What are Carrier Oils?
Updated: Dec 17, 2022
A lot of focus is put on Essential Oils but the Carrier oils are just as important if not more important, depending on what you're trying to accomplish in a blend.
As suggested by their name, carrier oils carry the essential oil into the skin and then blood stream. Carrier oils come from the fatty parts of the plants like seeds, nuts and sometimes fruit. Rich in fatty acids, carrier oils are very emollient (softening and soothing). Rich in natural vitamins, minerals and nutrients, cold pressed base oils have invaluable ingredients. They can be used alone or with essential oils to make your own potent massage blends or organic remedies.
Many USA companies are only focusing on coconut for a carrier oil, but there are many. Here are some of the most commonly used in the practice of qualified aromatherapists. They each offer a wide range of therapeutic benefits.
Sweet Almond: A good emollient, it protects and nourishes the skin
Jojoba: Contains proteins, vitamins, especially E, minerals, and a waxy substance that mimics collagen.
Sunflower: Great texture for massage and skin care preparations.
Rose Hip: One of the best tissue regenerators for scars, skin burns and premature again. Hi in essential fatty acids.
Tamanu: Wound healing, promotes the formation of new tissue, accelerates healing and growth of healthy skin.
Not all Carrier Oils Are Created Equal
Expeller pressed organic unrefined vegetable oils are the best oils for the skin as these are extracted at low temperatures and do not go through a refining process, thus preserving the valuable nutrients of the oil. Refined oils have generally been extracted through the use of high temperatures and have undergone subsequent processing, including deodorizing the oil to remove the taste and smell, bleaching, and other refining methods. In doing so, the vitamin content of the oil is reduced and the essential fatty acid content largely destroyed rendering an oil with little to no therapeutic value.
Vegetable oils available in supermarkets, corner groceries, and convenience stores, whether from safflower, walnut, sunflower, core grape seed, soybean, sesame, rice bran, almond, peanut, avocado, other seed or nut sources, or oil blends, are fully refined and deodorized, and are either solvent extracted or a mixture of expeller pressed and solvent extracted oils. Fully processed oils are the equivalent to refined sugars, and can therefore be called "White Oils".
The application of high quality, unrefined organic vegetable oils offer an array of valuable nutrients to support, nourish, and enhance the functions of the skin. So be sure to search out the proper carrier oil!
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Pamela is the owner of Zona's oils in Cave Creek. She is a certified Aromatherapist.