My post of June generated healthy curiosity about the nature of carrier oils. To answer the questions that came in, this post is to segue into the last one, and relay requested information.
The vast majority of aromatherapists and wellness practitioners who are familiar with the science of essential oils have unanimously agreed that such oils must be diluted into carrier oils before topical application.
The main reason for the necessity to dilute essential oils before applying them on the skin is the fact that these oils contain molecules of phytochemical compounds that are very potent and can sometimes cause sensitivities to the skin. The volatile oils penetrate the skin quickly and deeply for nourishment, detoxification, and healing from pain, inflammation, burns, bruises, etc. Using essential oils straight on the skin (referred to as ‘neat’ in Aromatherapy lingo), can cause reactions in some people. Dermatological sensitivities sometimes develop due to an individual’s weak immune system. For the safe and effective use of essential oils during application on the skin, carrier oils are a must.
What are Carrier Oils?
Carrier oils are non-synthetic oils or vegetable oils mainly derived from nuts, seeds, and some fatty vegetables. They are utilized to dilute essential oils for transdermal delivery into the body. Even though carrier oils are neither volatile nor as aromatic as essential oils, they demonstrate therapeutic properties.
Three of the most popular carrier oils known and utilized by people of several cultures around the world are: almond oil, grapeseed oil, and coconut oil.
Characteristics and Properties of the above-mentioned carrier oils
Almond oil – It is a light oil that has a nutty scent and is rich in antioxidants. The moisturizing properties of almond oil are beneficial to the skin and hair. Almond oil is nourishing as it contains vitamin E and is said to be anti-inflammatory, soothing, and anti-scarring.
Grapeseed oil – When it is cold-pressed and free from toxic solvents, grapeseed oil delivers vitamin E and linoleic acid that may reduce inflammation. This oil is light and penetrating. A major advantage to using grapeseed oil for massage is that it has very little to no scent.
Coconut oil – This oil is widely used for massage therapy, skin care and hair care. It is heavier than the previous two oils but pleasantly scented. Its light aroma is known to be relaxing. Many aromatherapists and massage therapists use fractionated coconut oil whose light scent is not overpowering when combined with essential oils. An antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial oil, coconut as a carrier oil is ideal for full body massage.
Sri Regine Lherisson-Bey, Ph.D. candidate in Natural Medicine, is a Mind-Body Therapist, Wellness Coach, and published Author voted Wellness Expert by peer consensus in 2005. Therapist Lherisson-Bey is the author of the Kindle bestseller HOW TO DETOXIFY YOUR LIFE NATURALLY as well as the weight management program GET SLIM EFFORTLESSLY. From an original CD, the publication has evolved into an instructional picture book, an eBook, and an effective weight management program. Therapist Lherisson-Bey’s works have been featured on TV, radio, and in several magazines in the past 30 years.
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