Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a type of skin disease in which the skin experiences high levels of inflammation. This leads to dry, itchy and swollen skin. [1]

This condition is more frequently seen amongst children but, it can affect all ages. [2] Eczema is a genetic disorder. Children can inherit it from their parents.

The skin is the body’s first and largest barrier to the environment. Evolution created the skin in a way that it would be difficult to penetrate, in order to provide utmost protection from harmful agents.

Genetic abnormalities can prevent the skin from carrying out its normal functions. They cause the skin to lose more water than normal and the skin is no longer as good at protecting from bacteria and irritants. [3]

The skin can quickly dry up and bacterial attack will cause inflammation.

There is no cure for eczema. Current medications help soothe itching and redness by moisturizing the skin and reducing inflammation. [4]

This article will be exploring the benefits of hemp oil for eczema but first, let’s take a brief look at the oil itself.

What is Hemp Oil?

Hemp oil also known as hemp seed oil is extracted from hemp seeds under very high pressures.

Hemp oil out-competes all plant-based products for its uniquely high omega-3 and omega-6 content. [5] These nutrients are natural moisturizers and essential in maintaining healthy skin.

The oil gained massive popularity in a short span of time for its robust antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties.

The oil can be added to cosmetic products or massaged onto the skin like traditional plant-based oils: coconut and almond.

Note: Hemp oil and CBD oil are not the same; they differ in chemical composition. Thus, always check the ingredients of the product before buying.

Benefits of Hemp Oil for Skin Disorders

Hemp oil is a rich source of healthy fatty acids (80% by volume) known to re-moisturize the skin and keep it smooth. [6],[7]

The anti-inflammatory activities of hemp oil can help alleviate redness and irritation.[8] It can provide relief from itching.

The antioxidants can regulate oil build-up, prevent excessive water loss and thus, may boost skin rejuvenation. [9]

Hemp oil has shown promising anti-bacterial activity and can reverse the nutritional deficiencies seen in eczema patients.

1. Relieves Inflammation

Inflammation is the underlying cause for all the symptoms of eczema. It is caused by genetic abnormalities which promote pro-inflammatory responses even when they are not needed.

This puts the immune system under stress and leads to redness, itching and dry skin.

The fats in hemp oil have shown to suppress pro-inflammatory responses. They oppose the activities of the genetic abnormalities.

One example is linoleic acid which forms 56% of hemp oil. [10]

A 20-week clinical trial found hemp oil to be effective for treating eczema. [11] Patients were consuming 2 tablespoons of hemp oil daily for 2 months.

The participants reported back with reduced itching and dryness of the skin.

Further, into the trial, patients took fewer conventional eczema medicines as, they could visually see and feel hemp oil’s effects. Most importantly, there were no side effects to hemp oil treatment.

This human trial also found hemp oil to be a better option than olive oil for treating eczema and reducing the severity of symptoms.

Previously, hemp oil showed evidence for suppressing pro-inflammatory responses in another common skin disease – psoriasis.

This Meant that the immune system was no longer under stress and so, the skin could begin healing itself. [12]

The anti-inflammatory constituents of hemp oil can help increase oxygenation and blood flow to the skin.

The skin will be able to access the nutrients it needs to promote the growth of new, healthy skin cells and can begin the process of rejuvenation.

What does this Mean? The robust anti-inflammatory effects of hemp oil are key for treating the dryness, itchiness and redness seen in eczema. Clinical trials prove that hemp oil can effectively replace current eczema medication.

2. Reduces Itchiness

In addition to being a strong anti-inflammatory agent, hemp oil can also provide robust anti-oxidant effects. These come from the vitamins and tocopherols found in hemp oil. [13]

Upon comparison to soybean, sunflower and rice oils, hemp showcased the largest supply of vitamins A, C and E.3

These chemicals are crucial for preventing skin cell damage by radicals and reactive oxygen species in eczema.

During eczema, discoloration of the skin is often seen. This is a result of excessive cell death.

The antioxidants in hemp oil are able to accelerate cell growth and provide faster recovery of healthy-looking skin. [14]

Anti-oxidants also help to reduce itchiness and can moisturize dry skin.

What does this Mean? Hemp oil is a rich source of vitamins that provide strong anti-oxidant effects. They can help soothe itchiness. Additionally, the anti-oxidants can help return the skin texture to normal after damage by moisturizing the skin.

3. Can Reduce Irritation of the Skin

During eczema, attack by foreign bacteria can promote inflammation of the skin and lead to high levels of irritation.

A recent experimental study found that hemp oil acted as a natural defence against many harmful bacterial populations.

The ideal 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in hemp oil was concluded as essential in providing such anti-microbial properties. [15]

Some disease-causing bacteria can aggravate oil production to undesirable levels. [16] This leads to inflammation and immune stress.

A 2018 cell culture study proved hemp oil was successful in breaking down the oil produced by the body. [17]

Furthermore, hemp oil showcased anti-microbial activity as, it prevented bacteria from delivering the toxins inducing oil build-up into the skin.

Skin inflammation results in enlarged hair follicles. Hemp oil suppressed the release of pro-inflammatory molecules, in turn alleviating inflammation, redness and pain.

What does this Mean? Hemp oil can protect against bacterial attack on the skin during eczema due to its highly desirable proportions of healthy fats. This can help reduce oil build-up and inflammation.

 4. Help Make Up for Nutritional Deficiencies

Dietary fats are essential to maintain the correct texture and elasticity of the skin. Dietary fats refer to those types of fats which the body cannot make on its own; they must come from the food we eat.

