As a substance that comes from plants you’ll only find in tropical countries, Castor Oil is a product that’s universally popular throughout the natural health world. From the ancients of Native Africa through to Modern Day India, Castor Oil has been addressing health concerns for people worldwide over thousands of years, and there’s no sign of it stopping yet.
More recently, those who experience hair loss and feel frustrated with the pharmaceutical industry have begun investigating whether castor oil can help them reduce or cure hair loss. If you’re currently experiencing hair loss and you want to turn to castor oil as a possible cure, it’s worth learning more about it before using it.
The benefits of Castor Oil for hair loss
Did you know that pharmaceutical companies now add castor oil to a range of medicines? Due to its antifungal properties, it’s rapidly grasping the attention of those who want to develop new drugs.
Until then, you can use castor oil for hair loss without waiting for big pharma to over analyze its benefits. If you choose to use castor oil for hair loss, you’ll experience:
- A scalp that’s smoother and less likely to encounter conditions such as dermatitis. Why? Because Castor Oil contains lots of Vitamin E, which nourishes and moisturizes the skin naturally.
- Your scalp’s pH will balance, as it contains ricinoleic acid. Through balancing your scalp’s pH, ricinoleic acid creates a healthier environment for hair to grow.
- It has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. This means you’re less likely to encounter conditions such as psoriasis.
- Finally, it features two types of omega fatty acids: 6 and 9. If you choose to ingest castor oil, these fatty acids can reduce your risk of heart disease, as well as other chronic diseases.
As you can see, using castor oil to tackle hair loss doesn’t just benefit your head. It’s great for the rest of your body too.
Can we realistically expect castor oil to slow down hair loss?
Like many natural products, castor oil hasn’t been investigated on the hair loss front. However, a lack of studies doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ineffective. It’s worth examining some of its byproducts, and how they affect the hair loss process.
Many men, and some women, encounter hair loss due to an increase in testosterone levels. Why this happens varies between people. What does matter, however, is that the ricinoleic acid you’ll find in castor oil can slow down hair loss that arises because of testosterone. This is one area where we’ve found a study that’s useful.
The way castor oil achieves this is through deactivating a chemical that is often found in the scalps of men who experience male-pattern hair loss. While scientists don’t know why this compound causes hair loss, they do know that deactivating it will slow the process down.
Remember the omega fatty acids we mentioned? Well, the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology once published a study that suggests ingesting them will slow down hair loss in females. While not all of the studies participants saw an improvement, almost ninety-percent did, which is a significant number in the world of medicine.
The idea behind the use of omega fatty acids for reducing hair loss is that it activates and protects the enzymes many of us rely on for healthy hair growth. As such, using castor oil as a supplement may expose you to two protective factors that slow down the hair loss process.
Can castor oil help you regrow your hair? And, how does it achieve this?
This is a slightly trickier question. First of all, the study from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology did focus on using images of the participants to see if their hair regrew. In almost ninety percent of them, using castor oil continuously for six months resulted in visual evidence of natural hair regrowth.
However, this study only looked at women. If it were to be a little fairer, it would target men too. But, if we start reading between the lines, it also states that the hair loss the dermatologists investigated were related to male androgens. Aka, testosterone. So, it may be fair to assume that it can help your hair regrow if you’re a guy too.
As stated above, this is because it stimulates and protects the enzymes responsible for hair growth. It’s also worth noting that castor oil is what the science world refers to as a ‘humectant.’ In other words, it’ll attract moisture to your scalp and keep it there. In some instances, humectants are irritating, because they cause frizz. However, many hair product manufacturers choose to add glycerin to their products, because it’s a humectant.
Because humectants trap moisture around the cells that need it, it can encourage healthy growth in the area where there’s already hair. Theoretically, this means that a combination of castor oil’s humectant properties and its ability to tackle the androgens that reduce hair loss may mean it can encourage it to regrow too.
Is castor oil safe for your hair and scalp?
In the interest of safety, you shouldn’t apply pure castor oil to your skin. Doing so increases the risk of irritation, which is not what you want when you’re trying to encourage healthy hair growth. Instead, mix it with a carrier oil to reduce its purity, which in turn reduces the risk of irritation.
As a side note, it’s worth recognizing that not everyone who adds pure castor oil to their scalp will experience irritation. It depends on a number of factors, such as how sensitive your skin is. If you want to test it out first, apply a small patch to the inside of your wrist and leave it for a day. If you don’t experience any irritation, it’s probably safe to apply to your scalp.
As humans, we love to use lots of products across our bodies. So, it’s worth acknowledging that castor oil can increase the rate at which you absorb chemicals. If you’re using it alongside another treatment, consider asking a professional whether a faster absorption rate is safe or not before going ahead and mixing the two.
Making your own DIY castor oil hair mask and applying it
If, like us, you’re sold on the idea of using castor oil as a topical solution for reducing hair loss, you might want to try creating a DIY castor oil hair mask. Doing so makes the experience more pleasurable, and gives you a chance to maximize your natural health experience.
Our basic suggestion for a DIY castor oil hair mask involves:
- Mix one tablespoon of castor oil with one tablespoon of coconut oil. Doing this might take a little effort due to the difference in their consistencies. However, coconut oil comes with health benefits too, so it’s worth it.
- When you’re confident the mix is fully blended, add two to three drops of an essential oil. This stage is optional, but if you want the mask to smell great, it’s not harmful.
- Apply the mask in liberal amounts to your head and massage it thoroughly to stimulate blood flow in the vessels beneath. Leave the mask on for around an hour.
- Finally, rinse it off and proceed with the rest of your usual hair care regime. You might want to give your remaining hair a thorough shampoo to remove any residual grease.
Should you expect any side-effects if you use castor oil for hair loss?
The chances are, you already know that castor oil is a pretty potent laxative. So, if you choose to ingest it, you might find your bowels become a bit overactive. If you are heading down the ingestion route, consider starting with small amounts of a supplement and building your way up until you find a balance that doesn’t irritate your bowels.
If you have a condition such as IBS, Crohn’s Disease, or Ulcerative Colitis, you might want to discuss castor oil with your doctor first. Also, it’s worth noting that if you’re using an oral contraceptive and castor oil does cause diarrhea, your gut wall might not have a chance to absorb it; as such, you need to use barrier contraceptives for seven days before relying on your medication again. In fact, we’d advise discussing castor oil with your doctor if you’re taking any long-term medications at all.
Similarly, it may cause some stomach cramps if you ingest it. Such side-effects are likely to be less severe if you use it as a topical agent; in other words, if you simply apply it to your head rather than swallowing it. However, keep an eye out for them and adjust your approach accordingly.
With lots of health benefits and plenty of compounds that can reduce hair loss, castor oil is a useful supplement to add to your arsenal if you’re serious about encouraging regrowth or slowing it down. As with any supplement, do keep your other health conditions in mind before using it.