Carrier oil may be defined as a vegetable oil that is derived from fatty portions of different plants, usually from seeds, kernel or nuts. When this oil is applied to the skin without being diluted, it may cause irritation to the skin and may react in different ways to different people. The carrier oils are mainly used in diluting the essential oils as well as other oils before being applied. They usually carry the essential oils to the skin. Each of the carrier oils offers different combination of therapeutic characteristics and properties. The choice of carrier oil may depend on the difference in therapeutic benefits that one is looking for.
Creams, natural lotions, bath oils, lip balms, body oils and other skin care products used for moisturizing are also made from vegetable (carrier) oils (Price, 1999). The final products of the carrier oils may have some differences in therapeutic properties, shell life, overall aroma and color.
Essential oils on the other hand are natural aromatic compounds which are found in the flowers, roots, bark, stem, seeds and other different parts of a plant. They are oils comprised of volatile aromatic compounds which are produced by plants and have a very good scent. These scents vary in different oils. The essences that evaporate easily are what give plants a wonderful scent. Essential oil is usually extracted from the oil sacs in plants. They vary in a great way from the know see, nut and vegetable oils which comprise of fatty acids (Ratan, 2006). The essential oils serve the same purpose for the plants as they do for human beings. They are used in fighting infections, initiate cellular regeneration and also work as defense against viral fungal and animal foes. They have a similar structure as compounds found in human tissues and blood which allows them to be compatible to the human physiology.
Essential oils are best known to be diluted by the carrier oils. This is done for natural remedies, herbal preparations, homeopathy, aromatherapy and natural skin care and other health practices. These mixtures are mostly referred to as base oils, fixed oils or vegetable oils. The mixtures are beneficial in different ways. They are nutritious and health giving, they contain minerals, vitamins and different essential fatty acids (Ratan, 2006). The different benefits include improving and softening the skin, improve the sensitivity of the skin and may as well diminish the appearance of existing scars and wrinkles on the skin. Some examples of essential oils include patchouli, Scotch pine, cedar wood, eucalyptus, rosewood, chamomile, rosemary, sweet orange and lavender.
The carrier oils that are of the best quality should be natural, cold pressed and certified organic. This gives a guarantee that the restorative qualities they have remain in place and are not destroyed by chemical addictives or heat processing. The natural qualities are retained in no additives and chemicals are not added into the oils (Price, 2003). An example of this type of oil is the apricot kernel oil. This oil has an oily texture and usually evaporated at a high rate. It may be used in any kind of skin and helps to slow down the process of aging as well as treating skin that is inflamed…