Are you searching for a nourishing oil to enhance your skin glow? Regular massages with castor oil can holistically improve your overall skin condition.
This natural elixir has been part of skin and health care for thousands of years in India and worldwide. However, it is recently that its skin benefits are taking the skincare market by storm. While castor oil can yield various skin benefits, it is important to understand your skin type and know the proper methods of usage to avoid adverse effects.
Read on to know the top benefits of castor oil and how to use it for skin whitening and enhanced skin health.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“Vata dosha, when out of control, is a mighty force that can ravage the homeostasis. Castor oil helps get Vata to normalcy. Infallible castor is an expert in treating minor Vata issues like dry, dull, aging skin.”
-Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
What Is Castor Oil?
Castor oil  has been used since ancient times for improving skin, hair and overall health conditions. Derived from the seeds of the castor plant (Ricinus Communis L.), this vegetable oil has gained commercial popularity for its therapeutic properties and is widely used by the pharmaceutical and skincare industries. It has a pale yellow color and a viscous nature along with a high content of the greatly valued ricinoleic acid.
1. Is Castor Oil Good For The Face?
Packed with essential fatty acids, vitamin E and powerful antioxidants like tocopherols, castor oil is an all-round solution for most of your skin issues. Including castor oil in your daily skincare routine can reduce acne, clear clogged pores, balance excess oil secretions on the face, fight signs of aging, fade skin pigmentation and improve your skin’s overall texture and appearance.
India is the largest exporter of castor oil, producing over 250,000 tons  every year. While countries like the US have been trying to cultivate this crop, it is India that leads the production as states of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan have the right climatic conditions that favor castor oil cultivation.
Ayurvedic Properties Of Castor Oil
Castor oil is widely used as a medicinal oil for both topical application and internal consumption by Ayurvedic practitioners. Owing to its powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and rejuvenative properties, the ancient Vedic texts cite the use of castor oil in the treatment of various skin diseases.
With excellent Vata-Kapha pacifying properties and a high content of phytochemicals, castor oil enhances skin immunity and cleanses toxins that make your skin appear dull and dry. It is also used as an anti-aging therapy (tvagrasayana) and is known to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Apart from its skin benefits, castor oil is used in Panchakarma therapy for its ability to purge or cleanse the body and remove disease-causing factors. It can also strengthen memory, relieve knee and lower back pains, prevent gas and bloating and improve digestion.
Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, says, “Vata dosha, when out of control, is a mighty force that can ravage the homeostasis. Castor oil helps get Vata to normalcy. Infallible castor is an expert in treating minor Vata issues like dry, dull, aging skin.”
Benefits Of Using Castor Oil On Skin And Face
1. Fights Against Wrinkles
According to the ancient science of Ayurveda, castor oil has ‘vayasthapana’ properties, which means it can prevent premature skin aging and keep your skin looking younger. It acts as a skin rejuvenator and minimizes the appearance of fine lines, age spots and wrinkles. Being rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, castor oil prevents cell damage and improves skin elasticity and texture.
2. Useful To Treat Dry Lips
Castor oil contains many essential fatty acids such as ricinoleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid and others. These moisturize dry lips and prevent cheilitis (chapped lips). Ricinoleic acid in castor oil helps retain skin moisture and prevents transepidermal water loss. Thus, applying castor oil like a lip balm can quickly repair dry lips.
3. Used As A Moisturizer
Fatty acids such as ricinoleic acid in castor oil, is a natural humectant that softens your skin by retaining essential moisture. Thus, castor oil is added to various skincare products to improve their ability to keep the skin hydrated. Daily application of castor oil can moisturize your skin, keeping it soft and supple.
4. Reduces Puffiness
Ayurvedic literature lists down ‘shothahara’ or anti-inflammatory as one of castor oil’s main properties. This is mainly due to the presence of ricinoleic acid  and other flavonoids such as quercetin . When applied topically, castor oil can reduce skin inflammation, puffiness, histamine-induced swelling, joint pains and eyelid edema.
