Aromatherapy carrier oils are a way to dilute essential oils for use on your skin. The most common carrier oils for essential oils are vegetable or nut oils; however, you can also use butters, such as cocoa butter, or lotions or creams. Look for high-quality oils, organic when possible.
Most carrier oils can go rancid, some faster than others, so it's important to store them in a cool, dark place away from heat and moisture.
Here are the properties and uses of some common carrier oils for aromatherapy.
Almond oil is a popular massage oil that's good for all types of skin. It contains linoleic acid and vitamin E and may help relieve itching and dryness.
Apricot oil is a light oil that's rich in vitamins A and E and in oleic acid. It has regenerating, toning, nourishing, and softening properties. It's particularly good for dry and mature skin.
Argan oil is made from the argan tree that grows primarily in Morocco. The oil contains vitamin E, which is good for skin.
is a rich oil that also contains vitamins E and D, beta carotene, and
linoleic acid. It's especially good for dry and fragile skin but isn't
recommended for oily skin.
Borage oil, black currant seed oil, and evening primrose oil are high in the fatty acid GLA, which helps keep skin healthy and repair sun damage. These oils are particularly good for dry, mature, and aging skin, but they have a very short shelf life.
Castor oil is too thick to make a good massage oil but works well in making lip balms and other cream products because it creates a protective barrier on the skin. It's also good for brittle nails.
contains vitamin E and other vitamins and minerals. It's nourishing and
softening. Other butters to use as aromatherapy carrier oils include
shea butter and mango butter.
Coconut oil is high in antioxidants. Virgin or fractionated coconut oil makes a good massage oil, while refined coconut oil works in soaps and lotions. It's especially good for dry, sensitive, mature, and damaged skin.
Grapeseed oil is a light oil that absorbs quickly and is good for all skin types. It tightens and tones skin.
Hazelnut oil is good for oily skin and helping get rid of blackheads.
Jojoba oil is good for all skin types and especially useful for dry skin, psoriasis, eczema, sunburn, and arthritis. This oil is also good for hair, and it's recommended for making products to prevent hair loss. Another advantage of jojoba oil is that it doesn't go rancid like most vegetable oils because it's a wax, not an oil.
Macadamia nut oil is a light, regenerative oil that's good for most skin types. It may help heal minor skin irritations.
Olive oil promotes a smooth, radiant complexion and helps maintain skin elasticity.
Rosehip seed oil is highly regenerating and healing. It's good for most skin types, especially for scarring, stretch marks, wrinkles, and pigmentation spots, and for damaged hair.
Sesame oil (not toasted sesame, which has a strong aroma) is soothing and softening.
Walnut oil has soothing refreshing emollient qualities.
Wheat germ oil is regenerating and fights inflammation. It's good for dry, mature skin and for eczema and psoriasis.
Although not an oil or butter, you can also use aloe vera gel as an aromatherapy carrier. It penetrates skin deeply, promotes cell repair, and fights inflammation.
One oil NOT to use: Mineral oil is difficult to absorb and clogs pores.
Choose from a selection of aromatherapy carrier oils.
The Essential Guide to Natural Skin Care
Making Aromatherapy Creams and Lotions
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art
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