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Castor Oil Is Praised By Many. Is There Truth to The Claims?

There are some trending ingredients in the wellness world currently, most are based on Eastern culture traditional medicine. We recently discussed the use of CBD oil in shampoo and other hygiene products. In this article, we'll discuss another trending ingredient- castor oil. It is claimed and has been praised by many to help cure hair loss or strengthen and thicken brittle hair. Let's separate fact from fiction and see if and how can you benefit from that little bottle of castor oil you've got lying around in the medicine cabinet. 

Origins and chemical composition of castor oil 

castor oil
Castor oil is native to tropical areas in Eastern Africa and the Mediterranean. It is among the thickest, glossiest natural oils. It is derived from Ricinus Communis plant seeds, and this is how it will appear on most ingredient lists. According to INCI-Decoder, it contains about 90% ricinoleic acid. This is an omega-9 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory qualities and can even exert a pain-relieving effect. 
The use of castor oil in a cosmetic context can be traced back to Ancient Egypt. If they figured it back then, it must be good for us too, right? Well, the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. As with most traditional medicine ingredients, there is evidence of use from thousands of years ago, but there isn't any modern scientific research done.

Benefits and usage

castor oil applied on hair
We'll tell it like it is- there isn't any scientific hard evidence to support the many claims about castor oil helping with hair loss. Hair loss can be caused by many things, including age, poor health or diet, and stress. If you experience excessive hair loss do consult with your doctor. 
That said, there are some other benefits you can reap from the use of castor oil on your hair. Seeing as it is anti-inflammatory, it can help with bacterial dandruff. 
It can also help a dry, irritated scalp, and it could also replenish shine to lackluster hair strands. Other nutrients found naturally in the oil, such as vitamin E, increase blood flow to the scalp, and with it comes oxygen and nutrients carried by the blood into the roots. Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant, fighting oxidative stress and damage from the sun. 
Here's how to use it:
For an irritated scalp
Wear an old T-shirt as this oil stains. Massage the oil once every two weeks into the scalp. Cover your head with a shower cap and leave it on for no more than 2 hours. You can also coat your hair all the way to the ends if you'd like a conditioning effect. Shampoo twice to remove every trace of the thick oil. 
Alternatively, add a few drops of the oil to your shampoo once a week. 
For dry, brittle hair
While hair is still damp from the shower sleek on a few drops from the midsections of your hair all through the ends, avoiding the root area. 
As this oil is a natural substance, it can cause allergies. Do perform a patch test on the skin behind your ear before applying it to your sensitive scalp area. 

Hair-raising fun facts

castor oil and seeds
  • Each hair on your body has a life cycle of four stages. A hair falls off only after it is pushed out by a new hair that grows beneath it. 
  • We lose about 50 to 150 hairs a day. The reason that up to 150 hairs can fall from your hair simultaneously without leaving you bald is that each hair follicle has its own biological clock, and these are not synchronized. 
  • The hair shaft itself is dead. The only part of it that's alive, is the root, and this is only during the first growth phase, lasting four to six years. 
  • Humans, like our pets, have seasonal shedding. 
  • A hair grows 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) per month on average. 
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