Fixed (Carrier) Oils and Uses
What’s a Carrier Oil and Why Do I Need one?
Essential oils are irritants on the skin. Carrier oils are used in conjunction with essential oils in Aromatherapy to dilute essential oils to a safe topical level to protect the skin. Our skin is most receptive to these oils when it is warm and damp. Carrier oils do not moisten the skin themselves. When applied, they block the moisture in in the skin, keeping the skin from drying out. If applying after a shower, our skin is receptive and ready to go. You also have the option of using a hydrosol or a hydrating serum prior to applying your oils.
Carrier oils are also ingestible and often used in cooking and food preparation. An example is olive oil. They do not have the safety concerns that come with essential oils. They are non-volatile, the opposite of essential oils. A volatile organic compound (VOC) is defined by the EPA as “any compound of carbon” and includes essential oils. Although few essential oils constituents have been implemented, long term exposure to moderate mixtures of terpenes entails possible health risks. (1)
Many carriers have remarkable therapeutic properties externally and internally. Not only do they keep our skin safe when using essential oils, they also enhance the therapeutic effect of essential oils on the skin.
Should I buy Refined or Unrefined carrier oils?
Carrier oils can be purchased unrefined or refined. This defines the amount of processing the oil will go through.
Unrefined oils are the most sought for carrier oils. There is minimal processing involved which ensures a higher quality oil rich in nutrients. Unrefined gives the true color and flavor of the oil as well as the aroma.
The downfall to unrefined oils is often they are less stable than refined oils. This means that your oil will go rancid more quickly. This could shorten the shelf life of the final product you make. The shelf life is based on the ingredients in your product. The ingredient with the shortest shelf life, be it essential oils or the carriers, wil