Castor oil is extracted from the bean of the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis). It is a mild laxative and is also used in alternative medicine for rheumatism, hair care, menstrual problems and as an anti-inflammatory. It may also be beneficial for the skin.
As we grow older, our skin gradually loses its elasticity and begins to sag. This is a natural process, but, according to Skin Help, a website devoted to skin care, it may be exacerbated by rapid weight gain or weight loss, high alcohol intake, excessive sun exposure or smoking. One of the key factors in maintaining youthful skin is to keep it moisturized. Dry skin ages rapidly and will lose its elasticity quicker.
According to St. Botannica, castor oil is very beneficial for the prevention of sagging skin as it acts as a lubricant. This means is prevents dry skin and helps to tighten loose skin, in combination with toning exercises and a well-balanced diet. You can massage castor oil directly into the skin daily. Adding lemon juice or lavender oil may also enhance its effects.
According to Organic Facts, (ref. 2), castor oil contains undecylenic acid. Undecyclemic acid occurs naturally in sweat. It has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, and may be used to treat skin disorders that are caused by infections.
According to Medline Plus, although castor oil is not considered to be highly toxic, it is possible to overdose. Symptoms of toxicity include, fainting, nausea, skin rash, tightening of the throat, dizziness, diarrhea and stomach cramps. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms after taking castor oil, you should call the emergency services. You should have the following information available if possible: the patient's age and weight, the name of the product containing castor oil that was used, the time it was ingested and the amount ingested.
According to btruenaturals.com, (ref. 3), undecylenic acid may cause skin irritation. You should not inhale it, or allow it to come into contact with your eyes.