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What Are the Benefits of Castor Oil for the Face?

Megan Shoop
Megan Shoop

Castor oil has a number of benefits for the face, particularly where moisturizing and healing are concerned. People for centuries have been rubbing small drops of the oil onto the sensitive skin around the eyes to reduce puffiness and wrinkles, and it works as an all-over moisturizer, too, often leaving the face looking supple and refreshed. Acne sufferers often report that it reduces breakouts, and dermatologists sometimes recommend it as a natural way to reduce the appearance of scars and other facial blemishes. Some people also use it to thicken eyebrows, eyelashes, and facial hair.

As a Moisturizer

Castor oil can help improve acne and hydrate skin.
Castor oil can help improve acne and hydrate skin.

One of the things that sets castor oil apart from other vegetable-based oils is its very high concentration of fatty acids. This characteristic makes it useful for a number of different things in a range of different industries, but it is prized in skin care for its ability to quickly moisturize. The fatty acids penetrate the skin relatively quickly, lubricating dry patches and helping cells stay hydrated by surrounding them with a protective oily coating. These benefits are often very transparent on the face, where the skin tends to be more sensitive and more exposed to environmental elements like sun and wind.

Cotton swabs can be used to apply castor oil to the face.
Cotton swabs can be used to apply castor oil to the face.

People often choose to use castor oil over regular lotion because of how effective the oil is, and also how little is required to get results. Just a dab of oil can cover the entire face, and the benefits are typically long lasting: applying a few drops at night, for instance, can lead to supple skin in the morning that looks refreshed and revitalized. Likewise, someone who applies it in the morning will probably still have silky-smooth skin by nightfall. Most lotions, on the other hand, must be reapplied somewhat regularly. This is usually because lotions are topical, which means that they treat only the outer layer of the skin, whereas castor oil is usually able to penetrate down beneath the surface.

Cure for Acne

Castor oil may be applied topically to reduce acne breakouts.
Castor oil may be applied topically to reduce acne breakouts.

The same deep-penetrating properties that make castor oil effective as a moisturizer can also be beneficial as a treatment or prevention for acne. Acne happens when sweat, skin oils, and bacteria clog pores and cause irritation. Rubbing a bit of castor oil on breakouts can sometimes minimize redness and swelling, though it usually takes a few weeks to start seeing results.

Caster oil may be used to thicken eyebrows.
Caster oil may be used to thicken eyebrows.

The oil is also widely believed to be helpful as a preventative measure. A number of experts teach that applying a bit of oil to clean skin can ward off breakouts by discouraging build-up. People who are prone to acne often say that one of the biggest benefits of castor oil for the face is how it minimizes the severity and duration of their blemishes.

Fading Scars

It's important to apply castor oil to a freshly washed face.
It's important to apply castor oil to a freshly washed face.

Castor oil is sometimes recommended as a way to reduce the appearance of scars. Scar tissue is usually made up of dense, tough cells that are designed to protect the injured skin from exposure, but it also tends to be somewhat unsightly, particularly when it’s on the face. Castor oil tends to yield very slow results, but in most cases they are long lasting. With continued use over time, the oil’s own fatty acids can seep into the scar tissue, plumping it, revitalizing it, and promoting the growth of healthy tissues around it. This usually has the effect of diminishing the look of the scar.

Anti-Aging Benefits

Castor oil can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, particularly around the eye area. As people age they often begin to see more pronounced wrinkles in places where their face creases, whether for smiling, talking, or making general expressions. The same benefits of castor oil for the face that relate to moisturizing and scar removal can also apply to wrinkle reduction. When the cells in wrinkle creases plump up, the wrinkles appear less obvious. Most of the time this is not a permanent solution, and wrinkles reappear as soon as people stop using the oil; as a temporary fix, though, it tends to be quite popular.

Hair Thickness

Another benefit of castor oil for the face has to do with hair thickness. Men who are hoping to grow thick beards or mustaches sometimes rub small amounts into their stubble in hopes of improving follicle growth. People who want thicker eyebrows or eyelashes can do the same, often applying a few drops of the oil with a cotton swab. It often takes several months to start seeing results.

Application Tips

Experts usually recommend that castor oil be used sparingly on the face, in part because of how concentrated it is: using too much can actually cause breakouts and rashes by clogging pores. Most say to start with a freshly washed and dried face to prevent buildup. Using lukewarm water can be helpful for removing impurities, too. Water that is either too hot or too cold can cause the pores to close or shrink up, which makes treatments less effective.

