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The Skin You're In: Topical Applications of Hemp Seed Oil

Many skin-conscious people have already incorporated essential oils onto their routine and recognised it is necessary to keep skin in tip-top condition.

There are many benefits to adding an essential oil or two to everyday skincare routines, including clearer skin, brighter complexion, and evened-out discolouration. We have all heard about the traditional options out there such as Moroccan oil and coconut oil, but have you come across the ever-popular hemp seed oil? 

Although it is only recently that hemp seed oil has been appearing on shop shelves via mainstream brands, it has been used as an ingredient for various purposes for many years across cultures. 

Hemp seed oil is regularly used interchangeably with (or is mistaken for) hash oil. Hash oil is sometimes referred to as cannabis oil, weed oil, or marijuana oil. This interchangeable-ness of the names is incorrect.

Although both hemp seed oil and hash oil derive from the same botanical family known as cannabis, they are from different plant varieties. The oils are also extracted from different parts of the plant, contain different properties, and have different potential benefits. 

There are many reasons why the beauty industry is creating hemp seed oil collections and why consumers are flocking to buy them. This article will explore what hemp seed oil is, the possible benefits associated with this natural oil, and how to use it topically for the skin.

What Is Hemp Seed Oil?

Hemp seed oil (sometimes referred to as hemp oil) is harvested by cold-pressing hemp seeds. It is ordinarily unrefined, and appears as a clear green oil with a slightly nutty flavour. Hemp seed oil is different from cannabidiol (CBD) oil, as, unlike CBD, hemp seed oil is not extracted from the hemp flowers and leaves for its production- and therefore it comes with a different set of potential benefits. 

As hemp seed oil is made directly from the hemp seed, it contains little or no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis which the botanical family (particularly the marijuana strain) is so famous for producing.

Hemp seed oil is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, which is a cannabis Sativa plant cultivated for non-drug use. As long as the hemp seeds contain THC levels of 0.2% or less in the UK, it is legally allowed to be used for oil extraction and made into cosmetics, skin oils, and supplements. 

Unlike CBD oil, hemp seed oil typically has no or very little cannabinoids (depending on how refined it is). When CBD oil or hemp oil alike are applied topically, it absorbs into the skin and binds to the cannabinoid receptors. It can contain low THC levels; however, the amount is so minuscule that there is no risk of intoxicating effects. If you have any concerns regarding THC in hemp products, hemp seed oil is a great option. 

Hemp seed oil is abundant in omega fatty acids, nourishing vitamins, and moisturising qualities- which are all great for supplementing skin health. The oil extract is so safe you can even eat it, so let's find out how hemp seed oil could be a beneficial ingredient inside our skincare products.

How Can Hemp Seed Oil Benefit Your Skin?

There are numerous potential skincare benefits that you can gain from using hemp seed oil topically. Dermatologists believe that most of these possible skin health benefits are related to hemp seed oil due to the rich mixture of purportedly beneficial plant chemicals (also called phytochemicals) and other nutrients naturally found in the oil. Here are some of the leading potential benefits of hemp seed oil for your skin:

Suitable for all skin types –

There are many different skin types. Some people have oily skin, others have dry skin, and some have a mixture of the two. Combination skin is when the skin in the centre of the face, or the 't-zone' is oily while the remainder of the face has dry skin.   

In addition to skin combinations, some people have to manage sensitive skin. Many with sensitive skin have standard natural oil levels in their skin, but they react badly to common ingredients found in skin products. Many skin products are limited in their suitability to all skin types. Hemp seed oil could be perfect for all kinds of people, as it interacts well with most skin (though it is always best to do a patch test before fully using any new topical product). 

If your skin is oily, hemp seed oil could potentially help balance oily skin by hydrating it while regulating oil production. It can also limit pores clogging, which helps prevent acne conditions that often develop due to excess oil. 