5. Promotes Overall Skin Health
Castor oil strengthens your skin immunity and its antioxidant and antimicrobial  properties prevent chances of infection. It is also known to boost collagen production and enhance your skin’s natural glow.
6. Treats Skin Pigmentation
Castor oil has amazing depigmenting properties due to the presence of quercetin, gallic acid , linoleic acid  and other antioxidant compounds. These inhibit tyrosinase activity and reduce post-inflammatory (acne marks) and UV ray-induced melanogenesis (suntan) on your skin. So, frequent application of castor oil on the face can fade dark spots, melasma and acne marks, giving you blemish-free skin in no time.
7. Removes Harmful Toxins
Castor oil’s medicinal and detoxifying properties prevent accumulation of toxins in your body channels. This ‘sroto vishodhana’ (cleansing of body channels) ability of castor oil prevents various skin diseases. Massaging castor oil on your face and skin is also known to improve blood circulation and thereby enhance nutrition supply to your skin.
8. Repairs The Skin Barrier
Your skin barrier shields you from infections, toxic allergens and sun damage. A disruption in this epidermal barrier can make your skin dry, damaged and prone to diseases. The fatty acids in castor oil form a protective layer over your skin and its wound-healing abilities repair the epidermal barrier.
It also helps to seal moisture in your skin and prevent dryness. Its antibacterial abilities guard against microbial invasions and aid skin barrier function.
9. Prevents Acne And Skin Infections
Castor oil contains a variety of natural anti-inflammatory compounds such as the monounsaturated fatty acid known as ricinoleic acid and polyphenolic compounds such as quercetin and tannins. These inhibit inflammatory cytokines and help treat acne conditions. According to studies, Unani medicine also uses castor oil for the treatment of acne vulgaris.
The plant compounds in castor oil also exhibit antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which makes it an effective treatment for skin infections and abscesses (referred to as Vidradhi in Ayurveda).
10. Aids Wound Healing
Applying castor oil on minor cuts and wounds can accelerate healing. It also displays antihistamine  properties which can relieve itch and skin irritation when applied to insect bites.
11. Protects From Sun Damage
Castor oil has powerful antioxidant properties that prevent free radical cell damage caused by excessive exposure to the UV rays of the sun. Reduction of oxidative stress in the body helps delay skin aging and lowers the risk of developing skin cancer.
Vedix Tip: Since castor oil is hot in nature, those with a Pitta prakriti must consult an Ayurvedic doctor for the right dosage in case of internal consumption.
How To Use Castor Oil For Skin Whitening?
Follow the below-mentioned castor oil home remedies for bright, glowing skin.
1. Castor Oil, Honey And Papaya
Take a bowl of ripe papaya and mash it into a paste. Mix 1 teaspoon each of castor oil and honey in it and apply on your face. Leave it on for 15 to 30 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water.
2. Castor Oil, Milk, Saffron And Sandalwood
Mix a teaspoon of castor oil in a small quantity of milk. Soak half a teaspoon of saffron in it for an hour. Add sandalwood powder to this to make a paste and apply on your face. Leave it on for 30 minutes and wash off.
3. Castor Oil, Olive Oil And Lemon Juice
Mix a teaspoon each of castor and olive oil. To this add half a teaspoon of lemon juice and apply on your skin. Leave it on for 20 minutes and wash off.
4. Castor Oil, Aloe Vera, Cucumber And Onion Juice
Mix all the above ingredients in equal parts and apply on your skin. Leave it on for 30
There are 2 types of castor oil - yellow and black. Yellow castor oil is more easily available and has properties similar to its black variant.
How Is Castor Oil Used For All Skin Types?
1. For Dry Skin
- Castor oil is viscous, hence dilute it with another nourishing carrier oil like coconut, almond or sesame oil and apply on your dry skin. Massage for 15 minutes. Leave the oil for another 5 minutes for better absorption and then wipe it off with a damp cloth or wash off with lukewarm water.
- Blend a ripe avocado and banana to make a paste. Add half a tablespoon of castor oil to this. You can even add a small amount of honey to it. Mix well and apply on your dry skin. Leave it on for 40 minutes to an hour and wash off for hydrated, soft, supple skin.
