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Is Castor Oil Good for Skin? Your Need-to-Know Guide


I grew up in the 1980s in California, with a world of weird and wild movies at my fingertips. Long before parents worried whether their children should be watching a particular kind of content, we had access to pretty much everything. My grandmother let me watch Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Terminator when I was 10. She had a crush on him. 

One of my very favorite movies was Stand by Me, the coming-of-age film in which a group of young boys goes on an overnight adventure, without telling their parents, to find a dead body. In this film, a particularly vivid scene stands out in my memory of a boy drinking castor oil to induce vomiting all over his bullies. 

Decades later, the only thing I could associate with castor oil was inducing vomit. I later discovered castor oil was a common laxative. And once I became pregnant with my first child, I learned of its use to induce labor. It was only when I began studying herbalism and plant medicine that I found the answer to the question “is castor oil good for skin?” The answer is a resounding “yes!”

Table of Contents

  • The History of Castor Oil
  • 5 Ways Castor Oil is Good for Skin
  • Anti-aging
  • Sunburn Remedy
  • Acne
  • Dry Lips
  • Moisturizer
  • Other Uses for Castor Oil
  • Invest in Castor Oil Today

The History of Castor Oil

    Castor Oil has been around for thousands of years. Its origin lies in Africa, South America, and India, so it makes sense that much of the western world is not familiar with its use in beautification rituals. 

    Castor oil comes from the plant of the same name, cold-pressed much like olive oil, and then heated. Oddly, considering the scene from my childhood film it is not an edible plant. Unlike olive oil, people do not keep it on their shelves for cooking or food preparation. Again, this makes sense when you think about it because castor oil has laxative properties – so much so that ingesting too much can cause cramping and vomiting. Hence, the movie scene. 

    It took me forever to realize that the kid in the movie was using an oil kept on hand in most households to deliberately induce vomiting. Now, as a practitioner of natural remedies and plant medicine, you can imagine the myriad situations where you would want to induce vomiting with children around who may ingest something harmful. If you did not have an emergency room to rush to, where they would pump the kid’s stomach, you would simply have the child swallow castor oil. 

    Today, we can leave stomach pumping and ingestion scares to the emergency room and poison control and keep castor oil in our beauty bags. Indeed, India alone produced 1.2 million tons of castor oil for cosmetic production, at almost 100% of the market!

    5 Ways Castor Oil is Good for Skin

    castor oil, wow skin science, wow castor oil


    Because Castor Oil has antioxidant properties, it helps rid your skin of free radicals, which are responsible for the fine lines and wrinkles that appear in your skin over time. Applying castor oil regularly has been shown in some studies to reduce the aging effect. 

    Sunburn Remedy

    Castor Oil also has healing properties, including anti-inflammatories. Thus, applying it to skin after a sunburn can help alleviate pain and reduce redness. 


    The antibacterial nature of castor oil will help prevent acne, and, if you get acne, it will help treat it. Win-win. 

    Dry Lips

    Castor oil is a natural moisturizer, and it absorbs well into the skin. Apply it to chapped lips for relief. 


    Finally, castor oil can work wonders on your skin as an overnight moisturizer. It is thick and heavy, so mix it with olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil to thin it out to a desirable consistency and then include it in your nightly beauty routine for soft, smooth skin. 

    Other Uses for Castor Oil 

    Remember, castor oil has a variety of benefits, so it is good to have on hand for more than just skincare. The same wonders it works on the skin it will work on hair and scalp. You can apply after showering or even in between showers to support your scalp's natural oils and to calm frizz or flyaways. It is also great for wounds; apply after you cut or scrape your skin, and castor oil’s antibacterial properties will get to work and heal your tissue. It is also an anti-fungal, so you can apply it to fungus on feet or hands if you notice warts or other fungal issues arising. 

    Of course, midwives throughout history have used castor oil to induce labor, and mothers have used it for their household remedies to alleviate constipation. It can be used safely and effectively when you know what you are doing and you use it in small doses. But be sure to take care when ingesting castor oil or giving it to those in your care, as the side effects of overconsumption can be serious. The nice thing is you can keep one bottle of high-quality castor oil in your medicine cabinet and another in your beauty cabinet to address the full range of uses, from medicinal to cosmetic.

    Invest in Castor Oil Today

    Once you have decided castor oil is an essential addition to your beauty shelf, be sure to get an all-natural version that is not cut with harsh or harmful chemicals. You can use it alone or mixed in combination with a thinner, plant-based oil. I have linked the Wow Skin Science Castor Oil here for your convenience, which is sold for cosmetic purposes. You can always keep a separate one in your medicine cabinet. The one linked here is 100% cold-pressed castor oil, so if you want to mix it for beauty purposes, you can browse the site for additional carrier oil options

    Happy moisturizing!

    Shanna Mendez

    Shanna Mathews Mendez is a freelance writer and blogger on topics related to self-care, naturopathy, female empowerment, and motherhood. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children, where she enjoys traveling, being active outdoors, and studying herbalism and plant-based remedies in her free time. Drawing on her graduate degree in comparative literature and her own life experiences, she is currently writing her first book. She can be found online at her website

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