Differences between Natural, Mineral and Essential oils

Differences between Natural, Mineral and Essential oils

When we talk about natural oils, mineral oils and essential oils we talk about different things …….

First of all, we have natural or vegetable oils, such as camellia oil, which are what we all understand by oil. They are obtained by cold pressing of certain vegetable fruits (juice) such as olives in the case of olive oil, sunflower seeds, camellia seeds, almonds, argan, coconut, etc., from where its fatty acids are extracted. These vegetable oils are creamy and are the ones that will be used as carriers or base oils in which essential oils are diluted for topical application, since they generally cannot be used in their pure form due to their high concentration and high cost. In principle, any natural vegetable oil could be used as a carrier for essential oils, although we usually look for oils that do not provide aroma (olive oil has a very strong odor) or that are not easily oxidized (sunflower oil easily becomes rancid). Furthermore, they can also contribute to the combination of some of the properties we are looking for through flavonoids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, etc. that contributes the natural oil used to our mixture.

Separate mention within the natural oils deserves oleates or macerations. There are certain plants from which it is not possible to extract natural oil, such as marigold, hypericum, lavender and all the plants you want to imagine, and that by macerating the dried plant in a natural vegetable oil (usually almond or sunflower) its properties are extracted, obtaining a macerate that contains the active ingredients of the natural oil added to the active ingredients of the infused plant.

On the other hand, mineral oils are generally by-products derived from petroleum such as paraffins, petrolatums, and silicones that leave a physical and slippery film on the skin and do not penetrate it, so although in certain circumstances their use may be useful as a protective barrier, they will not be good companions of essential oils since they will prevent their penetration and inhibit their properties.

Finally there are the essential oils, which are those that are generally obtained by distillation of certain plants, their flowers, roots, resin or seeds and are the very essence of the plant. They are very aromatic and highly volatile and are generally so concentrated that their direct use would be caustic and irritating to the skin (except that of lavender), so they are diluted for use, adding just a few drops in the bathtub for a bath or diluting it in vegetable oils if you want to use it for topical use. Essential oils are “the heart of the plant” and penetrate deeply where creams are not capable of doing so, so you will see them combined in a thousand different ways in the most exquisite formulations of natural cosmetics.

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