Carriers are used to “carry” other substances, such as essential oils or infusion oils, which cannot be directly applied to the skin. Basically, a carrier oil is an oil used to dilute essential oils (which, if you remember the past lesson, are not “oily” at all, but totally evaporate when in contact with air). Carrier oils can be extracted from seeds, nuts, kernels and other parts of plants. When we want to apply essential oils to the skin, it is always advisable to dilute them in carrier oils.
The carrier oils most frequently utilized in aromatherapy are canola, almond, jojoba, sunflower, apricot kernel, and sesame oil. Small amounts of wheat germ, avocado, borage, evening primrose, and rose hip seed oil can also be added to enhance the blends.
Make sure the carrier oils you buy are organically grown and free from chemical solvents.
Unrefined vegetable oils are better than refined oils since they retain more of their original nutrients.
One carrier oil that should be AVOIDED for aromatherapy is MINERAL OIL. Since this is a byproduct of the petroleum industry, it has large molecules that prevent the absorption of essential oils. The same applies to COCONUT OIL, which is a natural oil characterized by large molecules which interfere with the absorption of natural essential oils.
A major problem, when buying carrier oils, is their shelf life. Many will go rancid in a short period of time; an exception to the rule is jojoba oil, which, in fact, is not an oil but a wax ester and can be added to any aromatherapy blend to lengthen its life.
Use and Storage
o lengthen the life of your carrier oils, keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to use them. Another good tip is to mix only small amounts of essential oils at a time, and use them quickly. After all, one of the reasons you make your own blends is the ability to use “fresh” aromatic material.
The market offers a wide variety of carrier oils. In our course, we’ll examine the eight most common ones.
Sweet almond oil is one of my favorite oils. Unlike other carrier oils, it is good for all skin types, and is especially indicated in the treatment of eczema and any skin itching or inflammation. Be careful to use it quickly, though, because it can easily become rancid.
Apricot Kernel Oil
High in vitamin A, apricot kernel oil is very nourishing and particularly helpful for mature skin.
Even if it goes rancid quickly, avocado oil is a great oil for mature skin and for the treatment of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. High content in vitamin E and A.
Another oil with wonderful qualities and a short shelf life. Good for all types of skin, especially prematurely aging or mature skin, it can be added to other carrier oils for added skin protection.
Canola oil is a light oil with a high content in linoleic acid, which definitely promotes skin health. It penetrates the skin quickly and resists rancidity. Very inexpensive as well.
Evening Primrose Oil
Excellent choice for people suffering from psoriasis or any other kind of dermatitis; its high gamma-linoleic acid content makes it an excellent skin protector. Watch out, it goes rancid quickly.
Jojoba oil is technically not an oil but a wax ester. Its composition is very similar to human sebum, making it ideal to help heal inflamed skin, any kind of dermatitis, acne, and an oily scalp. Since jojoba oil has antioxidant properties, it helps keep other oils from going rancid as quickly as they would normally. Great choice.
Wheat Germ Oil
Great for all skin types; besides nourishing dry skin, it helps prevent, or reduce stretch marks; very thick and sticky with a high vitamin E content; antioxidant properties.