Does castor oil really grow your hair

posted 02.19.2019

Are you experiencing hair loss or thinning hair? Whether it is post-partum hair loss, stress or simply aging that’s causing it, you may be feeling desperate for a solution. Luckily, natural remedies like castor oil are said to encourage hair growth. But does it really work? 

If hair implants and prescription medications seem a bit extreme to you, castor oil is certainly worth a try. Castor oil is a clear yellow oil that is pressed from castor seeds. Native to tropical regions such as those in Eastern Africa, India and the Mediterranean, the seeds that produce castor oil have a very mild odor, making it perfect for sensitive noses. Castor is a thick oil, so you really don’t need a lot of it. Less is more, which is good news for your wallet. 

So, let’s get into the nitty gritty of how it works. Castor oil is believed to stimulate hair growth because it contains ricinoleic acid, which may increase or mimic prostaglandin E2, also known as PGE2. This naturally-occurring substance is lower in balding subjects, so the thinking is that castor oil can boost PGE2 levels and increase your hair growth. Ah, the beauty of science. 

Research also shows that vitamin E, which is plentiful in castor oil, has antioxidant activity. Vitamin E is important for fighting harmful oxidation that occurs in your skin because of diet, pollution and environmental triggers. A 2010 study led by Lim Ai Beoy, et. al showed that vitamin E capsules reduced oxidative stress in the scalp. Since high levels of oxidation are linked to alopecia (that’s just a fancy word for hair loss), they found that vitamin E actually increased hair growth in participants. Vitamin E is also beneficial when it is applied topically. 

Like many natural ingredients, some of the evidence for castor oil is anecdotal. There haven’t been a lot of research studies on it just yet. However, there is some scientific backing for scalp massage with oils, such as castor, as a way to promote circulation. Increased blood flow may promote hair growth, along with improving your hair and scalp health. 

The simple act of massaging is great for your scalp. Massage draws blood toward the skin surface, and doing this on your scalp is no exception. Increasing blood circulation can encourage oxygen and nutrients to reach your scalp by way of the body’s vascular system. This creates ideal conditions for hair growth. Using an oil like castor can boost nutrients to your scalp and hair while you massage, too. 

Using your fingertips, gently massage a small amount of oil into your scalp in slow, circular motions. Don’t press so hard as to hurt yourself. Gentle motions are key, plus it’ll help you avoid tangled hair if you go slow. This relaxing technique is a great way to relieve tension before bed. If your hair is thinning because of stress, that’s an added bonus for you! It is oily, so washing your hair the next morning is a good idea. 

The fatty acids in castor oil also calm and soothe irritated scalp skin, if that’s something you happen to suffer from. Restoring the health of your skin can promote optimal conditions for hair growth. After all, a healthy scalp is important for healthy hair. 

When it comes to hair growth, there are a lot of natural remedies to be discovered. Castor oil is a favorite because it has so many other benefits in one sweet little package.


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