When a lot of people think about essential oils, they think of using them in a room diffuser or a reed diffuser. While this is certainly a nice way to enjoy their benefits, massage oils can be effective too. However, it’s important not to apply most essential oils directly to the skin because their potent properties can cause irritation to the skin in their undiluted form.
Using a carrier oil like avocado oil allows you to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of each essential oil without harming your skin. Some of the key benefits of choosing avocado oil as your carrier oil of choice are highlighted below.
History of Avocado Oil
Avocados have been used in Mexico for more than 10,000 years. They get their name from the Aztec phrase “ahuacatl,” which means “fertility fruit.” The Aztecs, Incas, and Maya believed that avocado could act as a sexual stimulant, but also spread the pulp of the fruit on their skin to act as a face mask. Additionally, the Maya used avocados to remedy digestive issues and to promote hair health.
The value that the cultures placed on avocado are ultimately what led European conquerors to introduce the fruit to the rest of the world during the Columbian Exchange.1 During the mid-1800s, avocado trees were introduced to Hawaii, Florida, and California. In the 20th century, the United States developed avocados that were better-suited for commercial farming.
Because of the high oil content in the fruit, avocado oil is sometimes known as a “vegetable butter,” and it is also this high oil content that makes the fruit the perfect fit for creating avocado oil, which is not only a great and healthy cooking oil but a beneficial carrier oil.
There are several different cultivars of avocado, but they are all quite similar. The cultivars differ in their iodine content and the amount of unsaturated fatty acids that they contain. Avocado oil, as a rule, contains high amounts of unsaturated fatty acids, however.
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Bantul avocado oil contains 55.7 percent unsaturated fatty acids, while Purwokerto contains 62.8 percent, and Garut contains 68.9 percent.2 In general, the avocado pulp is the primary part of the plant that is used in cooking and in pharmaceutical contexts. The seeds are a major by-product that could have some prospective future uses because they are so dense in fiber and oil.3
Avocado oil also contains a range of other chemical constituents that have been shown to provide a range of health benefits. First, it contains palmitic and palmitoleic acids which have been shown to positively benefit skin and hair health. Stearic acid further adds to these skin and hair properties, with the added benefit of containing powerful cleansing properties.
Additionally, avocado oil is high in omega 9 acids which have been shown to have antioxidant properties and consequently boost immunity, as well as omega 3 acids which can reduce inflammation.
Uses for Avocado Carrier Oil
Avocado oil is a healthy, nutritious, and versatile oil. It has many uses in both cooking and for topical applications. The top uses for avocado carrier oil are outlined below.
Natural oils can be used as a weak sunscreen. They are no substitute for factor 50, and if you’re planning on spending a lot of time outdoors, then it is well worth putting proper sunscreen on, but for day-to-day use when you’re planning on walking just a few minutes each day, you may want to use a natural alternative such as avocado to keep your skin healthy and fresh.4
Using avocado oil as a leave-in conditioner can keep your hair looking shiny and fresh. Just massage a small dollop of oil through your hair after shampooing it and leave it overnight. It will help stop your scalp from drying out and give your hair a nice shine too.
If you struggle with dandruff and with an itchy scalp and you want to take hair care to the next level, you can use avocado oil as a deep conditioner. Instead of massaging the oil into your hair, use it immediately after shampooing while your hair is still wet and the warmth from the water in the shower has opened up your pores. Let the oil sit for a few minutes and then rinse it out.
Avocado oil is rich in antioxidants, which means that it can help to heal dryness, flaky skin, itching and general irritation.5 If you’re struggling with eczema and psoriasis, try doing a patch test with a little avocado oil. After applying the oil, wait a few hours to see how your skin responds. If the oil has not irritated your skin or made your symptoms worse, then you can start using it more regularly.
This carrier oil is also good for moisturizing the skin without leaving an overly oily residue. This means that it can help to reduce the risk of acne. Additionally, avocado oil has anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce redness and inflammation that sometimes comes with acne.6
Pairing Essential Oils with Avocado Carrier Oil
Avocado is a nice, mild, non-greasy carrier oil that is rich in vitamins A, D, and E. It can be used as a pure carrier oil, but it is often mixed with almond oil or grapeseed oil for a thinner mixture.
This oil is absorbed more slowly than many other oils, which makes it good for use on the skin if you are trying to make a protective/barrier cream. Avocado oil pairs well with lavender, basil, ylang-ylang, tea tree, and lemongrass essential oils—all oils that are soothing and protective for the skin or that have antimicrobial properties.
Safety and Precautions
Avocado oil has a lot going for it when it comes to topical use. It is made from the pressing of the fruit and it contains a lot of monounsaturated fats.7 It has become popular as a “clean tasting” cooking oil because of its buttery, nutty flavor.
Avocado oil is generally recognized as safe. If you dilute the essential oils that you are adding to it appropriately (around 15 drops to six teaspoons of carrier oil), then chances of an adverse reaction are slim.
Avocado oil is a good carrier oil for moisturizing solutions, suncream, and hair conditioners. If you want something that is more readily absorbed, mix avocado oil with something thinner such as coconut oil in a one to three ratios, then add essential oils to that mixture. However you choose to use it, avocado oil can provide a range of health benefits and complement the properties of many essential oils, making it a great addition to your daily routine.
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