Carrier Oils: what are they and how to use them
Carrier oils are oils extracted from a nut, seed, fruit or plant and can be used alone or in combination with essential oils to achieve specific results. Most importantly, they are made from natural raw materials and do not contain fillers and chemicals.
Just to make it clear: carrier oils are not the same as essential oils. Essential oils do have benefits for the skin, but carrier oils deserve recognition for their own skin-caring properties. They lack (mostly) in strong fragrance compared to essential oils but can be mixed with other carrier oils or essential oils.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CARRIER OIL
Different carrier oils can help with certain skin conditions and improve the look and feel of your skin. When used correctly, they can help to balance oil production, provide anti-aging benefits and moisturize the skin.
Look for carrier oils that contain high levels of nutrients, including essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid and punicic acid and palmitoleic acid, as well as vitamins A, K, D, C, E.
Many oils are multifunctional and can be effective on more than one skin type. They can also benefit dry or mature skin, sun damage and dark spots, oily and combination skin, sensitive, irritated or broken skin.
Besides those points it’s important to watch for:
Odor: A few carrier oils have a distinct smell. When added to an essential oil, it can change the aroma.
Absorption: Your skin can absorb some carrier oils better than others.
Skin type: Depending on your skin type, some oils can irritate the skin or aggravate a skin condition such as acne.
CARRIER OILS FOR CERTAIN SKIN TYPE
Carrier oils for dry or aging skin
Those oils all have deep moisturizing properties and are an amazing option for those looking for a treatment for dry skin. With its rich nourishment, it is also an excellent anti-aging ingredient. Good carrier oils to choose from are:
- Rosehip seed oil
- Evening primrose oil
- Prickly pear oil
- Sea buckthorn
- Mullein oil
Carrier oils for normal or combination skin
These oils are naturally balanced oils - not too heavy or too light. They are also rich in vitamin E, antioxidants and natural fatty acids and can be used for almost all skin types:
- Pomegranate seed oil
- Jojoba oil
- Coconut oil
- Thistle oil
Carrier oils for oily skin
These oils generally have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. The same properties are said to help with stretch marks, scars and acne:
- Grapeseed oil
- Calendula oil
- Evening Primrose oil
- Tamanu oil
MIXING THEM WITH ESSENTIAL OILS
If you mix an essential oil or essential oil blend into your carrier oil base, diluting the essential oil for the face with 1% in the carrier oil or carrier oil blend is suggested. For adults the ratio can be as much as 10% (but better keep it lower).
ALWAYS DO A PATCH TEST IF POSSIBLE
Although most carrier oils do not cause an allergic reaction, you should always do a patch test before use.
To perform a patch test:
- Apply a small amount of carrier oil on the inside of your wrist.
- Cover the oil with a bandage or fabric.
- Check the area again after a maximum of 24 hours.
- If irritation occurs, rinse thoroughly and avoid future use.
- If you are allergic to nuts, you should not use oils derived from tree nuts.
HOW TO STORE
Store all carrier oils in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator. Note that you must return your oil to a liquid state when cooling before use. Never heat oil directly, as this may affect its integrity. Instead, leave it at room temperature before use.