Carrier oil, also known as base oil or vegetable oil, is used to dilute essential oils and absolutes before they are applied to the skin in massage and aromatherapy. They are so named because they carry the essential oil onto the skin.
Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca) is a good moisturizer and helps condition the skin. A little greasier than almond oil, it makes a good addition to a massage blend because it spreads so easily. It is particularly helpful for dehydrated, delicate, mature, and sensitive skin, and it helps to sooth inflammation.
Avocado Oil (Persea Americana) is a great moisturizer and often used for creating aromatherapy massage blends. Avocado oil contains vitamins A, D, and E, which makes it healing as well as moisturizing. Avocado oil is excellent for people suffering from eczema or psoriasis, and is useful when treating dehydrated, undernourished, sun-damaged skin as it potentially helps with regenerating the skin and softening the tissue.
Cocoa butter (Theobroma cacao) is used to lay down a protective layer that holds the moisture to the skin, so it is an excellent skin softener. It has a natural chocolate scent and is frequently recommended for the prevention of stretch marks in pregnant women, as well as a treatment for chapped skin and lips, and as a daily moisturizer to prevent dry, itchy skin. It is also helpful with scars; however, cocoa butter is extremely hard.
Coconut oil melts on the skin as soon as you apply it, without leaving any kind of residues. It easily seeps into the skin pores, moisturizing deeply and thoroughly. The high fat content of coconut oil has been shown to help improve certain skin conditions by healing wounds, reducing rashes and preventing acne. Its anti-inflammatory effect works wonders for soothing skin ailments.
Coconut Oil Fractionated (Cocos nucifera) has become my new favorite carrier oil. It absorbs into the skin quickly and has an indefinite shelf life. Fractionated coconut oil is processed in a way that removes all the long chain fatty acids, leaving only the healthy medium chain fatty acids. Due to the way it is processed, fractionated coconut oil has a high concentration of Capric acid and Caprylic acid, which gives it an amazing amount of antioxidant and disinfecting properties. Regular coconut oil is solid at room temperature and has a greasy feeling when applied to the skin.
Grapeseed Oil (Vitus vinifera) is a lightweight oil that absorbs into the skin quickly without leaving a heavy greasy feeling. Many of grapeseed oil’s beauty benefits may be due to its vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acid content. Free radicals and environmental factors such as sun, wind, and pollution can do a number on your skin. They may increase the signs of aging and cause dry skin and discoloration.
Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) is an excellent emollient for skin conditions like psoriasis, because it has a chemical composition very close to the skin’s own sebum. It is suitable for all skin types, beneficial for spotty and acne conditions, and good for sensitive and oily skin. Jojoba is actually not oil at all but rather, a liquid wax. When added to other oils at 10% ratio, it helps to prevent other oils from going rancid and lengthens their shelf life.
Shea butter (Butyrospermum parkii) comes two different ways – in its natural state and refined. Natural shea butter is yellow in color and has a nutty scent to it. Refined shea butter has undergone a cleaning process so it is white and odorless. Which one you decide to use depends totally on personal preference. Shea butter is thought to be an effective treatment for the following conditions: fading scars, eczema, rashes, burns, dry skin, dark spots, skin discolorations, chapped lips, stretch marks, wrinkles, and in soothing the irritation of psoriasis. While it isn’t actually considered a carrier oil, shea butter is still soft enough to use in aromatherapy work.
Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus dulcis) is a great moisturizer and helps condition the skin. It also helps balance the skin as far as moisture loss and has a positive effect for itchy skin. It is a frequent choice for massage blends because it does not penetrate the skin too quickly and stays on the surface longer than other oils without being greasy. Obtained from the dried kernels of the almond tree, be sure to steer clear if you are allergic to almonds.
Vegetable glycerin is a natural humectant, meaning that it attracts moisture from the air and draws it towards your skin. When used with other natural oils and ingredients, it can seal in moisture on the top layer of our skin while the other oils work their way deep into our cells to provide long-lasting moisture.