If you have been using essential oils for a while, you’re probably already using carrier oils to dilute them. For those new to essential oils, carrier oils are necessary for when you apply an essential oil or oil blend topically. A carrier oil is an oil that is extracted from a nut, seed, or kernel of a plant. They are basically neutral, so they complement essential oils and make a good choice for diluting them. Essential oils are potent and most of them need to be diluted before being used directly on the skin.
Why are there so many different carrier oils?
The essential oils are volatile. This means that they have a fast evaporation rate but can still leave behind the strong plant aroma. Their potency can often cause skin irritations or reactions especially for people with sensitive skin types. Carrier oils, on the other hand, evaporate slowly and don’t normally have a strong smell. They work with an essential oil and “carry” the medicinal properties present in the essential oil. The ratio of essential oil to carrier oil is variable depending on the EO you are using and your preferences and tolerance.
Carrier oils are not all alike though. Each of them has their own set of therapeutic properties. They contain different fatty acids and nutrients. Their benefits are often overlooked because of the focus on essential oils. The unique characteristics of the carrier oil influence their application and shelf-life. These are important to know, so you can pair oils with carrier oils to realize the full benefits.
Understanding the carrier oils is important to getting the right combination. You really don’t want to go to the kitchen and pick just any oil for your blend. Oils such as butter, margarine, or shortening are not good choices. Petroleum based oils like baby oil or mineral contain solvents that are not natural and will not enhance the healing properties of the EOs you are using.
If you buy pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, you will need to dilute them before using them topically. There are some EO products which contain oils already diluted with a carrier oil.
Top Five Best Carrier Oils for Your Skin
There are a lot of carrier oils that pair well with essential oils. The long list has been narrowed down to the top five choices. Which one you choose will depend on your own preferences, skin type, and the goal you are trying to achieve. Carrier oils were included on this list because they also have potential benefits for the skin as well.
Jojoba Oil:This oil was chosen as one of the top oils due to its own healing and moisturizing benefits for the skin. It has the look and feel of an oil, but technically it is wax ester expeller pressed from the jojoba seed. This oil is similar to the sebum found in human skin. Jojoba oil dissolves the sebum and delivers ingredients deeper into the skin. It’s light-weight and is absorbed quickly by the skin. Jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory properties as an additional benefit. It doesn’t leave the feeling greasy or oily.
Grapeseed Oil:This oil is extracted from the seed of the grape. Grape seeds contain lots of antioxidants and many other beneficial nutrients making the oil produced from them full of protein, minerals, linoleic acid, and vitamin E. It’s used in manufactured cosmetics frequently. You may have seen it listed as an ingredient for sunscreens, lotions, creams and a variety of cosmetic products. It is a mild astringent and contains antiseptic properties which makes it an excellent choice for oily skin or acne-prone skin. Grapeseed oil is lighter than coconut oil and moisturizes without making the skin feel greasy.
Argan Oil: The Argan Tree is only found in Morocco and this oil is pressed from the nut of the tree. It is one of the best carrier oils for skin applications due to its high content of vitamin E and saponins, which soften the skin. It’s also a great anti-aging oil. It has no oily residue and can have a tightening effect on the skin.
Avocado Oil:The oil from an avocado is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins A, D, and E. It makes a very good moisturizer and is rich in antioxidants. This oil is a good choice if you need to soothe inflamed skin. The sterolin content is high in avocado oil. These compounds are anti-inflammatory in nature and can be useful for healing age spots, sun damage, and eczema.
Sweet Almond Oil:This oil extracted from the dried fruit of the almond tree is rich in vitamin E. Having a high anti-oxidant content makes it a great choice for nourishing and regenerating the skin. It’s a very good choice for those with dry skin. The anti-oxidant properties help protect the skin from being damaged by the sun. Almond oil contains large concentrations of oleic and linoleic acids which are useful for relieving inflammation and soothing irritated skin. Since it is non-greasy and hypoallergenic so it’s perfect for massages. The vitamin E helps repair damage in the collagen layer of skin. This makes it smooth and supple. It’s overall nourishing for the skin as well as the hair and nails.
Types of Carrier Oils for Skin Types and Needs
Essential oils have so many health benefits and can be used several ways. When applying them to your skin, you want to use the best carrier oil for skin types and conditions that may exist. Each person’s skin has its own unique characteristics and specific needs. There are five basic skin types. Here we list these and the best carrier oil for each skin type.
Oily Skin –The best carrier oils to use if you have oily skin include sunflower oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil and grapeseed oil are good for skin that is oil-prone.
Dry Skin – You want carrier oils that are the best moisturizers if your skin tends to be dry. The best ones include olive oil, avocado oil, and sweet almond oil.
Mature Skin – For the mature adult, sesame oil, rosehips oil, jojoba oil, apricot oil and almond oil work well.
Sensitive Skin –For those who suffer from skin that is sensitive, the best carrier oils need to be mild. Try using sweet almond oil, apricot oil, jojoba oil, or sesame seed oil.
Normal Skin – The best carrier oil for skin that is normal includes coconut oil, hempseed oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, or sweet almond oil.