By now, most of us know that it is what goes in and on our bodies that contributes to having glowing skin. Once thought of as a passing trend; natural beauty and skin care treatments seem to be here to stay. In addition to proper diet, a good night’s sleep and drinking plenty of water, health and skin care experts assert that the use of unprocessed, whole-food ingredients on the skin can have a lasting and holistic impact.
The skin, the largest human organ, has specific needs. These needs vary and depend not only on our skin type, but age and environmental factors as well. Yet, it has been said that using items that can be found around the house may help both topically and financially. One such item is the vegetable oil derived from the ricinus communis; also known as the castor seed oil plant.
Slightly more expensive than oils of the soybean, rapeseed, or sunflower — castor seed oil just may be worth the money. Castor oil is a source of ricinoleic acid, one of the 18 fatty acids known for its anti-inflammatory value. Because of its chemical make-up, castor oil is used in the making of soaps, moisturizers, perfumes, and hair products. Some benefits of including castor oil in your skin care routine are:
- Clears acne
- Diminishes appearance of wrinkles
- Moisturizes and soothes dry skin
- Prevents stretch marks
- Grows and strengthens eyelashes
- Grows and strengthens hair
- Soothes sunburned skin
According to Dr. Axe, using natural products on our skin aids in the absorption of antioxidants, enhances the skin’s ability to resist ultra-violet rays, and stimulates the body’s immune system – all leading to beautiful skin. Notably, castor oil provides both moisturizers and antioxidants, two of the five essentials most experts say all skin types need. Thought of as a “drying oil,” when mixed with coconut or almond oil as a cleanser, castor oil aids in the lifting and washing away of impurities. Removing impurities can reduce or prevent the occurrence of inflamed skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea or psoriasis.
When researching the benefits or castor oil, one may come across information about black castor oil. When looking at the two, the most noticeable difference is the color. Traditional castor oil is a pale yellow color. Because of how it is processed, black castor oil is… black. Known as Jamaican black castor oil (JBCO), the black tint is due to the keeping of the ash from the roasted castor bean.
JBCO, because of the ash, has a higher pH-level – making it more alkaline. An alkaline diet has long been reported as being an important part of having improved health. Specific to skin care, many of the benefits already attributed to castor oil are true for JBCO as well. Those who speak highest of JBCO do so as it pertains to hair care. Jamaican black castor oil grows and strengthens hair (eyelashes, too!). Its detoxifying properties are beneficial for the scalp as well.
Depending on who you listen to, some say that the castor oil is “purer” due to absence of the ash. Yet, some would argue that because JBCO undergoes less chemical processing, it is more beneficial. For many, the type of castor oil they prefer comes down to potency, scent (the smell is pretty potent!) and a personal preference for thicker oils.
Due to the castor seed/bean containing the toxic enzyme ricin, a word of caution is warranted. Risks are highest in the harvesting of the castor bean and have served as motivation to research ways to genetically modify the castor plant. Most of the serious side-effects of castor oil use is related to it being ingested. This is important given that castor oil is used to treat some gastro-intestinal conditions. As with any topical treatment, an allergic reaction such as a severe rash, is possible.
When it comes to using castor oil as part of your skin regimen, always do a skin patch test to rule out any allergy. By all accounts, because of the many uses and benefits, castor oil and JBCO appear to be essential investments.
Who knew castor oil could help you love the skin you’re in?