Aromatherapy is an alternative or complementary therapy that uses the healing properties of essential oils in different methods of applications, such as massage, bath, diffuser or topical use. Essential oils are concentrated natural essences of plants, volatile and highly aromatic. If applied to the skin undiluted, essential oils can cause severe irritation, sensitisation, redness or burning or other reactions.
Carrier oils, also known as base oils, are used to dilute essential oils prior to topical application. The term carrier oil comes from the purpose it serves, which is carrying the essential oil onto the skin. There are many different carrier oils for aromatherapy and each one of them has different characteristics.
They are all vegetable oils derived from the nut of plants, seeds or kernels, unscented or lightly scented and don’t interfere with the therapeutic properties of essential oils. They don’t evaporate and are used to dilute essential oils for safe application to the skin, or can be used alone as well, to nourish and hydrate your skin. Many skin lotions, creams, body oils, hair oils, lip balms and bath oils are made contain essential oils mixed with carrier oils.
Whether you’re using essential oils for reducing cellulite appearance or you prefer to wear your essential oils, the best way to use them is to dilute with a carrier oil. You can even make your own topical blends, perfumes and rollerballs and enjoy your favourite scents every day.
What Is Best Carrier Oil for Essential Oils?
There are many carrier oils available and most of them are suitable to use with any essential oil. You can find carrier oils for aromatherapy and choose the type of carrier oil that’s most suitable to your skin type, whether you are struggling with any allergies and where and how you will be applying the oil.
If you’re applying it to your face, look for thinner oils, especially if you have skin that’s prone to acne. When it comes to applying oils to your hair, thinner oils may be a good solution for fine hair, while thicker oils may help for dry or damaged hair treatments.
Coconut oil is made from the meat of mature coconuts. It contains skin-nourishing fatty acids, which make it a great choice as a carrier oil for massage and skin care preparations.
Sweet Almond Oil
This oil is made from the kernels of sweet almonds and has a strong and nutty aroma. It’s lightweight and absorbs easily, which makes it a good moisturiser for dry skin. Sweet almond oil is very popular for skincare, soaps, massage and bath oils.
Coming from the seeds of the jojoba plant, this oil has a delicate and nutty aroma. Jojoba oil may help treat skin prone to acne by reducing the skin’s oil production. It absorbs easily in the skin and doesn’t clog pores, which makes it a great carrier oil for massage, face moisturisers and bath.
It’s made from kernels found inside the fruit of argan trees and can help with dry hair and skin treatments, wrinkles, skin inflammation and is a good choice for skin care and massage oils.
Made from the avocado fruit, this carrier oil has a nutty aroma and is high in oleic acid, which may help dry and damaged skin. Avocado oil is not recommended for acne-prone skin.
Apricot Kernel Oil
It’s made from apricot seeds, known as kernels, hence the name. It has a slightly sweet and nutty scent and absorbs easily into the skin. Apricot kernel oil absorbs easily into the skin and may help soften and calm irritated and itchy skin. Can be used for massage oils, bath oils and hair care preparations.
Other popular carrier oils are sunflower oil, hemp oil, grapeseed oil, black seed oil, hazelnut oil and more. Sometimes you may need to try out a few different oils until you find the one that works perfectly for you.
Make sure to always use a patch test and see how your skin responds. It’s important to note that certain oils may trigger allergic reactions, especially among those with nut allergies. Even though most carrier oils don’t cause an allergic reaction, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test before using any.
Whatever your choice may be, make sure to purchase organic, cold-pressed carrier oils from a reputable manufacturer. When diluting essential oils with a carrier oil, it’s very important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to dilute according to the dilution ratio you need and ensure proper and safe usage. When blending essential oils and carrier oils, make sure to avoid direct skin exposure to the essential oils.
Benefits of Carrier Oils
Carrier oils make it possible for people to enjoy the benefits of applying essential oils to their skin. Essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin, so diluting these highly concentrated oils spreads a small amount of essential oil over a large skin area. This helps to prevent skin irritation and other adverse reactions. Many carrier oils have their therapeutic properties as well, which means they can provide many health benefits, too.
Carrier oils make the use of essential oils safe and help nourish and moisturise your skin. However, when mixed with essential oils you should avoid applying them on sensitive areas like your lips or eyes.