Although many massage therapists make use of aromatherapy as part of their regular practice, they may not be aware that many massage creams contain essential oils. Sometimes extracts are used; other times 100 percent essential oil is added to creams.
Different oils are added to creams for different reasons. Oils can impact the glide and viscosity of a cream, as well as play an important role in keeping skin healthy. Three oils that can serve important roles when included in massage cream are apricot, sesame and grape seed.
It is important that the creams therapists use be safe and effective for whatever treatment is being provided. Apricot oil is classified as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is used in many cosmetics and skin care products because it functions as a skin-conditioning agent, softening the skin, as well as a thickening agent.
There are many different ways sesame oil can be processed for use, and each provides a different enhancement to creams. Overall, this oil has a light texture, as well as skin-conditioning properties. A 2011 study showed that “sesame oil resists 30% of UV rays.” As with apricot oil, sesame oil is classified as GRAS by the FDA.
An ideal ingredient in massage creams, grape seed oil is soothing to the skin. A 2014 study showed grape seed extract significantly improved skin healing at wound sites. Additionally, grape seed oil increases the viscosity of massage cream. It has been determined to be safe by the Cosmetic Ingredients Review expert panel, and is considered mild and non-irritating.
Oils in massage creams are important for improving the texture, glide and viscosity of the cream. Specific oils are added because they are great at soothing and softening the skin as well as helping heal tissue; and your clients may desire certain oils simply because of their scent. Of course, it is essential to test new creams with clients, and use those that keep them returning.