One of the many home remedies commonly recommended is castor oil for psoriasis relief, but does it work?
The oil is believed to help relieve some of the itchiness, dryness, and irritation that you may experience during flare-ups. Castor oil may even reduce the occurrence of flare-ups and help protect against infections.
Before using the oil on your skin, it is important to know what it contains, how it works, and whether it can really help provide relief.
Castor oil is a type of vegetable oil made from the seeds of the Ricinus plant. The seeds are called castor beans and are heated or pressed to extract the oil.
Oils from castor beans have been used for centuries. In ancient Egypt, the oil was used as fuel for lamps and to treat various ailments and skin conditions.
In recent years, researchers have examined the properties of the oil to determine if it holds any medicinal value.
Some studies indicate that the oil may offer relief from inflammation-related issues, such as the symptoms of psoriasis.
Castor oil contains anti-inflammatory properties. As psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition, the active compounds in the oil may offer relief.
The main compound in castor oil is ricinoleic acid (RA), containing both anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Studies have examined the benefits of RA, discovering that it can be just as effective as capsaicin for reducing inflammation in animals.
RA is also a type of fatty acid. Applying this to the skin has a moisturizing effect, which is why castor oil is commonly used in cosmetics. It promotes better hydration and is found in lotions and cleansers.
Some types of castor oil may also contain antibacterial properties, reducing the risk of infections from lesions. When applied topically, the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties may help ease some of the symptoms related to psoriasis or any other skin condition.
Researchers also believe that castor oil can increase the production of T-cells in the skin. These T-cells are a type of white blood cell that helps strengthen the body’s natural defense mechanisms. Stimulating these cells may boost the immune system, reducing the severity and occurrence of flare-ups.
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Castor oil is available in most grocery stores and drug stores. For psoriasis relief, it may be applied topically.
There are a few different types of castor oil, including:
- Hydrogenated castor oil
- Cold-pressed castor oil
- Black castor oil
The hydrogenated and cold-pressed oils are most commonly found in stores. Cold pressing the beans to get the yellow castor oil may reduce some of the healing properties. The hydrogenated oil is brittle and often used in health and beauty products.
Black castor oil is extracted by roasting the castor beans before pressing, helping to release the oils. This may offer additional relief compared to the previous types, but is less likely to be found in your local grocery store.
The oil can be applied directly to the skin using a cotton ball or diluted to increase absorption. The skin does not easily absorb the thick oil. When applied undiluted, it may need to remain on your skin overnight.
If you choose to dilute the oil, use a 50/50 mixture of coconut oil and castor oil. Combining these oils allows your skin to absorb the oils faster. The coconut oil also contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Castor oil is considered safe to use on the skin. In fact, safety testing has found that the oil can be used in cosmetics with concentrations up to 100%.
While the oil is safe to use, some individuals may have an allergy to the substance or one of its active compounds. Allergic reactions may cause the following:
Before applying the oil to a large area of skin, test it on a small patch. Wait 24 hours to determine if you have a negative reaction to the oil. If no irritation occurs, it should be safe to apply liberally to irritated areas, dry patches, and lesions.
Castor oil may reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and help heal your skin. It is a common ingredient in many cosmetics and skin care products.
The active compound in the oil contains anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. These features may reduce psoriasis flare-ups and symptoms. Dryness, swelling, and itchiness may be less severe while antibacterial properties may help reduce the risk of infections.
Like many home remedies, offers moderate relief, but it is not a complete treatment.
Psoriasis sufferers should continue their existing treatment, as recommended by their doctor. However, most doctors would agree that safe home remedies are often a useful way to help gain a little added relief.