Cosmetics experts do not recommend applying pure essential oils directly to your skin. Especially if you have a skin allergy, topical application could have some serious side effects. It's a critical safety practice to dilute them in carrier oil first.
What are carrier oils?
Also called base oils, carrier oils are plant extracts that are thicker and less concentrated than essential oils. They are normally used to dilute essential oils and “carry” them to the skin in safe and comfortable amounts, hence the name is carrier oil. Apart from being less concentrated than essential oils, carrier oils are also less aromatic and less volatile.
Coconut Oil—The Wonder Carrier Oil
Coconut oil is a type of carrier oil extracted from the fruit of the coconut tree. The term “coconut” comes from the Old Portuguese and Spanish word "coco", which means "head" or "skull". It describes the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble a skull’s features.
Coconut oil can be extracted in different ways, normally through boiling. The white meat inside the shell is ground and pressed to produce milk. The milk is then boiled until only the oil is left unevaporated. This oil is rich in proteins and fatty acids, specifically medium-chain fatty acids, including caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid among many others.
What can coconut oil do to my skin?
While coconut oil is typically used as carrier oil for an assortment of essential oils, it is intrinsically packed with minerals and nutrients that are good for the skin. You can use it as a separate product, although you won't get the distinctive fragrance of essential oils. Here are some of coconut oil's cosmetic benefits.
About 60 percent of coconut oil is made up of medium-chain fatty acids, which have been discovered to possess antimicrobial properties. Of the 8 main types of fatty acids found in coconut oil, lauric acid is the most potent, capable of killing over 20 different strains of bacteria. The topical application of coconut oil can help prevent skin infections.
· Acne Prevention
Most acne is caused by skin inflammation and bacteria. Because coconut oil is also anti-inflammatory, apart from being antimicrobial, it is proven to work on acne prevention as well. Applying this oil on areas of the skin that show signs of inflammation can help prevent acne breakouts and keep your skin in perfect form.
Studies have shown that coconut oil can also help rehydrate the skin. If you are prone to having dry skin and you rely on petroleum-based products for treatment, consider using coconut oil instead. Especially if your skin dryness leads to conditions such as eczema or rashes, a natural alternative that has minimal to no side effects is a much better option.
While there's no denying the effectiveness of coconut oil in promoting skin health, experts don't recommend it to those who have oily skin. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, coconut oil is thicker than essential oil. This means the skin won't absorb it easily. Instead, it stays on the surface of the skin and blocks the pores, prompting the formation of blackheads.
To learn more about coconut oil and other carrier oils used for cosmetic purposes, visit the Tatvik Ayurveda website or stores. We can help you find the perfect essential and carrier oils for your skin and even teach you how to mix them to produce your formulations.