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Debunking Myths. Eyelash Growth and Castor Oil

Numerous people use various serums, supplements, and substances to enhance the appearance of their lashes, even though some people are born with naturally long lashes. Castor oil is a commonly recommended solution for promoting lash growth due to its rumored ability to stimulate hair and eyebrow growth. However, caution must be taken when using castor oil around the eyes. In this article, we consulted with two dermatologists and an oculoplastic surgeon to understand the potential benefits and risks of using castor oil for eyelashes.

Castor oil is a highly versatile treatment used to address various ailments and has been used as a natural skin remedy in several cultures throughout history. It is derived by pressing the seeds of the castor oil plant, which is typically sourced from India. Castor oil is critical to the global specialty chemical industry because it is the only commercial source of hydroxylated fatty acid. It contains ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid that can moisturize the skin.

In terms of stimulating new lash growth, castor oil does not have a direct effect. While it may help hydrate lashes and reduce breakage, it does not promote faster or denser lash growth than usual. According to experts, there is not enough scientific or clinical data to support the claim that castor oil triggers growth or activates metabolic functions in the follicle to initiate or extend the growth phase. Previous research conducted on rabbits suggested that castor oil could affect hair regeneration, but there is only one study on humans that found that ricinoleic acid penetrates the skin and acts as an inhibitor of prostaglandin D2 synthase (PGD2), a potential cause of androgenetic alopecia.

Despite not directly initiating lash growth, castor oil may promote growth indirectly by enhancing the environment for growth and the health of existing lashes. Castor oil contains high levels of terpenoids and a tocopherol-related compound, glycerol, which, when combined with fatty acids, promotes the healing and health of skin and lashes. Additionally, castor oil has numerous properties that can benefit lashes, making it an excellent addition to a beauty routine. It is deeply hydrating, preventing transepidermal water loss, preventing breakage, and has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Experts concur that castor oil is generally safe for use on lashes when applied in small amounts. It is an occlusive product with a high density and viscosity, which can cause issues for eyes and skin, but it is commonly used in beauty products. Although there is a risk of clogging or blocking follicles or pores, this is unlikely when used in small amounts on lashes. Swelling and redness are possible side effects, and it is recommended to test a small amount behind the ear, on the upper lid near the brow, or by the hairline before applying it to the lash line. Temporary blurred vision may also occur if a lot of castor oil enters the eye, but this will only last for a few minutes to a maximum of 15 minutes.