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CARRIER OILS - featuring Apricot Kernel, Coconut & Sweet Almond Oils

Jacqueline Twohig

Posted on February 19 2018

ÔĽŅEssential Oils are everywhere and there is an enormous focus placed on them - they are in the limelight, they steal the show & take all the credit.¬† And while we know they are powerful plant extracts, Carrier Oils are too!

If we consider that the dilution rate of essential oil to carrier oil is often around 3%, the importance and impact of the Carrier Oils is undeniable.  So, I'm going to shine some light on them. 

Carrier Oils are derived from vegetables, nuts, seeds or kernels.  Bestowing a light glide, they allow hands to move comfortably over skin delivering or carrying the essential oils in the process.  They are "fixed", meaning that they remain fixed on the skin's surface, that they do not evaporate quickly.

Even when used on their own - which is the perfect option for scent-sensitive clients - Carrier Oils have therapeutic effects as they're generally comprised of fat soluble vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and other nutrients that improve the health and appearance of skin and hair by diminishing the effects of dryness, soothing irritation and adding hydration and moisture. 

I'll cover the highlights on Three Oils often chosen by Massage Therapists - Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel and Coconut (Fractionated).

SWEET ALMOND OIL is a Nut Oil and naturally contains: 

  • Oleic Acids (Omega 9) - known to boost immune activity, reduce the appearance of aging and prevent joint inflammation, stiffness & pain.¬†
  • Linoleic Acids (Omega 6) - known to facilitate wound healing and exhibit anti-inflammatory properties.¬†¬†
  • Stearic Acid - known to have cleansing properties that reduce excess sebum.
  • Palmitic Acid - known to have emollient properties.
  • Palmitoleic Acid - known to enhance skin elasticity.
  • Vitamin E - known to protect the skin from oxidative stress & UV radiation damage and to assist in the repair of scar tissue.¬†


CONTRAINDICATIONS:  Individuals with allergies to tree nuts, almonds, and peaches are at a higher risk of developing an allergy to Sweet Almond Oil and should avoid its use.
GOOD TO KNOW:  Very nourishing to the skin but it can stain sheets.
OF INTEREST:   This Oil is best applied warm - warm it in the palms of your hands before placing on your client's skin. 

APRICOT KERNEL OIL is a Kernel Oil & like Sweet Almond, contains Vitamin E, Oleic, Linoleic, Palmitic and Stearic Acids, and also naturally contains: 

  • Alpha-Linolenic Acids (Omega 3) - known to reduce inflammation and ease joint pain & stiffness
  • Vitamin A - known to stimulate collagen production, wound healing and cellular regeneration¬†

CONTRAINDICATIONS:  The topical application is not known to have side effects but the Oil should not be ingested and therefore, should be kept out of the reach of children and always labelled accordingly. 
GOOD TO KNOW: It is a light, "dry" (non greasy) oil with a subtle nutty aroma. 
OF INTEREST: This Oil very closely resembles the natural sebum produced in human skin.
COCONUT (FRACTIONATED) OIL is a Fruit Oil & like Sweet Almond and Apricot Kernel, contains Oleic & Linoleic Acids, and also naturally contains: 

  • Lauric Acid - known to prevent some viruses.
  • Capric/Caprylic Acid - known to contribute antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
  • Polyphenols - known to soothe inflammation, boost circulation to the skin and protect tissue against oxidative stresses.
  • Medium Chain Triglycerides - known to prevent some viruses, bacteria and fungus.

 CONTRAINDICATIONS: Children with Hypothyroidism 

GOOD TO KNOW:  It is non-comedogenic.  It has a long shelf life & because it is fractionated, it remains liquid regardless of the temperature  
OF INTEREST:  The name is derived from the 16th century Portugese and Spanish word "COCO" meaning "head" or "skull" from the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features. 

If you're thinking of making the switch from "packaged" gels, lotions & oils, think about a Carrier Oil.  Quite simply, they have one pure ingredient.  Less is more.  Acquainted with the multitude of benefits they'll bring to your clients (and you!), you'll be confident knowing you're doing the very best in facilitating their body's own natural ability to heal.

I'll end with a little nod to Essential Oils.  The synergy that exists between Massage Therapy and Aromatherapy is unrivaled.  Massage creates elevated local hyperemia.  This in turn increases the permeability of the skin which enhances absorption - it is the perfect conveyance.  The fusion of Carrier Oil and Essential Oil brings a deeper level of healing to your client through Aromatherapy Blends that are skillfully tailored to meet their individual needs.

As with all Oils, a Patch Test should be conducted on the inner arm or other generally insensitive area of skin, using a dime-size amount of Oil to check for sensitivities.  An absence of an allergic response within 48 hours indicates that the oil is safe to use. A Physician or Pharmacist should be seen/consulted immediately in the event of an allergic response. 

STORAGE:  All Oils should be kept in a cool, dark place, away from strong and direct light, especially sunlight.