However, many people new to aromatherapy make a big mistake. They skip the part about using a carrier oil, and put the essential oils directly on their skin.
I did this myself. So I know all too well how easy it is to fall into this trap, if you’re new to essential oils. Not using a carrier is a bad idea, for a couple of reasons.
One is that an essential oil, by its very nature, is extremely strong. It’s many times more potent than the plant from which is was derived. One online doctor noted that one drop of peppermint oil is equal to 15 to 40 cups of peppermint tea. I’ve heard even higher estimates as well. It’s safe to say that these aromatics are extremely concentrated.
Essential oils are believed to have strong medicinal actions. Aromatherapists have known this for years. Modern researchers are now proving it. So never forget that you’re working with powerful stuff. You definitely don’t want to overdo it. Also, keep in mind that anything you put on your skin eventually winds up on the inside of your body.
Because these aromatics are so strong, it’s possible to develop a sensitivity to a particular oil, or even an allergic reaction. This means you won’t be able to use it in the future.
Why You Need a Carrier Oil
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This is why it’s always good to do a small test patch on an area other than your face, before you use any new oil. If you have a history of allergies, this step is doubly important.
Some essential oils such as cinnamon and clove essential oil are considered “hot.” Even without without a special sensitivity, they can burn your skin if applied full strength.
This is why aromatherapists recommend using a protective carrier oil, in order to safely dilute your essential oils for topical use.
Why Use Carrier Oil With Essential Oils
Carrier oils make aromatherapy safe. They also make it more effective. Even though you’re using very little of the concentrated aromatic, these neutral oils help transport it into your cells. That’s why they’re called “carrier oils.”
A typically recommend dilution ratio is just two or three drops of aromatic oil to a teaspoon of carrier oil.
Exposed to the air, essential oils quickly evaporate. But not when they’re mixed with a carrier oil. Diluting aromatics with a carrier makes them stick around longer, so they can do the job they’re intended for.
Good Carrier Oils for Your Essential Oils
Certain carrier oils also have health benefits of their own. Jojoba oil is a commonly used carrier. It’s considered very good for your skin, as it contains many of the same chemical components found in human sebum. Women who use this on their face typically find that it gives their skin a much healthier appearance, compared to commercial moisturizers, which can also cause redness and flaking. I love how pure jojoba oil seems to even out my skin tone. Below, you can see a popular brand of cold-pressed jojoba oil.
What Do Carrier Oils Do?
The book above is written by aromatherapy expert Joanne Curtis, who explains the various properties of carrier oils, which are often overlooked, especially by beginners. This book also serves as a good introduction to aromatherapy, since it includes various recipes for blends that you can use with your favorite carrier oil.
Please understand that I’m not a professional aromatherapist. I’m just sharing my personal experience of using essential oils, and passing along the often-repeated advice about the need for carrier oils.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils unless directed to do by a healthcare provider.