Hemp Seed Oil Is Amazing for Your Skin—Here’s Why
It won’t clog pores, according to dermatologists.
In This Article
By now, we’ve all learned that essential oils are a necessary part of our routine if we want to keep our skin in tip-top shape. Clear skin, a brighter complexion, evened-out discoloration—there are a lot of benefits to incorporating an oil or two into our everyday skincare. From coconut to Moroccan oil, it seems that we’ve heard ad nauseum about every oil we need—until now. Allow us to introduce you to the next “It” oil in skincare: hemp seed oil. We spoke with dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD; Dr. Raymond Schep, the Chief Chemist of Colonial Dames Co. and a Member of the CA Association of Toxicologists; Jennifer L. MacGregor, MD, at Union Square Laser Dermatology; and estheticians Tammy Fender (of her eponymous beauty line); and Amity Spiegel (of West Village-based CAP Beauty) and asked them to break down the benefits of hemp seed oil, from how it is great for dry skin to why we should mix it into a salad.
Type of ingredient: Oil
Main benefits: Reduces inflammation, hydrates, regulates oil production.
Who should use it: In general, people with acneic or combination skin.
How often can you use it: As often as you would use any oil—roughly twice a day.
Works well with: Acids and retinoids as it can mitigate the irritation they cause.
Don’t use with: Hemp seed oil can be used universally.
What is Hemp Seed Oil?
Hemp seed oil—not to be confused with hemp oil, which is a blanket term for all oils that come from hemp and can include cannabidiol (CBD) oil—is made out of purely hemp seeds. CBD oil, in turn, is made from leaves, stalks, and flowers of hemp (and sometimes seeds as well). “Hempseed Oil is the oil derived from the seeds of the hemp plant which is a cannabis plant cultivated for non-drug use. The oil is legally and used in large quantity for cosmetics, nutritional supplementation and skin oils. It can be legally used when it has a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of less than 0.3%,” Dr. Schep tells us.
“It can be marketed on its own or as an ingredient in moisturizing topicals,” says MacGregor. “Make sure you know the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil. The latter absorbs into skin and binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. It can have effects that are only beginning to be understood on anxiety, mood, sleep and many other conditions. CBD can also have low levels of THC which has obvious psychoactive effects.”
While other kinds of hemp oil are rich in cannabinoids as mentioned, hemp seed oil typically has no-to-few cannabinoids and contains mostly omega fatty acids. So, if you were worried about getting high off of hemp seed oil, you won’t. You can already find it in a variety of skincare products, and you can even eat it.
Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil for Skin
- Locks in hydration: According to Spiegel, hemp seed oil is high in omega acids 3, 6, and 9, all of which help repair the skin barrier and form a seal over the skin to keep moisture trapped inside.
- Attracts moisture: “It is also a humectant, so it draws moisture to the skin,” she says.
- Anti-inflammatory: Those same omega acids also help lower inflammation in the skin.
- Soothes skin: “Hemp seed oil is rich in fatty acids, which help hydrate and soothe inflamed skin,” says Zeichner.
- Anti-acneic: Zeichner also says it “and may even modulate skin oil production,” which is huge for people with acneic or overly oily skin.
Side Effects of Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil has no known side effects.
How to Use It
Naturally, hemp seed oil is being integrated into plenty of beauty products as a hydrator and anti-inflammatory. In particular, we love to use it with retinoids or after acids because it’s so effective at staving off inflammation. It works wonders for redness and acne, too. It’s pretty easy to know how much to apply—just use as much as you would any other oil. However, we would be remiss if we told you hemp seed oil’s effects ended at skincare.
An example? Well, if you wear nail polish, you know that one downside to loving it is that sometimes it causes nails to grow weaker and slower. Lisa Bronner, author of the blog Going Green with a Bronner Mom, wrote for the Huffington Post that because hemp oil contains amino acids for protein building, it’s great for strengthening nails and healing cuticles. She suggests applying the oil directly to them and massaging it in.
Fender is also a huge fan of incorporating hemp seed oil into your diet because its nutrients are so good for your body. “I especially like to use raw hemp seeds in cooking, because they are in their natural state, so the body can absorb all the nutrients they offer most easily,” she says. “Hemp seeds are great in salads, granolas, smoothies, and mixed in with grains, deliciously delivering vitamins A and E, but also essential trace minerals and a wealth of antioxidants.”
“It has a crispy, nutty taste and can be used on salads as a replacement for olive oil,” adds Spiegel. “It is high in omegas and full of essential amino acids that help make younger, smoother-looking skin and reduce inflammation in the body.” Because it is a highly volatile oil, she does say it must be kept refrigerated and not heated.
The Best Products with Hemp Seed Oil
This product from Herbivore comes in both CBD-free and CBD-inclusive versions, and which one you use is up to you. While the CBD-inclusive iteration is great for inflammation, the mixture of hemp seed oil, adaptogens, and squalane is good for you regardless of which one you buy.
When Milk Makeup came out with a full line of hemp oil-based products, we were a little skeptical. I mean, it’s the perfect marketing gimmick. But we soon fell in love with the nourishment the Kush line provides—in particular, this lip balm, which comes in four shades as well as clear and leaves your lips hydrated.
Everyone loves a good retinol, but we don’t feel as positively about the irritation that comes along with them. MARA uses hemp-derived CBD and cannabis sativa seed oil to mitigate the inflammation you may experience, as well as fermented green tea, so you can get your antioxidant fix, too.
