Especially as we head into Winter, many of you may be experiencing annoying skin conditions that you just can’t seem to kick. Most common among skin conditions are eczema, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. You have probably heard those words thrown around before but may not 100% know what they mean. We’ll get to that shortly, but first let’s talk about why we are here - what does hemp have to do with these skin conditions? Hemp Seed Oil has been identified as a great solution for dealing with skin conditions thanks to all of the goodness it provides. Let’s get into it.
Why Is Hemp Seed Oil Good for Skin in General?
Hemp seed oil is an excellent source of omegas (essential fatty acids) - especially the Omega-6 gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is a powerful anti-inflammatory and also promotes skin growth and new cell generation. This is what allows hemp seed oil to both calm inflammation-related symptoms and repair and nourish damaged skin. These properties mean hemp seed oil is a great option for treating conditions like psoriasis, acne, eczema (atopic dermatitis).
Hemp seed oil also promotes anti-ageing. Other essential fatty acids linoleic acid and oleic acid, found in hemp, cannot be produced by the body but are vital to skin health and anti-ageing, helping to smooth the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
How To Use Hemp Seed Oil for Skin
However you like! Hemp Seed Oil is safe to both ingest and apply topically. For instant relief and nourishment, you can apply hemp seed oil topically to irritated skin. It is also recommended that you take a daily dose of hemp seed oil via a capsule or just a tablespoon so that you get the goodness from the inside out. Does it really work? Yes! One randomized, single-blind crossover study found that dietary hemp seed oil reduced the symptoms and appearance of clinical atopic dermatitis after 20 weeks.
Other great reasons to use Hemp Seed Oil for your skin include:
- Stronger skin with better resistance to bacterial, fungal and viral infections.
- Antimicrobial properties that prevent yeast growth
- More youthful and hydrated appearing skin
Scientists believe that hemp’s rich mixture of plant chemicals (phytochemicals) are the powerhouse behind hemp seed oil’s amazing health claims. Some of those phytochemicals include:
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
- Linoleic acid, γ-linolenic acid, and α-linolenic acid
- Oleic acid
- Palmitic acid
Hemp Seed Oil & Eczema
What is Eczema & what causes it?
Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is characterised by itchy and inflamed patches of skin. Eczema often starts on the face, hands or feet. Children tend to get it around the elbow and knee creases, neck, wrists and ankles too.
The most common symptoms are:
- Itching. The itchiness of eczema is enough to drive anyone mad, and it’s also one of the ways this condition exacerbates itself - relentless scratching only causes further rawness and inflammation and also opens skin up to possible infection.
- Redness. This is caused by extra blood flowing through vessels in the skin in affected areas.
- A grainy texture to the skin. This is caused by little fluid-filled blisters just under the skin called ‘vesicles’. These can eventually ‘weep’ either on their own or because of scratching.
- Crusty scabs. A secondary symptom from scratching open the skin.
- Pale patches. Eczema can disrupt the production of pigment in the skin - this effect does fade as eczema calms down.
- Areas of rough or leathery skin as a byproduct of excessive, prolonged scratching.
Causes of Eczema
Sometimes it’s something simple, and other times it’s a compounding of factors - both external and internal that cause Eczema flare ups. Researchers believe that genes have a big part to play, being that eczema sufferers tend to have an over-reactive immune system that responds to certain everyday triggers with inflammation of the skin.
Some research shows that some people suffering from eczema have a mutation of the gene which creates filaggrin. Filaggrin is a protein that helps maintain a healthy protective barrier on the top layer of our skin. If our bodies don’t have enough Filaggrin, our skin won’t have a strong enough barrier meaning moisture can escape and bacteria and viruses and more are more likely to enter. This is why eczema-prone people also often have drier skin types to begin with.
Aside from genes, here are a list of potential common eczema triggers. Bare in mind that eczema (aside from the itching) is a very different situation for everyone - some people might only flare up after prolonged exposure to their trigger, others may need an unlucky combination of 3 triggers to have a flare up, while others may only need have a stressful few hours to feel the itchies creeping in:
- Extremely dry skin
- Chemical irritants: soap, detergent, surface cleaners, disinfectants, fruit juice, metal (especially nickel), cigarette smoke, fragrances.
- Fabrics: wool and polyester can both be irritating for eczema sufferers.
- Stress. For a lot of people stress is either a main eczema trigger or an amplifier for other triggers. What’s worse, is that for a lot of people the stress of having eczema can make it worse again.
How To Use Hemp Seed Oil for Eczema
Omegas are key to healthy skin in every way, so the best way to manage your eczema with hemp seed oil is to do so proactively. Taking a hemp seed oil supplement daily (1 tablespoon is enough) helps give your body the nutrients it needs to promote healthier skin from the inside out. During a flare up, you can also apply hemp seed oil topically to the affected area for instant relief. Hemp Seed Oil helps to combat the drivers of eczema like managing dry skin and keeping inflammation levels low.
Hemp Seed Oil & Psoriasis
What is Psoriasis and what causes it?
Psoriasis (also known as seborrheic dermatitis) is a disease that causes extra cells to build up on the skin surface as a result of increased cell production. This means that the body can be producing an ongoing cycle of new skin cells weekly rather than monthly - the rest of your skin ‘system’ can’t keep up. It’s pretty common and can affect some people all over their body (even the glamorous Kim K suffers from this one).
Common Symptoms of Psoriasis:
- Dry, reddened areas of skin in scaly patches
- Swollen or stiff joints
- Itchy, flakey spots of skin that become scabby with scratching
What can you do about it? Well, there is no cure but the primary goal of treatment is to prevent skin cells from growing too quickly and to manage the symptoms which can encourage itching that exacerbates the problem.
How Can Hemp Seed Oil Help with Psoriasis?
There are no conclusive studies to show that hemp seed oil is a great treatment for psoriasis, but knowing what we do about hemp seed oil and treating eczema, as well as how good it is for general skin and immune health, it’s safe to say it’s worth a try.
Hemp Seed Oil is high in nourishing essential fatty acids and may help manage psoriasis symptoms thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. The ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 (3:1) in hemp seed oil is considered the optimal for human tissue cell creation which, although not proven, could help to regulate skin cell growth that pertains to be the driver for psoriasis.