While it is common to use essential oils for aromatherapy, either by using a diffuser or directly from the bottle, did you know that these oils offer more than what meets the nose? An unorthodox yet comparatively effective way of reaping essential oils’ benefits is applying them to the skin. This method is where the supporting actor that brings out the star quality of essential oils takes the spotlight – Introducing the Carrier Oil. Read on to find out Everything You Need To Know About Carrier Oils!
Everything You Need To Know About Carrier Oils
What is a Carrier Oil?
Carrier oils are, essentially, vegetable oils, such as coconut oil and avocado oil, derived from the seeds, kernels, or nuts of a plant. As its name implies, carrier oils dilute the essential oils to help “carry” them deeper into the skin.
In aromatherapy, therapists derive carrier oils by crushing and extracting the oil in plants by cold pressing. This method preserves the nutrients in the oil that can be damaged when using heat.
Carrier oils range from being odorless to having a faint sweet and nutty smell. Everyday household items can also be carriers. These items include aloe vera gels and unscented body lotions. Unlike essential oils, carrier oils do not evaporate.
Carrier Oil Benefits
One may wonder why there is a need for carrier oils when applying essential oils on the skin when both are, essentially, oils. Although seemingly counterintuitive, it is necessary to dilute essential oils for maximum benefits.
Essential oils get distilled from the aromatic leaves, bark, and roots of plants. Applying essential oils “neat,” that is, without the help of carrier oils, may result in the following adverse effects:
- Skin sensitization or allergic reactions, such as severe irritation, redness, or burning, caused by the concentration of essential oils
- Relaxation and sleep
- Allow you to experient with different herbs and plants from mint extract to ashwagandha vitamin
- The inability of essential oil to spread across a wider surface area of the skin.
Although essential oils cause more damage than benefits when applied “neat,” there are a few exceptions because it is advisable to use Carrier oils than run the risk of having adverse bodily effects and wasting time, effort, and money.
Aside from maximizing the skin’s absorption of essential oils, Carrier oils offer therapeutic properties by providing beneficial components such as essential fatty acids – one of the nourishing constituents that one’s body cannot produce on its own.
How to Use Carrier Oils
While most carrier oils contain the same basic components, it is wise to purchase organic, cold-pressed carrier oils from the manufacturer that you trust whenever possible.
Although carrier oils are relatively safe and do not usually cause allergic reactions, it is imperative to always conduct a patch test before using them.
Conducting a Patch Test
To conduct a patch test:
- Add a small amount of carrier oil to the inside of your wrist or just below your ear.
- Cover the area with the carrier oil with a bandage.
- Examine the area after 24 hours
- If irritation occurs, rinse thoroughly, and discontinue use; seek medical attention if necessary.
Making Up Massage and Body Oils
Massage and body oils get created by combining essential oils with one or more carrier oils. When making up massage or body oils, the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy recommends the following dilution ratios:
|For Infants and Young Children|
|0.5 – 1 percent dilution||3 to 6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil|
|2.5 percent dilution||15 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil|
|3 percent dilution||20 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil|
|5 percent dilution||30 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil|
|10 percent dilution||60 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil|
It is important to note that the recommended dilution for most healthy adults during aromatherapy is 2.5 percent. Additionally, the 3 percent dilution treats individuals with temporary health concerns, such as muscle pain or minor injury. Finally, the 5 and 10 percent dilutions are unconventional and should get used with caution. Anyone who exhibits signs of sensitivity or irritation when using these dilutions should discontinue applying the mixture.
Carrier oils make it possible for essential oils to carry out their maximum benefit safely. Besides making it possible to apply essential oils on the skin without dealing with irritation afterward, carrier oils also help nourish and moisturize the skin. However, be careful, as not all oils make good carrier oils. It is safe to avoid using butter, petroleum jelly, and mineral oil for this function. If mixed with essential oils, you should avoid applying these mixtures on your lips, eyes, and other sensitive areas. But, using carrier oils alone does not pose the same risks and is relatively safe.
For any other lead actor’s star to shine even brighter, an outstanding supporting actor is essential. Although essential oils often take the spotlight, we have learned today that they would not be as stellar without the help of carrier oils.