If you commonly seek aromatherapy, you will notice that the practitioner will often apply diluted oils such as lavender and tea tree to your skin. When an essential oil is diluted, it is mixed with a carrier oil. That then begs the question, what is a carrier oil?
A carrier oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of the plants, usually the seeds, kernels or the nuts. It is a term that is generally limited to the practice of aromatherapy. Essential oils are diluted with carrier oils, because if they are applied directly to the skin they can cause topical reactions or irritation. To clarify, essential oils are from the leaves, bark, roots, or other aromatic portions of a plant. These have a concentrated aroma and are mixed with the carrier oils. Carrier oils do not have as strong of an aroma as the essentials do, but they can “go bad”. You can tell if your oil has gone bad by the smell; it will have a strong bitter aroma.
There are several known different types of carrier oils, each with their own properties and characteristics. The type of carrier oil chosen can also depend on the benefit or treatment being sought. Carrier oils aren’t limited to plant based, there are also oils made from fish, birds and other animals as well. Most of these oils are odorless, some have a sweet scent.
If you are practicing aromatherapy, mineral oil and petroleum jelly products aren’t suggested. They can clog pores and block vitamins from properly being absorbed within the body. When you have purchased your carrier oil, be sure to store them in a dark glass bottle with a tight fitting top ensuring they are kept in a cool dark place.
COMMON CARRIER OILS
Grapeseed OilAlmond Oil
Sesame Seed Oil