Carrier oils, also known as base oils or vegetable oils, are used to dilute essential oils and absolutes before they are applied to the skin in massage and aromatherapy. They are so named because they carry the essential oil onto the skin. Derived from the fatty portion of a plant, typically from the seeds, kernels or the nuts, carrier oils often have their own therapeutic properties, providing additional benefits to the user. Unlike essential oils, which are volatile and evaporate quickly when exposed to air, carrier oils do not evaporate or impart their aroma as strongly as essential oils. They can, however, go rancid over time. Some common carrier oils include sweet almond oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil. Each carrier oil offers a different combination of therapeutic properties and characteristics. The choice of carrier oil can depend on the therapeutic benefit being sought, personal preference, or skin type. Carrier oils are used not only to dilute essential oils for topical application but also to enhance the skin’s absorption of essential oils, as they can facilitate the permeation of essential oils into the skin without altering their properties.
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