Hemp oil, also known as hemp seed oil, is made from hemp, a cannabis plant like the drug marijuana but containing little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that gets people “high.” Instead of THC, hemp contains cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical that has been used to treat everything from epilepsy to anxiety.
Hemp is increasingly popular as a remedy for a range of conditions including skin issues and stress. It may contain properties that contribute to reduced risks of illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease, though additional research is necessary. Hemp oil may also reduce inflammation in the body.
In addition to CBD, Hemp oil contains large amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats, which are two types of unsaturated fat s, or “good fats,” and all nine essential amino acids, the materials your body uses to make protein. Here’s more information about nutrients in hemp seed oil and how they may benefit your health.
How does hemp oil benefit your skin?
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.
How is hemp oil used?
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.
What are the side effects and risks?
Hempseed oil is safe for most people to use and usually doesn’t contain any THC or psychoactive properties, although this has been widely disputed.
Using it topically, some people may experience mild irritation, so apply it to a small test patch of skin first (whether you’re using pure hemp oil or hemp oil diluted with essential oils).
Consuming hempseed oil may cause some negative side effects in some people:
- The most common side effect is loosened stools or digestive upset, which can occur as a result of the oily, fatty nature of the oil. To prevent this, start by taking a small amount of hemp oil daily and working your way up.
- Hemp seeds can interact with blood thinners by potentially inhibiting platelets, so before taking hempseed oil regularly, talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you.
Whether applied topically or ingested orally, hempseed oil offers numerous benefits for skin health, and many people can take advantage of those benefits.
Hemp oil is considered safe for most people to use, and it can help moisturize the skin from the inside out.