Hemp Seed Oil for Your Skin
A hemp seed is tiny—about the size of a sesame seed—but this remarkable little seed is packed full of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and other substances that are believed to have all kinds of amazing health benefits. Hemp seed oil—obtained by pressing the hemp seed to produce oil—gives you a concentrated dose of all these beneficial nutrients. There are lots of different ways to enjoy the benefits of this nutrient-rich oil, but one is by adding it to your skincare routine.
Benefits from the Inside Out
There are a few different ways to incorporate hemp seed oil into your routine. Surprisingly, one of them doesn’t involve actually putting the oil on your skin. Instead, hemp seed oil’s beneficial nutrients can help your skin from the inside out; you can eat it. The oil has a mild, nutty flavor, and can be consumed straight out of the bottle, or you can mix it into foods like smoothies or salad dressings. You shouldn’t heat it too much though, since this can destroy all those good nutrients. Dosage recommendations for hemp seed oil vary depending on who you ask, and can be as little as one teaspoon, or as much as two tablespoons a day. Experts generally advise starting with a small amount, and gradually increasing the dose after you know how your body tolerates it.
While most people can eat hemp seed oil without any negative effects, there are a few things to watch out for. You could be among the unlucky few who get digestive upsets like diarrhea, cramps, or bloating when they first start using the oil or if they start with too much, however these problems are usually temporary. In rare cases, hemp seed oil can have an anti-clotting effect on your blood, so if you have a blood clotting disease, or if you take blood thinners, experts recommend talking to your doctor before taking hemp seed oil.
Using Hemp Seed Oil as a Moisturizer
Probably the most common way to use hemp seed oil for your skin is as a moisturizer though. Methods vary slightly, but the most common is to rub the oil on your face after cleansing, let it sit for about 15 minutes, and gently wipe off the excess. As with any new skincare product, experts recommend that you test the oil on a small patch of your skin first to check for any irritation.
Lots of people prefer hemp seed oil to other moisturizers because of the way it absorbs into the skin. Some oils feel like they just sit on top of your skin, however, hemp seed oil is a natural humectant, which means that it actually penetrates underneath the surface, helping to reduce dryness and strengthen the skin. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as a “dry” oil.
Hemp Seed Oil for Cleansing
Hemp seed oil can also be used as a cleanser. There are slight variations, however in general, start by massaging the oil into your skin. Some people use a mixture of hemp seed and other oils like coconut oil. Next, run a washcloth under hot water, wring it out, and let it rest on your face for about a minute in order to open up your pores. Finally, remove the cloth, gently wipe off the residue, and pat your face dry. The hemp seed oil works by binding with the dirt in your skin, and when you wipe with the cloth, everything is cleaned away. Some experts recommend using hemp seed oil as either a cleanser or moisturizer, but not both, because it can be too much oil for certain skin types.
Hemp seed oil can also be used to remove makeup. You don’t have to use the hot towel method. Simply apply the oil, let it sit for a minute, then wipe it off. It should bind to the makeup and you can then wipe everything away with a towel or cotton ball.
Not only can it cleanse and moisturize without irritating your skin, but all those nutrients in hemp seed oil are believed to help improve specific problems like redness, itchiness, dryness, and blotchiness. In one study, researchers found that it improved atopic dermatitis, often referred to as eczema.
A lot of people use it to help with acne. This might sound counter-intuitive because it’s an oil, however hemp seed oil is noncomedogenic. A comedogenic rating is a rating between 0 and 5, showing how likely something is to clog up your pores. Hempseed oil has a rating of 0, which means it’s noncomedogenic. Noncomedogenic means that it is very unlikely to clog your pores.
The oil also helps with acne by keeping overall oil production in balance. It contains a substance called linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is essential to healthy skin because it helps regulate the quantity and quality of your body’s production of sebum, an oil that helps lubricate your skin. Ideally, your body will produce sebum in a quality and quantity that keeps the skin well moisturized, but does not clog the pores. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, your skin produces too much sebum, or sebum that is sticky and clogs your pores. This can result in oily skin and breakouts. Hemp seed oil can improve sebum production so that your skin produces the right amount and the right consistency of this substance.
Using Hemp Seed Oil On Your Skin
If you’re planning to use hemp seed oil, you should look for cold-pressed, unrefined oil. Some pressing techniques involve high temperatures, which can destroy many of the hemp’s nutrients. In contrast, cold-pressed oil is created at a low temperature so that the nutrients are preserved. Unrefined oil is also superior, since when the oil is refined, the process can destroy nutrients and other beneficial chemicals. The only downside to cold-pressed, unrefined oil is that it’s usually more expensive to produce, so it will probably cost more. In addition, you’ll most likely need to refrigerate the oil because it goes rancid fairly easily.
Using hemp seed oil on your skin might involve a bit of experimenting, since everyone’s skin is unique. You’ll need to figure out what works—and doesn’t work—for you. Additionally, you’ll probably need to stick with it for a few weeks before you can really decide whether or not it’s for you. Of course, stop immediately if you have a serious allergic reaction, but otherwise—as with most new skincare products—you might not see any improvements for a few weeks. Your skin might even get worse before it gets better. Overall though, you might find that you like hemp seed oil and that you’re excited to add it to your skincare routine.
Written by: Andrea C. Nakaya