Carrier oils vs essential oils – all you need to know!

I decided to make this post after I realised that people actually have no idea what they are putting into their skin. I realised that people usually go with whatever seems to be trendy at that certain time. Right now, in my country, it’s Coconut Oil. I don’t know if the craze is world-wide but people just seem to really love coconut oil and there is a sudden increase in its accessibility at stores.

I, personally, am not a fan of the oil unless I am using it to make my food or using it in a lip balm of some sort. But this post is not (just) about coconut oil, I am actually going to unpack as many oils as my time allows me; I am going to name the oil, its benefits for the skin and health as well as why it is so. This is an informative post and I am hoping that it clears up a few misconceptions that you or others may have about a certain oil.

Now, oils are wonderful to add to your skin care regimen and they are a great and non-toxic alternative to Moisturise your skin as compared to store-bought chemical lab-made creams. They are extracted directly from nature and depending on what type of oil you get (where it’s refined or not) as well as where you get it, they are completely natural and pure without any processing.

Essential Oils 

These oils can be traced to thousands of years back in ancient civilisation for beauty, spiritual as well as health reasons. Essential oils are distilled by steam or by water from plant parts (leaves, stems, bark, roots, and flowers). Although they are referred to as oils, they do not feel ‘oily’. Most essential oils come in a clear colour and are highly concentrated so a little goes a long way. I never recommend people to use essential oils, at least not without extensive research and practice. They offer great healing properties and are wonderful for both the body and spirit but if used carelessly, they  will cause damage.

Side Note: Essential oils should not be applied directly onto the skin, it is advised that one dilutes the essential oil in a carrier oil before applying topically.

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils, also referred to as Base oils, are vegetable oils that you use to dilute essential oils before you apply topically onto your skin. They are literally named carrier oils because they CARRY the essential oil into the skin. Carrier oils, unlike Essential oils, do not have a concentrated aroma and do not evaporate.

Below, I have attached a list of some carrier oils accompanied by their comedogenic ratings as well as some essential oils. I would draw up a list of all the oils and their benefits but can you imagine how long that would take me? So do me (as well as yourself) the favor of doing extensive research before dabbling in essential oils because of used wrong, it can go totally wrong. I never recommend essential oils to beginners simply because the Internet makes it seem so easy to use them when, in fact, it is not.

To help you along on your journey to an all-Natural lifestyle, I have attached a list of some of the commonly used essential oils. Here, I have divided them into categories in terms of irritants. As mentioned above, essential oils are very precious and do contain various healing properties but can be very dangerous if used the wrong way. It would be a great idea to familiarize yourself with the different essential oils before attempting to apply them to your regimen.

  1. Table One – Dermal irritant

A dermal irritant will produce an immediate effect of irritation on the skin. The reaction will be represented on the skin as blotchy or redness, which may be painful to some individuals. The severity of the reaction will depend on the concentration (dilution) applied.

  1. Table Two – Dermal sensitization

Dermal sensitization is a type of allergic reaction. It occurs on first exposure to a substance, but on this occasion, the noticeable effect on the skin will be slight or absent. However, subsequent exposure to the same material, or to a similar one with which there is cross-sensitization, produces a severe inflammatory reaction brought about by cells of the immune system (T-lymphocytes). The reaction will be represented on the skin as blotchy or redness, which may be painful to some individuals

  1. Table Three – Photosensitisation


An essential oil that exhibits this quality will cause burning or skin pigmentation changes, such as tanning, on exposure to sun or similar light (ultraviolet rays). Reactions can range from a mild color change through to deep weeping burns. Do not use or recommend the use of photosensitizing essential oils prior to going into a sun tanning booth or the sun. Recommend that the client stay out of the sun or sun tanning booth for at least twenty-four hours after treatment if photosensitizing essential oils were applied to the skin.

  1. Table Four – Non-phototoxic

A mucous membrane irritant will produce a heating or drying effect on the mucous membranes of the mouth, eyes, nose, and reproductive organs. It is recommended that mucus membrane irritating essential oils not be used in a full body bath unless placed in a dispersant first (e.g., milk, vegetable oil). It would also be wise to put the dispersed essential oils into the water after you have gotten into the bath. Bay, clove, cinnamon bark, lemongrass, and thyme ct. thymol essential oils should be avoided in baths completely. Table 5 lists some common essential oils considered to be mucous membrane irritants.

I hope that this blog post has helped you even if it is just a tiny bit, really. If you are someone with sensitive skin or skin conditions or pregnancy, remember to consult with a doctor before handling essential oils. Also, remember to click on one of my social media, let’s follow each other!

DISCLAIMER: No material on this blog is intended to be used for diagnosis. All material is for educational purposes, only.

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