Can Castor Oil Influence Acne Cysts?

In this blog, we will discuss acne cysts, a severe skin disorder. We will mention the causes of these cysts and discuss the properties of castor oil, a substance often recommended for treating acne cysts. We will also evaluate the effectiveness of castor oil in managing acne cysts.
Greta Daniskova

Greta Daniskova

Greta is a BSc Biomedical Science student at the University of Westminster, London.

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What is an Acne Cyst?

A cyst is formed when acne bacteria are trapped in the skin pores and sealed beneath them. Cystic acne is the most severe type of skin disorder due to the cysts growing deep under your skin.

Nodules – bumps that are large, tender, and painful, filled with pus – and cysts are the two types of bumps that appear on people’s faces. Both of them can take weeks or months until they disappear. Both have a similar shape to boils but are much larger and deeper. Cystic acne can appear as deep lumps, sometimes red or brown, depending on skin colour [1, 2, 3].

Cystic acne is the most severe type of acne and may be characterized by large pus-filled boils on the skin. It can also be painful to the touch, and if these boils rupture, they can cause scarring. Cystic acne most often forms on the face, chest, neck, upper back, and arms [4].

What are the Causes of Acne Cysts?

The exact cause of acne, including cystic acne, is unclear. It seems to result from a combination of different factors: pore clogging with dead skin cells and lipids, Propionibacterium acnes colonization of the occluded ducts, and hormonal changes such as during puberty and pregnancy [1, 5].

Cystic acne has been related to abnormal keratinization of the sebaceous duct, increased sebum production, and genetic factors; it usually occurs in those with oily skin individuals, adolescents, women and postmenopausal women with hormonal imbalances [6, 7, 8].

What is Castor Oil?

Castor oil is a type of vegetable oil derived from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant, native to India [9]. It is extracted from the seeds of the plant, and then heated up and processed for commercial use [10]. The oil is rich in hydroxylated fatty acids, particularly ricinoleic acid, which makes up 89-92% of its composition [11]. This unique chemical composition gives castor oil various healing properties, although scientific evidence to support these claims is limited [9].

What does Castor Oil Do?

Castor oil has medicinal uses, including eye, ear, and skin irritations. Its non-medicinal uses include cleansing substances and cosmetics, where castor oil is used for its anticaking, cleansing, emulsifying, or moisturising effects [10]. It is utilized as a mould inhibitor, food additive, flavouring agent, and goods derived from manufacturing, such as plastics, fibres, and paints [9].

Castor oil, used for thousands of years as a coronary stimulant, laxative and lymphatic, has been used to treat gastrointestinal, infectious and skin problems, including pain and inflammation, and even to strengthen the immune system [9]. It’s also been used topically to treat various eye conditions; one small study showed that eye lube application for four weeks reduced symptoms such as eyelash matting (by applying castor oil daily to the eyelid margin) [12].

Castor oil can potentially control immature and adult mosquito vectors, with larvicidal activity documented at concentrations as low as 10, 25, 50, 75, and 100 ppm [13].

Furthermore, castor oil has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. One study found that ricinoleic acid vanillyl ester—derived from castor oil—had excellent antioxidant and inhibitory activity against some food spoilage bacteria [14].

Can Castor Oil Influence Acne Cysts?

Castor oil, derived from the castor plant (Ricinis communis), has been recommended as a cyst-buster, including acne cysts. Castor oil has strong antimicrobial properties that can eliminate microbes, such as bacteria, resident in the skin and are known causative agents for acne and acne cysts [15].

But castor oil isn’t an effective cure for cysts—neither reducing their number nor their appearance—and it’s also unlikely to effectively treat all types of cysts, namely only the ones caused by bacteria, and not all of them as well [15].

Castor oil is relatively harmless to most individuals. It is usually applied directly onto the skin, but it can elicit sensitivity or allergic responses in people with sensitive skin or certain skin disorders [10].

To use it, you put one drop on your finger and rub it into the cyst, using more, if needed, as many times as needed. Three times a day is a good bet. You don’t want to ingest castor oil if you’re pregnant since it can cause diarrhoea or if you are allergic to castor oil [15].


In conclusion, despite the antimicrobial properties of castor oil, there is no foundation for the valid treatment of acne cysts. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting new treatment regimens.

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Greta Daniskova

Greta Daniskova

Greta is a 2nd-year student currently pursuing her Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Westminster in London. Currently, in her second year of undergraduate studies, she exhibits a keen interest in the dynamic field of healthcare. With a focus on understanding the intricacies of human biology and disease mechanisms, Greta is driven by a desire to contribute to advancements in medical research and patient care.