A little background before I detail all the drama - a few days ago I learned about the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) thanks to Fran over at High On Health, an interesting (and simple) way of cleansing the skin by using certain oils to counteract and breakdown the existing oil that clogs up pores. I’m surprised I’ve never heard of it before, especially as it has quite a good following and the majority of users find it works extremely well. I’ll be going into more detail on this in a future post.
The key ingredient is castor oil, a basic and cheap product which has been used topically and internally for all sorts of ailments over the years. So yesterday, I headed down to a nearby pharmacy to grab a bottle and try it out. Except they didn’t have any, and they’ve never stocked it in the past.
Undeterred, I decided to stop off at Tesco’s on the way home. They didn’t have any either – not in the cooking oils section or the pharmacy. The lady behind the counter wanted to sell me a zinc and castor oil cream instead, until I explained what it was for.
At this point, I started wondering what was going on. How is it that a large, modern pharmacy and a national supermarket don’t have this most basic item? Perhaps it was just a coincidence, so I had a look in my local Sainsbury’s too. Nope, nothing there either.
It was a little after 6pm, so too late to check any other pharmacies. I went back home and did a little research and discovered that castor oil is often taken by pregnant women wanting to induce labour. As this practice is questionable, it seems that stores don’t like to sell it.
There are two other supermarkets in my area, and I was getting more and more determined to find the darn oil, so I decided to check them out just in case. Nope, that’s Asda and Morrisons off the list as well.
Today, I got my husband to ring around a few pharmacies (I asked him to do it in case they assumed I was pregnant). He called five places in total – three independant stores and two national chain stores (Superdrug and Boots) and nobody had any. However, there is some good news – Boots have arranged to order some in and it should be ready for collection tomorrow.
Interestingly, one of the pharmacies we contacted said that castor oil isn’t readily available because no one currently holds the licence to distribute it in this country. I find that rather strange, especially as Boots are able to get some, but it would certainly explain things.
The other alternative is to buy online, Googling castor oil brings up several UK-based companies selling it in sizes from 50ml to 1 litre. Assuming I like the OCM, I think that’s how I’ll be buying my castor oil from now on.
Update: My husband works for the NHS, so I asked him to look for castor oil in the British National Formulary (BNF) – this is the official guide to all licensed medications in the UK for health professionals. It seems that it was once available as a laxative, but has been replaced with other products and is now considered obsolete. Amazing, eh? He also nipped into Boots this afternoon and one of the bottles we’d ordered had come in – I say only one as that’s all their supplier had. Looks like I’ll definitely have to order online if I stick with the OCM…..