Carrier oil is a vegetable oil whose function is to dilute other oils such as essential oils before use, whether in aromatherapy or otherwise. It is also known as base oil because its function is to carry essential oils onto the skin; therefore its name is derived from its most important role. Oils such as vegetable shortening, butter or margarine are not carrier oils. Most carrier oils, surprisingly for oils, have a neutral smell, therefore when essential oils are added they do not affect the smell of the oil. However, there are some carrier oils that contain a concentrated aroma and smell such as olive oil. People prefer these oils as natural as possible since organic carrier oils are of higher quality. There are two most common methods of carrier oil production: maceration and cold-pressing.
Uses of carrier oil
One of the differences between carrier oils and essential oils is that essential oils are volatile, meaning they evaporate and they contain a natural smell of the plant which makes them too strong for use. This therefore means that they need a natural diluent to prepare them for application. Using carrier oils helps reduce the concentration of essential oils without affecting its therapeutic quality. Carrier oils are high in fat therefore they can expire and depending on the type they can be used up to six months, unlike some other types of oils which can be used up to a year or longer. Carrier oils should be kept in a cool and dark place in order to maximize their shelf life.
Types of carrier oil
Grapeseed oil – is extracted from the seeds of wine grapes and it has a relatively short shelf life. Grapes are one of the most popular fruits in the world but majority of the people throw away the seeds and according to experts those seeds are the healthiest part of the grape. It is best to be used for moisturizing and for massages as it leaves the skin light and glossy. It has a light yellow color and can be used for cooking. It is high in linoleic acid and polyunsaturated fat content therefore it can be used as a salad dressing and mayonnaise. Grapeseed oil has a high smoke point therefore it can be used for baking, pancakes and waffles. When it comes to skin benefits this oil is rich in several such as vitamin D, C and E. As it is widely known vitamin D is naturally present in very few foods and it is absorbed only when sunlight touches the skin which triggers vitamin D synthesis. Grapeseed oil is a perfect solution for those who have vitamin D deficiency. It is suitable for sensitive, mature and oily skin because it contains fatty acids and improves elasticity of the skin. It is easily absorbed therefore it does not leave any oily film after application. Grape seeds are rich in antioxidants and proanthocyanidin complexes, widely known as OPCs, which are natural plant compounds. Scientists have spent a lot of time studying OPCs and found that they have very powerful antioxidants that help in fighting free radicals which lead to premature aging and a host of chronic diseases. It is also proven to be beneficial and has anti-carciogenic, antiviral and antibacterial uses. It also contains a very high level of procyanidin which is believed to help prevent and treat cancer. Sunscreens, moisturizers, hair products and other types of creams are just a few products that contain grapeseed oil that are very beneficial for human body inside and out. Health benefits of grapeseed oil include preventing high blood pressure, strengthening the immune system, delaying onset of Alzheimer’s disease, faster wound healing, reducing swelling and improving cholesterol. When used for hair care grapeseed oil is known for helping with hair growth especially dry hair which does not leave hair greasy and no odor either since it has no scent. It may sound unusual but using grapeseed oil for treating oily skin helps skin with reducing the production of oils especially on face. If skin is treated in a way to leave it dry out, the receptors get confused and rush with oil production therefore one has oily skin. Rather using grapeseed oil and it will give the skin enough moisture it needs for normal functioning and at the same time help restore collagen.
