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Hemp Seed Oil: Atopic Dermatitis Patients' Solution

Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition with an increased risk of developing secondary infections.


It is a common problem that affects about one in 20 people. Symptoms include itchy, dry, red skin, which may become cracked and bleed.


In more severe cases, the sufferer will have persistent redness and swelling of the skin. Understandably, those who suffer from atopic dermatitis experience a negative impact on their quality of life.

Fortunately, various treatment options are available to patients, including topical steroids and emollients, phototherapy; oral antihistamines; and unique dietary recommendations.


In this post, we'll look at hemp seed oil as a potentially helpful remedy for treating atopic dermatitis and discover why it might be beneficial for many people suffering from this condition.


Let's read on!



What is Atopic Dermatitis?


Atopic dermatitis (AD), also called atopic eczema, is the most common inflammatory skin disease worldwide and presents as generalised skin dryness, itch, and rash.


In healthy skin, the natural skin barrier helps to retain moisture and protect the skin from bacteria, allergens and irritants. In some people, however, this natural skin's ability to defend itself is adversely affected by a specific gene variation, which leaves the skin vulnerable.


Atopic dermatitis most often begins before age five and may persist into adolescence and adulthood.


For some people, it flares periodically and then clears up for a time, even for several years, but eventually returns when triggered. It may also be accompanied by asthma or hay fever. Unfortunately, no cure has been found for atopic dermatitis yet.


The symptoms of atopic dermatitis (eczema) vary widely from person to person and include:


  • Dry, itchy skin, which can sometimes intensify at night
  • Red to brown-grey skin patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, face and scalp
  • Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
  • Swollen, sensitive and sore skin from scratching


The chronic condition of atopic dermatitis and the intensity of flare-ups is what often move patients and their families to look for more effective and long-lasting ways to ease the symptoms.



How To Prevent Atopic Dermatitis?


  • Identify and avoid triggers that worsen the condition. These include alcohol, sugar, gluten, sweat, stress, dust, pollen and skincare products with sulphates and parabens.
  • Limit your baths and showers to 10-15 minutes and use warm, rather than hot, water. And dry yourself gently with a soft towel.
  • MoisturiseMoisturise your skin at least twice daily with natural skincare products.



How Does Hemp Seed Oil Help With Atopic Dermatitis? 


In a 20-week randomised, single-blind crossover study[i], patients with atopic dermatitis were asked to treat their condition with dietary hemp seed oil. Fatty acid profiles were measured in plasma triglyceride, cholesteryl, and phospholipid fractions. A patient questionnaire provided additional information on skin dryness, itchiness, and usage of dermal medications. Skin transepidermal water loss (TEWL) was also measured.


Results: dietary hempseed oil caused significant changes in plasma fatty acid profiles and improved clinical symptoms of atopic dermatitis. It is suggested that these improvements resulted from the balanced and abundant supply of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the hempseed oil.


In another review in 2014, a group of researchers was looking for plants to help people to treat several skin conditions or to improve their overall skin health with the aid of herbal medicine. In their research, it was shown that topical use of hempseed oil strengthened the skin naturally, thus making it more resistant to fungal, bacterial, and viral infections as well as making it able to fight necessary skin conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, acne rosacea, lichen planus, and many others.


They established that this was possible due to the high concentration of essential (anti-inflammatory) fatty acids in hemp seed oil that help relieve pain, itchiness, inflammation, and soreness in the affected areas. [ii]


Another study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment in 2005 showed that hemp seed oil is rich in several important EFAs, MUFAs, and PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) such as gamma-linolenic acid and stearidonic acid – both biological metabolites of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.


These acids, in addition to tocopherols, are responsible for providing soothing relief to dry and itchy skin. Read about how to use hemp seed oil here. 



What Exactly Is Hemp Seed Oil?


Hemp seed oil is obtained by pressing seeds of the hemp plant. When cold-pressed, the hemp seed oil appears greenish in colour with a nutty flavour. Unlike other oil extraction methods, cold-pressed hemp seed oil retains its flavour, aroma, nutritional and therapeutic value.

As we've discussed, hemp seed oil has a rich nutritional and fatty acid profile,which is likely to be of immense benefit to a person with atopic dermatitis due to the fact that their skin barrier function is compromised.


Hemp seed oil also contains a range of antioxidants, which can be beneficial in reducing the signs of atopic dermatitis.


Moreover, hemp seed oil is high in the essential amino acid arginine, and studies have shown that arginine is a helpful treatment for atopic dermatitis in adults and children. Arginine is a potent anti-inflammatory for the skin and gut.


When applied topically, it increases blood flow to the skin. It promotes the production of collagen, a major structural protein in the skin.


Arginine is also responsible for activating an essential immune system protein known as the 'immunoglobulin A', produced in the small intestine. Immunoglobulin A is the primary antibody that fights against pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hemp food on a table 


What Is In Hemp Seed Oil?


