Hempseed (Cannabis sativa L.) is one of the healthiest, nontoxic, and abundant sources of oil. Beauty products made from organic, cold-pressed hempseed oil are great for skin, scalp, nails, and hair because they are an excellent source of the essential fatty acids (EFAs) omega-3 and omega-6.
According to an Italian study published in the July-August 2005 issue of the Journal of Cosmetic Science, hempseed oil has positive effects on the skin–its unsaturated essential fatty acids do indeed alleviate dryness and conditions related to aging.
Dr. Udo Erasmus, author of Fats That Heal and Fats That Kill (alive Books, 2005), draws a correlation between essential fatty acids and healthy skin when he writes that a balanced intake of EFAs is an important part of a nutritional program for healthy, radiant skin.
Erasmus goes on to say that dietary intake of omega-6 (n-6 linoleic) essential fatty acid has doubled since the 1850s but the intake of omega-3 (n-3 alpha-linolenic) essential fatty acid is either too low or inadequate in most of the population. This imbalance of EFAs contributes to increased incidence of dry skin, dandruff, eczema and psoriasis-like inflammatory skin conditions, acne, cracked heels, toxic deposits in the skin, and increased risk of sunburn and skin cancer.
Inside and Out
Because hempseed oil contains a good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs, as well as vitamin E, it is a perfect oil to consume for excellent skin health. Substantiating this point, Finnish researchers investigated anecdotal evidence that indicated dietary hempseed oil is useful in treating skin conditions, specifically, symptoms of atopic (allergic) dermatitis. They published their findings in April 2005 in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment, stating that after 20 weeks in a randomized study during which participants took 2 Tbsp (30 mL) hempseed oil daily, atopic patients reported less dryness and itchiness and reduced need for topical medication. Researchers linked these improvements to the balanced and abundant supply of essential fatty acids in hempseed oil.
Do these dietary benefits extend to topical application of hempseed oil? We know that our skin has the ability to absorb toxic substances with which it comes in contact. Therefore, skin may also be able to absorb healthy substances in beauty products applied to the skin, such as the EFAs, vitamins, and minerals in hempseed oil.
When to Use Hempseed Beauty Products
The best cosmetics and lotions for our skin contain humectants and emollients. Humectants are substances that attract water when used in conditions of high humidity (apply moisturizers containing organic hempseed oil immediately after showering or bathing), and emollients are an emulsion of water and oil mixed together. The better emollients for dry skin contain more oil and less water. The oils in emollients restore lipids to the skin and make it smoother.
For beautiful, glowing skin, ask your health food store for soaps, moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners, and other beauty products containing organically grown hempseed oil. We can be good to ourselves and good to our planet.