Hemp oil derives from the seeds, flowers, or leaves of the Cannabis sativa plant. There is some evidence that molecules and chemicals found in hemp oil may be beneficial for skin health.

Hemp oil may help treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, acne scarring, and dry skin. However, research is still ongoing.

Read on to learn more about what hemp oil is, its possible health benefits, what the research currently says about whether it helps reduce or prevent skin conditions, and other natural skin remedies.

Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

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Some people refer to hemp oil as hemp seed oil or full-spectrum hemp oil, but the products are different.

Manufacturers produce hemp seed oil by compressing hemp seeds rather than the leaves and flowers. Hemp seed oil does not contain any CBD, which is the main active component in full-spectrum hemp oils.

Full-spectrum hemp oil is a type of CBD oil made from the pressed flowers and leaves of the C. sativa plant. Manufacturers use hemp oil as the carrier oil, and it contains less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Learn more about the differences between hemp seed oil and CBD here.

Technically, both types of hemp oil are cannabis products, as they both come from the C. sativa plant.

Both types of hemp oil have a greenish color and a nutty flavor and smell. Unrefined hemp oils tend to be darker green and contain more nutrients than refined oils. Refined hemp oils tend to be clearer.

Scientists need to carry out more research to discover the full range of health benefits that hemp oil can provide.

However, some studies have indicated that hemp oil may have numerous potential health benefits, such as:

Scientists believe that most of the health benefits linked to hemp oil are due to the oil’s rich mixture of beneficial plant chemicals called phytochemicals, as well as other nutrients.

Important phytochemicals and nutrients found in full-spectrum hemp oil include:

  • cannabinoids terpenes
  • terpenoids
  • flavonoids
  • omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • linoleic acid, γ-linolenic acid, and α-linolenic acid
  • oleic acid
  • palmitic acid

Learn more about the benefits of hemp oil here.

Some studies have found preliminary or limited evidence that molecules and chemicals found in hemp oil may benefit skin health. Skin conditions that may benefit from using hemp oil include:


Hemp oil, especially hemp seed oil, is rich in unsaturated fats such as linoleic acid, γ-linolenic acid, and α-linolenic acid.

These three fatty acids may help improve skin structure by helping the skin retain moisture. They also have a beneficial effect on dry, rough skin and can influence the fluidity of cell membranes and transport of electrolytes.

A 2017 study found that applying 0.5 cm3 of an emulsion that contained hemp seed oil helped moisturize the dehydrated skin of some participants.

Hemp oil also contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, and people with omega deficiencies can develop rough, scaly skin.

Learn more about CBD topicals here.

Acne and acne scars

Hemp oil contains several compounds with oil-reducing, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties that may help improve acne vulgaris.

Studies using mice and human cells show that compounds in hemp oil, such as CBD, may also help improve acne scars by reducing healing time, boosting collagen levels, and stimulating other healing processes, such as cellular turnover and regeneration.

Learn more about CBD and acne here.

Inflammatory skin conditions

Hemp oil contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds, such as fatty acids, antioxidants, and CBD, that may help reduce symptoms associated with inflammatory skin conditions, such as skin dryness, itchiness, and pain.

A 2014 review concluded that applying hemp oil may benefit people with:

Consuming hemp oil may also benefit people with inflammatory skin conditions. Some research has found that dietary hemp oil intake can reduce medication use in people with atopic dermatitis.

Learn more about edible cannabis products here.

Symptoms of skin aging

According to a 2015 journal article, hemp oil can treat and prevent the skin symptoms associated with aging.

According to an older article, this may be because people who consume higher amounts of linoleic acid seem to have a lower likelihood of developing age-related dryness and atrophy, or thinning.

Hemp oil also contains compounds that reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when molecules called free radicals damage the skin, leading to wrinkles and fine lines over time.

Hemp oil also contains compounds that combat signs of skin aging by:

  • stimulating skin regeneration
  • improving skin elasticity and firmness
  • reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
  • reducing skin dullness and improving skin brightness
  • retaining moisture in the skin
  • increasing collagen production

Learn more about CBD skin creams for the face here.


Hemp oil contains antimicrobial compounds and antioxidants that can help destroy microbes, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi, that cause disease.

It also contains compounds that help strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, making it harder for microbes to enter the skin and cause infection or disease.

UV damage and hyperpigmentation

Hemp contains both α-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, which help repair UV skin damage by increasing the removal of melanin.

Melanin is the name for a broad group of natural skin pigments that give the skin’s upper layer its color.

Both α-linolenic acid and linoleic acid can also help reduce hyperpigmentation, or excessive skin darkening, that tends to occur with sun exposure, by suppressing the production of melanin.

Learn more about increasing melanin levels here.

Many other natural skin remedies have properties that can benefit skin health or reduce symptoms of skin conditions.

Examples include:

  • onion extract to reduce the appearance and feel of scars or to prevent or treat fungal infections
  • garlic to prevent skin cancer or irregular growths
  • aloe vera to reduce wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and stretch marks, and improve circulation and wound healing
  • neem to relieve and heal boils and blisters
  • marigold to help heal burns, bruises, wounds, and to reduce inflammatory skin conditions
  • green tea to rejuvenate old skin cells and reduce inflammation
  • echinacea to help treat skin boils, wounds, burns, acne, and psoriasis
  • lavender oil to reduce allergic reactions
  • tomato paste for protection from UV damage
  • mango for very dry, cracked skin
  • chamomile to reduce free radical damage and inflammation
  • rosemary to treat acne and reduce UV damage
  • thyme to treat cellulitis (skin infections)

Learn more about some home remedies for dry skin here.

Hemp oil contains a wide array of phytochemicals beneficial for skin health and human health in general.

Skin conditions that may benefit from hemp oil include eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.

Hemp oil may also be useful in anti-skin aging and treatment of acne scarring.

Before purchasing or using hemp oil, it is important to ensure it is a pure, high-quality product. People with chronic skin conditions should also talk with a doctor about using hemp oil to treat or manage their condition.