Beauty + Wellness

Hemp Seed Oil Is a Natural Sunscreen

Few ingredients nourish the skin like hemp seed oil, but studies suggest it might protect the skin as well. 

In 2002, French and Canadian researchers published a study in the Food Chemistry journal that examined how hemp seed oil held up to microwave treatments. What did they find? 

“Hempseed oil showed absorbance in the UV-B and UV-C ranges with potential for use as a broad spectrum UV protectant,” the researchers wrote. Moreover, the oil “showed high kinetic stability during heating and cooling” and appeared to have an “increased protective effect upon heating.” This might suggest the oil provides more protection the hotter it gets. 

Like many plants, hemp develops its own UV protection, which is how the oil provides natural sunscreen properties. That said, estimates put the level of protection at around SPF 6. Dermatologists typically recommend a SPF level at 30 or higher, so hemp seed oil should not be the primary source of protection for outdoor activities. For extended time in the sun, hemp-based protection should be treated as a supplement to commercial sunscreens and/or high-SPF red raspberry and carrot seed oils. 

Nevertheless, the UV protection is merely an added perk to a long list of skincare benefits. Hemp seed oil nourishes the skin with essential fatty acids that promote the production of keratin and helps repair cells and heal damaged skin. The oil appears to have antibacterial and antioxidant properties, and it’s packed with all kinds of nutrients, including vitamin D. So in addition to providing protection, hemp seed oil also helps heal skin that the sun’s already damaged. 

This is another example of why hemp seed oil is a prized ingredient in the best daily face creams. 

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