Vegetable, nut and seed oils are called “carriers” because they’re used to “transmit” or to transport a material like an essential oil to some other place. In cases like this the essential oil is added to the carrier oil for the purpose of applying the essential oil directly into skin. The oils used most often are Sweet Almond, Sunflower and Olive.
Lotions which can be water-based may also be applied as carriers and are often preferred since they’re not so oily. Although water and oil don’t mix, spritzers can be produced, using essential oils with distilled waters for a different way to carry oil. Other kinds of carriers include alcohol, vinegar, or herbal oils.
Many vegetable, seed and nut oils are available on the shelf of the neighborhood grocery. These are generally highly refined, and might contain petroleum residues and preservatives. A carrier oil is a fatty oil that’s often utilized to expand or to dilute the essential oil to allow it to go farther. Most of the molecules of these carrier oils are extremely large, and thus can’t be straightened, and are usually too large to penetrate the skin, but they do slide easily over the skin and can hold moisture and protect the skin. The carrier oil will slow down the rate of absorption of the essential oil. Some carrier oils contain therapeutic properties in the kind of smaller molecules.
On the other hand, essentian oils have smaller molecules and are usually obtained through the distillation process, so that they are highly concentrated. Since it takes a great deal of the initial merchandise such as bark, blossoms, leaves, resin or plant product to generate the small number of essential oil, these precious drops are extremely valuable and expensive. They don’t have the oily feel to the touch like carrier oils do. Essential oils have wonderful and diverse aromas while carrier oils normally don’t have any specific odor until they are heated. Essential Oils, if properly cared for can last for decades, while carrier oils have a tendency to go rancid relatively quickly. Because of this, it’s strongly recommended that carrier oils be refrigerated for storage to help extend their shelf life.
For skincare, carrier oils which are unprocessed, organic, and cold-pressed are the most valued by aromatherapists and massage therapists.
Examples of popular carrier oils
- Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus dulcis) is a favorite of massage therapists, Sweet Almond oil is among the most often used carrier oils, and is very helpful in relieving itching in skin that is dry. It’s deemed safe for cosmetic use, is high in vitamin E and has a relatively long shelf life. It’s more expensive and more difficult to find since it’s not a cooking oil.
- Avocado oil (Persea Americana) is produced from the large seeds of this plant; this oil is also great for dry skin. It contains vitamins A, D and E and is known to restore and maintain skin elasticity and tone and to help prevent wrinkles.
- Coconut oil (Cocos nucifea) is expressed under high pressure and filtered out of the coconut kernel. It’s in fact solid at room temperature but melts easily at body temperature. It’s relatively expensive and might lead to skin irritation in those who have nut allergies.
- Grapeseed oil (Vitus vinifera) is extracted from the seed of the grape that are often a byproduct of wine making. It’s extremely lubricating and contains antioxidants. It’s mildly astringent and is commonly utilized in massage, but has an extremely short shelf life.
- Candlenut oil (Aleurites moluccana), in the state tree of Hawaii, is quite light and so non-greasy it is appropriate even for oily skin. It’s high in vitamins A and E, and has been used for centuries to assist skin that’s been damaged by sunlight or salt water.
- Olive oil (Olea europea) is full of chlorophyll, which can be very healing. Its shelf life is twice as long as many other carrier oils. The extra virgin oil has a strong odor, so a milder version is usually utilized in aromatherapy.
- Rosehip Seed oil (Rosa mosqueta or Rosa rubiginosa) is high in vitamin C and is quite rejuvenating and healing. It’s beneficial in scar tissue repair and in treating cells that are damaged. It’s noted to be great for aging stains. It’s relatively expensive.
- Sesame seed oil (Sesamum indicum) consists of pressing the seeds. It’s soothing lightweight oil full of Vitamin E, minerals, and lecithin. It may speed recovery, prevent drying, and contains a sunscreen effect. It’s frequently used in Ayurvedic medicine for skin care. It has a short shelf life
- Sunflower seed oil (Helianthus annuus) is full of vitamins A and E and in lecithin. This light oil leaves what some call another skin after drying so it’s particularly helpful in the winter. This oil is often found in body lotions
Other carrier oils
They include Apricot-kernel oil, Arnica extract oil, Borage oil, Calendula extract, Canola oil, Castor oil, Cocoa butter oil, corn oil, Evening Primrose oil, Hazelnut oil, mineral oil (a synthetic by-product of oil that’s not recommended), Mullein extract, Peanut oil, Peach kernel oil, Pecan nut oil, Rosehip seed oil, Safflower oil, St. John’s Wort infusion, Soy oil, Squalene (shark oil), Vitamin E oil (from different vegetables), Walnut oil and Wheat germ oil. There are others. These are more commonly used.
Three materials used as carrier oils that are actually waxes are: lanolin that’s obtained from the wool of sheep, Shea butter, a wax in the Shea nut tree in South Africa, and Jojoba that is pressed from the beans of a desert shrub. Jojoba (Simmodsia chinensis) is extremely similar to the protective sebum produced in the human skin and is most likely the best moisturizer of all. Additionally it has a lengthy shelf life. Thus it’s a extremely common carrier for aromatherapy.