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Carrier oils are those which are basically vegetable or fruit-based and serve as a solvent for the essential oils, which are too concentrated to be used neat and too powerful to be used directly. They provide lubrication during a massage so that friction over the client’s skin is avoided. Carrier oils are generally non-perfumed oils and are cold-pressed vegetable oils. However, some carrier oils have therapeutic benefits as well such as avocado oil, sandalwood oil, grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, etc.
Some popular carrier oils are:
1. Avocado oil: Avocado oil has a mildly sweet and nutty aroma. It is deep olive green in color. It is a heavy oil with a waxy and fatty feel to it. It is a rich source of vitamins, A, D, E, B1, B2 and B5. It penetrates deep into the skin and is rich in amino acids and sterols. It may prove beneficial in the management of eczema, psoriasis and provides sun protection besides its usual function as a carrier oil (lubrication during massage).
2. Wheat germ oil: Wheat germ oil is dark yellow to orange in color and has a fairly strong odor. It is a medium density oil and penetrates the skin easily. It can soothe irritated skin, eczema and heal scarred tissues. It is an anti-oxidant and is rich in vitamins A, E, B vitamins and contains lecithin.
3. Grape seed oil: Grape seed oil is usually clean and light with a tinge of yellow or green colors. It is also an considered effective for nausea, eye and skin infections, kidney and liver diseases, and chicken pox, etc. Because it is rich in linoleic acid, it smooths out wrinkles and lines and enables cells retain their epithelial structure.
4. Sweet almond oil: This has a fine texture and is semi-easily absorbed. It softens and soothes the skin and is rich is in Vitamins A, B and E. It has a light yellow tinge and a sweet nutty odor.
5. Apricot kernel oil: This oil has a faint aroma, clear and has a tinge of yellow color. It is used on sensitive and delicate skins and is beneficial in calming dehydration, etc. It is rich in oleic and linoleic acids and vitamins A, B, E, etc.