Most skincare specialists also discourage leaving the oil directly on the skin for long stretches of time. General advice is usually to apply a light layer to the face and let it soak in for about five minutes, then rinse it away with cool water to close the pores. A second, very thin layer can then be applied overnight or under makeup. In the morning or at the end of the day, the oil should be removed with a gentle facial soap. This on-and-off routine can help keep the skin supple without inhibiting its ability to naturally regenerate with its own oils and lubricants.

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Discussion Comments


I only knew of castor oil as a laxative. This is very interesting and I am going to try this out.


I had dry, sore eyes and applied castor oil at bedtime. Almost right away, my eyes felt better and more hydrated, but in the morning, they were even better.


I am going to try putting it on the bottom of my feet at night. I am going to put cotton socks on. I also wanted to tell people about something that could be help full to them. I got my vitamin D level checked at the doctor's office. It was very low! I took the D from the doctor's office to get it up to the level it needed to be. Now I take 5000 D3 every day. Everybody is different on the amount. You have to go back to get it checked to make sure you are taking the right amount.

It is important for a lot of the way the body works. Everybody I have asked, they said their D3 low. The last person I asked, he said that his was a 17. He said he wasn't healing after surgery. Because of this, he found out his was 17. The doctor put him on 5000 D3 a day to help him heal. You do not need to go over 100! I want to get mine around 70.


In my grandma's day, castor oil was used to help bring on labor because of its laxative effect. I also heard someone say it was good for eyelashes and brows. My eyelashes aren't as full as I'd like them to be, and I don't like makeup, so I figured it couldn't hurt. I would rather try castor oil than those prescription products.

My lashes do seem longer and more visible. Also, the castor oil works like mascara if you use a brush applicator for it on the lashes. It's also a nice moisturizer for nighttime. I have noticed a much softer feel to my skin I even used it on my hands and elbows and feet. Great product! Who would have thought an old fashioned castor oil had so many uses? Obviously, women in the 1920's did.


Does it promote facial hair growth? I mean, that would be bad, right?

This sounds like a wonderful oil, and I am wondering why you never hear much about it? I am going to try some on my neck where I just had a cyst removed. I tend to get red, thick scars after any type of surgery and am hoping this one on my neck won't do that. Maybe applying castor oil while it is healing will prevent that from happening.

I think using castor oil on your face at night may be giving you more benefits than just for your face. When I was reading about the benefits of castor oil, it said to apply a few drops to your eyelids before going to bed at night if you are having trouble sleeping.

The first few times I tried this, I slept like a baby. It was wonderful not to be tossing and turning all night. I had such good results that I kept using it every night, and then it didn't seem to work as well, so I only use it on the nights that I really need it now.

I also use castor oil on my face and love how soft and moisturizing it makes my skin feel. I will apply this before I go to bed and let it soak in all night long.

I wouldn't recommend doing this in the morning though. It tends to leave my face too shiny and oily looking, and my makeup doesn't go on as well. Save it for a night time moisturizer and skin repair, and you won't be disappointed.


The first time I heard about using castor oil was as a hot pack for abdominal cramps and discomfort. This book suggested you get a piece of fabric or an old towel and pour some castor oil on it. I like to warm mine up and then put it on my stomach if I am having cramps.

I don't know if I was really expecting it to work, but was very pleasantly surprised when it did. Relaxing with this castor oil pack on my stomach really helped. Now I am going to try it on my eyebrows which seem to get thinner all the time and see if it will give them more fullness.


I make some of my own skin care products because I know the ingredients that are in them, and feel like they are very good quality products at an inexpensive price.

You can buy a bottle of castor oil for around $7.00 and it will last you a long time. I like to mix castor oil and sweet almond oil along with some essential oils like lavender, patchouli, and sandalwood. All of these oils are known to be healing for the skin.

Since castor oil really doesn't have any scent to it, the essential oils add scent and also have additional healing properties. Over time this has helped diminish some small acne scars I had, and also keeps those annoying little red lines from forming on my cheeks.

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    • Castor oil can help improve acne and hydrate skin.
      By: picsfive
      Castor oil can help improve acne and hydrate skin.
    • Cotton swabs can be used to apply castor oil to the face.
      By: Sergey Yarochkin
      Cotton swabs can be used to apply castor oil to the face.
    • Castor oil may be applied topically to reduce acne breakouts.
      By: Ocskay Bence
      Castor oil may be applied topically to reduce acne breakouts.
    • Caster oil may be used to thicken eyebrows.
      By: BlueSkyImages
      Caster oil may be used to thicken eyebrows.
    • It's important to apply castor oil to a freshly washed face.
      By: lightwavemedia
      It's important to apply castor oil to a freshly washed face.