not just for the skin. It helps with joint and muscle pain, relaxing muscle tension, digestion and blood circulation. These qualities make it ideal to be used in massage therapy. You may also self massage it into your scalp or body and leave it overnight for the healing properties of the oil to sink in. But be mindful that the oil leaves stains on fabric, so maybe use old bed sheets and clothes when preparing for the massage.
3. Wrinkles and Facial lines
The fatty acids in castor oil can easily penetrate through the skin layers and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. This not only repairs and softens your skin, but also delays the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, giving you a younger, smoother and softer look. Castor oil is the best inexpensive botox treatment you can get, and it works especially well for crow’s feet or dark circles around the eyes. Apply it on your face immediately after you have washed your face and before going to bed, this will help the oil to be soaked into the skin easily.
Castor oil is also useful to treat styes or oil gland infections on the eyelid. Apply a small drop with your finger tip on the area at least 2 or three times a day. The high vitamin E content found in castor oil is also excellent for brittle nails and rough cuticles. You should notice a startling difference if you continue massaging the oil into your fingers for two to three months.
2. Sunburn and Itches
The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of castor oil make it ideal for treatment of rashes, itches and bug bites. It also helps to soothe skin in case of sunburn. If the affected area is small, you can soak a band-aid in castor oil and apply it on the area. For larger areas, dip a wad of cotton in castor oil and apply it directly to the affected skin area. Leave it for an hour (or overnight for itches and sunburns) and wash off after. Repeat this frequently during the day to get faster results.
Not only is castor oil rich in fatty acids, the fatty acids can easily be absorbed into the layers, thus removing dry patches and dark eye circles and restoring hydration to the skin. The unique combination of fatty acids in castor oil makes it an important ingredient in the skincare industry. However, overuse of castor oil or castor oil containing lotions as a moisturizer might be detrimental to the health of your skin. The ideal quantity for single use is two to three drops. Be careful to use the castor oil available in health or medicine stores only, as the industrial variety is not very refined and may cause more damage to your skin.
Disclaimer: In spite of its several above mentioned benefits and usage over the centuries, you should be very careful when using castor oil yourself. There has not been much scientific research done on the properties of this oil and many users have also reported undesired side effects to it.