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Castor Oil For Dry Feet: Benefits, Uses and 3 DIY Remedies

Castor oil beans

With the start of a new school year and the weather still holding up, I have been making the most of it and walking my son from school. It’s a fantastic way to connect and hear about his day, the teachers, and his mates. But all those walks have been rough on my feet. They are dry, rough, feet tight and ache. So what better way to get them back in shape than by rubbing castor oil into them? 

In today’s post, I’d like to share with you what makes castor oil an excellent natural moisturiser, what it can do for your feet and how to use it to make the most of it. But, before I do that, let’s look at what causes dry feet.

Table of Contents

Why Do Our Feet Get Dry?

Dry Feet

A lack of moisture in the skin is a common cause of dry feet (1) and is attributed to:

  1. A lack of Natural Moisturising Factors (NMF) in the skin: Ingredients such as urea, lactate, amino acids, and PCA (also known as NMF) attract moisture to the skin, keeping it plump and preventing it from becoming dry (2). 
  2. A lack of lipids in the skin: The cells in the top layer of the skin are bound together by lipids, creating a protective barrier and preventing moisture loss. When missing lipids, skin can become dry and feel tight (3).

Apart from that, various contributing factors can also cause feet to become dry, including:

  • Heat and humidity: walking, jogging or spending long hours in closed trainers or tight shoes can make your feet hot and sweaty, drawing moisture from the skin, and leading to dry skin.
  • Soaps and body washes contain surfactants that can strip the skin of its natural oils, causing dryness.
  • Dry air: low humidity in the air, particularly in heated rooms during the cold winter, can strip the skin of its moisture, leaving it dry.
  • Age: As we age, our skin becomes thinner and loses the ability to retain moisture. As a result, it is prone to dryness and more likely to crack.
  • Long walks can put a lot of pressure on feet and cause friction, leading to dryness and roughness of the skin.
  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes, eczema, and athlete’s foot, can also leave your feet dry.

Even though dry feet are relatively common, using a simple moisturiser like castor oil can help manage it. 

What Can Castor Oil Do For Your Feet?

Castor oil

Extracted from the seeds of the Ricinus communis, castor oil is a multipurpose oil used for centuries to treat various skin conditions. Abandoned in ricinoleic acid and a good source of vitamin E and omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids, applying it to your feet may help: 

  • Moisturise: Castor oil is a natural emollient that helps restore the skin’s moisture levels by creating a barrier between the skin and the environment, making it a valuable ingredient in treating dryness.
  • Hydrate: Humectant properties in castor oil help draw moisture to the skin, keeping it hydrated. 
  • Calm irritated skin: Both castor oil and ricinoleic acid have anti-inflammatory properties, making them helpful in soothing minor skin irritations.
  • Relieve cracked heels: Applying castor oil to the skin helps to form a barrier, preventing moisture loss and skin damage caused by dryness.
  • Nourish: Fatty acids, minerals and vitamins in castor oil offer additional skin benefits.
  •  Soothe sore feet: Known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect, ricinoleic acid in castor oil can help soothe aching feet. 

Oils You Can Pair With Castor Oil To Relieve Dry Skin

Castor oil’s hydrating, moisturising and restoring ability makes it a perfect remedy for dry, callus feet. However, it is a relatively thick oil and may take some time to absorb fully into the skin. Blending it with other skin-friendly oils such as coconut, avocado, olive oil, or shea butter will make it easier for the skin to absorb castor oil. It will also turn it into a more effective moisturiser (4). 

Coconut oil: Light and fast absorbing, coconut oil is often used to prevent dryness as it helps retain moisture in the skin. What’s more, the oil is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. Applying it to the skin may also help remedy cracked heels if they’re prone to bleeding or infections.

Avocado oil: When it comes to dry skin, it is one of the most nourishing oils you can use to treat dry skin. Chock-full of skin-friendly properties, this fantastic oil helps nourish, moisturise, and relieve dry skin.

RELATED:  10 Essential Oils That Pair Well With Avocado Oil 

Olive oil is more than just a kitchen staple. It is also a natural emollient that helps keep your skin moisturised by preventing water loss, making it an excellent all-rounder when it comes to treating dry feet.

Safflower oil, rich in linoleic and oleic fatty acids, this light and fast absorbent oil is well suited for dry skin in need of a moisture boost. Applying it to your feet may help improve the health of your feet and give an instant smooth feel to the skin. 

