Can Castor Oil Really Help Regrowing Hair?

Claim

Castor oil can help regrowing hair.

Verdict

False

There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the claim that castor oil can help regrowing hair.

Origin

There are over 17 million results online for the search term ‘castor oil and hair’. These claims date back to the very beginning of the internet. According to numerous popular blogs, hair can grow at 3 to 5 times the normal rate with the regular topical use of castor oil. The castor oil may be blended with another less viscous oil for ease of application and massaged into the scalp and hair twice weekly. There are numerous commercially available brands of ‘castor oil for hair growth’.

Closer examination of the 17 million online results for the search term ‘castor oil and hair’ shows that not a single one of these results comes from the medical or scientific literature. Specifically, there is no clinical trial, observational study, case report, animal study or even laboratory data on the relationship between castor oil and hair in the medical or scientific literature.

Expansion of the search criteria in the scientific literature from ‘castor oil and hair’ to Ricinus communis (which is the official name for castor oil) and alopecia (which is being the medical term for hair loss) did yield a single positive result. The study in question  had nothing to do with hair growth.  It appears that Ricinus Communis Agglutinin I (RCA1) is the scientific name for a technique that histopathologists use when examining biological specimens such as the hearts of zebrafish (1).

Castor oil is not a completely innocuous substance. There are reports in the medical literature of both contact dermatitis and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions to castor oil (2, 3).

In summary, there is nothing in the scientific or medical literature to support claims that castor oil helps regrowing hair. Claims that castor oil can help with regrowing hair are simply false, misleading and illegal.

References

  1. Differential Lectin Binding Patterns Identify Distinct Heart Regions in Giant Danio ( Devario aequipinnatus) and Zebrafish ( Danio rerio) Hearts. Manalo T, May A, Quinn J, Lafontant DS, Shifatu O, He W, Gonzalez-Rosa JM, Burns GC, Burns CE, Burns AR, Lafontant PJ. J Histochem Cytochem. 2016 Nov;64(11):687-714. doi: 10.1369/0022155416667928. Epub 2016 Sep 30.
  2. Allergic contact dermatitis caused by glycyrrhetinic acid andcastor oil. Sasseville D, Desjardins M, Almutawa F. Contact Dermatitis. 2011 Mar;64(3):168-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2010.01829.x. No abstract available.
  3. Angioedema-like allergic contact dermatitis tocastor oil. Sánchez-Guerrero IM, Huertas AJ, López MP, Carreño A, Ramírez M, Pajarón M. Contact Dermatitis. 2010 May;62(5):318-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2010.01733.x. No abstract available.

 

Summary

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