For those of you who have been following my blog, thanks! I hope you found what I shared in part III - the simple home test to check the purity of essential oils, useful.
In parts IV, V & VI of this series, I will share with you some information on base/carrier oils, their benefits and also suitability for various skin types.
Base/Carrier oils are derived from vegetable, nut or seed sources or made by macerating an herb in a plant oil. They have their own benefits.
They are a medium for diluting and dispersing concentrated essential oils which can otherwise irritate the skin. There was a recent article in the Straits Times (Singapore) about how essential oils can cause skin reactions. That is true. And that is why safe dilution of essential oils especially for topical application onto the skin is critical - and it doesn't mean that the more fragrant the product, the better it is. Because the more fragrant the product, it would mean the essential oil content could be higher and the dilution factor may exceed safe dilution guidelines.
Typically, safe dilution can go from 0.5% to 2%. For non-sensitive and non-problematic skin types, dilution factors can go up to 5% but should not exceed that.
Onto carrier/base oils now!
There are many carrier/base oils available for various usage and over the next few blog posts, I will share the various types and their properties. Common ones include: Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Argan, Olive, Apricot Kernel, Grapeseed, Sunflower, Safflower, Coconut, Avocado, Sesame etc (amongst others).
Sweet Almond (Prunus amygdalus var. dulcis)
Source : Cold-pressed from the seeds of the sweet almond tree. Contains vitamins E & K, omegas 9 & 6 fatty acids
Skin types: Good for all face & body skin types including sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis and gentle enough to be used on children. I use sweet almond oil in many of my product formulations for this reason.
Qualities : Emollient - softening, moisturizing, nourishing, restructuring, conditioning, soothing
Common uses : body and face oils (serums), massage oils, body/facial oil cleansers, lotions, balms
Note : For those with sensitivity to nuts, best to do a skin patch test.
Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis)
Source : Jojoba oil is the liquid produced in the seed of the Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) plant, a shrub, which is native to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico. It is a liquid wax. Contains vitamin E, omegas 3,6 & 9 fatty acids.
Skin types: Good for all face & body skin types including mature skin, prematurely aged skin, sensitive skin, oily and acne-prone skin. I also use jojoba oil in many of my product formulations.
Qualities : Of all the oils, Jojoba most closely resembles human sebum. Protective, moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious, nourishing, balancing.
Common uses : for skin infections, dryness, rashes, inflammation, soothing, cleansing and conditioning
Will continue to share about more base/carrier oils in the next few blog posts!
Sources: The complete book of essential oils & aromatherapy (Valerie Ann Worwood, Essential Oils (Claire Cross)
Image attributed to levitatingmonkey.com