Essential oils, due to their high concentration in aromatherapy, are almost never used in undiluted form. Carrier oils, also called base or vegetable oils, are used to dilute essential oils for massage. They are used in aromatherapy, a complementary therapy in which various essential oils are applied to the body to aid physical and emotional health and well-being. They primarily dilute concentrated essential oils so that they can be applied to the skin without side effects. Different oils offer different properties and the choice of certain oil may depend on the desired therapeutic result. Unlike essential oils that evaporate and have an extremely strong aroma, these do not evaporate and are generally of a mild odor.
Carrier Oil Types
Sweet almond oil, apricot seed oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, olive oil, macadamia nut oil, sesame oil, walnut oil are some examples of carrier oils.
There are three groups of these oils:
1. Base oils
They represent the largest part in the massage oil – almond, sesame, hazelnut, olive, jojoba, macadamia.
2. Special oils
They make up a smaller part in the massage oil (very oily or too expensive to use on its own – avocados, nightshades, wheat germs.
3. Macerated or infused oils
They are obtained by soaking herbs in a carrier oil – marigold, aloe vera, poppy seeds.
Vegetable oils can be obtained from seeds and husk in two ways. The first is cold squeezing (up to 60 ° C) which is very expensive and is done much less often than the other way, which is hot squeezing (up to 200 ° C). In the second approach, the utilization is much higher (more oil is obtained) but such oil is exposed to temperatures, pressures and complicated processes, thus it obtains lower quality. As such, the cold-pressed oils are being used in aromatherapy. These oils contain all of their vitamins, minerals and healing fatty acids.
Vegetable oils are usually rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats, which means they are liquid at room temperature. This makes them a great choice for use in bottles or sprays. Some vegetable oils are rich in linoleic acid, which studies have proven to be best for people with oily skin. Other vegetable oils like olive oil are rich in oleic acid which is best for dry skin. People with mixed skin can use a blend of all vegetable oils.
There are some saturated fats that are great as base oil, such as the always powerful coconut oil.
Most of the oils that can be obtained in the supermarket are not squeezed by the cold method, but by heating, thus losing its healing properties.
Mineral oils are not used in aromatherapy because these oils are not a natural product. Mineral oils are also thought to prevent the absorption of essential oils into the skin.
Most base oils are odorless or light smell and do not interfere with the therapeutic properties of the essential oil. They can be used alone or with other oils to nourish your skin.
The carrier oil you buy should be 100% natural and undiluted. They should also be 100% safe to use, the exceptions here are natural oils enriched with Vitamin E, because Vitamin E in oil works as a preservative. After opening the container, make sure to store the oil in a refrigerator. If the percentage of polyunsaturated fats is high, as with Starflower (Borage Officinalis) and Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), the oil can quickly burn, so refrigerate for not more than 6-8 months and then discard. Other oils could be kept in the refrigerator for around 2 years or in a cool, dark place for at least 1 year. However, if they smell bad, throw them away!