Essential oils are very strong, volatile oils. They are the essence of the plant, very potent and expensive as large quantities of the chosen plant have to be used to produce very small amounts of the essential oil. They lose their chemical constituents through evaporation when exposed to the air.
By comparison, carrier oils are lubricating vegetable oils with hardly any smell. They are produced through a method of extraction called ‘cold-pressing”. The oil is extracted from the nut or kernel of the specific plant. Essential oils are diluted into the carrier oil (Between and 3 and 10% dilution, depending on what it is being used for) before being massaged onto the skin. This allows the essential oil to be ‘carried’ onto the skin and absorbed into the blood stream. Carrier oils go rancid through oxidation (essential oils do not) and therefore they have a shorter shelf life than essential oils.
Some carrier oils are anti-oxidants and therefore do not go rancid as quickly as others. Wheatgerm contains vitamin E and Grapeseed contains pycnogenol. Therefore these two oils will not go rancid as quickly as other carrier oils do.
Most carrier oils are used solely for lubrication in massage, but there are some oils that have therapeutic properties and they are chosen specifically for those.
Avocado oil is rich and nourishing and helps dry and ageing skins.
Wheatgerm oil is used to reduce scar tissue after injury or operations and also facial scarring left from severe acne.
because carrier oils have a short shelf life, it is advisable not to mix essential oils into them until they are needed. In this way your essential oils will last much longer. Rather buy small qquantities of your carrier oils so that you can replenish and bring in fresh supplies-whether you are using them in your therapy room for massage or in your skin preparations.