Sweet almond oil – comes from trees from which edible almonds are cultivated or the sweet almond. Centuries ago farmers learned how to identify and pick sweet type of almond and differentiate it from the bitter almond. Bitter almond is known to be used in oil form even if it is widely understood that bitter almond is toxic because it contains cyanide. However, in some cases doctors approve of bitter almond oil use under their supervision since it has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-itch properties. Sweet almond oil is proven to be cholesterol-lowering and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. It is consisted of healthy fats, fiber and many minerals that help in body weight reduction too. Only 100 g of almond oil contains 60 international units of vitamin E which is 200 percent of the daily recommendation, vitamin K as well as other vitamins and minerals. However it can still cause a reaction to those with nut allergies. Sweet almond oil also keeps colon and rectum healthy and by consuming it reduces the risk of colon cancer, and when used as injection as the first method of treatment it reduces the risk of rectal prolapse in children. The study that was conducted at Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University in Egypt shows that patients who had a disorder called idiopathic pruritus, which is a severe itching in the anal region that cannot be cured by medication, were given almond oil injections and almost 93 % of the patients were cured permanently after only first treatment, and other patients were cured in second treatment. Two tablespoons a day of almond oil will help with constipation since it is a natural laxative. Almond oil can also be cure for earaches and it has positive impact especially children’s case since they often tend to have ear infections and they need a quick relief. It works in a way that softens earwax, removes the blockage in ear tubes. It is also proven to be the best earwax softener and is the safest one for ear health because other earwax softeners tend to infect the microscopic cuts within the ear, therefore causing more infections. This hypoallergenic oil is also safe for baby skin, and the best way to use sweet almond oil is to warm it up to body temperature and apply in circular motion in order for skin to absorb it faster. It can also be combined with essential oils such as rose oils in order to keep the skin looking healthy. The high level of ant oxidative properties in this oil protect the skin from UV radiation damage, and according to the study in 2007 from Departments of Pharmaceutics at Hamdard University in India this oil does not only prevent the UV damage, but when applied when UV already hit the skin it slows the UV radiation and heals the skin. It can also help prevent from acne because of high level of vitamin A, a powerful natural antioxidant which has an important role in keeping the skin healthy. As a beauty remedy this oil is the best option for dark circles in under eye area. It also helps fight psoriasis or eczema which are caused by poor digestion, sweet almond oil impacts the inflammation or itchiness of psoriasis or eczema. Interesting fact for almond oil is that it was tested as a potentially beneficial biodiesel fuel, and when it comes to animal care it helps prevent and heal dermatitis in dogs.
Jojoba oil – pronounced as hohoba is produced from the seed of simmondsia chinensis plant that is found in southern Arizona and some parts of California and Mexico. It is called oil but the fact is that the liquid that comes from the seed is actually plant wax that was often used for treating bruises. In modern age jojoba oil is used for treating acne and facial scars, psoriasis and sunburn. Jojoba oil is good for hair treatments too since it encourages hair growth, so it is often seen as an ingredient in hair care product for balding people. It is often known as carrier oil for other essential oils, but on its own it is a very effective skin moisturizer that heals skin and hair if used properly. If it is used as a face moisturizer, the proven recipe is to apply six drops in the morning and at night before bed, gently massage into the skin in circular motion to warm it up so that the skin can soak it up easier. For hair care it is best to add about five drops in conditioner and after washing the hair adding two drops on wet hair and massage it easily. Let it sit for a few minutes and later hair can be treated as usual. For mature skin that is developing wrinkles, jojoba oil is one of the options to slow down the forming of new ones and blending old wrinkles. It is best to use five drops on wrinkled areas and rub it with ring finger in circular motion until it is absorbed. Ring finger is proven to be the gentlest one; therefore it is easy to control the pressure on the sensitive area such as eye area. Surprisingly, this oil can be used as a makeup remover, simply by adding five drops on a cotton pad and wiping off the makeup will do the job. It does not leave the skin greasy and oily. Also it can be used as a lip balm and one or two drops of jojoba oil can be applied onto the lips whenever needed. It is also found as an ingredient in a lot of lip balms and lip products, since it moisturizes lips but does not leave them greasy since the skin absorbs the oil quickly. If makeup or any other beauty product infects the skin, jojoba oil can heal the irritated skin by applying up to three drops twice daily. Also it prevents razor burns, therefore it is recommended to apply jojoba oil on the area that is going to be shaved and thus leaves gentle area for shaving, and should be applied after shaving to moisturize the skin. Other shaving creams clog pores on the skin and make the area easier to get infected while jojoba oil, when used the organic one, is 100% safe for use. It is rich in vitamin E and strengthens the capillary walls leaving the skin elastic and moisture.