Potential Anti-inflammatory Properties –

Skin can become inflamed for many reasons, and it can often fight off signs of inflammation on its own naturally. When skin becomes red and sore, it sometimes needs a helping hand to soothe uncomfortable symptoms. If you like to use organic natural products to support your wellbeing and potentially impact signs of inflammation, hemp seed oil may be a great choice. 

Hemp seed oil includes omega-6 fatty acids, which are great at potentially effecting symptoms of inflammation. Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) is one of the fantastic fatty acids present in hemp seed oil. It is known for its purported properties that may help balance symptoms of inflamed skin. GLA has also been found to reduce signs of irritation by potentially generating new cells and promoting skin growth. 

GLA is not the only beneficial fatty acid for skin found in hemp seed oil. It is also rich in other omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. When choosing a hemp seed oil for anti-inflammatory symptoms of conditions, it is essential to select a high-quality grade of premium hemp seed oil to get the desired effect. 

Moisturises Skin without Clogging Pores –

Many would be a little concerned putting oil on the face, as it is assumed oil would lead to spots and greasy skin. Hemp seed oil, however, provides moisture to the skin while balancing the amount of oil in the skin- all without clogging pores. When used as a moisturiser, it may help rejuvenate dry skin to help prevent and soothe symptoms of flaky, itchy skin. It is especially good for those who are susceptible to signs of skin inflammation or infections. 

Hemp seed oil is not only an excellent moisturiser for dry skin; it could also help balance skin oils (also known as sebum)  if you have oily skin. If the skin produces too much oil, it may lead to pores becoming clogged, which can develop into an uncomfortable condition called acne. This is a skin condition that leads to the growth of blackheads, whiteheads, and painful cysts. 

There are a lot of skincare products that are marketed as being able to treat either dry or oily skin, but it is tough to find one that supports both skin types. Hemp seed oil works effectively for those with both oily and dry skin types, as it does not cause pores to become clogged, which can be particularly problematic for those who have oily skin. 

May Help to Slow the Aging Process –

Hemp seed oil has been found to have potential anti-ageing properties. Vitamin F and fatty acids known as linoleic and oleic acids are present in hemp seeds. These acids play a big part in slowing down the skin's ageing process, and are excellent at supporting the skin's overall health. Our bodies do not naturally produce these acids, so these need to be obtained from an external source for us to potentially benefit from them. 

Linoleic and oleic acids are responsible for marking the outer skin layer strong. It also enables the skin to retain a higher water level, which helps keep it smooth, supple, and healthy. This results in fewer wrinkles and fine lines developing. The fatty acids are also understood to protect the skin against aggressors and threats, which can also cause premature ageing. 

Boosts Oxygenation of the Skin –

Hemp seed oil is an excellent source of vitamin E, a critical nutrient that supports the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells play a crucial role in carrying oxygen to all parts of the human body. They also contribute to boosting the dilation of blood vessels so that blood can flow well, and effectively reach all body organs.

By applying hemp seed oil to the skin, you can potentially increase the vitamin levels in your body. This ensures your skin receives well-oxygenated blood. Oxygenated blood also provides rich nutrients to the skin, keeping it strong and healthy throughout the day.

How Can Hemp Seed Oil Be Used Topically?

There are many ways we can use hemp seed oil to potentially benefit the skin. Hemp seed oil is being integrated into many beauty products as a hydrator, among other things. It may be excellent when used with retinoids, or after acid treatments as it is purportedly effective at staving off symptoms of inflammation. Applying hemp seed oil during breakouts can also be useful, as it may help reduce redness. 

Hemp seed oil is not only great for your face; it may also be used on other parts of your body. For example, if you use nail polish, your nails may become weaker and not grow as fast. Hemp seeds contain amino acids which are great for protein-building. Try massaging hemp seed oil directly to your nails and cuticles to potentially strengthen and effect any damaged skin. 

If you use compresses on a regular basis for pain relief, hemp seed oil may be applied to the dressing, or directly on the affected area. It also makes a great carrier oil, so it is a practical option when diluting essential oils. Next time you have symptoms of a stiff joint, why not try mixing a ginger essential oil with hemp seed oil, soaking a cloth in the solution, and then placing it on the painful area? 

