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L'huile de ricin est-elle dangereuse ?

Is Castor Oil Dangerous?

Castor oil is a viscous and sticky liquid that has been used for thousands of years in the skin care industry. According to a legend, even Cleopatra used it as a make-up remover. Are there any side effects and contraindications to its use? This article provides the answers.

Castor oil in a Nutshell.

Castor oil is derived from the cold pressing of the seeds of Ricinus communis, a plant of the Euphorbiaceae family. It is used in various fields, such as paintings or medicine (especially to treat constipation). Its particularly high content in omega-9 and more precisely in ricinoleic acid (more than 80%) gives it bactericidal properties. It thus makes it possible to fight against the acne, and presents in more the advantage of being non-comedogene. Moreover, it also strengthens the nails and hair follicles such as hair, beard hair, eyelashes and eyebrows.

Is Castor Oil Dangerous?

No, castor oil is not dangerous. However, after the first cold pressing, the liquid obtained must be filtered to eliminate traces of ricin. Ricin is a toxic substance contained in the raw Ricinus communis seed. However, since ricin is not soluble in oil, the use of filtered castor oil is not dangerous, unlike the consumption of the whole castor seed. The ingestion of this part of the plant can generate undesirable effects such as digestive disorders or an impact on blood pressure.

What Are the Side Effects Associated With Topical Castor Oil?

It is not considered a significant skin irritant, but it can irritate sensitive individuals. Application of castor oil can cause an allergic skin reaction called contact dermatitis.

In addition, one study identified ricinoleic acid as the most common allergen in lipsticks. Researchers also found that ricinoleic acid can cause a rash and inflamed lips.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) mentions that castor oil can irritate the eyes. As this substance is sometimes recommended to fight dark circles, even though there are no tangible scientific studies to prove this property, it is advisable to be cautious if you apply castor oil around the eyes.

What Are the Side Effects of Castor Oil in Hair Application?

Only one study has found adverse effects of castor oil on hair, called "acute hair felting". The hair becomes hard, twisted, and tangled. These symptoms occurred after castor oil was used by healthy people for the first time.

Are There Any Contraindications to Using Castor Oil Externally?

Normally, there are no contraindications to the use of castor oil on the skin for pregnant and/or breastfeeding women and young children. It may be used without risk in these cases. Consult your doctor.

Sources :

  • Yung-Hian Leow & al., Pigmented contact cheilitis from ricinoleic acid in lipsticks, Case Reports Contact Dermatitis, (2003).

  • Final report on the safety assessment of Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glyceryl Ricinoleate, Glyceryl Ricinoleate SE, Ricinoleic Acid, Potassium Ricinoleate, Sodium Ricinoleate, Zinc Ricinoleate, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Ethyl Ricinoleate, Glycol Ricinoleate, Isopropyl Ricinoleate, Methyl Ricinoleate, and Octyldodecyl Ricinoleate, Int J Toxicol, (2007).

  • Maduri VR, Vedachalam A, Kiruthika S. Castor oil-the culprit of acute hair felting. Int J Trichology. (2017).


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