Your Guide To The Skincare Benefits Of Castor Oil

Every now and then, a new buzz ingredient will go viral and have a chokehold on the skincare community. Suddenly, it's sold out on every aisle, countless skincare brands are releasing brand new products featuring it, and the internet is flooded with an influx of people wondering if the ingredient really works.

TikTok has played a huge role in determining which average household item is set to be skincare's next big moment. Still, viral doesn't always equate to valid; after all, who could forget the ups and downs of TikTok's sea moss gel era (via Insider). But when TikTok users decided to hop onto the bandwagon of one popular oil, thousands of years of experience had their backs. Step aside, coconut oil: It's time for castor oil's moment in the spotlight. 

Coconut oil can work as a makeup remover, but castor oil has been a beauty cabinet staple for years for many. Now, it's finally been getting a lot of buzz for being the powerhouse skincare ingredient that it is. Some know castor oil as being a key soap bar ingredient, but the same reasons it works so well as soap are why it's a must-have for your skin. Dr. Purvisha Patel breaks it down simply to Well + Good by explaining that "it consists of important fatty acids such as ricinoleic acid, linoleic acid, stearic acid, and oleic acid, all of which give it anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and moisturizing properties." Properties like this make it great for your skin.

How castor oil can help your skin

Castor oil naturally contains fatty acids and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it is such a household staple. Because of this, one of the many ways that it works for your skin is by soothing it, per Byrdie. If you accidentally over-exfoliate or find your skin reacting poorly to a new product, castor oil can heal your barrier and soothe your inflamed skin. On this, Dr. Purvisha Patel explains to Well + Good, "Given its anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil can help soothe itchy, dry, or sensitive skin," before adding, "It can help fill in the cracks on the surface of the skin that can occur with dermatitis, which calms it down." 

Its deeply hydrating properties, on the other hand, work to nourish your skin and keep it moisturized deeply to help prevent signs of aging. As Dr. Hadley King explained to Well + Good, "Castor oil is a useful treatment for dry skin, as it increases the moisture content of the skin, which improves its appearance and gives the skin better texture, helping to diminish the appearance of fine lines." 

However, experts do make a point to clarify that the skincare benefits of castor oil have not been proven by studies, and are merely based on people's experiences and claims (via Byrdie). Regardless, Dr. Morgan Rabach noted to Byrdie that people with one specific type of skin may not want to use castor oil. "I would not recommend it for people with acne-prone skin, because oils go into the pores and clog them, exacerbating acne," Rabach explained.

Other beauty benefits of castor oil

If you're already familiar with castor oil as a beauty product, it's likely that you've heard all about the wonders it can work on hair. Similar to skin, there aren't any tangible studies associated with proving whether or not castor oil really works for hair, but many found that it helped aid hair growth. Dr. Laura Scott shared her own experiences with Self, saying, "Growing up in a traditional Black household, we'd use castor oil often to moisturize our scalp ... If you were dealing with hair loss, Jamaican black castor oil might be recommended by an aunt." 

In the same way that some claim it aids hair growth on your scalp, it is claimed to help your eyebrows and eyelashes. Dr. Joshua Zeichner backs this claim up, as he explained to Good Housekeeping, "Because of its moisturizing benefits, castor oil can help condition and thicken the hairs themselves." Castor oil is a common ingredient in eyelash growth serums, but fans of the buzz ingredient prefer using pure castor oil and coating their eyelashes in it before going to sleep. 

Whichever way you choose to incorporate castor oil into your beauty routines, an important takeaway is to try to stick to diluted versions of the oil when it comes to skincare, per Good Housekeeping. Ultimately, applying pure castor oil directly onto your skin could end up doing more harm than good; on the other hand, you should be fine to use pure castor oil.