Castor oil is most commonly used as a laxative. But castor oil’s natural antiviral and antimicrobial properties make it a popular treatment for skin problems known as dermatosis as well as fungal infections. It’s also used for hair growth.
While the average human hair follicle grows just over a centimeter a month, some claim anecdotally that using castor oil once a month can spur growth three to five times the normal rate. There is no clinical evidence to support this, however.
The evidence for castor oil’s effectiveness as more than a laxative is only anecdotal. There are many claims about castor oil, including those that topical castor oil can help prevent or treat skin cancer. However, there’s no evidence to support its use.
You could use castor oil for hair loss, but you’d be better off talking to your healthcare provider about therapies that are proven to get results. They might not recommend castor oil for much more than treatment for occasional constipation.
Castor oil has been claimed to have a slew of benefits including strengthening strands, promoting hair growth, and nourishing dry scalp. And while the oil itself likely can’t make the hair grow, it’s loved for its ability to create a healthier environment on the scalp that makes for way better hair growth.
While there’s no concrete scientific evidence on why castor oil is so beneficial for the hair, it’s certainly a well-loved oil in the beauty industry. According to Nazarian, castor oil can in fact be useful in certain cases of hair loss. She says that unlike most other oils, which can veer mostly fatty, castor oil has a nutritional makeup composed of a powerful mix of proteins, vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants (aka the internal workings of all the buzziest hair supplements on the market).
Thus, it comes as no surprise that the oil is claimed to be a wonderful way to nurture the scalp and fragile hair follicles while simultaneously encouraging healthier, faster hair growth. For this reason, castor oil has increasingly become a key ingredient in hair products.
And, for those who experience flaking as a result of dry scalp, castor oil can help. “Castor oil is known to be an effective and gentle method of cleansing the skin,” Nazarian explains. “Because it’s polarized, the castor oil actually attracts dirt and effectively cleanses the skin.” This, and the idea is that the high content of ricinoleic acid may help improve blood circulation in the scalp, which might lead to nutrition for the hair follicles, stronger strands, and less breakage. Plus, castor oil is a humectant, which means it’s an excellent vehicle for locking in moisture and shine.
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