Is castor oil good for skin?
This vegetable oil has a bit of a mixed rep. Used for centuries for its soothing and moisturising properties, it never got as popular as Argan or jojoba oils in the eyes of skincare fanatics.
There’s a reason for that. Its unique composition makes it very versatile, but also a pain to use. Blame it on the texture.
Don’t know what I mean? Here’s everything you need to know about castor oil in skincare, including its benefits, uses, and “side effects”:
What Is Castor Oil?
Castor oil is the vegetable oil derived from the seeds of the Ricinus Communis, a thorny and tough shrub. The seeds are cold-pressed to make a shiny, pale yellow oil.
Like most oils, it’s loaded with moisturizing fatty acids. Ricinoleic Acid makes up a whooping 89% of the all the fatty acids in the oil.
It also also linoleic (4.2%), oleic (3.0%), stearic (1%), palmitic (1%), dihydroxystearic acid (0.7%), linolenic acid (0.3%), and eicosanoic acid (0.3%).
FYI, castor oil IS sticky. It’s ok when used as a base in creams and lotions, but I wouldn’t use a bottle of pure organic castor oil and use that on my skin.
It may put you off using castor oil on your skin. A real shame. This oil can do a lot for you, if you let it.
Castor Oil Benefits For Skin: What Does It Do?
Castor oil has plenty of benefits and uses for your skin. Here’s everything it does:
- Anti-bacterial: The triglycerides in castor oil can help reduce the bad bacteria on your skin. It may even help reduce P. Acnes, the bacteria that gives you acne, but we need more research to be sure.
- Anti-inflammatory: It helps to soothe sensitive skin and relieve irritations.
- Cleansing: It works thanks to the “like attracts like” principle. It melts the oil in your makeup and sunscreen + excess sebum on your skin and takes them on a trip down the drain. I recommend you mix it with olive oil or another oil to reduce the sticky feel.
- Moisturising: Its fatty acids create a protective barrier on the skin that keeps moisture in. The more moisture your skin has, the softer and suppler it becomes. If your skin’s dry, castor oil helps to nurse it back to health. If it’s already soft and smooth, it keeps it that way.
- Penetration-enhancer: It helps active ingredients better penetrate your skin, so they can work better and faster.
- Skin-protectant: The protective barrier it creates doesn’t only keep moisture in. It also keeps germs and bacteria out and helps skin better withstand the attacks of cold weather, sun exposure and pollution.
Related: How To Strengthen Your Skin’s Protective Barrier (And Why It Matters)
Will Castor Oil Clog Pores?
Good news: castor oil is very low on the comedogenicity scale, so it’s very unlikely to clog your pores and give you pimples.
Personally, I don’t recommend oils (including castor oil) to anyone with oily or acne-prone skin. The risk of a breakout may be low, but with your skin type, you never know.
Fungal acne? Don’t take the risk. Anything with fatty acids (and castor oil HAS fatty acids) will feed malassezia, the fungus that’s making your life miserable.
Translation: castor oil may be safe for bacterial acne, but it can aggravate fungal acne.
Related: How Do You Know You Have Fungal Acne And How Do You Deal With It?
Does Castor Oil Has Any Side Effects?
Tha main side effect is the sticky feel. That should tell you how safe castor oil is. 😉
Sure, castor oil can cause irritations in some people, but this is rare. Unless you’re allergic to it, there’s no reason not to use it.
How Do You Use Castor Oil?
You can go to a natural health shop, get a bottle of castor oil and slather it on your face. If you don’t mind the sticky texture, that’ll work. If you do mind (I do!), get a moisturiser with castor oil.
I recommend pure castor oil only for cleansing. Even then, mix it with other oils to dilute the stickiness.
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Castor Oil?
- Briogeo B. Well Castor Oil ($26.00): Available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, Net-A-Porter, Revolve, and Sephora
- Hurraw Balm Too Neroli Almond Balm (£32.00): Available at Content Beauty
- Pai Skincare Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser ($50.00): Available at Content Beauty, Cult Beauty, Free People and Net-A-Porter
Is Castor Oil Good For Skin?
Yes. Castor oil is a wonderful moisturiser that cleanses, soothes, and protects skin. It does it all! Just be careful if you use pure castor oil alone. It’s really sticky!
How do you use castor oil for skin? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments below.