You’re probably at least a little familiar with hemp seed oil by now; it’s one of the year’s buzziest beauty ingredients. Sadly, its skin benefits have gotten all mixed up with those of spotlight-stealing CBD oil (which comes from the same plant, but is not the same thing). So what’s the difference between the two, and why does hemp seed oil deserve your undivided attention? Below, an expert has the answers.
For starters, don’t confuse hemp seed oil with CBD oil
“Hemp seed oil is produced by cold-pressing the seeds of the cannabis sativa plant,” Dr. Jennifer Vickers, a board-certified dermatologist with Sanova Dermatology in Texas, tells us — and FYI, cannabis sativa is the Latin name for hemp. “On the other hand, CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid and an extract from the leaves, flowers, and stalks of the cannabis sativa plant.” CBD oil can also be derived from marijuana plants, but hemp seed oil will always come from hemp. It has no CBD, and no THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis plants).
Hemp seed oil is majorly moisturizing
“Hemp seed oil is rich in several vitamins as well as omega fatty acids, and is great for moisturizing the skin and hair,” Dr. Vickers says. In terms of vitamins, this oil is specifically high in vitamin E, a natural skin-softener and hydration-booster that has the added benefit of extending a product’s shelf life. But it’s the omega fatty acid content that makes hemp seed oil so special in skincare.
Studies show cannabis sativa seed oil features high levels of both omega-3s and omega-6s. These fatty acids are integral to a healthy, functioning skin barrier — so much so that science has dubbed them “essential fatty acids.” In this context, “essential” means the body needs them in order to function properly, but can’t produce them on its own. Instead, the body has to source its omega-3s and -6s elsewhere, like food… or skincare.
It keeps pores clear
The star omega-3 in hemp seed oil is linoleic acid. This particular fatty acid is found at lower-than-normal levels in people who experience acne, so experts estimate that applying linoleic acid from an outside source (like, say, hemp seed oil) can help reduce inflammation and de-clog pores. Linoleic acid does this by balancing out the thicker, stickier oleic acid that’s naturally found in sebum. Since linoleic acid is so lightweight, this Omega-3 also makes for a skincare product that sinks right into the skin.
It soothes and calms
On the omega-6 end of the spectrum, you have gamma-linolenic acid (or GLA), which is truly a skincare superstar. In addition to calming inflammation, GLA supports the generation of new skin cells and has even been shown to soothe psoriasis.
The bottom line — hemp seed oil works for everyone
“Because it is non-comedogenic — meaning it won’t clog pores — it can be used on oily skin and acne-prone skin for hydration,” Dr. Vickers says. “It can also be soothing for dry skin and sensitive skin types, as well.” Really, hemp seed oil defies skin type; everyone could use a heaping helping in the name of a healthier skin barrier. (That’s precisely why you’ll find it in all three Pure Radiance Oils and the new Moisture Lock Lip Balm.) This, in turn, leads to less inflammation, better protection, and regulated oil production for softer, smoother, younger-looking skin.