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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Aromatherapy Thursday - It's All About The Oil

Welcome to Aromatherapy Thursday.  Often aromatherapy is paired with massage therapy for an overall mind/body experience.  I have discussed several fragrances in many segments and how they affect a person’s mood, mind set and physically but just touched upon the different carrier oils that are available. 
Create your own home spa with this luxurious massage oil from Etsy Shop TyreHolisticAromatic at http://www.etsy.com/shop/tyreholisticaromatic?ref=seller_info

Have you ever noticed that some oils or even lotions will seem to absorb right away and leave your skin feeling thirsty for more while others will feel like you are going to leave grease stains on anything that you touch or touches you?  It isn’t just a coincidence; there is a definite science to why certain oils are chosen over others in those mixtures.

To keep things very simple there are two types of oils used topically; one type will absorb into your skin providing nutrients and moisture while the other lies on top of your skin creating a barrier and retaining the moisture that is already there.  The difference in how the oils work is based on the size of their molecules, for example; mineral oil is a synthetic oil that has large molecules so instead of going into the skin’s pores it will rest on top giving you a greasy feel while grape seed oil has small molecules and will be absorbed by the skin’s pores leaving none to very little greasy residue.  So the smaller the molecules the more readily it is absorbed into the skin and the less grease is left behind.  But there are other factors to take into consideration such as cost, availability, allergies, shelf life and additional natural properties.
Less expensive commercial massage oils are going to made with less expensive ingredients and because of that you may notice a more oily feel to the product, shorter shelf life (fragrance gets rancid or changes quickly) and you may even find it to be irritating to your skin.    Many of cheap commercial massage oils use the inexpensive synthetics that not only remain greasy but have little additional benefits other than holding in your skin’s moisture.   I personally feel that it is always best to use products that have natural carrier oils, but keep in mind that All natural oils could potentially cause allergic reactions and caution should always be used. 
Kat's Herbs & Knitting offers a variety of Carrier and Essential Oils and can be found at http://www.etsy.com/shop/KatsHerbsKnitting?ref=seller_info_count
Some less expensive oils that are readily absorbed by the skin and can be used without mixing with other oils:
Sweet Almond Oil (potential Nut Allergy, easily found in most discount and drug stores)
Olive Oil (inexpensive and readily available but has a strong fragrance of its own make sure to get the mild or extra-virgin)
Sunflower Oil (potential allergen but great for your skin)
Apricot Oil (rich in Vitamin E) 
Jojoba Oil (a good antibacterial but very fast absorbing and may need multiple applications)
Peanut Oil (Can Cause Allergic reactions also has its own fragrance)
Corn Oil (readily available but greasier and less absorbent)
Fractional Coconut oil (does not stain clothing or linen but may be harder to find)  
Grapeseed Oil (more expensive and not pressed from the seed instead it is extracted using a solvent but has little to no fragrance of its own.  It also absorbs great)
Kukui Nut Oil (Native to Hawaii and good for all skin types even most sensitive skin and skin that would be considered oily)

The following oils are on the higher end of the price scale and they also tend to be thicker or heavier and so they are often mixed with other carrier oils and not used alone:  
Avocado Oil (heavy and potential Latex Allergy reaction)
Cocoa Butter (has heavy fragrance of its own)
Shea Butter (heavy, has fragrance of its own, and can be a potential allergen for those with Latex Allergies)
Wheat Germ Oil (thick, Rich in Vitamin E)

Oils that are rich in Vitamin E can also be used to increase the shelf life of your products.  You can either add a few drops of straight Vitamin E oil as an additive or mix carrier oils using small amounts of Wheat Germ Oil or Apricot Oil, it will all depend on the end product you are looking for.   
This Carrier Oil mix is Amazing! It has many different oils in it to make it an excellent skin food! You can find in ETSY shop Quintessence Oils at http://www.etsy.com/shop/jamiepsmith?ref=seller_info
A simple recipe to create your own herb/flower infused oils can be found on my recipe page:
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cropped roses for blog recipe page

But if you would prefer to purchase your oils already made there are many to choose from the lovely shops at Etsy and ArtFire.  Now that I have less time I find myself purchasing my oils rather than going through the time consuming process.  Although it is very nice to know how things are made and gives you an appreciation for the time that people spend on their handmade mixtures not to mention the expertise it takes to get the mixtures just right.


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