Buzz words of late for those in the know — CBD, hemp seed oil, and the like have been hailed as game changers when it comes to beauty and wellness. But what’s the difference between the terms? How does it work in skincare and what are the benefits? We spoke to Marc Wang and Ben Xu, co-founders of Australian skincare brand, Sensori+, to break down what exactly hemp seed oil is, where it fits into the cannabis spectrum, and why you should care about this revolutionary ingredient in skincare.
Where do hemp and hemp seeds sit on the cannabis spectrum?
The terms marijiuna and hemp are often used interchangeably, which isn’t entirely correct — and that’s before you throw in more specific terms like CBD and THC. All variations, however, broadly stem from the Cannabis Sativa plant, hence the umbrella term “cannabis” being thrown around.
The distinction between marijuana and hemp is based on the parts of the plant that are used in production, while its classification is based on the percentage of THC (the component responsible for the “high”) found in the product. Marijuana [plants] are a type of cannabis plant and possess the highest content of THC. Hemp typically doesn’t contain a significant enough percentage of THC to be used for psychoactive purposes.
When it comes to oil extracts, CBD oil is the most well-known derivative of the plant. CBD oil is more commonly derived from the flowers, leaves and stems of the plant. Alternatively, hemp seed oil is derived only from the seeds. Neither hemp nor CBD [or their associated oils] contain a significant enough percentage of THC to be used for psychoactive purposes.
Hemp seeds are also known as Cannabis Sativa seeds, due to the plant they come from.
Okay, so what is hemp seed oil?
Hemp seed oil is harvested by cold-pressing hemp seeds, the Sensori+ founders explain. This part of the plant, plus the extraction method mean that the hemp seed oil extracted contains an extremely low, if any traceable level, of THC (being the psychoactive component we associate with marijuana). “A majority of the hemp seed oil is extracted via [this cold-pressing method], without refining, as it delivers the most nutrition from the oil itself,” they explain.
What are the benefits of hemp seed oil for the skin?
“Hemp seed oil contains vitamins (such as vitamin E), antioxidants, omega-6 fatty acids (and GLA – a fatty acid found primarily in vegetable oils). These components keep the skin healthy and prevent breakouts, plus, the ingredient is perfect for most skin types as it’s [non-comedogenic] and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties — all while simultaneously encouraging skin growth and new cell generation,” the founders explain.
The ingredient is also known to be highly effective in treating “conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, [while] showing very little evidence of irritability for those with sensitive skin.” Cannabis associated ingredients are known for their soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, and hemp seed oil is no exception. As the Sensori+ co-founders Wang and Xu explain, “if you have sensitive skin it works to prevent flare ups, lower skin inflammation, plus attract and lock in moisture.” When it comes to acne prone skin, “hemp seed oil also works to rebalance your skin’s microbiome,” which long-term can have benefits such as reducing excess sebum production and breakouts as a result.
Where does hemp seed oil fit into your skincare routine?
In introducing new skincare ingredients however, slotting it into your existing routine is often be the hardest part. Wang and Xu’s recommendation is to pair it with antioxidant heavy products, as well as hydration boosters. They also recommend avoiding intensely active products such as retinol and acids — as hemp seed oil already contains between 55-60% linoleic acid and 18-25% oleic acids, adding further active acids “[are likely to] counteract the properties of hemp seed oil.”
“Ideally, hemp seed oil products work best when used morning and night. It is best to apply with a water-based product or as a second step. The water will plump and the oil will seal in hydration,” Wang and Xu say.
All in all, hemp seed oil is a pretty serious multi-tasker. Looking to try it for yourself?