There are so many massage oil products on the market today, in this article we'll take a look at various types, which ones to choose from, and which ones to avoid like the plague.
There are two main groups of oils used: vegetable fats and oils, and mineral oils. Many massage products today contain mineral oils. They are synthetic, and even though they have a long shelf life and provide good lubrication, they can be very bad for the skin and body.
Mineral Oils create a thin film on the surface of the skin, which clogs the pores and stops the skin from breathing. Also, they do not contain any vitamins and disrupt the body's natural ability to absorb fat soluble vitamins. Even though mineral oils appear to moisturize the skin, in reality they are preventing normal, healthy functioning. The skin becomes dependent on these mineral oils and with long-term use these results in a deterioration of the skin's ability to stay healthy.
Vegetable fats and oils on the other hand are easily absorbed by the skin and give vital energy to the body. They are used to create new cells. Most vegetable oils contain vitamins which are necessary for healthy skin. They also soften the skin and help it to retain moisture. Certain vegetable oils with a lot of monounsaturated fatty acids like Avocado and Almond oil provide great lubrication, keep well, and nourish the skin.
The other group of massage oils that are used are Polyunsaturated fatty acids. A lack of these essential fatty acids can lead to rashes, eczema and dry skin. These oils act as a vitamin for the skin.
A couple types of polyunsaturated fatty acids are Linoleic and Linolenic acid. They need to be combined with vitamin E to stop them from going bad quickly. They are thin liquids which are easily absorbed by the skin, drier than other fatty acids and they reduce the size of skin pores. They are great for people with oily skin and large pores. Some vegetable oils that contain a lot of polyunsaturated acids are Sunflower Oil, Evening Primrose Oil and Grape Seed Oil.
Oils should always be Cold Pressed to make sure that the vitamins and fatty acids are not destroyed during the manufacturing process. Most commercial grade vegetable oils which are intended for use in cooking are obtained by solvent extraction and then refined which destroys most of the beneficial properties in the oil.
Now we'll take a look at some of the properties of the most popular healthy oils:
Almond oil is an excellent emollient (softens and soothes the skin) and helps the skin to keep it's moisture balance. This is one of the more popular carrier oils used in aromatherapy and massage as it's non-greasy, spreads easy and is great for nourishing the skin.
Jojoba oil is also an excellent moisturizer and is great for all skin types. It can usually be used on blemished skin without irritation. Jojoba penetrates the skin easily and is suitable for all skin types. Preferably, Jojoba should be blended with other oils as on it's own it does not give enough nourishment to the skin. Also, Jojoba keeps for up to 5 years before it goes bad. Grapeseed oil is rich in linoleic acid. It is known to have regenerative and restructuring quantites as well as excellent moisturizing properties.
Grapeseed oil is non-greasy and contains vitamins, minerals, protein, Gamma Linoleic Acid, and a small amount of vitamin E.
Apricot oil has moisturizing, nourishing and revitalizing properties and is particularly helpful for dehydrated, delicate, mature and sensitive skin. It also helps to soothe infection. This finely textured oil spreads easily and is particularly rich in oileic acid and linoleic acid.
Avocado oil is often used for clients with dry or mature skin, and for people with eczema, psoriasis or similar conditions. It is also very useful for treating skin that is damaged, dehydrated and undernourished. It is known to regenerate the skin and soften the tissue. Although it can be used pure, it is in most cases mixed with another carrier like Almond oil or Grapeseed. It is easily absorbed into the skin and deep tissue and excellent emollient properties.
Wheat germ oil has a high vitamin E substance and lots of essential fatty acids. It is known to help promote a smoother, youngger looking skin and assists in healing scar tissues as well as stretch marks. It is too sticky to use on its own, but it is excellent when blended with lighter carriers such as almond oil. It is known to to promote the formation of new cells, improve circulation and help repair sun damage. Also it is helpful for the symptoms of dermatitis. This carrier is known to stimulate tissue regeneration and is often added to other blends because of its antioxidant properties.
Hazelnut oil is fine in texture and has excellent moisturizing properties. Hazelnut can also help tone and tighten the skin while strengthening capillaries and assisting in cell regeneration.
I suggest that you experiment with mixing different oils together and see how your skin responds. We all have different types of skin and what works well for one person may not work for another. Remember to use Cold-pressed oils whenever possible, they may cost more but your skin is worth it.