By now, we've all learned that essential oils are a necessary part of our routine if we want to keep our skin in tip-top shape. Clear skin, brighter complexion, evened-out discoloration—there are a lot of benefits to incorporating an oil or two into our everyday skincare. From coconut to Moroccan oil, it seems that we've heard ad nauseum about every oil that we need—until now. Allow us to introduce you to the next It oil in skincare: hemp seed oil. We spoke with dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, and estheticians Tammy Fender and Amity Spiegel and asked them to break down the benefits of hemp seed oil for us, from how it is great for dry skin to why we should mix it into a salad.
- Type of ingredient: Hydrator
- Main benefits: Reduces inflammation, hydrates, regulates oil production
- Who should use it: In general, people with acneic or combination skin.
- How often is typical use? As often as you would use any oil—roughly twice a day.
- Works well with: Acids and retinoids as it can mitigate the irritation they cause.
What is Hemp Seed Oil?
Hemp seed oil—not to be confused with hemp oil, which is a blanket term for all oils that come from hemp and can include cannabidiol (CBD) oil—is made out of purely hemp seeds. CBD oil, in turn, is made from leaves, stalks, and flowers of hemp (and sometimes seeds as well.) While other kinds of hemp oil are rich in cannabinoids, hemp seed oil typically has no cannabinoids contains mostly omega fatty acids. So if you were worried about getting high off of hemp seed oil, you won't. You can already find it in a variety of skincare products, and you can even eat it.
Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil for Skin
According to Spiegel, hemp seed oil is high in omega acids 3, 6, and 9, which all help hydrate the skin when applied topically. "It is also a humectant, so it draws moisture to the skin," she says. Those same omega acids also help lower inflammation in the skin. "Hemp seed oil is rich in fatty acids which help hydrate and soothe inflamed skin and may even modulate skin oil production treating acne," says Zeichner. Spiegel also says that because hemp oil is non comedogenic, it won't clog pores and cause breakouts. This is huge for people with acneic skin, particularly when you consider that it helps regulate the amount of oil your skin produces.
How to Use It
Naturally, hemp seed oil is being integrated into plenty of beauty products as a hydrator and anti-inflammatory. In particular, we love to use it with retinoids or after acids because it's so effective at staving off inflammation. It works wonders for redness and acne, too. It's pretty easy to know how much to apply—just use as much as you would any other oil. However, we would be remiss if we told you hemp seed oil's effects ended at skincare.
An example? Well, if you wear nail polish, you know that one downside to loving it is that sometimes it causes nails to grow weaker and slower. Lisa Bronner, author of the blog Going Green with a Bronner Mom, wrote for the Huffington Post that because hemp oil contains amino acids for protein building, it's great for strengthening nails and healing cuticles. She suggests applying the oil directly on them and massaging it in.
Fender is also a huge fan of incorporating hemp seed oil into your diet because its nutrients are so good for your body. "I especially like to use raw hemp seeds in cooking, because they are in their natural state, so the body can absorb all the nutrients they offer most easily," she says. "Hemp seeds are great in salads, granolas, smoothies, and mixed in with grains, deliciously delivering vitamins A and E, but also essential trace minerals and a wealth of antioxidants."
"It has a crispy, nutty taste and can be used on salads as a replacement for olive oil," says Spiegel. "It is high in omegas and full of essential amino acids that help make younger, smoother-looking skin and reduce inflammation in the body." Because it a highly volatile oil, she says it must be kept refrigerated, not heated.
The Best Products with Hemp Seed Oil
This product from Herbivore comes in both CBD-free and CBD-inclusive versions, and which one you use is up to you. While the CBD-inclusive iteration is great for inflammation, the mixture of hemp seed oil, adaptogens, and squalane is good for you regardless of which one you buy.
When Milk Makeup came out with a full line of hemp oil-based products, we were a little skeptical. I mean, it's the perfect marketing gimmick. But we soon fell in love with the nourishment the Kush line provides—in particular, this lip balm, which comes in 4 shades as well as clear and leaves your lips hydrated.
Everyone loves a good retinol, but we don't feel as positively about the irritation that comes along with them. MARA uses hemp-derived CBD and cannabis sativa seed oil to mitigate the inflammation you may experience, as well as fermented green tea so you can be getting your antioxidant fix, too.
Kiehl's was one of the first brands to get on the hemp seed oil train, which is why their oil is now a crowd favorite. It also includes oregano oil, something else we don't see advertised much in skincare.
Dr. Bronner's very well may have been your first foray into the world of natural beauty—it was for plenty of us. But what you probably didn't realize is that hemp oil is one of the primary ingredients, and yes, it's been that way forever.
Cannabis sativa seed oil is particularly great in masks, this one from Origins being one of the most popular items to utilize it as an ingredient. Its anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties mean it makes quick work of plumping your skin and getting rid of any redness. It's perfect for a night out.
For those who want CBD in their products, you can't beat CBD-and-manuka-honey based brand Cannuka. Their skin balm is wonderful for any kind of skin irritation or even soreness.