Hemp seed oil is no one trick pony; it has rightly earned the title of “the most balanced seed oil”. Proclaimed to be the most unsaturated oil derived from the plant kingdom, hemp seed oil provides a huge array of skin benefits with very little downside. Hemp seed oil has proven to be a great treatment for many pesky skin conditions including acne, eczema and psoriasis, showing very little evidence of irritability for those with sensitive skin. In terms of natural skin care, hemp seed oils unique combination of healthy fats, antioxidants and antibacterial properties puts it in a league of its own.
Hemp seed oil is cold pressed from the seed of the hemp plant, a tall seedy and fibrous variety of Cannabis. The oil is dark to clear light green in colour due to the large amounts of chlorophyll found in the hemp plant. The plants used for the extractions are specifically cultivated to have near zero amounts of the psychoactive substances associated with Cannabis, specifically THC. Not to be confused with cannabis oil, hemp seed oil is perfectly legal across the globe and has been utilised in cosmetics for hundreds of years.
Essential fatty acids are the building blocks of healthy cells, making them a vital part of any healthy aging regimen. Studies have determined a 3:1 ratio of omega 6 (linoleic acid) to omega 3 (alpha-linoleic acid) essential fatty acids (EFA) to be the optimum requirement for human health. No other single plant source contains the oils essential to life in such a perfect ratio for human health and vigour than hemp seed oil.
Western diets are commonly very unbalanced, displaying a ratio of around 10:1. This high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in our modern diet likely plays a role in the occurrence of inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and rosacea. Increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids have shown to decrease inflammation, and may help reduce the risk of pesky skin conditions by preventing hyperkeratinisation of sebaceous follicles (skin blockages).
The essential oils, linoleic (LA) and linolenic (LNA) acid are responsible for the luster in your skin, hair and eyes. LA and LNA are involved in transferring oxygen from the air in the lungs to every cell in the body. In skin care, linoleic acid helps provide healing support, moisturising and anti-inflammatory support. It also helps keep the skin soft and supple, while allowing the skin to absorb other active ingredients such as antioxidants. The oil pressed from hemp seed contains 55-60% linoleic acid, and 18-25% linolenic acid, making it one of the best natural sources available.
Hemp seed oil uniquely contains all of the 21 known amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which play a crucial role in almost all biological processes. A large proportion of our cells, muscles and tissue are made up of amino acids. Amino acids carry out many important bodily functions including giving cells their structure and are essential for healing wounds and repairing tissue.
The use of antioxidants in a skin care regimen is vital in both preventing and repairing age related damage, and helping protect the skin against the harmful action of free radicals. Hemp seed oil contains an adequate supply of antioxidants including Vitamin E and Beta-Carotene; two compounds that help maintain healthy skin. Regular application of hemp seed oil has proven to be beneficial as a natural moisturiser, as well as helpful for conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. A study carried out in Finland showed reduced itching and dryness when patients with atopic dermatitis applied hemp seed oil.
The Comedogenic rating (CR) of an oil is a measure of how likely it is to block skin pores. A “Comedo” is an acne lesion – a hard blockage caused by excess sebum in a pore.
No two oils are the same; they are all composed differently which influences their likeliness to block pores. For those with sensitive skin prone to breaking out, it is important to try and steer clear of oils with high comedogenic ratings (4-5), these include oils such as coconut oil, flax seed oil and palm oil.
Hemp seed is one of the very few oils to have a CR of 0, yes zero. Simply put, hemp seed oil will not block your pores and is a very safe oil to try with your skin.
(Click here for an extensive list of oils and their comedogenic ratings)
Hemp seed oil has shown absorbance in the UV-B and UV-C ranges with an SPF rating of 6, demonstrating potential use as a low broad band spectrum UV protectant. Because the plant is capable of developing its own UVR protection (like other plants do), its extracts form a natural protection from the sun. Importantly, hemp seed oil helps deflect some of the UV rays without affecting the very important absorption of vitamin D, which is important as vitamin D plays a vital role in the human body.
Note: Although UV protection from the sun is important for the skin, hemp seed oil alone is not sufficient to eliminate skin damage caused from the harshness of the sun.
Ideal 3:1 ratio of omega 6 (linoleic acid) to omega 3 (alpha-linoleic acid) essential fatty acids for health and vigour.
High content of Linoleic Acid (55-60%).
Rich in Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Naturally Antibacterial and Antifungal.
Comedogenic rating of 0!
Low broadband spectrum UV protectant (SPF 6).