Castor Oil Has Skincare Purposes I Didn’t Know About

A patient came to me having tried a number of remedies, including castor oil. I’ve heard of this, but I didn’t know if it had any relevance to dermatology. I decided to do some research on the topic.

The oil itself comes from the castorbean, which is native to areas of Eastern Africa and the Mediterranean. Specifically, the castorbean’s seeds contain the best source.

People know castor oil as a laxative ingredient, but it also treats skin ulcers and other wounds. It comes as an ointment or a spray, and its brand names are Granulex, TBC, Vasolex, and Xenaderm.

The oil is also found in cosmetic products like creams and lipsticks. When combined with Glyceryl Ricinoleate, it absorbs UV light. Overdoses and allergic reactions may occur if product is not used as directed.


Castor Oil/Peru Balsam/Trypsin (On the skin). National Institute of Health. Published July 1, 2016. Accessed August 16, 2016.