Struggling with acne? You are not alone. Almost everyone you know has struggled or is struggling with breakouts. Statistics show that 4 in 5 people aged from 12 to 30 have struggled with acne at one point or another. And treating the pests requires time and effort.
Sometimes as soon as you’ve managed to put a pimple under control, another one breaks out. As frustrating as it can be, we all want to have smooth and clear skin. There are numerous meds and treatments that you can purchase, and many others that you can just make at home. As our title suggests, we will take a look at the benefits of castor oil in particular and how you can use it to treat acne.
What Causes Acne?
We can’t just go into the procedure without first explaining what causes the very thing you want to treat, as it can determine the type of treatment you need for it. So here are the most common causes of acne:
- Excessive oil production
- Ingrown facial hair
- Hormonal imbalance
- Inflammation caused by bacteria
- Dead skin cells
Our face has sebaceous glands that are responsible for producing sebum(oil) with the purpose of keeping our skin soft. Sometimes certain irritants like air pollution, cold and dry air, dust, and sunlight can cause it to overproduce oil. This can lead to the clogging of skin pores, trapping bacteria and dead skin, leading to the breakout of acne. Hormonal imbalance can cause overproduction of oil too.
Castor oil – General Info
Castor oil is an oil made from the seeds of the plant Ricinus communis, native to Africa, South America, and India. It’s produced by pressing the seeds and then heating them. It has a long history of being used as an efficient laxative, and as of recently, it’s part of many cosmetic products.
Castor Oil Benefits
Since it’s used as a home remedy for many conditions, it has many potential benefits:
- Natural Skin Moisturizer – castor oil is rich in fatty acids such as ricinoleic acid. These monosaturated fats have humectant properties which help the skin retain water and maintain moisture, keeping it soft.
- Antifungal – some studies have shown that castor oil can be effective in fighting off some fungi that are present in our mouth, keeping our gums and teeth healthy.
- Anti-inflammatory – some studies have shown that castor oil can be a highly effective anti-inflammatory agent when applied topically. It can be used to relieve pain and inflammation in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
- Improves Skin Regeneration – by keeping the skin moist and soft, castor oil is good at covering wounds and creating a barrier between the injured skin and the environment, protecting the skin from infection.
- Healthy Hair – for damaged and dry hair, castor oil can be a good natural hair conditioner. Many people say that it has helped them reduce dandruff, which is common if you have dry hair. Applying it regularly will improve your scalp flexibility, reducing breakage and dryness. As sometimes dandruff can be caused by other conditions that cause inflammation, castor oil’s already mentioned anti-inflammatory properties come in handy here too.
- Face – on the face, besides the benefits we already mentioned, like fighting acne and providing moisture, castor oil can help in reducing wrinkles, clearing up the dark spots under your eyes and it also helps with eye-bags. Some use it as a lotion when they get sunburned. The healing properties of the oil come into full effect this way. Many have also claimed that when mixed with another oil, like coconut, it can help with dry lips (mix it with a better tasting oil, castor oil is far from tasty, trust me).
Castor Oil for Acne
Like many people, you might think that putting oil on oily skin is not something you should be doing, but it can help. All the benefits we mentioned before can also apply to acne and your face in general. So here are some of the benefits of using castor oil on acne and the way it can help you fight acne.
First, the anti-inflammatory characteristics of castor oil can reduce the inflammation on your skin caused by bacteria or external toxins like polluted air. Bacteria cause our immune system to react to them, causing it to attack any external threat it may be encountering. External toxins can cause inflammation by increasing the number of free radicals which can damage our skin.
The undecylenic acid in castor oil is good for fighting bacteria in your skin, and provides general skin disinfection.
The ricinoleic acid can reduce any irritation, while vitamin E, a known antioxidant, can help you reduce the free radicals in your skin. Free radicals are known to damage the skin and increase the number of dead skin cells, which can clog the pores and cause acne.
Ricinoleic acid can also help our skin regenerate, by promoting the production of collagen, which is a protein responsible for the softness and elasticity of our skin. It also dissolves some of the dead skin cells on the surface of our face, acting as an exfoliant.
Some people claim that the regenerative properties of castor oil are capable of removing any acne scars you may have on your skin.
The overall positive effects of castor oil make it a good option for all who experience acne outbreaks.
How To Use It
There are numerous ways to use castor oil for your skin and acne. You can simply rub it on your face or mix it with other oils and products to make a mask. Of course, you may choose the best method for you, but we recommend that you use it in combination with other ones like sesame, almond or jojoba oil. This will help reduce the thickness of castor oil and dilute it, making it easier for your skin to take in, and it also means that there are less chances that it will overflow and irritate your skin.
- First, clean your face with a cleanser and some warm water. Pat it dry gently with a towel.
- Apply castor oil on your face(mixed or pure) and leave it on for 10-15 minutes, and then wash it off.
- Add a moisturizer for a finishing touch.
Keep on with this method for a few weeks for best results.
Castor oil is considered to be generally safe to use. But, like all products or remedies for skin care, it has some potential side effects. For example, if used excessively, it can make the skin more oily, which can actually make acne worse.
Some research has shown that castor oil can also cause eye irritation.
Although rare, it can also cause an allergic reaction. To make sure that you are not allergic to it, perform a patch test. Apply a little bit of the oil on a small area, rub it, and leave it be for a few hours. Do this for a few days to see if your skin will react to it.
Since it’s also used by doctors when delivering a baby, it can induce labor. So skip using it if you are pregnant or nursing.
It’s not easy to choose what to treat your acne with, but castor oil is definitely a choice you should consider. Of course, you need to be careful and first determine the cause of your acne. Go see a dermatologist and have your skin examined. Some types of acne cannot be treated by topical treatment, and if they are caused by conditions like hormonal imbalance or poor diet, castor oil will not help. And like many natural oils and remedies, the evidence regarding its efficiency are scarce.
But one thing is for sure, castor oil has more uses today than it used to, when it was used primarily to treat constipation.
When purchasing it, make sure you go for the cold pressed, natural one. Processed ones can contain chemicals which can render it ineffective or even harmful.
Unlike other treatments, it’s relatively cheap and you don’t need the help of a professional to use it.