Olive oil – one of the oils that prove all the researches and benefits are just the beginning of the positive impact of this oil on everyday life. It is the very core of the Mediterranean diet and there may be only a few people on Earth that have not heard about olive oil and its benefits. It is usually used in culinary but it is no surprise if shampoo or cream contains a percentage of this oil. It is very healthy oil that can be used orally and as a beauty remedy. As an example, olive oil kills cancer cells, it lowers the levels of cholesterol (meaning it lowers the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides but does not lower the levels of HDL cholesterol, it may even raise them), prevents the formation of fats in blood vessels. Among plant oils, olive oil has the highest rate in monounsaturated fat that does not oxidize in the body. Regular intake of olive oil, according to numerous studies, show that it can help decreases systolic blood pressure as well as diastolic blood pressure. Olive oil also helps diabetic people who regularly consume this oil on a daily basis; it helps lower the bad lipoproteins while improving sugar control and helps insulin sensitivity. Even if it is high in calories olive oil actually helps with obesity and people who consume olive oil in their daily diet tend to lose weight easily. People who have developed rheumatoid arthritis, especially in hot areas where air conditioning is a most throughout the year, if olive oil is consumed in high levels tend to heal and are less likely to develop this disease. A high consumption of organic cold pressed olive oil tends to improve bone mineralization and helps calcium absorption therefore plays a huge role in preventing osteoporosis.
Avocado oil – is thought to be the healthiest oil on the planet. Just like olive oil, avocado oil benefits prevention of diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and high triglyceride levels. Interesting fact that might surprise is that avocado oil in France has a prescription drug status because of the ability to fight negative effects of arthritis. Avocado oil is produced from the very flesh of avocado fruit which is one of few oils that is not derived from seed. It is full of healthy fats such as oleic acid. It can be consumed as a salad dressing, meaning fresh, but it is highly recommended to use avocado oil for cooking too. It is very important to know the smoke point of any oil, and if the line is crossed oil does not only loose most of its nutrients and high quality ingredients but its compounds start breaking therefore forming new bonds that are damaging to overall health and can become carcinogenic. However, avocado oil has a really high smoke point (271 degrees C) and should be a number one choice in every kitchen. It is also the darkest oil of all oils. Some of the health benefits of avocado oil are that it lowers blood pressure, benefits psoriasis and other skin issues, lowers cholesterol and boosts nutrient absorption. It is the best choice when it comes to skin care because it solves all the problems of skin irritations, can be used for dry skin as well as makeup removal, and for cracked heels and dry cuticles.
Coconut oil – is considered as one of the healthiest oils in the world. It contains a variety of healthy fats, which are an amazing source of energy since they go only through three step process to be turned into fuel that our body needs. Other fats that are consumed daily need a 26 step process. It is very easy to digest, anti-microbial and anti-fungal, processed by the liver meaning that it is already converted to energy rather than being stored as fat. Also it is proven to be the best option for natural treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, cures kidney infections, protects the liver especially after use of any kind of medicine, prevents cancer, boosts immune system, improves memory and overall brain function, improves energy, digestion, reduces symptoms of pancreatitis. It is also wonderful for any type of skin issue such as burns or even dandruff. It can be used as sunscreen as well as a way to cleanse mouth and improves gum health. Coconut oil is proven to be a great option for type II diabetes patients because it balances insulin reactions when pancreas pumps more insulin to compensate because cells that don’t react to insulin and don’t take glucose for energy send a wrong signal and pancreas is pressured to produce more insulin. Usually those patient fight obesity and coconut oil is beneficial in a way that helps body bur the fats and therefore lose weight. It is also used in products that are considered as muscle building products where 3 tbsp are added to shakes daily. Coconut oil benefits hair care and some shampoos as a base ingredient have coconut oil. Even if it is not in a liquid form, when applied to skin it becomes liquid and is easy to apply. It is white in color, but when melted it is transparent. It helps fight candida and yeast infections as well as anti-aging product that improve the elasticity of mature skin. Coconut oil naturally helps balance hormones because of its source of saturated fat. It is also beneficial to consume coconut oil in menopause and has positive effects of estrogen levels, and thyroid problems too. It is best to use organic coconut oil since all additives can damage the quality of the oil and it can become less healthy or can even damage more than it can help.