Acne is one of the most common chronic skin disorders. It affects millions of people universally without any discrimination of gender, race or age. According to a survey, acne breakouts troubled approximately 17 million people in the United States of America alone. Though it is more common in women, in men it takes a more severe form.

The primary cause of acne breakouts is change in the hormonal level, specifically androgen levels. High level of androgen induces the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum (oil like substance). Sebum usually comes out of the skin pores through the hair follicles in order to moisturize the hair follicles and the surface of the skin. However because of the accumulation of dead skin cells on the skin pores which thereby gets clogged and the over production of sebum, the sebum gets trapped under the skin, creating an environment that is suitable for the survival and growth of microbes that cause acne breakouts.

This is the main reason as to why acne breakouts are more common in adolescents. According to one study, at any one point of time about 85% to 90% teenagers suffer from acne breakouts. It usually occurs during or after puberty. This may or may not persist in their adulthood. 

There are however other reasons for which may contribute towards acne breakouts which include exposure to local pollution, naturally occurring oily skin and stress among others. Acne breakouts often cause physical and psychological morbidity resulting in depression, anxiety, stress, poor self image and low self confidence. It also results in social stigma.

There are many home / herbal remedies available for acne. In this article shall discuss the effectiveness of hemp seed oil towards the prevention of acne breakouts.

What is Hemp seed oil

Hemp seed oil is obtained by pressing the Hemp seed and is only manufactured from varieties of Cannabis Sativa. Its color may vary from dark to light green. It is important to note during manufacturing that the oil is taken only from varieties that do not contain THC which is a psychoactive element present in the Cannabis plant. The seed is cleaned to 99.99% before pressing the oil out of it. Hemp oil has really high nutritional and medicinal value precisely because of the presence of essential fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6. It is present in the ratio of 1:3 which is exactly the amount required by the human body 

It is very important not to confuse hash oil with hemp oil. Though they serve somewhat the same recreational and nutritional value, hemp oil is legally a name give only to oil that has 0.3 or less %age of THC in it. 

Hemp seed oil serves various uses, some of which are listed below: 

  • It is used in salads and serves as a good alternative to olive oil though it is not very suitable for high heat cooking
  • It is non-toxic and does not harm the environment and can therefore serve as an eco friendly substitute to petroleum as a bio-diesel
  • Hemp oil can be used to make plastics as unlike petroleum it will not release harmful chemicals while decomposition
  • It can be used in the production of paints that would again not release very harmful chemicals on decomposition
  • Lastly, it is used as a natural moisturizer as it nourishes the skin on application by increasing the blood circulation

hemp seed oil for acne treatment

How Hemp oil helps in in acne?

Apart from being an excellent natural moisturizer and nourishment for the skin by virtue of its ability to increase blood circulation of the skin, Hemp seed oil also exhibits anti inflammatory properties. With its anti inflammatory property it can heal not only topical but also joint and muscle inflammation . The fatty acid contents with its anti inflammatory property, improves acne breakouts

It is also a non-conmedogenic which means that in spite of being oil, it does not clog the pores as it is very smoothly absorbed inside the skin thereby hydrating and nourishing it. Conmedogenic rating reveals the clogging ability of oil and Hemp seed oil has a rating of A’0’, which means that it does not clog pores at all but is at the same time endowed with linoleic acid which is a component of sebum. It is the presence of this acid that provides hemp seed oil with its nourishing property. 

It increases the ability of skin tissues to retain water and also increases the skin’s elasticity keeping it hydrated and free from that dryness which is often a result of various acne treatments that people undertake.  

A few drops of the oil are usually massaged on a clean and damp face. However it can also be used in the form of a scrub or massage oil. 

Application as massage oil: You can mix 10 ounce of hemp seed oil with 4 ounces of any essential oil of your choice and apply it on the required spot or your face gently massaging in circular motion. This can be made and kept in the referigerator.

Application as a scrub: This will require the vehicle of scraped ground soap which needs to be melted on low heat. To this must be added 1 part hemp seed oil, 1 part oatmeal and 1 part water. This mixture can be cooled and stored to be used as and when required.

Benefits and potential side effects of using hemp seed oil

Some key benefits are:

  • The alpha linolenic acid present in hemp oil contains Omega-3 fatty acid that helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, arthritis and depression and also shows efficacy in the reduction of low density lipoprotein cholesterol that clogs arteries
  • It is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acid that reduces the symptoms of dermatitis and other skin disorders. The concentration of this polyunsaturated fatty acid depends on the quality of hemp seed oil.
  • Hemp seed oil is also a rich source of protein

Side effects of using hemp seed oil: 

In spite of its high medicinal quality, there are certain side effects in the usage of hemp seed oil that cannot be ignored. Some of these recognized side effects are listed below:

  • If hemp oil is used in frying or high heat cooking, the polyunsaturated fatty acids that it contains will break down into peroxides that might be harmful for you health
  • It can cause digestive problems and improper bowel movements causing diarrhea and abdominal cramps. However there is a need to scientifically substantiate this properly 
  • In case the THC level is high, one might experience hallucination and anxiety if used on a regular basis
  • It prevents the clogging of platelets within blood which may result in the inhibition of platelets altogether. This might also have an adverse impact on cardiac patients 

Precautions while using hemp seed oil

In spite of being a natural health benefactor, it is important that while using hemp oil, you maintain the following precautions:

  • Do not use hemp seed oil during pregnancy
  • In case of a high THC level, your driving ability and co-ordination might get affected along with chances of hallucination. You must be cautious in such a situation
  • Regular use of and dependence on THC can affect your memory and lead to abuse

Is Hemp seed oil useful for acne – What users say ?

We did an analysis of online reviews by consumers who had been using hemp seed oil to treat their acne and other skin problem. Here is a summary of what they had to say about their experience:

What they liked about it: 

  • Skin tone: Hemp seed oil was effective in evening down the skin tone of many consumers. It served as one component that looked after the entire health of their skin with its anti inflammatory, anti aging and moisturizing values
  • Inexpensive: What motivated most consumers to try this out once were its easily availability and inexpensiveness. It was not a big burden on the pocket even if it did not prove very effective and thus they were less hesitation in trying this out.

What they did not like about it: 

Burning sensation: A few consumers complained that its application on the skin caused a burning sensation. However it might be a result of hyper sensitivity to hemp seed oil or an allergy. It had worked on most people’s skin and such cases are very few. It is advisable that you go for a patch test before making a firm choice for this treatment.


Hemp seed oil, since ages, has been considered one of the most effective and beneficial natural oils for humans. Its high content of fatty acid, so similar to that required by the human body is a major health benefit. If you are careful to take precautions while using it, it can work to improve your over all health, internally as well as externally. By causing an improved circulation of blood, it ensures a healthy and glowing skin, and what more, its excellent absorbent property does not make it oily at all as it gets wonderfully soaked inside your pores not clogging them. This is definitely worth one try.


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