Hemp oil has reached infamy as a nutrient powerhouse, serving numerous benefits for skin health, and being extracted from one of the most biodynamic and sustainable crops on the planet.
What makes it so incredible? Let's find out.
Where does hemp oil come from?
When we think of hemp, weed or THC usually comes to mind. While they may originate from the same plant, there are some key differences.
The difference between weed and hemp oil
Hemp oil is in fact derived from the seeds of a tall variety of cannabis sativa, which usually has very low THC levels, and is devoid of psychoactive properties.
Cannabis sativa has been used throughout our recorded history to produce food, fiber, clothing, and medicine.
Weed on the other hand, high in THC, is extracted from the flowering buds of sativa, indica, and hybrid species. These specific plants typically grow low to the ground, and the buds produce a sticky resin which can contain cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
Does hemp oil contain CBD?
CBD has become famous as a remedy for many different health and skin ailments.
Cannabinoids are extracted from mature hemp plants, and not the seeds. So, hemp oil contains extremely small levels of cannabinoids, if any at all.
This isn't something to worry about - hemp seed oil on its own stands out with its impressive fatty acid composition, benefiting the skin in numerous ways.
Hemp seed oil's fatty acid composition
There's a reason people commonly refer to hemp oil as containing the perfect balance of fatty acids - this is because it contains 75-80% polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Polyunsaturated acids are essential for the human body, skin, and brain, and not produced naturally, so we must obtain them through food sources.
Hemp oil contains the following essential fatty acids:
- ALA (alpha-linoleic acid), a common type of omega-3
- SDA (stearidonic acid), an extremely rare, more bioavailable form of omega-3 than ALA
- Linoleic acid, a common type of omega-6
- GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), a more rare form of omega-6
These are some of the most critical nutrients for maintaining proper health within the epidermis (outer layer of skin). If lacking within the skin, an array of inflammatory and dry conditions can manifest.
Hemp oil skin benefits
Hemp seed oil is known as a "drying oil". Not in the sense that it dries out the skin, but rather it's put into the category of beauty oils that absorb into the skin extremely fast.
There is a reason for this - and it has everything to do with its rich content of omega-3 and 6 essential fatty acids.
1. Provides intensive hydration
Instead of using water-based lotions and creams (which tend to contain 70-80% water), oil is much more efficient in providing long-lasting hydration.
Hemp oil in particular provides high amounts of the omega-6 linoleic acid, which strengthens the epidermis and protects the skin from moisture loss.
2. Balances oily and combination skin
Oils for oily skin?! It sounds bizarre, but the overproduction of oil in the skin tends to be caused by an imbalance of fatty acids.
Hemp oil's quick-absorbing nature helps to balance oily complexions.
3. Helps to prevent aging skin
Hemp seed oil can help to protect the skin against photodamage caused by overexposure to UV rays, ultimately reducing signs of skin aging overtime.
Would you believe me if I told you that most, if not all, acne-sufferers have an omega-6 fatty acid deficiency in their skin?
It has been shown that using topical oils like hemp oil that are high in omega-6's, especially linoleic acid, can significantly improve acne vulgaris.
Also known to as atopic dermatitis, eczema is similar to acne in that they're inflammatory conditions and exacerbated by low levels of omega-3 and 6 essential fatty acids.
Hemp oil has been shown to reduce skin dryness and itchiness associated with eczema.
Where to source high-quality hemp seed oil
Some experts have mentioned hemp is especially prone to absorbing soil contaminants, and the best way to avoid this is to purchase organic and non-GMO varieties.
It's also important to only purchase hemp oil that is cold-pressed from the seeds, as other extraction methods use higher heat which can lead to diminished nutrients.
Canadian hemp oil products are among some of the highest quality in the world, and extremely cost efficient to boot.
Here are a few noteworthy options:
We source our organic and non-GMO hemp oil right here in Canada, which we used to formulate Botanical Recovery Serum.