Beauty tips: Hemp-up your skincare regime


The world of skincare is ever evolving with the invention and inclusion of sundry ingredients that promise to improve a product’s potency.

An ingredient on the rise in the world of skincare and sustainable clothing, hemp, which was once considered a mere ‘weed’, is now a prized inclusion.

The world of skincare is ever evolving with the invention and inclusion of sundry ingredients that promise to improve a product’s potency. One such wonder ingredient to have entered the market in recent years is hemp seed oil. With extremely limited production in the country, it’s a rarity found in niche skincare and lifestyle products.

What is Hemp Seed Oil?

Cannabis — more commonly known as marijuana and hemp, are two varieties of the same plant species — Cannabis Sativa. Hemp seed oil comes from the small seeds of the Cannabis Sativa plant and those seeds do not contain the same levels of cannabinoids (CBD) as the plant itself, but they still have a rich profile of nutrients, fatty acids and useful bioactive compounds. According to Dr Niketa Sonavane, cosmetic dermatologist, Ambrosia Aesthetics, hemp seed oil has been used in India since centuries as a part of ayurvedic medicine.

Why should you use it?

“Cold pressed hemp seed oil contains essential fatty acids such as linolenic acid, which supports skin repair and improves the moisture balance of the skin. It works beautifully against fine lines and can prevent stretch marks. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can calm down acne, rosacea and skin rashes,” says Dr Nikita. Skincare aside, the oil has various other uses too. Yash Kotak, co-founder and director of business development, Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO), says, “Whether on your skin, hair or toast, hemp seed oil is a nutritious oil that will keep you glowing on the inside and out. Adding it to your food will incorporate a nutty flavour along with its nutritional goodness for a wholesome meal. It can also be drizzled over dips, salads, humus or pasta.”

The wonder crop also boasts of several medicinal benefits, which Robin Gupta, co-founder, Conscious Chemist, throws light upon. “Our body has natural receptors to CBD, which are located throughout and are part of the endo-cannabinoid system. In several studies done abroad, CBD has helped people with post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, acute pain and more. There have also been so many cases where patients with Alzheimer’s and epilepsy were treated with medicines formulated with CBD.”

With many start-ups such as BOHECO and Conscious Chemist, which have received overwhelming response from consumers, access to products that use hemp or its components has become relatively easier. However, the ingredient is still looked at with taboo-tinted lenses.

“Hemp has been the easy scapegoat throughout history. However, its journey is not restricted to this, Hemp finds mention in the Atharva Vedas and ancient texts that account for its medicinal and therapeutic value. We’re convinced that there should be more people talking about Hemp with pride. At every level, hemp provides, rather than takes away from what we have,” says Yash, whose start-up not only manufactures hemp infused health and nutrition products, but also uses it and its bi-products to create sustainable textiles and fabrics. “With more studies and companies, who are working to promote CBD and its benefits, I feel, consumers will gain more knowledge and confidence in the compound,” adds Robin.

Who should avoid it?

“As with all other oils, hemp seed oil needs to be used with some caution. Cold pressed oils have a short shelf life. Hemp seed oil has a nutty aroma and a slightly greenish hue. Discard your bottle of hemp seed oil if it smells ‘off’ or if it changes colour,” advises Dr Nikita.

She adds, “I would recommend hemp oil for dry, sensitive and mature skin, due to its hydrating and anti-wrinkle benefits. For those who have oily skin, I personally do not recommend oil-based skin care routines, as at times, there is an initial flare of acne or purging.” Although there are no known health risks associated to using hemp seed oil, Yash says, “When in doubt, it is best to consult one’s personal physicians. Hemp contains numerous nutrients, including folic acid, so it could be a nutritious addition to expectant mothers’ diets. In the case of children, one must take into consideration the child’s age, and body weight while determining the portions.

•An effective moisturiser – Hemp seed oil contains fats that are also found in our skin. Vitamins A and E, as well as antioxidants found in the oil, provide great protection and moisturisation for dry and tired skin.

•Soothes rashes – Hemp seed oil is versatile and can be used for a variety of skin ailments such as dryness, acne, psoriasis and eczema. Usually, skin rashes are caused because of deficiencies of Vitamin D and Omega 6 fatty acid, because hemp seed oil contains both these properties, it reduces redness, itching and inflammation.

•Helps maintain healthy hair – Hemp seed oil can be used to moisturise and strengthen hair and stimulate its growth. High levels of essential fatty acids found in it play a key role in maintaining healthy hair.

• Boosting immunity – Hemp seed oil is high in phytochemical content, which gives it anti-bacterial properties that help reduce the skin’s vulnerability to infections.

•Non-comedogenic – Hemp seed oil is non-comedogenic, it does not block the pores of your skin and makes it easier to absorb the oil’s nutritional properties. This makes it a great ingredient for beauty and skin care products as well as for direct application on hair and skin.

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