Kiehl’s was one of the first brands to get on the hemp seed oil train, which is why their oil is now a crowd favorite. It also includes oregano oil, something else we don’t see advertised much in skincare, for purification and elimination of bacteria.
Dr. Bronner’s very well may have been your first foray into the world of natural beauty—it was for plenty of us, although we didn’t know it at the time. But what you probably didn’t realize is that hemp oil is one of the primary ingredients of the basic multi-use soap, and yes, it’s been that way forever.
Cannabis sativa seed oil is particularly great in masks, this one from Origins being one of the most popular items to utilize it as an ingredient. Its anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties mean it makes quick work of plumping your skin and getting rid of any redness. It’s perfect for a night out.
For those who want CBD in their products, you can’t beat CBD- and manuka-honey-based brand Cannuka. Their skin balm is wonderful for any kind of skin irritation or even soreness.
Hemp oil is trending right now, especially in the beauty industry, according to dermatologists. If you want to know the skin benefits of hemp seed oil keep reading.
Hemp Oil for Skin
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Hempseed oil is often referred to as “hemp oil,” and it’s harvested by cold-pressing hemp seeds. Hemp oil is often unrefined. It’s a clear green oil and can have a nutty flavor.
It’s different from cannabidiol (CBD) oil, which is an extract of the cannabis plant and utilizes hemp flowers and leaves for its production.
Hempseed oil is made from the hemp seed itself and usually doesn’t contain any THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component, although this seems to be widely disputed . According to 2017 research , CBD oil may also have very low and insignificant levels of THC.
Hemp oil has numerous health benefits, including those that improve skin health. It’s so beneficial for skin health thanks to its nourishing vitamins and moisturizing qualities.
There are a number of skin care benefits that you can get from using hempseed oil, either topically or by consuming it.
Moderates oil production
Hemp oil is perfect for most skin types as it can moisturize without clogging your pores. It can even help to balance out oily skin, hydrating it and regulating the skin’s oil production.
Dryness can also cause your skin to overproduce oil, which in turn, can stimulate acne. Hemp oil can prevent dry skin without clogging pores. This helps reduce acne that’s caused by excess oil.
Moisturizes and soothes inflammation
One of the omega-6 fatty acids that hemp oil contains is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory while simultaneously encouraging skin growth and new cell generation.
This can help to calm inflammation and irritation on the skin, including acne and some conditions like psoriasis, while keeping the skin nourished and moisturized.
Treats atopic dermatitis
Part of what makes hempseed oil so beneficial to the skin is that it’s rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming these nutrients can help to treat skin conditions like atopic dermatitis.
One randomized, single-blind crossover study found evidence that dietary hempseed oil reduced the symptoms and appearance of clinical atopic dermatitis after 20 weeks.
Has anti-aging properties
In addition to moisturizing and soothing the skin, hemp oil has anti-aging properties. Hemp oil can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles as well as prevent signs of aging from developing.
The linoleic acid and oleic acids found in hemp oil can’t be produced by the body but can play a crucial role in skin health and anti-aging, so they’re important nutrients to add to the diet.
Ready to get started? Buy hemp oil now.
There are several methods you can use to get the skin benefits from hemp oil.
Topical use of hemp oil
The first method is to apply the hemp oil directly to your skin. This can work if you have immediate irritation or dry patches of skin that you want to soothe quickly.
Before using the oil, try a patch test to make sure you won’t get an unwanted reaction:
- Wash and dry a small area of your upper arm (such as the crook of your elbow).
- Apply a small amount of the pure hemp oil. (If using the hemp and essential oil mixture described below, test in a separate spot from the pure oil and at a different time.)
- Cover the spot with a bandage and leave it in place for 24 hours, being careful not to get the bandage wet.
- If any redness, burning, itching, or other irritation occurs, you can assume you’re sensitive to the oil and shouldn’t use it. If you have a reaction, remove the bandage immediately and wash the spot with soap and water.
- If you don’t see or feel any reaction, then the oil is probably safe to use.
If you’re using the hemp oil to treat acne and want to apply it topically, apply the oil directly to clean skin and leave it on for one to two minutes before washing it away with warm water.
Hemp oil and essential oil mixture. You can also combine hemp oil and other anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredients with a recipe like the following, which can be applied directly to the skin:
- 1/4 cup hemp oil
- 2 teaspoons melted coconut oil (can be melted in the microwave; place desired amount in a microwaveable container and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until completely melted)
- 4 to 5 drops skin-boosting essential oil, like lavender or rosemary oil
Note: Essential oils, like lavender or rosemary oil, should only be used topically and in a diluted mixture. Do not take essential oils internally. Many are toxic.
Oral use of hemp oil
The second method is to ingest hemp oil, which can provide the same skin benefits and additional overall health benefits as using the oil topically. If you take hemp oil orally, there’s less risk of any skin irritation or break outs, although it may cause some temporary digestive upset.
Talk to your doctor before taking hemp oil orally.
If you do take it orally, you can have 1 to 2 teaspoons daily — either all at one time or divided into two doses.
If you don’t like the taste or consuming the hemp oil straight, you can also use it in different recipes. One option is to mix it into foods, like smoothies, salad dressings, or soup. Or you can use it for cooking.
Hempseed oil is often referred to as “hemp oil,” and it’s harvested by cold-pressing hemp seeds. Hemp oil is often unrefined. It’s a clear green oil and can have a nutty flavor. Learn about the benefits of hemp oil for skin and how to implement it into your skincare routine.