I’m always on the lookout for natural products that are good for the skin. If they’re good for the hair, too, then we’ve got ourselves a winner. Castor oil is a versatile oil that can be used for both skin and hair care. Have you ever wondered how to use castor oil? Wonder no more…. Here are 10 ways to use this amazing oil from home.
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What Is Castor Oil?
I used to love growing castor beans, an exotic-looking, majestic plant native to India, the Mediterranean, and eastern Africa. The plant isn’t really a bean, but is called such because its seeds look like beans. When these bean-like seeds are pressed, they release a thick, colorless liquid that has a distinct smell and taste.
Castor oil has been used medicinally for centuries as a popular home remedy for many ailments. Many people associate castor oil with childbirth since it was widely used to induce labor. Or you may have heard of castor oil packs, which are used for liver detoxification.
The oil has also been commonly used as a laxative and a treatment for coughs and colds. What most people don’t know is that castor beans are rich in ricin, one of the most deadly and poisonous substances on the planet. In fact, just one milligram can be fatal. This infamous bean has even been used as a biological weapon.
How To Use Castor Oil
1. As A Skin Antiseptic
Castor oil has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which makes it a natural remedy to prevent and treat blemishes and acne. It may seem counterintuitive, since oily skin is thought to cause acne, but castor oil is a great cleanser that unclogs pores and gets rid of blackheads.
The idea behind its effectiveness is the concept that like attracts like. Because oil dissolves oil, castor oil is magical at pulling out dirt, sebum, and makeup residue from the pores, and it does so without drying or irritating the skin.
2. A Natural Anti-Wrinkle Treatment
The fatty acids in castor oil make it a luxurious moisturizer, humectant, and emollient. An emollient smooths and softens skin, whereas, a humectant locks in moisture. Wrinkles are partly caused from a lack of moisture in the skin, which declines with age.
Castor oil deeply penetrates the delicate eye area that is prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Apply a small amount of oil underneath each eye before you go to sleep. It will soften dry, scaly skin, and prevent premature aging thanks to the antioxidants in castor oil.
3. Relieves Inflammation
Castor oil boosts circulation and promotes healthy blood flow, making the complexion more supple and vibrant. It reduces swelling and puffiness, as well. The main fatty acid within the oil, ricinoleic acid, is anti-inflammatory and can be applied topically to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
Apply castor oil to sore muscles and arthritic joints. I like to rub it on my lower back when I feel the muscles being pulled and strained. Watch the video below to see how castor oil is used for joint pain.
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4. Improves Hydration
Castor oil is a natural humectant, it retains moisture in the skin and hair, by preventing water loss. The oil is comprised of triglycerides that lock in moisture, making it an amazing remedy for both dry and aging skin. It’s especially good in the winter months when humidity levels are low.
If you’ve used castor oil before, you know how thick it is. You can combine it with thinner oils to make it less viscous. It’s awesome for removing eye makeup.
Castor oil can be used to treat fungal infections, such as ringworm and athlete’s foot. Soak a cloth or band aid with castor oil, and apply to the infected area. Undecylenic acid is the anti-fungal agent in the oil that combats fungus and candida. It’s also anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, making it useful for treating, not only yeast, but bacteria and mold as well.
It’s normal to have various types of fungi and bacteria living on our skin. It becomes problematic, and potentially harmful, when these micro-organisms grow out of control. Candidiasis is a common skin infection characterized by an itchy, red rash, commonly occurring in warm, moist areas like the armpits and groin.
6. Wart Removal Treatment
Warts are common in both children and adults. They can be highly annoying to get rid of. They’re typically found on the hands or feet, but can appear anywhere on the body. Some warts will disappear on their own, however, some can be really stubborn. One valid reason to remove them, besides being unsightly, is they can spread to other parts of the body. They can also be painful if bumped, causing them to bleed and possibly spread.
Castor oil is purported to remove warts with prolonged use. Apply a small dab of the oil, twice a day for a couple weeks, to see what results you get. It’s worked for many people so it’s worth a try. This alternative remedy beats getting your warts frozen or cut off, which is no walk in the park, and you won’t have to worry about scarring.
7. Ease Sunburn Pain
Castor oil is a great product to have on hand in case you get a painful sunburn. It’s soothing and has that same cooling-sensation you get when using aloe vera on your skin. Another great advantage of using castor oil for sunburns, is it prevents any blisters that form, from becoming infected.
And you know those cracked heels we all get? Well, it’s great for those too. Rub the oil on your heels before going to bed. Be sure and cover your feet with socks to protect your sheets. Repeat this process until your heels look like you want them to.
8. Nourish Your Hair
The benefits of castor oil don’t stop at skincare, it can also be applied topically to the scalp to prevent hair loss, and to thicken thinning hair. It’s also a fantastic conditioner for dry and damaged hair.
[Read More: 5 Home Remedies For Dry And Damaged Hair]
Jamaican black castor oil is the best form of castor oil to use for hair care. It can also be used to treat dandruff and irritating scalp conditions. Apply to your scalp, combing the oil through to the ends of your hair. Don’t try to saturate it completely as it will be too sticky. Put a shower cap over your head, and leave on for an hour or so before washing.
9. Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil packs are used on the skin to promote detoxification and to treat skin infections. A generous piece of wool flannel is soaked in oil, and placed on the skin for about 30 minutes to draw out toxins. Heat is applied over the flannel to increase its effectiveness. Keep in mind, castor oil can stain so take care to cover the flannel and surrounding areas with plastic or old rags.
Using castor oil as a pack reduces inflammation, detoxifies the liver, stimulates lymphatic circulation, and is a helpful remedy for the pain associated with menstruation and ovulation. It’s also been rumored to reduce stretch marks from pregnancy and weight gain.
10. Make Your Lashes Longer
If you’re like most women, you probably wish you had longer lashes. I know I do. Castor oil is rich in vitamin E, which is one reason it’s used in many beauty care products. It’s both moisturizing and conditioning, so may prevent breakage, but the jury is still out if it will make your lashes longer.
Castor oil is a popular Ayurvedic remedy used to treat eye conditions. Give it a try if your eyes are bloodshot, puffy, and swollen, or if you suffer from seasonal allergies. The oil is also good for treating dry eyes because it inhibits tears from evaporating. Use one drop of oil in each eye before bed.
Organic Castor Oil
Always buy organic and cold-pressed castor oil that is hexane-free. Cold-pressed castor oil has a pale yellow hue, and is made by squeezing the beans at high pressure without using heat. This ensures the oil is not degraded. Here’s a good brand.
If you want to do castor oil packs, you’ll also need wool flannel and a heating pad. This heating pad is extra large and sturdy, comes with an automatic shut off, and both moist and dry-heat therapy options.
Castor oil is a multi-purpose vegetable oil that can be used internally and externally. It’s got a pretty amazing track record, having been used for centuries.
Use it to treat fungal infections, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and hydrate and soften the skin.
It’s used in beauty care products, such as makeup and lotion, because of its anti-bacterial and moisturizing properties. And the best part? It’s super inexpensive.
Have you used castor oil? What condition did you use it for? Let me know in the comments:)
(1) MedicalNewsToday: Benefits of castor oil for the face and skin
(2) US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Castor Oil: Properties, Uses, and Optimization of Processing Parameters in Commercial Production
(3) NCBI: Castor Oil
(4) National Library of Medicine: Final report on the safety assessment of Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil
(5) National Library of Medicine: Castor
(6) National Library of Medicine: Various uses of the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis L.). A review