Have you ever wondered about the base oils used in skin care products? Maybe you have questioned where they come from, what their characteristics are, or what kind of therapeutic properties they have for external use. There are so many different kinds of plant oils with so many amazing benefits.
There are two kinds of plant oils: essential oils (typically aromatic) and fixed oils (from seeds and nuts). One of the distinct differences between these oils is that essential oils are volatile, meaning they evaporate. The other plant oils are “fixed” oils because they do not evaporate. Most essential oils are not safe to be used directly on the skin because they are highly concentrated and, therefore, are often diluted in fixed oils (which are often called “carrier oils” in aromatherapy).
If you had a chance to read my previous blog post on hydrosols, you might remember that essential oils are distilled from different types of plant material.
The world of fixed oils is not only extensive, but also widely diverse. Did you know that seeds are the source for all of this oil? Seeds have the potential to produce oil once they are fully ripened. Seeds from trees, flowers, nuts, shrubs and vegetables can be pressed for oil.
Let’s focus on a widely known fixed oil - olive oil. Native to the Mediterranean region, olive trees can grow to a height of 25 feet. They begin to produce fruit after 15 years and the trees will live for hundreds of years while continuing to produce fruit during this time.
Popular for its flavor and heart healthy properties, olive oil is liquid at room temperature. Oleic acid, which is the monounsaturated fatty acid named for olives, makes up 70% of olive oil.
Olive oil may have therapeutic properties of being calming and emollient (meaning it has the quality of softening or smoothing the skin). It also contains many beneficial vitamins, including Vitamin E. Olive oil can be effective for:
- Bruises and helping to aid in skin healing
- Insect bites
- Helping to relieve itching of the skin
- Being mildly astringent
- Being mildly antiseptic
Be Green Bath & Body uses olive oil in many of our products! Click on the search icon above and type in “olive oil” to see which products contain this beneficial fixed oil.
As always, thank you for nourishing your skin safely!