In recent years, essential oils have taken over the health industry. What was once considered hippie is now more widely accepted as more people have started seeking out natural remedies. Plus, thanks to their versatility, essential oils have countless uses. They are especially popular as homemade toiletries thanks to the lack of harsh chemicals and toxins.
They are also game changers when it comes to health. While some aid in fighting acne and infections, others ease pain caused by conditions like arthritis and even menstrual cramps. So, these oils are truly your skin’s new best friend. The only catch? You always need to dilute them with a carrier oil. Essential oils are extremely concentrated liquids. Applying them directly on your skin increases the risk of irritation, especially in the case of intense oils like tea tree oil. Research has found that direct contact with tea tree oil can bring on dryness, irritation, and redness, which you could certainly do without.1
Fortunately, there are many carrier oils you can choose from to prevent such reactions. They also boast benefits of their own, making them great additions to essential oils. All in all, the combination will do wonders for your skin. Choose a carrier oil depending on your needs. If you’re not sure where to start, check out these five great carrier oils for your face and body.
1. Jojoba Oil
Is your skin angry and irritated? Use jojoba oil for its anti-inflammatory effects. Jojoba oil also promotes wound healing and controls infections, making it ideal for aggressive breakouts. Mature, aging skin will also benefit from jojoba oil.2
2. Olive Oil
To control dryness and flaking, reach for olive oil. And yes, you can use it right out of the pantry. According to a 2017 study in Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, olive oil is a potent moisturizer. It has also been found to possess photoprotective properties, which prevent exposure to harmful light rays.3
3. Castor Oil
Castor oil absorbs UV light, which serves as natural protection from the sun.4 It’s also extremely thick and moisturizing. However, castor oil also has a strong odor so it might take some getting used to.
4. Coconut Oil
Thanks to its high level of fatty acids, coconut oil has benefits beyond the kitchen. It can enhance the skin barrier and increase collagen, so it’s an excellent choice if you have thin or weak skin. Its anti-inflammatory activity also controls irritation – both sun-induced and otherwise.5
5. Avocado Oil
The proteins and vitamins A, D, and E in avocado oil are ideal for chapped and dry skin. And if you’re dealing with a cut or popped pimples, avocado oil can speed up tissue growth over the wounds, which is a process called epithelization.6
As a general rule of thumb, 5 drops of essential oil need 1 tbsp of carrier oil. Mix the two well before applying to the skin. If you’re trying a new essential or carrier oil, do a patch test first to steer clear of allergic reactions.
|↑1||Hammer, Kate A., Christine F. Carson, Tom V. Riley, and Jesper Bo Nielsen. “A review of the toxicity of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil.” Food and chemical toxicology 44, no. 5 (2006): 616-625.|
|↑2||Pazyar, N., R. Yaghoobi, M. R. Ghassemi, A. Kazerouni, E. Rafeie, and N. Jamshydian. “Jojoba in dermatology: a succinct review.” G Ital Dermatol Venereol 148, no. 6 (2013): 687-691.|
|↑3||Mota, Ana Henriques, Catarina Oliveira Silva, Marisa Nicolai, André Baby, Lídia Palma, Patrícia Rijo, Lia Ascensão, and Catarina Pinto Reis. “Design and evaluation of novel topical formulation with olive oil as natural functional active.” Pharmaceutical Development and Technology just-accepted (2017): 1-30.|
|↑4||Johnson Jr, Wilbur. “Final report on the safety assessment of ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, hydrogenated castor oil, glyceryl ricinoleate, glyceryl ricinoleate se, ricinoleic acid, potassium ricinoleate, sodium ricinoleate, zinc ricinoleate, cetyl ricinoleate, ethyl ricinoleate, glycol ricinoleate, isopropyl ricinoleate, methyl ricinoleate, and octyldodecyl ricinoleate.” International Journal of Toxicology 26 (2007): 31-77.|
|↑5||Kim, Soomin, Ji Eun Jang, Jihee Kim, Young In Lee, Dong Won Lee, Seung Yong Song, and Ju Hee Lee. “Enhanced barrier functions and anti-inflammatory effect of cultured coconut extract on human skin.” Food and Chemical Toxicology (2017).|
|↑6||Nayak, B. S., S. S. Raju, and A. V. Rao. “Wound healing activity of Persea americana (avocado) fruit: a preclinical study on rats.” Journal of Wound Care 17, no. 3 (2008).|