Hemp seeds are a good source of essential nutrients such as protein, fatty acids, fibre, vitamins and minerals, without excess calories, starches and sugars.


As such, the hemp seed oil is an excellent dietary supplementto support and improve overall health and skin more specifically. To learn more about how hemp can also help your pets read this article. 



Hemp & Essential Fatty Acids


Hemp seed oil is an excellent source of essential fatty, typically comprising 35% of the seed. One tablespoon of hemp seed oil typically contains 14 grams of fat, of which only 1 gram is saturated. This low saturated fat content is another excellent benefit of using hemp seed oil instead of animal fats.


More specifically, hemp seed oil contains:


  • High amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, oleic acid, linoleic acid (LA / omega-6), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA / omega-3) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). The LA: ALA ratio usually exists in hempseed at a 3:1 level. This proportion has been proposed to be ideal for a healthy diet.
  • Hemp is currently one of the very few natural food sources of GLA, i.e., not requiring the consumption of the extracted dietary supplement. GLA is a crucial anti-inflammatory fat; it also regulates hormones and supports healthy skin and coat. GLA is considered "conditionally essential." That means dogs need to get GLA in their diet. LA converts to GLA, but conversion needs a specific enzyme (D6D) and five essential nutrients (magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin B3 and vitamin B6), all of which are abundant in hemp seed oil.



    Hemp & Amino acids


    Hemp seed oil also contains all of the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein). Also, it has surprisingly high levels of the amino acid arginine, a metabolic precursor for the production of nitric oxide (NO), a molecule now recognised as a pivotal signalling messenger in the cardiovascular system that participates in the control of haemostasis, fibrinolysis, platelet and leukocyte interactions with the arterial wall, regulation of vascular tone, the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells, and homeostasis of blood pressure.



    Hemp & Essential Minerals and Vitamins


    Hemp seeds are packed with Vitamin E, C, A and B as well as all essential minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, and zinc.



    Hemp & Soluble and Insoluble Fibre


    Hemp seeds typically contain 27% carbohydrates, primarily as fibre and as such, serve as a good source of dietary fibre to help promote healthy digestion.

    woman hiking in the mountains



    What Are The Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil For Skin Health?


    Hempseed oil possesses several skin health-related benefits, which can be taken advantage of by using it topically or consuming it. It's also very safe for adults, children and animals. It's also better than fish oil! 



    #1 Hemp seed oil helps to improve the skin barrier and reduce symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions and skin allergies.


    Given the high content of anti-inflammatory gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in an ideal ratio of 3:1, hemp seed oil helps fight inflammation, improving the skin's natural barrier to support skin healing, growth and regeneration. A 2014 review[i] concluded that applying hemp oil may benefit people with atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, varicose eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus and acne rosacea. Another study in 2020[ii] found that the consumption of dietary hemp oil can reduce the use of medications in people with atopic dermatitis.



    #2 Hemp Seed Oil is an Excellent Moisturiser!


    When applied topically, hemp seed oil moisturises the skin without clogging pores. It restores the skin barrier and thus helps to retain moisture and rejuvenate the skin, which results in skin that looks healthy, supple and more youthful.



    #3 Hemp Seed Oil is Anti-Aging


    Hemp seed oil is packed with skin-essential antioxidants such as vitamin A, C and E and fatty acids that strengthen the outer layer of the skin so it can better retain water, keep the skin nourished[iii] and help defy skin atrophy (thinning). The GLA and ALA acids in hemp seed oil also help to control inflammation, help repair UV skin damage[iv] and reduce oxidative stress, thereby protecting the skin from environmental factors that damage skin and cause premature aging, such as sunlight, radiation, pollution, cigarette smoke, and exposure to extreme hot and cold temperatures. Read up on the ECS system and how this plays a crucial role in regulating our bodily functions. 





    Nutrient-rich hemp seed oil is packed with skin-loving phytochemicals that can help manage the symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.


    Hemp seed oil can also be helpful as a natural anti-ageing solution thanks to its high nutritional content and its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

    Suppose you or a loved one suffers from atopic dermatitis.


    In that case, hemp seed oil might be a useful treatment option to explore. That said, it's important to note that hemp seed oil is not yet a cure for atopic dermatitis, but the science is very compelling.


    It's likely a much better natural alternative to the current pharmaceutical treatments that are not suitable for everyone.


    CBD can also treat skin conditions in both humans and animals and if you have considered this it could be worth a shot.

    For skin conditions - Feel free to try our 100% RAW Organic Tasmanian Hemp Seed Oil here.


    READ NEXT: Hemp Seed 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Its Benefits and Uses


    [i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931201/

    [ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7400098/?report=classic

    [iii] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324450#skin-health

    [iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7272663/#B4

    [i] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16019622/

    [ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931201/

    [i] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/symptoms-causes/syc-20353273