An all-to-common source of misery for most teenagers, acne will be an unwelcome experience for eight
out of 10 at some point during the typical hormonal fluctuations experienced during adolescence. But
persistent acne is not just a problem for primping teens to contend with.
Pimples, whiteheads and blackheads can also be a problem for adults. Clinical studies indicate that
between 40 and 55 percent of the adult population age 20 to 40 are diagnosed with some form of acne
and oily skin. It’s believed that chronic stress may play an important role as to why adult acne is on the
rise. Given the high price and potential side effects of standard therapies, hemp oil is increasingly being
studied to as a natural alternative to alleviate or prevent acne.
With its anti-inflammatory properties and natural interaction with key biological systems, there is
evidence that hemp oil may have beneficial health benefits for mitigating acne flareup and breakouts.
What is Acne?
Acne is a condition of the skin that occurs when oil, dirt and dead skin cells clog up the pores. That
leaves the door wide open for a bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes to take hold and cause
unsightly, and sometimes painful, cysts, whiteheads, pimples, pustules and blackheads.
Acne starts in the sebaceous glands of the skin, which produce an oily substance called sebum. Most of
the time, the sebaceous glands produce the right amount of sebum to lubricate your hair and skin. But
when the body is under stress, too much sebum is produced, leading to clogged pores and acne. In
addition, as we mature, hormones influence the sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum, leading to
Severe cases of acne can lead to scarring. In this case, reducing inflammation is key to minimizing
scarring. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, hemp oil has shown promise in studies as an
effective agent reducing excess oil buildup in sebaceous glands. A hemp extract salve, for example, may
help mitigate the inflammatory response of overactive sebaceous glands and lessen the severity of acne
The Endocannabinoid System and Acne
The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a biological system comprised of a large network of receptors
and transmitters found throughout our bodies, including the brain, organs, glands, connective tissues
and immune system.
It is believed that the ECS is responsible for regulating numerous systems and functions such as sleep,
pain, and stress, among other things. Chronic stress and hormonal changes associated with aging likely
contribute to promoting acne flareups and breakouts. Hemp oil has been found to interact with ECS
receptors to reduce inflammation and promote homeostasis (balance) within these systems,
contributing to fewer or less severe acne conditions.
How can Hemp Extract Help Mitigate Acne Breakouts?
The hemp extract action on the ECS of the skin is as multifaceted as the plant it comes from.
Researchers published a study indicating hemp oil may be a potent “universal anti-acne agent
possessing a unique triple action anti-acne trinity” mechanism of action.
In summary the study pointed to key anti-acne benefits of hemp oil:
- Hemp oil was shown to inhibit the lipogenic (ability to produce lipids) regulating sebum production.
- Hemp oil was shown to possess antibacterial effects by eliminating the bacteria reproducing within pores and surrounding skin.
- Hemp oil’s anti-inflammatory effects prevented “pro-acne” agents from elevating pro-inflammatory cytokine levels.
How to Use Hemp Oil for Acne
There are many ways to enjoy the benefits of hemp oil, however, for controlling acne, it’s generally best
to apply it directly to the skin. Topicals in the form of salves and patches introduce hemp oil directly to
the area where it’s needed most ― the skin.
What to do before applying hemp oil to the skin:
- Clean area before applying.
- Apply a thin layer to the affected area, massaging until fully absorbed.
- Wash your hands immediately after application.
Some hemp extract topicals are formulated with lidocaine or another analgesic, which can help alleviate
painful cysts or similar acne breakouts. Further, hemp extract oil, with capsaicin cream, acts through
two active ingredients – capsaicin and hemp oil. Capsaicin is an active component of hot peppers with
some great health benefits. It works by acting upon nerve endings, depleting them, and decreasing pain
intensity. Capsaicin may also prevent neurodegeneration.
For severe acne symptoms, it may be tempting to slather on your hemp extract products to get best
results. However, just the opposite is true. Hemp extract topicals need to be applied thinly for the best
results. Try choosing products with higher concentrations of hemp oil for best results.
Hemp Oil for Other Skin Problems
Researchers are investigating the multifaceted benefits of hemp oil for other skin conditions in addition
to managing acne flareups.
Studies have shown the anti-inflammatory properties of hemp oil to be effective against both allergic
contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a rash is triggered after
the skin contacts substances such as cosmetics, animal dander or poison ivy, for example.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, eczematous skin condition that primarily affects children and is marked by
intense itching, inflammation and xerosis. People suffering from this condition usually have a family
history of it as opposed to being in contact with substances that irritate the skin upon contact.
With both skin conditions, hemp oil has been shown to have reduced both swelling, itching and other
inflammatory effects. A hemp oil or salve applied directly to the affected area could reduce symptoms
related to these skin conditions.
Hemp-derived oil products appear to be gaining more and more traction as an effective way to alleviate
the symptoms of many ailments, including acne and associated skin conditions. The natural, anti-
inflammatory effects hemp oil has on ECS mechanisms of the human body look promising as more
studies are published and new benefits are discovered.
Hemp oil can be an effective alternative to taking oral medications when used properly. If you decide to
use it as a topical for acne, remember that it should be applied in thin layers until absorbed by skin.
To ensure the best results, make sure you buy from manufacturers that use only organic ingredients and
make products that are pharmacist-formulated and tested by third-party laboratories with high
standards for quality control and purity. Further, if using hemp extract topicals to reduce acne
symptoms, make sure to check the ingredients to ensure that the product doesn’t contain anything that
might further irritate the skin. Learn more about the benefits of hemp oil here.