Shea butter: Besides being a natural moisturiser, it is loaded with vitamins, fatty acids, antioxidants and anti-inflamatory properties, making it an excellent choice for your skin’s health and happiness. Applying shea butter to your feet can also help reduce dryness by restoring the barrier between your skin and the outside environment, preventing moisture loss.

But it’s not only fixed oils that can help reduce dryness in the skin. Benzoin, lavender, and patchouli essential oil can also help balance out moisture levels in your skin, making them particularly useful in foot creams.

Essential oils

Benzoin essential oil – used to soothe dry skin, cuts and grazes, benzoin essential oil is an excellent choice for dry feet. With a vanilla-like aroma, it blends beautifully with shea butter. 

Lavender essential oil is a common ingredient in many skin care products. Thanks to its ability to balance sebum production in the skin, you can utilise lavender oil to treat dry feet. 

Patchouli essential oil is a wonderful choice when looking for an oil to help soften dry, cracked skin on your feet. An earthy, musky, herbaceous aroma of the oil blends beautifully with the fresh scent of peppermint and nutty scent of avocado oil. 

Castor oil’s hydrating, moisturising and restoring ability makes it a perfect remedy for dry, callus feet. Blending it with other skin-friendly oils will turn it into even a more effective moisturiser.

Caring For Dry Feet: 3 Homemade Remedies With Castor Oil

DIY Castor oil foot lotion

Getting rid of dry skin on your feet may seem like a never-ending battle. However, following these simple steps that utilise Homemade Castor Oil Remedies can help keep your feet soft and moisturised. 

Step 1: Wash Your Feet

Like any other part of your body, feet, too, need a good wash to keep them clean and healthy. A moisturising body wash can help to get rid of dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria and ward off dryness.

Step 2: Treat Yourself To a Soothing Castor Oil Foot Soak & Foot Massage Oil

After a good foot wash, it’s time to pamper your feet. A soothing foot soak is an excellent way to relieve sore muscles, soften dry skin and calluses, and prepare your feet for exfoliation. 

This recipe combines moisturising safflower, avocado and castor oil with peppermint, patchouli and melissa lemon balm essential oil. The blend will soften and refresh your skin while caring for your tired feet.

Soothing DIY Castor Foot Soak & Foot Massage Oil

To prepare 100g of foot soak, you will need: 

Ingredients

50.00g safflower oil

27.80g unrefined avocado oil

20.00g castor oil

1.00g vitamin E

0.80g peppermint essential oil   

0.25g patchouli essential oil   

0.15g melissa lemon balm 

Method

  1. Weigh all ingredients in a glass beaker and stir until well combined.
  2.  Transfer the oil into a bottle, date, label and store away from direct sunlight. 

To use: Fill a basin with warm water, add a couple of tablespoons of castor foot soak & soot massage oil to the water and soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes. Dry thoroughly. 

Step 3: Exfoliate

Now that your skin has softened use a pumice stone or foot file to gently slough away dry, dead skin on your feet, focusing on the outer side of the big toe, the ball of the foot and the heel. When finished, rinse and pat dry. Regular exfoliation can help remove dry skin, prevent calluses and painful cracks and keep your skin soft.

Step 4: Moisturise

After the soothing foot soak and free of dry skin, it is time to moisturise your feet. For an extra boost of hydration, try this DIY foot lotion with castor oil. This foot lotion is light, absorbs quickly and smells great too!

DIY Castor Oil Foot Lotion Recipe

To prepare 100g, you will need:

Ingredients

Phase A (oil phase)

Phase B (water phase)

Phase C (cooling phase)

  • 1.00g vitamin E
  • 0.80g peppermint essential oil
  • 0.25g patchouli essential oil
  • 0.15g melissa lemon balm essential oil

Phase D

Method

Step 1: Bring 2-3 cm of water to a simmer over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. 

Step 2: Weigh all phase A ingredients (oil phase) in a heatproof glass beaker, and place it into the hot water bath.

Step 3: Weigh distilled water (water phase) in the second glass beaker and place it in the hot water bath. 

Step 4: Mix xanthan gum and glycerine in a third beaker and set aside. 

Step 5: Once the oil phase in the first beaker and the water phase in the second beaker reach 70°C, slowly pour the oil phase into the water phase, stirring continually. Add glycerin and xanthan gum mix. 

Step 6: Keep stirring until the emulsion cools down to under 40°C. Add vitamin E and essential oils. 

