Although I refer to unscented lotions within this brief profile, unscented creams may also be used.
Unscented lotion is not a carrier oil, but its moisturization and other beneficial properties can make it suitable as a carrier for diluting essential oils prior to topical application.
Lotions contain both water and oil soluble components. Because oils and water do not stay mixed without "help," lotions also contain an emulsifier so that the lotion maintains a smooth, creamy consistency. The emulsifier present within the lotion enables the lotion to serve as a carrier because the essential oil will stay properly dispersed within it. However, it's always best (and safest!) to do a small test first. Lotion brands and formulations can differ.
Because lotions are formulated for the specific ingredients and ratios that they contain, blending it with a carrier oil (please note that I said carrier oil not essential oil in this context) can shorten the shelf life, and sometimes the carrier and lotion won't stay emulsified. It can depend on how much addition carrier is added. Experimentation may be necessary. Most essential oils are naturally anti-microbial. However, on their own in skin-safe dilution amounts, they cannot adequately protect and preserve a lotion or cream.
Unscented lotions and creams are available through several reputable essential oil suppliers. You may also enjoy making your own for your own personal use.
Please refer to the manufacturer's date of manufacture/best buy date as the preservative used (or lack thereof) can impact the shelf life.
The information provided on AromaWeb is for educational purposes only. This data is not considered complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate.
General Safety Information
Use caution when trying any new ingredient, including carrier oils on the skin or in the hair. Those with nut allergies should consult their medical practitioner before coming into contact with nut oils, butters or other nut products. Do not take any oils internally without consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Safety information can be found by visiting the Safety Information page. For very in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand.