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Is it safe to massage the body with castor oil?

Q: Which oils are best for body massage? I would particularly want to know about castor oil and its benefits for the skin?

A:Almost all common natural oils with a pleasant odour and feel have been used for anointing or massaging the skin. One of the oldest is olive oil, which, however, is less acceptable today. Oils and creams for the skin constitute a huge business and the cosmetic industry has available to it natural products from animal and synthetic origins in addition to plant materials. Choice is a matter of personal preference, and is usually conditioned by the aromas and fragrances that are natural to the oil or to additives that are incorporated. Some of these products can irritate sensitive skin or can cause hypersensitivity or allergic reactions. Most such oils are not likely to cause significant harm in the majority of users, although less popular ones are of unknown safety. Castor oil should probably be avoided, and it may actually be dangerous if massaged through an abrasion of the skin. Indeed, the ricin in castor oil has been proposed as a weapon of mass destruction since the pure extract can cause a devastating illness if inhaled or injected through the skin.


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