What Defines Aromatherapy Carrier Oils?
Carrier oils in aromatherapy are also known as base oils or vegetable oils. Carrier oils are basically used to dilute essential oils or absolutes before using it as an application for the skin. If essential oils are applied to the skin in an undiluted manner, it can cause skin irritation or bring about a form of allergic skin reaction. In aromatherapy, the therapist usually dilutes the essential oils in a carrier oil before treatment as essential oils are believed to be too powerful to use neat. Hence carrier oils are required in order to dilute the concentrated oils before application or before use in aromatherapy. Carrier oils help ‘carry’ the essential oil into the skin, hence the term. Carrier oils are a form of vegetable oils that is made from the fatty portion of a plant, particularly from the seeds or the inner and usually edible part of a seed / grain / nut / fruit stone. Each carrier oil presents a distinct combination of curative properties and features. The selection of a carrier oil is dependent upon the therapeutic benefit being sought-after by the individual and the therapist.
Carrier oils are a commonly used medium in aromatherapy due to its versatility. It provides the essential lubrication during massage to allow the hands to move freely over the skin thus causing the essential oils to be soaked in the skin. Carrier oils must be light yet slippery for it to be permeated efficaciously into the skin, and they must preferably have very little odor. Carrier oils play a vital role in aromatherapy, and are just as important as the essential oils in aromatherapy. Carrier oils possess the ability to soften and enrich the condition of the skin as they contain essential vitamins, minerals and other essential fatty acids. Some carrier oils are also useful in dealing with inflamed, sensitive skin disorders such as dermatitis and psoriasis, as well as helping to decrease the incidence of frown lines and sometimes even scar tissue.
There is a broad range of carrier oils to select from, in addition to tinctured or macerated oils like Calendula officinalis and St John’s Wort. The miscellany of vegetable oils that can be purchased by a beginner might seem a little confusing at first, as there is not much that has been written on aromatherapy and carrier oils. But selecting the right kind of carrier oil is not really difficult to analyze or understand at all. Get to know some fundamental facts about the features, actions and consistency of carrier oils and testing these oils is recommended until you discover the right type of oil for you.