Hemp seed oil is a leader when it comes to all-natural ingredients promoting healthier, fresher-looking skin. What makes hemp so effective? These are a few of the reasons your skin loves hemp.
Essential Fatty Acids
An abundance of omega-3 and omega-6 provides one of the highest concentrations of essential fatty acids. The seed also has an ideal 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 making it “nature’s most perfectly balanced oil” per the groundbreaking book Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill. When applied topically, these fatty acids promote the production of keratin, replenish missing oils and penetrate deep into the lipid layers of damaged skin cells. This may help rejuvenate ailing skin and reduce fine lines.
“Antioxidants are the foundation of skin rejuvenation,” said a noted dermatologist in Allure magazine. Free radicals are a byproduct of chemical processes that produce oxidative stress, but antioxidants help stabilize the molecules and reduce the adverse effects. As noted in Antioxidants in 2019, “Hemp seed is also rich in natural antioxidants such as phenolic compounds, tocopherols, and phytosterols… [that provide] anti-inflammatory activity,” while this 2014 study called hemp seed oil an “excellent choice for nourishing the skin and protecting it from inflammation, oxidation and other causes of aging.” In 2010, Beijing-based researchers summarized all these benefits as the “anti-aging effect of hemp seed oil.”
“Besides its strong moisturizing feature,” one study explained, “[hemp oil] is suitable for acne-prone skin with its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial and sebum-regulating effects.” Several other studies came to the same conclusion. Notably, this 2015 study tracked two sets of subjects — one used regular face cream and the other a cream with hemp seed oil — and the latter produced much better results. Per the findings, the “improved efficacy” of the hemp cream highlights its potential “for treatment of acne vulgaris, seborrhea, papules and pustules to get attractive facial appearance.”
Vitamins and Minerals
Hemp features so many vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, etc.) that its nutrient list reads like the alphabet. It’s especially rich in B vitamins like thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, folate and pyridoxine, and the mineral content includes phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. While more commonly associated with carrots, another hemp nutrient is carotene, which this 2011 study claims are “vital components of the antioxidative protective system of the human skin.”
French and Canadian research published in Food Chemistry examined how hemp seed oil held up to microwave treatments. Their findings? “Hempseed oil showed absorbance in the UV-B and UV-C ranges with potential for use as a broad spectrum UV protectant.” The oil also “showed high kinetic stability during heating and cooling” and suggested an “increased protective effect upon heating.” In simpler terms, the oil appears to provide more UV protection the hotter it gets. That said, estimates put the protection level at around SPF 6 (dermatologists usually recommend 30+), so use hemp seed oil as a supplement and not as primary protection.
While many moisturizers clog the pores, hemp oil does not, and other skin-related studies suggest it can help increase moisture content, skin thickness, and collagen and elastic fibers; decrease dryness, redness, itchiness and irritation; and repair the outer layer of the skin. Hemp seed oil provides and locks in moisture that can provide long-lasting relief from dry skin. Simply eating hemp seeds might promote healthier skin, so imagine the benefits when applied directly to the skin as a face cream.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes
Cannabinoids are compounds that bind to specific types of receptors in the body and produce a variety of potential responses, while terpenes are plant-based hydrocarbons with aromatic qualities and therapeutic potential. Hemp seed oil may help balance out oily skin by increasing the level of natural cannabinoids in the body, including anandamide (AEA), which studies suggest can reduce the levels of an oily secretion called sebum.