2. For Oily Skin
- Mix castor oil with a lightweight, non-comedogenic carrier oil like grapeseed oil, olive oil or jojoba oil. Massage in circular motion for 10 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water or a mild herbal cleanser if your skin feels greasy. Doing this at the start of your skincare routine also helps to remove bad oil, make-up and sunscreen from your face.
- Take the petals of 5-6 hibiscus flowers, 1 deseeded amla, 1 teaspoon of fresh aloe vera gel and blend them together. Add a teaspoon of castor oil to this, mix well and apply on your oily skin. Leave it on for 20 minutes and wash off for oil-free, glowing skin.
3. For Combination Skin
- Dilute castor oil with olive oil and apply. Massage for 15 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water.
- Mix turmeric, sariva and triphala powders in equal parts. Dilute a teaspoon of castor oil with a teaspoon of olive/ jojoba oil and add to the herbs. Mix well and apply on your combination skin. Leave it on for 30 minutes and wash off for clear, glowing skin.
4. For Sensitive Skin
- Castor oil is generally safe for all skin types but it is advisable for those with sensitive skin to do a patch test before using it for the first time. This prevents chances of skin irritation or an allergic reaction. You can dilute castor oil in a 1:1 ratio with any light carrier oil such as apricot kernel oil, olive oil or jojoba oil and massage your sensitive skin. Wash off the oil after 10-15 minutes.
- Take 8 to 10 neem leaves and the petals of 2 to 3 marigold/ chamomile flowers and blend into a paste. Add a teaspoon each of castor oil and apricot/olive oil to this. Apply the pack on your face and wash off after 30 minutes to relieve skin sensitivity and irritation.
5. For Acne-prone Skin
- Mix tea tree oil and castor oil in equal parts and apply on your acne-prone skin as a spot treatment. Alternatively, massage it all over for 10 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water to treat the condition.
- Dilute a teaspoon of castor oil with tea tree oil or coconut oil of the same quantity and add it to triphala, turmeric and manjistha powders mixed in equal parts. Apply on your face and leave it on for 30 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water to treat acne-prone skin.
Potential Side Effects Of Using Castor Oil
While using castor oil, it is advisable to keep the following side effects in mind:
- In case of topical application, castor oil may cause allergic reactions for certain people. Thus, a patch test for first-time users of castor oil is advisable.
- For internal consumption, always consult your Ayurvedic doctor to know the right dosage. Castor oil is a powerful laxative and must be used with caution.
- Castor oil consumption is not recommended for pregnant women.
Frequently Asked Questions On Castor Oil For Skin
1. Can You Apply Castor Oil Directly To The Skin?
Castor oil is safe for direct application on skin. However, it is a thick oil and may leave your skin feeling greasy if used undiluted.
2. Is Castor Oil Good For All Skin Types?
Castor oil can benefit all skin types. It has valuable phytochemicals and essential fatty acids that can treat a variety of skin conditions. Its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties help promote overall skin health. However, overuse or usage without understanding one’s skin type and needs might cause certain adverse reactions.
3. Can You Leave Castor Oil On Your Skin Overnight?
Ayurveda advises against leaving oils on skin overnight. Castor oil is viscous and leaving it overnight on skin may cause skin irritation. It is better to massage your skin with castor oil (preferably diluted with a light carrier oil) as part of your night time routine and then wash it off with lukewarm water before going to bed.
The Last Word
As per Ayurveda, one must plan skin care to balance skin moisture, enhance blood circulation and absorption of essential nutrition. It must improve skin health, ensure hormonal balance and proper occurrence of skin functions.
This is what keeps the three dhatus - Rasa, Rakta and Mamsa healthy, which in turn reflects in your skin’s external appearance, health and texture. Castor oil performs most of these above mentioned actions when consumed or applied topically. With the ability to purify, heal and enhance your skin’s moisture retention abilities, castor oil can give you even-toned, firm, healthy and glowing skin in a very short time. Know Your Dosha Now
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