There are many ways hemp seed oil can be used topically on the body, but it is a good idea to check you won't get any unwanted reactions before getting started. Here is how to carry out a patch test: 

1. Wash and dry a small area of your upper arm (such as the crook of your elbow).

2. Apply a little amount of pure hemp seed oil. If using a hemp seed oil and essential oil combination, test in a different spot from the pure oil, and at different times.

3. Cover the rest spot with a bandage, leave it in place for 24 hours, and be careful not to get the application wet.

4. If there is any burning, itching, redness, or other irritation, you can assume you're sensitive to hemp seed oil, and should not use it. If you experience a reaction, remove the bandage and wash the test area with soap and water.

5. If you do not feel or see any reaction, then the oil is most likely safe for you to use.

Carrier Oil For Aromatherapy

Although hemp seed oil is excellent on its own, it is also a great carrier oil for essential oils. The majority of essential oils can not be applied directly to the skin, so need to be diluted. Carrier oils with zero or very little scent are best used to dilute essential oils, as they do not deter potential terpene properties found in the primary oil you are using. 

Carrier oils, also known as base oils, are typically mixed with essential oil in a dilution of 0.5% to 5%. The dilution needs to be personalised, as the percentage depends on the type of essential oil, where it is being applied, and the size and health of the person using it. 

The essential oil and hemp seed oils can be used for multiple purposes. For example, it can be used as face oil, body oil, bath oil, hair oil, or even as a lip moisturiser. Hemp seed oil can be a carrier oil for the whole-body; however, the type of essential oil you use will depend on your skin type, where you are applying the oil, and whether you have any allergies.     

To discover the most suitable essential oil to mix with hemp seed oil for your skin type, try experimenting with a few different oils and patch tests to see how your skin responds. Here are some examples of how various essential oils could support your skincare: 

Essential oils for dry skin

For some people, dry skin only occurs during certain times of the year, while for others, it is a skin condition they need to manage daily. Dry skin can be something which develops due to ageing as the sebaceous (oil) glands in our skin become less active. Hemp seed oil and select essential oils could help to impact some symptoms: 

Lavender – It is best known as a sleep and relaxation remedy, lavender is a multipurpose oil and may help balance moisture levels in the skin. As a natural hydrator, it may aid in skin repair without making the skin greasy. Lavender is also thought to have the potential to reduce redness caused by dry, inflamed skin. 

Chamomile – Again, an essential oil recognised for having a possible calming effect, chamomile oil contains azulene. Azulene is an organic compound known for increasing moisture and reducing symptoms of inflammation. 

Sandalwood – This oil does not only smell wonderful, but it also contains compounds known for possibly promoting skin moisture and reducing the associated symptoms of inflammation. 

Essential oils for oily skin

If you struggle with oily skin, it is most likely caused by your sebaceous glands being in overdrive. The glands create excess oil on your skin's surface, and when in a humid or hot environment, it can worsen. Unfortunately, hormones also play a factor in sebum production. Here are some potential essential oils you can mix with hemp seed oil to potentially help get the oil under control: 

Clary sage – This is a flowering herb which is native to the Mediterranean. It has active compounds such as geranyl and linalyl acetate, which are known for reducing excess oil production. Clary sage is the go-to essential oil for controlling surplus sebum. It may also help with acne management and in reducing the appearance of wrinkles. 

Rosemary – Not only excellent as an edible herb, rosemary oil is also noted for its stimulating and possible analgesic properties. One of rosemary's main ingredients are esters, which have been found to help control excess sebum production. Hemp seed oil and rosemary may also be an excellent concoction to put on your head, as it has been found to help with both greasy hair and dandruff. It could even help stimulate hair growth. 

