Benefits and Uses of Popular Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy

Updated on August 29, 2018
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I have been using essential oils and aromatherapy to improve my health, immunity, and emotional well-being for years.

What Is a Carrier Oil?

Essential oils can offer many benefits when used topically or during a massage. However, undiluted oils applied directly to the skin can cause irritation and sensitivity. A carrier oil is a base or vegetable oil that is used in aromatherapy or massage to dilute essential oils before they are applied to the skin. Carrier oils may also be used in homemade skin care products as a way to naturally moisturize the skin. There are several different options for carrier oils, and each has unique benefits.

Oils for Dry Skin

  • Sweet Almond Oil: This is a popular carrier oil with several benefits. First, sweet almond oil is great for softening and reconditioning dry skin. In addition, this oil is rich in vitamin D, an important vitamin for skin health. It is not suitable for those with nut allergies.
  • Coconut Oil: A very popular choice for those with dry skin is coconut oil. This oil is very nourishing to the skin and naturally hydrates. Fractionated coconut oil is best as it stays in liquid form and will not harden like traditional coconut oil.
  • Olive Oil: This oil is very nourishing and hydrating to the skin. It is also high in vitamin E, which is beneficial for skin health.
  • Apricot Kernel: Another popular choice for those with dry skin is apricot kernel oil. With its naturally rejuvenating, healing and moisturizing properties, this is a popular oil for those with dry and damaged skin.
  • Avocado Oil: This is another naturally hydrating oil that is rich in vitamins. Avocado oil is often combined with another carrier oil because of its rich texture.

Olive oil is a popular carrier oil because of its moisturizing benefits.
Olive oil is a popular carrier oil because of its moisturizing benefits.

Oils for Acne Prone or Oily Skin

  • Grapeseed Oil: One of the most recommended carrier oils for acne prone skin is grapeseed oil. It is a soothing and moisturizing oil that will not cause your face to appear too oily or clog pores.
  • Hempseed Oil: This is a great carrier oil for toning the skin. It provides soothing, moisturizing and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Jojoba Oil: An extremely popular carrier oil that is great for all skin types is jojoba oil. With its moisturizing, healing and soothing properties, acne prone skin and oily skin can benefit from this oil.

Oils for Aging Skin

  • Rosehip Oil: This is a great choice for aging skin, as rosehip oil is full of antioxidants, naturally moisturizes, regenerates and tones skin.
  • Macadamia Nut Oil: With its ability to improve elasticity to the skin, macadamia nut oil is also another great choice for aging skin. The oil also has great moisturizing and rejuvenating benefits.

Rosehip oil is an excellent choice for aging skin.
Rosehip oil is an excellent choice for aging skin.

How to Dilute Essential Oils for Topical Use

When using essential oils for topical use, a carrier oil should always be used to dilute the essential oil before skin contact. For children or adults with sensitive skin, only one drop of essential oil should be used with one tablespoon of carrier oil. Adults who do not have sensitive skin can usually use up to five drops of essential oil per one tablespoon of carrier oil.

The quality of the essential oil that you use is extremely important when applying oils topically. You want to be sure that the brand of essential oil you are using has strict quality standards and tests their oils for purity. I recommend Plant Therapy, Doterra and Rocky Mountain Oils because of their strict quality standards and third-party testing performed on their oils to make sure they are free of pesticides and other unwanted chemicals.

When using essential oils topically for the first time, always be sure to "test" the diluted oil first on a small patch of skin to see if you experience any burning or other unpleasant side effects. This is especially important for those with sensitive skin. If diluted properly, essential oils are a great way to treat acne-prone skin, help ease muscle or joint pain, treat digestive issues, and help with respiratory discomfort.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


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