What Are Carrier Oils Used in Aromatherapy?

Carrier oils are used in aromatherapy, a complementary therapy in which various essential oils are applied to the body to aid both physical and mental health. Carrier oils dilute concentrated essential oils, allowing them to be applied to the skin without side effects.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids produced in the specialized cells of certain plants. Not all plants produce essential oils, and not all essential oils found in plants are used in aromatherapy. 

There are about half a million plant species in the world, and about a hundred essential oils are used in aromatherapy. People all over the world have discovered for thousands of years which herbs are beneficial to them and which produce enough essential oils from them to make extraction practical. With the development of modern, more efficient distillation processes, more essential oils are becoming available.

What are carrier (fixed) oils?

Carrier oils are oils whose main role is only to transport therapeutic essential oil molecules to where they are needed. The small amount of essential oil required in a treatment is impossible to distribute over a large skin area unless first diluted in a much larger volume of carrier oil.

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes. If essential oils are applied directly to the skin, they can cause reactions such as severe irritation, redness or burning. Carrier oils dilute concentrated essential oils and ensure safe use on the skin.

Essential oils must be diluted before being used on the face or body. The most suitable medium is vegetable oil. Others are pre-made lotions, creams and gels. Aloe vera gels and unscented body lotion are also sometimes used as carriers.

• Vegetable oils, from trees (eg almond, hazelnut, olive, coconut); or oilseeds (such as sunflowers, rapeseed or soybean). Essential oils are easily dispersed in all vegetable oils. 

• Vegetable oils are “fixed oils”. They do not evaporate even when hot and leave a permanent oily mark when dropped on paper. 

Essential oils evaporate in both hot and cold conditions and can leave pigmentation when colored. However, the majority do not leave an oily mark when dry. 

  • Carrier oils are vegetable oils, such as coconut oil or avocado oil, obtained from the seeds, kernels, or nuts of a plant.

Most carrier oils have a mild, sweet scent, although some are unscented.

The best carrier (fixed) oils for essential oils include:

  • coconut oil

  • Almond oil

  • Jojoba oil

  • Olive oil

  • avocado oil

  • Argan oil

  • rosehip oil

  • Apricot Kernel oil

Coconut oil (Cocus nucifera)

People in the tropics have used coconut oil as a moisturizer for centuries. It also benefits from its antimicrobial properties due to its high lauric acid content.

Black seed oil (Nigella sativa)

Black seed fixed oil is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal. It is thought to be helpful in promoting the healing of wounds and burns.

Jojoba oil (Simmondsia chinensis)

The fixed oil obtained from jojoba seeds is often used in aromatherapy.

Jojoba oil is also widely used in massage. It can help treat acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

It absorbs well in aromatherapy and can be a good choice for those with oily or acne-prone skin. 

Evening primrose oil (Oenothera bienni)

Light and sweet-smelling evening primrose oil has been used for many years in aromatherapy and skin care. It is thought to be beneficial in many skin conditions, including eczema.

It is often expensive and aromatherapists tend to mix it with other carrier oils.

Rosehip oil (Rosa mosqueta)

Rosehip oil is rich in essential fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid. It has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and is used to treat a variety of skin conditions.

  • Rosehip oil is a natural source of vitamin C and vitamin E.

Grape seed oil (Vitus vinifera)

Grape seed oil is considered an all-purpose oil widely used in aromatherapy, from massage to skin care. It has a slightly sweet aroma and the color is almost clear. It creates a shiny film layer on the skin.

This oil is made from pressing the seeds from certain grape varieties.

Vitamin E oil

From a nutritional standpoint, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E can also help repair your skin topically.

Researchers have long known that vitamin E oil can not only help skin tone, but also fight free radicals that can lead to skin cancer. In terms of carrier oil, vitamin E has the potential to enhance the rejuvenating effects of essential oils.

apricot oil

Like vitamin E and grape seed oils, apricot oil can provide additional nutrients and rejuvenation elements.

In fact, apricot oil already has high levels of vitamin E. The oil is made from the seeds of the apricot, not the fruit. The seeds contain high levels of linoleic and oleic acids, which are considered essential fatty acids for clear skin.

He found that the fatty acid nature of apricot oil made it well-absorbed and ideal for dry skin. If you have both wrinkles and dry skin, this carrier oil may provide some extra benefits.

Almond oil

Almond oil has significant anti-inflammatory effects used in related skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis.

avocado oil

Often recognized as being effective for heart health, avocado also offers more in terms of alternative medicine and skin care. Avocado oil is a natural antioxidant. The oil also seems to have anti-inflammatory effects.

When looking for avocado oil, choose oil made from the seeds . They are said to have stimulating effects on collagen synthesis .

Argan oil

Argan oil is a rich oil made from argan fruit trees. Today you can find a large number of creams containing argan.

As a carrier oil, argan oil can help increase skin elasticity in your wrinkle care regimen.

How are carrier oils used?

Massage and body oils are obtained by combining essential oils with one or more carrier oils.

Many carrier oils have their own therapeutic properties, which means there are countless combinations of health benefits when used. 

Fixed oils act in synergy with essential oils to create a better effect. This happens in two ways: 

  • enhances the effect of essential oil; 

  • essential oils enhance the effect of fixed oil. 

The issue of fixed oils in beauty therapy is very important because some pure vegetable oils have such a beneficial effect on the skin.