Suggestions for carrier oil

My unfortunately broken Marine hubby makes his own topical pain relief rubs for his various maladies (primarily a broken neck with accompanying muscle issues). Over the years he has perfected a quite decent recipe that does a great job of releasing the muscle tension that exacerbates his neck pain, but he has yet to get just the right base for it.

Right now he’s using fractionated coconut oil, which he specifically purchased because the reviews said that once it was on the skin, it was not greasy. It is, in fact, QUITE greasy. :smack: Now he’s back to the drawing board, hoping he can find a good base for this rub.

He is not picky about the method of delivery- whether it’s pump, squeeze, or roll-on. What he wants is something skin-safe that he can incorporate the other ingredients (which come in oil and crystalized form) into that isn’t greasy, goes on smoothly, rubs in and doesn’t leave a residue. Evaporates, if you will, but evaporates after giving the actual pain-relieving ingredients to do their work.

He’s tried regular and fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, a variety of storebought skin lotions, and Vicks.


Oil is going to be, well, oily. I sort of doubt that if you’ve used coconut, almond, grape, jojoba and other stuff, and they’ve all turned out greasy, then I can’t imagine that soybean, canola, or any other commonly available oil is going to be any better.

Maybe he should use something more like alcohol, as it’s a solvent and will evaporate. It’ll depend on whether the other ingredients are alcohol soluble or not though.

If you want to get really fancy, you could try something from a site like this:

Is DMSO still available?

I was just thinking that something like glycerin or propylene glycol might work. Those are common ingredients in lubricating eye drops. Lots of hair products use a combination of oil and silicone to keep the oil from feeling too heavy or greasy on hair.

I don’t know, but I suspect the actual amount of oil in silicone hair products is very slight, based on how it feels compared to the coconut oil I use.

Most of those oils you mentioned are “wet” and meant to stay on top of the skin. Try a dry oil like rosehip or avocado. They’re quickly absorbed and are non-greasy as they’re meant to penetrate into the skin.

I used to use this Neutrogena shower oil in my younger days when I went around with bare legs in the summer, I remember it as very pleasant to use and not greasy. It says it is a “light sesame oil” formula.

Duplicate post

Agreed but these oils can be both difficult and expensive to acquire. Ordinary soybean oil is a very effective and obtainable option.

They already tried jojoba and grapeseed, both of which are supposedly “dry” oils.

Personally, based on a little bit of googling, I think the whole dry vs. wet oil thing sounds like total BS intended to sell more expensive oils to credulous cosmetic purchasers.

Making cosmetics:

Use a water-based solution instead of an oil-based solution. Using a solubilizer or emulsifier.

Grapeseed is a dry oil but jojoba is generally known as an occlusive. It’s meant to stay on the skin to seal in moisture and act as a barrier to the outside environment. Grapeseed oil may not have had the desired effect but they are free to try others. Not all oils have the same effect on every person.

Many people who have actually used them would disagree with you but if you want to make your conclusions "based on a little bit of googling”, that’s you prerogative. After all, that’s what makes America great again.

To be fair, Saturn Dreams, the wet/dry oil concept reeks of woo. It carries about as much weight as “rejuvenating” or “replenishing.” Woo aside, it’s a subjective judgement and doesn’t have any inherent scientific meaning (AFAIK).

As far as I can tell, “dry/wet” is a useful-but-nonscientific term common in the beauty and supplement industries. It may be a popular retelling of this concept:

Source: Skin Penetration Enhancement by Natural Oils for Dihydroquercetin Delivery

Bump has plenty of reasons to doubt the validity of the wet/dry oil concept, and googling around does indeed give the impression that the concept is undiluted woo—the subjective opinions of woo-practitioners notwithstanding.

There’s real science behind the idea that free fatty acids can enhance oil penetration into the skin, as cited above. I suspect that’s what Bump was asking for—not an out-of-the-blue political jab.

I was gonna suggest glycerin as well. It seems to hit the properties requested in the O.P. and it has no scent, either.

Drying oil (e.g., flaxseed oil) is a well-known, real thing in art- it’s not woo- but I doubt the guy is trying to oil-paint his neck.

Thanks for the feedback, all! My trainer is dropping off a tube of pain relieving gel that she swears by, but it looks like we’re also going to try out some of the options at Making Cosmetics. At the very least, I make my own soap and will definitely be filling up a virtual shopping cart there. :smiley:

Glycerin is sticky stuff though, and it won’t evaporate. What about kerosene? Personally, I love the smell of it, but I guess opinions can vary!

(Be aware of the fire hazard, though!)

I wasn’t so much trying to cast shade on the wet/dry oil nonsense, even if I do think it’s unmitigated BS, so much as pointing out that they’ve already used two oils that are listed as “dry”, and that didn’t work for them.

Time to use something else- clearly oil isn’t the right carrier/diluent for whatever it is that the OP’s husband is putting in his homemade liniment.

This would be a good route to go if you want a non greasy cream. Im sure the tradeoff with odor isn’t too bad.

Looks like a cutback with 30% aloe vera is the common blend ratio.

DMSO creams are banned in the US though