Step 7: Check the pH of the lotion is between 4.5 to 5.5. If it’s over 5.5 or below 4.5, adjust before moving to step 8. You can check it by diluting 10% of the emulsion in distilled water (10% emulsion/90% distilled water). Suppose the pH of the emulsion is over 5.5. In that case, you can lower it using a drop or two of citric acid solution( 10% citric acid to 90% distilled water). Subsequently, you can increase pH by adding a drop or two sodium bicarbonate solutions (10% sodium bicarbonate to 90% distilled water).

Step 8: Add the Preservative Eco and recheck the ph. Adjust if needed, just like described in step 7.

Step 9: Transfer lotion into a lotion dispenser and allow it to set overnight.  

To use: Lather castor foot lotion on your feet, massaging it into the heels and soles for about a minute or two until fully absorbed. It will help restore the skin’s natural moisture balance, reduce dryness and irritation, and give you softer skin. You can follow up with your homemade Castor Foot Massage Oil or Castor Foot Balm. 

Step 5: Reinforce

Even though moisturisers work very well for me, I love applying a bit of foot balm or oil to my feet a few minutes after the lotion. It helps to lock the moisture in. 

DIY Castor Oil Foot Balm Recipe

To prepare 100g, you will need:

Ingredients

Phase A

  • 15.00g beeswax
  • 35.00g shea butter

Phase B 

  • 20.00g castor oil
  • 15.00g safflower oil
  • 12.80g unrefined avocado oil

Phase C

  • 1.00g vitamin E
  • 0.80g peppermint essential oil
  • 0.25g patchouli essential oil
  • 0.15g melissa lemon balm essential oil

Method:

  1. Bring 2-3 cm of water to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat.
  2. Weigh beeswax and shea butter in the glass beaker, place them in a water bath, and gently allow the ingredients to melt. 
  3. Weigh castor, safflower, and avocado oil in another beaker, stir until well combined and set aside. 
  4. When wax and butter have melted, remove from the heat and add the oil mixture. Keep on stirring. It will prevent graininess in the balm. 
  5. Once the mixture has cooled down, add vitamin E and essential oil. If you find the mixture too thick, place it back in the hot water bath for a minute or two. Don’t overheat it.
  6. Pour the balm into aluminium jars, label and date. Allow the balm to cool down before capping the jars to prevent condensation. Store in a dry, cool room away from sunlight.

To use: Lightly massage a pea-sized amount of the balm to your feet, focusing on rough and dry patches around your heel and arches. For an intensive treatment, apply generously, put on a pair of socks and let sit overnight.

Top Tips For Preventing Dry Skin On Feet

Prevention is better than cure, so here are some steps you can take to prevent dry and cracked feet: 

1. Wear well-fitted shoes.

2. Avoid hot showers. They can strip the skin of vital moisture.

3. Exfoliate your feet regularly to prevent dry skin from building up.

4. Moisturise daily. A good moisturiser is a must for dry skin on the feet. 

5. Treat your feet to an intensive foot balm while sleeping.

Castor Oil Use Precautions

Although castor oil is considered relatively safe, it can cause some side effects. So, do a patch test before deciding whether to use castor oil on your feet. If you experience skin rashes, itching or swelling, seek medical attention. Contact your healthcare provider before applying castor oil to your skin if pregnant.

Takeaway

Homemade castor oil remedies for dry feet are a great option if you’re looking for simple ways to moisturise your skin. Incorporating castor oil into your foot care routine can help keep your feet happy and healthy.

FAQs

Can I use castor oil on its own?

Castor oil is a viscous oil that can take time for the skin to absorb fully. Diluting it with other fixed oils can promote absorption into the skin. The recommended ratio is 50:50, the amount of castor oil to the oil it is mixed with. I personally prefer to use about 20:80 – the amount of castor oil to the oil (or blend of oils) with which I mix it. 

What else can I use castor oil for?

Colourless or pale yellow in colour with a distinct odour, castor oil is often utilised in skincare for its healing properties and ability to moisturise the skin. And as such, it is often used to treat wrinkles, fight acne, reduce puffiness, moisturise lips, soothe sunburn and promote overall skin health. 

References:

  1. Xerosis – Symptoms, causes and solutions
  2. A Biomimetic Combination of Actives Enhances Skin Hydration and Barrier Function via Modulation of Gene Expression: Results of Two Double-Blind, Vehicle-Controlled Clinical Studies
  3. Emollients in the care of the diabetic foot
  4. Effectiveness of utilising VCO oil and castor oil on natural creams for dry skin treatment due to environmental factors

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