Scientists have found that deficiencies in certain dietary fats can lead to the onset of eczema and the development of its symptoms. [18]

One of these fats is gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) – an omega-6 variant.

Human studies have confirmed that eczema patients have a GLA deficiency in the body.[19]

Thus, doctors and scientists were certain that to treat eczema a rich source of GLA was needed. Hemp oil is one of the most abundant phytochemicals for GLA. [20]

Linoleic Acid (LA) is the most abundant fatty acid in hemp oil – 56% by volume. [21] The LA in hemp oil is broken down to GLA in the body.[22]

This makes hemp oil an even more superior source of GLA and one of the most attractive botanical medicines for eczema.

Hemp oil can help make up for the deficiency which can help treat overall symptoms of eczema and possibly prevent future outbreaks.

What does this Mean? Eczema symptoms can develop due to deficiencies in a certain dietary fat known as gamma-linoleic acid. Hemp oil is an extremely rich source of gamma-linoleic acid. It can help reverse the deficiency and thus, reduce the symptoms.

5. Helps Provide Smooth and Bright Skin

Deficiency of beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E in the body causes dry skin. [23] Hemp oil contains all 3 of these nutrients and together they can provide even stronger moisturizing effects.

Another reason for dry skin in eczema is when too much water is lost. A clinical trial investigating the effects of hemp oil on eczema patients found that the oil helped reduce water loss from the skin. [24]

Experimental studies found hemp oil to promote the synthesis of collagen. This protein is responsible for maintaining smooth and elastic looking skin.

Hemp oil is unique in the sense that it has a significant protein component, unlike many other plant-based oils.

Hemp oil proteins, edestin, and albumin, can also be used to build collagen. There are experimental studies providing evidence for this. [25]

Collagen can improve the elasticity of the skin and help reduce cracked skin seen in eczema.

What does this Mean? Hemp oil contains a balanced mixture of the nutrients needed to moisturize dry skin in eczema patients. In addition, it can help prevent dryness of the skin by reducing water loss from the skin.

How to Use Hemp Oil for Eczema

Hemp oil can be applied directly onto the skin or consumed orally. Both methods will help soothe inflammation, itching and dryness of the skin.

For topical application

It is recommended that you start with topical application of hemp oil for eczema.

Applying the oil directly onto affected areas of the skin can provide immediate relief from itching and irritation.

It is important to apply hemp oil directly onto affected areas as, the oil will produce its strongest effects where it is applied. Try to buy hemp oil products with high concentrations of hemp.

Before application, take a wet towel and carefully clean the area where you wish to apply the oil. The skin is difficult to penetrate.

So, apply hemp oil in multiple rounds. The absolute minimum is 3 rounds. After each round, wait for a few minutes before applying the oil again.

You must firmly massage the skin where the oil is applied. Otherwise, the oil will just sit on top of the skin and not enter it. It will also push the oil into deeper layers of the skin.

For eczema, it is recommended that you use the oil form of hemp oil and hemp oil-enriched lotions.

Hemp oil is highly unlikely to cause any allergic reactions. [26]

However, it may cause skin irritation in some users. Make sure to test the product in a small area of the skin before applying on damaged skin.

It can be tested around the elbow, on the back of the knee or on the side of the neck, if it is to be used on the face.

Use as much hemp oil as needed to cover all the areas of the face and other parts of the body. Use in moderation.

Oral supplements

Oral intake of hemp oil will provide the same effects as a topical application.

It can also provide additional overall health benefits due to hemp oils high nutritional value.

It is advised that you start oral consumption with 1 – 2 teaspoons of the oil daily. Before taking hemp oil orally, consult a doctor for further information on dosage.

A clinical trial revealed that consuming 30 ml/day of hemp oil orally for 4-weeks was needed to produce a significant increase in GLA and other healthy fatty acids in the body. [27]

They will also be able to better advise whether the topical or oral form is better for you. Effectiveness of topical application compared to oral can vary from person to person. [28]

Dietary hemp oil may interfere with platelet activity and blood clot formation.

This can escalate bleeding times in individuals suffering from illnesses related to insufficient blood clotting. [29]

We advise you to consult a doctor before using dietary hemp oil with your regular medicine.

High-fat diets can deteriorate digestive and cardiovascular health. [30] Consult a doctor for dosage before consuming hemp oil orally.

Summary

Hemp oil can dominate the skincare market for its deep moisturizing, anti-microbial and antioxidant properties.

It can provide relief from common skin disorder symptoms, like: itching, pain, and dryness.

The vigorous anti-inflammatory effects alleviate pain and itching by controlling immune system responses.

A large proportion of the oil is composed of fatty acids, which assist in reducing the severity of eczema by breaking down oils causing inflammation.

The antioxidant chemicals guard from cell damage and boost skin rejuvenation. They leave the skin glowing and firm after treating dryness and redness.

Hemp oil’s journey in eczema began with self-initiated use. The oil garnered highly appreciative and positive reviews which led to increasing scientific interest.

Clinical trials with eczema patients have proven hemp oil effective in reducing the symptoms and the need for conventional drugs.

Topical application is more preferable for this condition as it will generate faster and larger responses.

Hemp oil products have already boomed in developing countries.

The trend is slowly capturing the rest of the world and it will not be wrong to predict that soon hemp oil will be as famous as coconut or almond oil for skin benefits.

D Dutt (MSc. Biotech.)
All our posts are written by experienced writers with relevant degrees. These extremely well researched and comprehensive articles take 10s of hours to write. For each article, all the sources of information are provided as reference links for anyone to check.

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