What is Ricinoleic Acid?
Ricinoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid with the lipid number C18:1. It is an Omega-9 fatty acid, along with Erucic and Nervonic acid. It’s a hydroxyl acid and is soluble in alcohol, but not in oil or water. When we talk about ricinoleic acid, we are generally talking about castor oil since it is the main source of ricinoleic acid. Castor oil is obtained from the castor bean of the castor plant. It is an inexpensive vegetable oil with a very mild odor and taste.
How does Ricinoleic Acid Help Our Skin?
Ricinoleic acid is a humectant, which means that it helps to pull moisture out of the atmosphere and into our skin. It has analgesic, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. Castor oil is used in foot care products because of its antifungal properties. Castor oil is a very thick oil, but it still penetrates the skin easily and can actually help thicken skin. This is helpful as skin tends to thin as we age. In fact castor oil is so thick that it has a viscosity rating of 293, as opposed to olive oil with a viscosity rating of 47. It blends well with beeswax and is used in cosmetics such as deodorants, lip balms and lipsticks. It can go on feeling somewhat greasy and sticky, which is good for lipstick, but maybe not for a body lotion. In traditional medicine castor oil has been used to treat skin disorders, abrasions, burns, sunburns, and a variety of skin problems.
What Oils are High in Ricinoleic Acid?
The castor plant is most commonly associated with ricinoleic acid and over 80% of the fatty acids in castor oil are ricinoleic acid (it will variety depending on where the plant was raised and how it was raised).
Some of the oils high in Ricinoleic acid include:
- Castor oil (85%) Has a shelf life of about 1 year