Carrier oil, which is also commonly known as base oil or vegetable oil, is a type of oil which is used to weaken or dilute some essential oils and absolutes before it is applied on the skin. Used commonly in Aromatherapy, carrier oils are named so because they carry the required oil into the skin. An important property of carrier oils is that these do no contain any type of aroma nor do they evaporate like some other essential oils.
Carrier oil is directly derived from the fatty part of a plant, mainly the seeds or the nuts of the plant. These oils are used to dilute the essential oils because when applied directly on the skin, the essential oils can cause severe irritation. There are several types of carrier oils, each having different kind of therapeutic properties in them. Some of the common examples of products that use carrier oils in them are the natural lotions, creams, body oils, bath oils, lip balms and various kinds of moisturizing skin care products.
There are some differences between essential oils and carrier oils which should be understood to know the benefits of carrier oils.
- Essential oils are basically derived from the leaves, bark, roots and other portions of plants. Carrier oils, on the other hand, are derived from the fatty portions of the plants like seeds, kernels, nuts, etc.
- An important property of essential oils is that they evaporate whereas carrier oils do not evaporate.
- Essential oils, over time, get oxidized and lose their therapeutic benefits whereas carrier oils do not lose their therapeutic benefits.
Properties of Carrier Oils
Some of the most commonly found carrier oils are as follows:
- Almond: Sweet almond oil is used for cosmetic and therapeutic purposes. Being lightweight and non-greasy, it is great for skin nourishment, helps in relieving muscular aches and pains, and promotes a clear young looking complexion, without clogging the skin pores.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera encourages skin rejuvenation, improves blood circulation, reduces scarring, heals wounds, treats pimples and reduces inflammation.
- Apricot: Apricot kernel oil is high in vitamins A and B that help in rejuvenating and healing skin cells. It is best used for facial massages for mature, delicate, dehydrated and sensitive skin.
- Avocado: High in amino acid, vitamins and minerals, avocado oil is beneficial for softening and moisturizing dry skin and treating sun damaged skin, acne and eczema. This lightly scented, deep olive green oil is great for both skin and hair.
- Coconut: Coconut oil blocks out at least 20% of the sun’s UV rays. It helps in warding off heart disease and cancer, enhances weight loss, heals wounds and dry or itchy skin, and promotes a healthy and youthful looking skin.
- Evening Primrose: It contains high gamma linolenic acid (GLA), vitamins and minerals which are good for psoriasis, eczema and wounds. It reduces water loss of skin, resists skin from blood circulation, improves the firmness and elasticity of the skin, and clears up wrinkles and blemishes.
- Grape Seed: Grape seed oil is odorless, penetrating, very light, easily absorbing and mildly astringent which makes it useful for acne and other skin problems. It constitutes an important ingredient in body creams, massage oils and hair care products.
- Jojoba: Jojoba oil softens hard skin and hair, heals wounds and skin diseases, protects against UV rays and treats rheumatism and arthritis.
- Olive: Olive oil is rich in vitamin E, minerals, proteins and essential fatty acids (alpha linolenic acid). It is an excellent conditioner for hair and nails, reduces skin itchiness, prevents stretch marks during pregnancy and good for dehydrated, dry, inflamed and acned skin.
- Sesame: Rich in vitamins and minerals, sesame oil is useful for psoriasis, rheumatism, arthritis, eczema, and protection against sun’s UV rays.
- Wheat Germ: Rich in lecithin, vitamin A and D, wheat germ oil is excellent for dry and cracked skin, mature complexions, eczema, scars and stretch marks.
With a storehouse of benefits, carrier oils are the solution to the quest for a moisturized and young-looking skin, in addition to the cure they provide to numerous skin related ailments.