Carrier oils are specific oils that are used in combination with essential oils in order to dilute them and alter their absorption rate.
Why would you need to dilute a carrier oil? Essential oils can be extremely potent, so you only need a very small amount to take advantage of their many benefits. Adding a carrier oil also allows you to cover a larger surface area of your body with essential oils, without needing to use too much and may reduce any chance of an allergic reaction to your skin. As always, the staff at Georgian Health Foods can help you determine which combination of essential and carrier oils are right for your specific needs.
Here are some common carrier oils:
Coconut oil serves as an effective carrier oil because it has a low molecular weight, allowing it to penetrate your skin on a deeper level. It also contains saturated fats that help the skin to stay moisturized, while helping to provide a smooth and even skin tone. In addition to this, coconut oil has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, so it’s the perfect carrier oil for relieving skin conditions like acne, eczema and cold sores.
A randomized double-blind controlled trial sought to determine the efficacy of virgin coconut oil in treating mild to moderate xerosis, a medical term that’s used to describe dry, rough, itchy and scaly skin. Thirty-four patients were randomized to apply either coconut oil or mineral oil on their legs twice a day for two weeks. Researchers found that coconut oil and mineral oil had comparable effects, and both were able to improve symptoms of xerosis without causing adverse reactions.
As a carrier oil, coconut oil uses for skin are numerous. Combine 1–3 drops of any essential oil that’s safe for topical use with about half a teaspoon of coconut oil and rub the mixture into the area of concern. If you are using an essential oil internally, combine 1–2 drops with a half-teaspoon of coconut oil before ingestion.
Sweet almond oil is commonly used as a carrier oil because it contains antioxidants and helps to keep your skin nice and soft. Historically, it was used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Almond oil is light and easily absorbed into your skin, so when it’s combined with antimicrobial essential oils, like tea tree or lavender, it can help to gently cleanse your skin by getting into your pores and follicles. That’s why I use it in my DIY shower gel recipe with orange essential oil. Almond oil also has emollient properties, so it may be able to improve your complexion and skin tone. Almond oil is also one of the best carrier oils to use in your reed diffuser because it’s light and will help to spread the scent of the essential oils you choose.
Jojoba oil is an excellent carrier oil because it’s odourless and serves as an emollient, helping to soothe your skin and unclog pores and hair follicles. But beyond acting as a carrier oil, jojoba oil has many of its own benefits for your hair and skin.
Jojoba oil is actually a plant wax, not an oil, and it can be used to moisturize, protect and cleanse your skin, prevent razor burn, and promote the health of your hair. In fact, I use jojoba oil in my DIY moisturizer for oily skin because it helps to balance oil production in the skin, so it won’t leave you feeling greasy. Plus, jojoba oil contains vitamin E and B vitamins, which help to treat sunburns and wounds, it has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, and it contains three fatty acids.
Like so many carrier oils, avocado oil benefits your health when it’s consumed and used on your skin. It’s very moisturizing, so works best for people with dry, rough skin. Avocado oil helps to improve skin texture, remove makeup and hydrate your hair. Plus, research conducted on rats suggests that avocado oil may help to reduce inflammation and increase collagen production, making it a useful tool for treating skin wounds.
To use avocado oil alone, simply add a small amount to a cotton ball and apply it to dry areas on your face, cracked heels, dry cuticles and dry hair. To use it as a carrier oil, combine 1–3 drops of any essential oil that’s safe for topical use with about a half teaspoon of avocado oil and rub the mixture into any areas of concern.
One very effective way to reap the healing benefits of essential oils is by absorbing them through the skin. It is through the skin that the body also utilizes the benefits of Castor Oil (Ricinus communis). Given both Castor oil and essential oils are effective natural therapies for helping the body heal itself, consider combining the two!
The effects of Castor oil can be easily enhanced by adding a few drops of an essential oil to promote healing of the reproductive system and to boost your fertility naturally.
Castor oil is known for its ability to increase circulation to the reproductive organs, promote detoxification, help the body break down adhesions, boost healthy immune system function, and reduce pain and inflammation. For these reasons, it is particularly useful for those trying to naturally: boost egg and ovarian health, support healing of the uterus and fallopian tubes, enhance liver, gastrointestinal, and lymphatic system function, support breast health.
Argan oil is one of the best carrier oils for your skin because it contains omega-6 fatty acids, linoleic acid, antioxidants, vitamins A and vitamin E. It’s often included in cosmetic products because when it’s used topically, tocopherol from the vitamin E promotes cell production, boosting the health of your skin and hair.
Argan oil absorbs quickly and it’s gentle enough to use on sensitive skin. It doesn’t leave you with greasy skin either. Like jojoba oil, argan oil helps to reduce sebum levels in people with oily skin, so it’s a great carrier oil for all skin types. Research suggests that argan oil is also helpful in improving skin elasticity and has anti-ageing effects.
You can use argan oil alone to moisturize your skin, relieve razor burn, fight acne and improve your complexion, or you can combine it with essential oils to have an even deeper impact like I do in my DIY face moisturizer that contains lemongrass, lavender and chamomile essential oils.
Like many popular carrier oils, rosehip oil contains essential fatty acids that promote cellular and tissue regeneration. Rosehip is also high in vitamin C and has anti-ageing effects when it’s applied to the skin. It’s often used to improve age spots from sun damage, improve skin tone and texture, reduce eczema symptoms and fight skin infections.
Rosehip oil is considered a dry oil, which means that it absorbs into the skin quickly and won’t leave you with an oily residue. For this reason, it works best for people with normal to dry skin. You can use rosehip oil alone as a natural moisturizer or combine it with essential oils as a carrier oil like I did in my lavender and rose water toner.
Source: 15 Carrier Oils for Essential Oils By Christine Ruggeri, CHHC