What are carrier oils?
Carrier oils are oils that are used to dilute essential oils, such as lavender oil, tea tree oil, lemongrass oil, citronella oil, etc. and other skin nourishing oils, such as orange oil, neem oil, lemon oil, rose hip oil, etc. as they cannot be applied directly onto the skin owing to their high concentration. The direct application of such oils on the skin can sometimes result in adverse effects. Also, essential oils tend to have a very strong fragrance, which is offset with the usage of a carrier oil for treatments such as aromatherapy massage and other skin care & skin nourishing treatments.
Carrier oils are mostly vegetable oils, such as olive oil, almond oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, etc. They are derived form pulp, oil seeds, and nuts. Some of them have a distinct natural odor, hence, it is important to choose the right carrier oil depending upon the essential oil or any other plan you intend to use, as well as the purpose for its usage.
Apart from odor, in order to choose the correct carrier oil, one should take into consideration the following points:
- Skin Type: This is an important factor to take into consideration while choosing the carrier oil that you wish to use. Certain oils cause irritation or worsen skin conditions, such as pimples or acne, in certain skin types.
- Rate of Absorption: Certain oils are absorbed faster by the skin as compared to others. People with oily skin in particular need to take this factor into consideration as certain oils that are heavy can leave a residue and result in clogged pores.
- Shelf Life: The shelf life of certain carrier oils is higher than others. Hence, if you plan to store your preparation for later use, you need to consider this factor, as certain oils start smelling stale after a certain period.
Apart from carrier oils, unscented lotions and aloe vera gel serve as carriers.
Let us take a look at some of the most commonly-used carrier oils, what they are derived from, and their uses.
Coconut oil is extracted from the pulp of mature coconuts. It is an edible oil that is available in the form of refined and unrefined oil. As its molecular weight is low, it gets easily absorbed into the skin. It contains saturated fat, which provides deep moisturizing to the skin and a smooth & even skin tone. Moreover, coconut oil has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, which makes it the ideal carrier oil for treatment against skin conditions such as cold sores, acne, and eczema.
The strong and nutty aroma of sweet almond oil can be attributed to the fact that it is extracted from sweet almond kernels. It is a wonderful moisturizer for dry skin, and gets easily absorbed into the skin as it is lightweight. For a gentle cleansing effect, almond oil is combined with essential oils, such as lavender and tea tree, which gently cleanse the skin by entire each & every pore and follicle. Due to its emollient properties, it improves the skin tone and complexion. What’s more, if used in a diffuser, it helps spread the fragrance of the essential oil.
Native to Morocco, argan oil is extracted from the kernels of argan trees. It has a mild nutty aroma. It is packed with Vitamins A & E and monounsaturated fatty acids. Argan oil has been an age-old remedy for the treatment of dry skin & hair conditions, skin inflammation, and wrinkles. Hence, it is a wonderful carrier oil for general massage oils. When used topically, it promotes cell production, thus boosting the vitality of your hair and skin.
What’s more, argan oil gets easily absorbed into the skin and is suitable for sensitive skin as well. It helps reduce the level of sebum, especially in people who’s skin is oily. Owing to this, it is among the most preferred carrier oils. When combined with lavender, chamomile, and lemongrass essential oils, it has proven to improve the elasticity of the skin and promote anti-aging.
Grapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds of Vitis vinifera botanical, which is most commonly cultivated for the production of wine grapes. Though they are a portion of the grape that is mostly discarded, these seeds are believed to be the most beneficial for health. Grapseed oil tones & tightens the skin, reduces the occurrence of wrinkles, blemishes, & stretch marks, and offers protection against sun damage. Moreover, it balances the production of oil and cleanses the pores, which helps reduce acne breakouts. When used on hair, grapseed oil promotes hair growth and softens the hair. Some of the medicinal benefits of grapseed oil include improved circulation, immunity boosting, soothing of tired muscles, and alleviating cellulite & varicose veins. Hence, it is a popular carrier oil for massage, especially in combination with essential oils.
Jojoba oil is a plant wax that is derived from the seeds of the jojoba plant. It is not really an oil. It is used for the cleansing, moisturizing, protection of the skin against environmental factors, as well as to promote hair growth. Jojoba oil banalnces the production of oil in the skin, owing to which it won’t make the skin greasy. Moreover, it is rich in Vitamins B and E. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties that help in the treatment of wounds and sunburns. Its biggest advantage is that it mimics sebum, the natural oil of the skin. Hence, the skin’s oil production can be reduced by using jojoba oil, especially for people with acne-prone skin, as it makes the skin think that it has processed enough oil. Due to this quality, it is a popular ingredient in face creams, oils, and cosmetics.