"Nature is the one place where miracles not only happen, but they happen all the time." Thomas Wolfe
A carrier oil is just that. It is an oil that “carries” other oils. It is used to dilute essential oils before applying them to the skin. A carrier oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually from the seeds, kernels or the nuts. If applied to the skin undiluted, essential oils, absolutes, CO2s and other concentrated aromatics can cause severe irritation, sensitization, redness or burning or other reactions in some individuals. Carrier oils are used to dilute essential and other oils prior to topical application. The term carrier oil is derived from their purpose in carrying the essential oil onto the skin. Aloe vera gel and unscented body lotion are also commonly used as "carriers." For the scope of this article, however, we will be focusing upon the use of natural vegetable oils as carriers.
Each carrier oil offers a different combination of therapeutic properties and characteristics. The choice of carrier oil can depend on the therapeutic benefit being sought. Natural lotions, creams, body oils, bath oils, lip balms and other moisturizing skin care products are also made using vegetable (carrier) oils. From a simple essential oil/carrier oil blend to a more complex natural lotion, your choice of carrier oil can make a difference in the therapeutic properties, color, overall aroma and shelf life of your final product.
Carrier oils are used for several reasons. You might use a carrier oil in order to help you cover a large part of the body. For instance, if you are massaging the back, you could add a few drops of essential oil to the carrier oil in order to apply to the entire area. Carrier oils are also used as a safety precaution. Essential oils are very powerful. Carrier oils also help the oils absorb more rapidly into the skin.
Here are some of the best essential oil carrier oils that you can use to mix in your essential oils to have exceptional effects on the body. I’ve included information on scent, and texture so you can make your best choice. Use the carrier oil to dilute the essential oil prior to topical application. You should always dilute your essential oils prior to applying them on your skin.
Shop for carrier oils that have been cold pressed or cold expeller pressed. This indicates that the oil has been pressed from the fatty portions of the botanical without the use of added heat. The process can still generate heat due to the friction of the method, but cold expeller pressed oils are processed under conditions that keep the heat to a minimum. Oils that simply say expeller pressed have not been processed to maintain low heat levels. When oils are processed without cool conditions, the high temperature degree and duration of the processing method can harm the fragile nutrients in the oil.