Geranium – Yes, we are referring to the same geraniums in the back garden; these flowers have fantastic alkaline properties that are said to help balance skin oils. In addition, such alkalinity makes geranium a pivotal addition to your evening skincare routine as it helps manage overnight hydration levels.   

Neroli – Also known as orange blossom oil, this is an essential oil extracted from the flowers of the bitter orange tree. It contains citral, which has been found to help balance out sebum without drying the skin.

Essential oils for sensitive skin

When using essential oils on sensitive skin, even with a gentle carrier oil such as hemp seed, it is crucial to be vigilant. Sensitive skin can be both dry or oily, and can sometimes arise alongside allergies, eczema, and other skin conditions. 

If you have sensitive skin, it is prudent to steer clear of highly acidic oils, such as lemongrass and lemon. The following oils are deemed safe for all skin types, but a patch test is still recommended before use: sandalwood, lavender, and frankincense. 

Essential oils for acne-prone skin

If you suffer from acne conditions, it is crucial you remove bacteria and excess oils without drying the skin. Drying out the skin can lead to increased oil production, which can make the acne worse. Inflammation can also be a contributory factor to acne flare-ups.

Frankincense and rosemary are both known as acne treatments due to their purported microbial reduction properties. The following essential oils may also help acne-prone skin: 

Tea tree - One of the most well-known essential oils for acne treatment, tea tree oil derives from the melaleuca tree. It is one of the most noteworthy potential antiseptics in alternative remedies. Tea tree oil may help fight bacteria and some symptoms of inflammation, both of which can contribute to acne breakouts. 

Cinnamon - This spice is not only delicious to bake with, but it also has powerful potential antioxidant properties. Cinnamon may also help with inflammatory acne symptoms, such as nodules, pimples, and cysts. 

Lemon - Lemon oil derives from the citrus fruit peel. It may help affect symptoms of inflammation and free radicals that can contribute to acne and photoaging. Be careful if you have sensitive skin, as the acidic oil can irritate, especially if any of the skin is broken. 

Lemongrass – With its natural astringent properties, lemongrass may help fight symptoms of pimples by acting as an antimicrobial. It can also remove excess dead skin cells, which can get tough to manage when dealing with acne. 

Essential oils for mature skin and anti-ageing

As the skin ages, it naturally loses collagen and elasticity; leading to sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles. When using hemp seed oil, it can be coupled with one of the following essential oils, which have been studied for their potential anti-ageing benefits: 

Rose – A beautiful smelling essential oil is packed with antioxidants such as vitamin A and vitamin C. Rose oil can assist in skin cell production, which often slows down as we age. Try using hemp seed oil and rose oil together to possibly help create younger-looking skin with potentially fewer lines. 

Myrrh – This essential oil is engrained in history. Myrrh is full of antioxidants known to promote circulation and may create brighter, more refined-looking skin. 

Jojoba – Extracted from the Simmondsia Chinensis plant's seed, jojoba oil has been noted for its restorative properties. It may help repair the skin's top layer due to its natural fatty acid content. Other oils which have been found to provide similar effects include argan, coconut, and sunflower seed oil. However, Jojoba oil is preferred by many, as it is lightweight and a good choice if your skin is on the oilier side.  

Closing Thoughts

Hemp seed oil may be a highly effective addition to your wellness routine when used topically to nourish the skin. It is pretty foolproof, as it is safe for use on most skin types, and, unlike many beauty products, it has multiple uses. 

When applied directly to the skin, the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in hemp seed oil can nourish the skin without clogging pores. Although it can be used on its own, hemp seed oil is an excellent carrier oil for essential oils. There are, therefore, many combinations you can experiment with when introducing essential oils. Hemp seed oil is an exciting natural product to have in your skincare collection. 

Although hemp seed oil is a natural product, it is worth taking the time to perform a patch test to ensure you don't have an allergic reaction. Hemp seed oil may potentially make your skin feel and look healthy. If you have been searching for a natural product to possibly help support healthy skin, hemp seed oil may be just the product for you. 

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