How does Essential Oil and Carrier Oil work in harmony?

It’s all about skin!

If you’re an avid fan of aromatherapy and all things natural, chances are that you’ve often wondered what the difference is between essential oil and carrier oil? While essential oils are used in holistic practices to improve our physical, mental and emotional well-being, carrier oil is quite different. Both oils are unique in their own right, so it is important to thoroughly understand these differences to ensure the proper usage for topical treatments.

Essential Oils are renown for their therapeutic composition due to their multiple healing properties that contain very potent and powerful plant medicines. Due to their high concentration, they can cause irritation or an allergic reaction if applied directly to the skin. On the other hand, carrier oil or unscented lotions are the perfect addition to dilute the harshness of essential oils and deliver it safely to your skin.

What is Carrier Oil?

Carrier Oils are derived from natures best ingredients and contain the fatty oil from seeds, kernals, nuts, plants or seeds. These are often referred to as base oils, fixed oils or vegetable oils. To extract these oils, maceration or cold-pressing is applied. Maceration is the process of extracting the oil properties by placing a dry plant in warm oil. The Cold-press method is a process that will extract oils by pressing fruit, kernal, nut or seed at temperatures under 50 degrees celsius. Cold-press is by far the preferred method used to preserve the superior oil properties which are more suitable for direct skin application.

Topical Application

Carrier oils are used in topical treatments for pain relief, massage or beauty treatments and will not interfere with the therapeutic properties of essential oil if the two are mixed together. As a rule of thumb, essential oil should be diluted with carrier oil, or an unscented lotion when applied to the skin. For massage or application over large areas of the body, a concentration is generally safe with one drop of essential oil in one teaspoon of carrier oil.

For infants and toddlers, a recommended safe concentration is one drop of essential oil used in one tablespoon of carrier oil. When applying the diluted essential oil to the skin, the healing components are absorbed into our bloodstream via our hair follicles and the pores of our skin. Alternatively, most carrier oils are quite safe to use on their own.

Here are some of the most popular carrier oils to blend with essential oils:

Different carrier oils also contain their very own unique therapeutic properties, but often get overlooked.

Argan Oil

Argan Oil is extracted from kernels inside the fruit of argan trees, native to Morocco. Argan Oil is absolutely loaded with rich antioxidants, essential fatty acids and vitamins A and E. The natural properties in argan oil are used in hair products all over the world to promote hair growth, repair hair damage and split ends. The oil is also extensively used by the cosmetic industry, due to its anti-ageing properties, including treatment for skin inflammation, dry skin, reducing scars and stretch marks, protecting our skin from the damaging effects of the sun and promoting healthy nails and cuticles.

Avocado Oil

Avocado Oil is extracted from the flesh of the avocado fruit. Avocado Oil is rich essential fatty acids, Vitamin E and nutrients. An excellent treatment for moisturising skin. This is a very good carrier oil, although caution should be taken if you suffer from acne, due to the fact that it may increase sebum production. Always check with your dermatologist first.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is extracted from the kernel of mature coconuts. Coconut Oil contains 92% saturated fat and is packed full of super rich antioxidants, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties – a natural treatment for skin, hair and nail nourishment. The lauric acid in coconut oil helps combat acne, reduce inflammation and contains natural moisturising properties. Ideal for making homemade creams and balms to treat skin conditions.

Grape Seed Oil

Grape Seed Oil is extracted from grape seeds. Grape Seed Oil contains essential fatty acids and is rich in Vitamin E, a nutrient to help reduce wrinkles, fine lines and heal skin. Grape seed is an excellent light carrier oil.

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba Oil is extracted from the liquid produced inside the seed of the jojoba plant. Although referred to as an oil, it’s actually a liquid plant wax. The oil contains Vitamin E and B complex, chromium, copper, silicon, zinc, iodine and essential fatty acids. This combination promotes skin, hair health and also the power to heal. It soothes and moisturises the skin and contains natural anti-fungal properties – often used as a topical treatment for fungal infections. An excellent carrier oil.

Olive Oil

Olive Oil is extracted from the olive fruit of an olive tree. Olive Oil has many health benefits. It works exceptionally well when diluting essential oil. The oil contains 75% monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and Vitamin E. Olive oil is used for dry skin without clogging skin pores and great for dandruff and frizzy hair.

Rosehip Oil

Rosehip Oil is extracted from the seeds of the rosa moschata bush or rosa rubiginosa bush, although both look different to the traditional roses that we know. Once the flowers die and drop their petals, rosehip is left behind. Rosehip Oil is a very popular carrier oil that contains essential fatty acids, including a natural retinoid that helps fight ageing. With its naturally high dose of Vitamins A and C, it can help reverse the effects of the sun on your skin.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower Oil is extracted from sunflower seeds. Sunflower Oil is rich in Vitamins A, C and D and contains antioxidants to regenerate new skin cells. The oil is used as a skin barrier for germs and toxins that cause skin infections and used to moisturise and sooth irritated skin.

Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet Almond Oil is extracted from the dried fruit of an almond tree – the almond is not considered a true nut, due to its fleshy outer layer. The oil is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E, the optimum choice for regenerating new skin cells. The oil is used to moisturise and nourish the skin and also protect us from the damaging effects of the sun. The oil has a high concentration of essential fatty acids and helps to sooth skin irritation and relieve inflammation.

The bottom line

Carrier Oil and Essential Oil are the perfect companions and have made it possible for us to use essentials oils safely. Just remember to dilute essential oils – more isn’t necessarily better. A few drops is really all you need.