Essential Oils Apothecary Tip: Importance of Carrier Oils
So, let’s talk about Thinking Safety First Your skin soaks up chemicals like a sponge, so you need to be extremely careful about what you put on it. (The same goes for what you put in your body.) Even though essential oils are bioactive compounds, these highly concentrated ingredients can interact with your skin, possibly causing an allergic response or contact dermatitis (also known as sensitization). This is not to scare you away from using essential oils. They are actually at the bottom of the list of chemicals that can cause reactions with overexposure. Believe it or not, it is safer to use essential oils than to plunge into a chlorinated swimming pool! Still, your body is not designed to have these oils slathered on “neat.” Rather, you need to dilute them with what is called a carrier oil. Trust us, friends don’t let friends use essential oils neat. As a general rule of thumb, you will use three drops of essential oils to each tablespoon of carrier oil in topical applications. If you have particularly sensitive skin, you might want to start with half that much essential oils. Carrier oils are fatty extracts, usually cold-pressed from such sources as almonds, olives, and coconuts, that make an excellent medium to disperse the more concentrated essential oil across your skin. Unlike essential oils, carrier oils are nutritive. They also have healing properties of their own, such as being soothing and anti-inflammatory.