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What are the benefits of hemp seed oil for your skin?

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Here at Sönd, we speak a lot about the use of oils on our face. Should we, or shouldn’t we? Is it ever ok to use facial oils on oily skin? (Short answer - yes. Long answer - but not all kinds of oils. It’s better to use an oil that acts as an emollient if you have oily skin, such as jojoba and argan oils. They’ll penetrate deeply into the layers of the skin, nourishing and hydrating it, rather than sitting on top of it, adding to excess shine and the other problems of oily skin.)

So, what about hemp seed oil? What is hemp seed oil, how do we use it and wait... hemp? Isn’t that made from cannabis, meaning that it’s illegal?

Here’s the Sönd lowdown on hemp seed oil and how it can benefit our skin.

What is hemp seed oil?

Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seed and fibrous stems of the Cannabis sativa plant. It’s usually extracted by cold press methods, meaning that there’s only minimal processing involved, with no heat or chemical solvents used to extract the oil (which can degrade the nutritional quality of the resulting oil).

Instead, cold pressing is a mechanical process during which hemp seeds (or other oil seeds) are pressed using a hydraulic press to force the oil out through pressure.

The eagle eyed among us may recognise the name Cannabis sativa as being the plant that cannabis comes from. And you’d be right.

Cannabis products are derived from the buds and flowers of the Cannabis sativa plant and contain two compounds - THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD, or cannabidiol. It’s the THC that’s responsible for the psychoactive properties and euphoric ‘highs’ of cannabis products. The higher the level of THC, the higher the high.

But CBD isn’t something that will make you high. It’s non addictive and won’t impact on your day to day functioning, change your state of mind or cloud your thoughts, even though it comes from the same plant as cannabis.

CBD products such as CBD oils are becoming increasingly popular as advocates become aware of its incredible health benefits. These include helping to alleviate conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress and chronic pain and inflammation. It’s also been linked with the improvement of skin complaints, such as acne. Research also continues into the positive effects of CBD on conditions such as diabetes, certain cancers and epilepsy.

Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t cause a feeling of being ‘stoned’ and it’s therefore legal to sell products that contain CBD in the UK, as long as the naturally occurring levels of THC are below 0.2% (below which is unlikely to cause any effects).

So, where does hemp fit into all this?

CBD is usually derived from industrial hemp which, as we mentioned above, is itself sourced from seeds and fibrous stems of the same plant as cannabis. Talking about hemp is impossible without talking about the difference between CBD and THC, so we thought it worthy of a mention here.

In a nutshell, hemp seed oil (and all hemp products) are legal and don’t cause a high or any type of stoned effect. Also commonly known as hemp oil (but this may still contain CBD and is therefore different, so always check the label), it has many health benefits.

What are the benefits of hemp seed oil to our overall health?

Hemp seed oil is incredibly nutritious and is rich in essential fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6 oils) and healthy polyunsaturated fats. It’s also rich in vitamin E and is a good source of a variety of minerals including calcium, iron and zinc.

These nutrients each have their own health benefits, but in particular, the healthy fats are linked to a decrease in inflammation, helping to protect against heart disease.

Hemp seed oil is also a good complete protein source which is beneficial for vegetarians and vegans due to its rich amino acid profile.

But since we’re a skin care company, we are most interested in the skin benefits of hemp seed oil…

What are the benefits of hemp seed oil to our skin?

Hemp seed oil doesn’t contain THC or very much CBD, and has its own unique nutritional profile and health benefits, especially to the skin.

Since hemp seed oil is rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, it’s also rich in anti-inflammatory agents. Inflammation in the skin can lead to stressed out, misbehaving skin that can break out in acne spots or cause conditions such as rosacea or eczema to become worse.

Hemp seed oil can also help to moderate oil production when applied to the skin, as it helps to nourish and moisturise the skin without clogging the pores with excess oil. This means that those with oily skin can use hemp seed oil on their skin without having to worry about excess oil production and shine.

It also means that those with acne prone skin can use products containing hemp seed oil to help both moisturise and support their skin without upsetting it or causing acne outbreaks.

In terms of acne specifically, studies have shown that hemp seed oil can be very beneficial for acne prone skin since it has an anti-inflammatory effect. Also because, when used topically, it can enter the skin and accumulate in the sebaceous glands, the glands that produce sebum, the wax like oily substance that’s naturally produced by the skin.

There is also evidence that hemp seed oil can help to relieve dry skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis due to its abundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Our Midnight Feast Night Cream contains hemp seed oil (you’ll see it listed in our ingredients information as cannabis sativa seed oil). It’s ideal for use on cleansed skin at night, helping to nourish all skin types and feed it with beneficial oils and nutrients.

The benefit of using our night cream over pure hemp seed oil is that it absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving an oily film like some facial oils can. This can be uncomfortable and can even lead to breakouts and other problems, plus it can leave annoying oily residues on pillows and bedding!


Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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