What Is Castor Oil?

Castor oil, also known by the latin name “Ricinus Communis” is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor bean, and its primary fatty acid is ricinoleic acid. It is used as an emollient in cosmetics, but its special property is that when dried, it forms a rigid film with water-binding properties.

Castor oil can also help other topical ingredients to be better absorbed. It is rarely associated with skin allergy, although it can leave skin feeling somewhat oily.

How Castor Oil Works?

Castor oil has an intriguing fatty acid profile, of about 6% oleic acid, 4% linoleic acid, and 90% ricinoleic acid.

Ricinoleic acid is a unique fatty acid that helps to regulate transepidermal water loss in skin tissues, rendering it an essential humectant. Ricinoleic acid is also an analgesic and anti-bacterial agent. 

Castor oil produces phytosterols in the form of ß-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol, from which it derives its anti-inflammatory and anti-itch effects, thus helping to break the cycle of itching and discomfort. Moreover, castor has acanthotic function, which means it will actually improve the thickness of your skin, intended to provide penetrating, curing, and regenerative nourishment to wounds, and damaged skin.

What Castor Oil Does To The Skin?

  • Antiviral and Antibacterial Properties: The triglycerides present in castor oil can aid in the treatment of skin infections. It has the ability to protect the skin from invading pathogenic bacteria. Also, the triglycerides present naturally in castor oil aid in the removal of debris from the skin providing a natural skin-cleaning effect.
  • Anti-Acne Properties: One of the most important properties of castor oil is that it slows the development of infectious microbes. This is thanks to ricinoleic acid, a powerful fatty acid that protects the skin from invading viruses and bacteria. It prevents the growth of P Acnes bacteria, which causes acne breakouts. Castor oil's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects make it effective for acne treatment.
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: The oil is also well-known for its anti-inflammatory effects in the treatment of eczema, dermatitis, rosacea, and psoriasis. If you have sore or inflamed skin, this is the ideal cure. Its anti-inflammatory effects help to soothe and relax sensitive skin.
  • Anti-agIng Properties: Castor oil is an anti-aging agent that improves penetration. It penetrates deeply and aids in the body's collagen formation. Our collagen reserves deplete as we age, especially in sensitive areas where the skin is thin.
  • Moisturizing Properties: As previously said, Castor oil acts as a natural humectant, drawing moisture from the air and trapping it close to your skin's tissues due to its humectant-rich ricinoleic acid. Castor is high in oleic and linoleic acid, which improves texture. Both of these are excellent fatty acids for softening and calming dry, parched skin.

Reference Sources

  • Green and Sustainable Chemistry, November 2015.
  • International Journal of Toxicology, 2007.