9 Ways to Use Hemp Oil In Body Care (And Why You’d Want To)

In celebration of Hemp History Week 2016, Maria Rodale (yes, THAT Rodale) originally published this article on her blog, Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen on May 26, 2016.  I am grateful to her for the opportunity to share a few of the abundantly numerous benefits of industrial hemp.  Dr. Bronner’s ardently supports the efforts to legalize the growth of this amazing crop and uses hemp oil in many of our products, including our Pure Castile Soaps, for reasons you’ll see below.

There are a lot of superlative claims about hemp oil: most unsaturated oil, best essential fatty acids (EFA) ratio and combination, highest amino acid variety, only plant source of vitamin D. Can one oil be all that? In short, yes.


Before we go further, let me address that unspoken question, “Will hemp oil make me high?” No, it won’t. Hemp oil is pressed from the seed of the hemp plant, and this seed does not contain THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive component of marijuana. However, because of this concern, many hemp oil suppliers provide transparent certifications to assure buyers of the lack of THC content in their products. Test Pledge is one such resource, wherein “producers and processors of hemp oil and hemp nut must commission THC tests on each and every lot of hemp nut and oil, performed by a properly accredited laboratory according to the official Health Canada protocol.”

In their assessment of hemp cosmetics on workplace drug testing, Petra Pless, DEnv, and Gero Leson, D Env, state, “In case of the highly unlikely full-body application of pure hemp oil with a 10 ppm THC content on partially compromised skin THC uptake could conceivably be raised to 11 µg/day. Even this higher rate is only a fraction of the 450 µg/day of oral THC intake, found not to result in a positive screening test for marijuana.”

Don’t judge hemp because it may have a kooky cousin. That’s hardly fair. Who doesn’t have an offbeat family member or two?

Why Hemp

Hemp oil contains unsurpassed essential fatty acids (EFAs). As we are increasingly learning, there are good fats and there are bad fats. What makes a good fat good has much to do with these EFAs, specifically omega-3 and omega-6, which are present in hemp oil in the perfect ratio of 1:3. Plus, hemp oil contains the anti-inflammatory gamma linoleic acid (GLA) as well as omega-9. Its fatty acid profile is better than fish oil’s, better than flaxseed oil’s—it is the best. Among many benefits, these EFAs provide for more elastic skin and shiny, stronger hair.

Hemp oil contains a power-packed punch of additional nutrients, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5, vitamin B9 (folate), and vitamin D (of which it is the only plant source), along with a useful dose of the antioxidant vitamin E (tocopherols) as well as all 10 amino acids for protein building. Add to that list chlorophyll (that’s why it’s green), phytosterols, phospholipids, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, and a bit of iron and zinc.

Hemp oil is extremely non-comodogenic. In other words, it doesn’t clog pores. And because its lipids mirror the lipids that our skin produces naturally, it works in sync with our body to soothe and cleanse. Healthy skin produces linoleic acid. If, for whatever reason, the skin can’t produce linoleic acid, it alternatively produces oleic acid, a thick and sticky pore blocker. Hemp oil contains the good linoleic acid.

Hemp oil is also a natural humectant, which means it draws moisture into the skin. Instead of sitting on top of the skin the way less-effective oils do, it’s able to penetrate the skin, moisturizing between cells and strengthening the cell matrix. It can get to hair roots, as well, strengthening the scalp and reducing dry flaking or dandruff. It evens out skin tone and reduces blotchiness.

How to Use It

Hemp oil is inexpensive—especially when you think of all the products it replaces: acne treatments, makeup to cover problem areas, moisturizers, and makeup removers, for instance. Here are just a few ways you can use this effective oil in your daily skin and hair care routines.

     1.  Alleviate dry skin. Rub the oil directly onto dry, cracked skin. For a deep conditioning treatment for hands and feet, massage in the oil then wear socks or gloves overnight to let it work its magic.

     2.  Strengthen nails and heal cuticles. Massage a small amount of hemp oil directly into nails and cuticles—great for both fingernails and toenails.

     3.  Remove makeup. Oil follows the “like dissolves like” rule, which means that hemp oil will dissolve the oils and waxes in makeup, especially in stubborn eye makeup. Gently rub a small amount of oil into the makeup and wipe with a cotton ball or a soft tissue.

     4.  Mask overnight. Massage hemp oil into cleansed facial skin before bedtime.

     5.  Steam facial skin. Massage a tablespoon of oil into the skin on your dry, clean face, massaging for several minutes. Then lay a hot (not scalding) damp washcloth over your face and let it sit until it cools. Wipe with the washcloth. Repeat with another hot washcloth until all the oil is wiped off. Washing your face afterwards is optional.

     6.  Condition hair. Before shampooing, massage a tablespoon or so of hemp oil into your scalp and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, shampoo as normal. You might find you don’t need conditioner.

     7.  Reduce acne. This may sound crazy, but this oil actually reduces acne. Massage hemp oil into problem areas and work it in gently for several minutes. The oil will actually draw out sebum plugs that cause whiteheads, blackheads, and even cysts. Do this daily during breakouts.

     8.  Relieve eczema. A 2005 study found that 2 tablespoons of dietary hemp seed oil consumed daily may help relieve the effects of atopic dermatitis, or eczema.

     9.  Support overall health. Eat it. You can eat it straight and enjoy its nutty flavor or you can put it in salad dressings, as a butter replacement on toast, rice, potatoes, vegetables…it’s delicious! Keep in mind that pure hemp seed oil cannot be used for high-heat cooking. It has a low smoke point and will totally break down even at a moderate heat, at which point all nutritional benefits are lost.

Just remember, pure hemp seed oil goes rancid easily. It needs to be kept in the fridge. However, you can look for it as a shelf-stable ingredient in other personal care products.

24 thoughts on “9 Ways to Use Hemp Oil In Body Care (And Why You’d Want To)

  1. i am 77 yrs old and i have”saggy” skin, would either the hemp lotion or hemp oil help any? Won’t even wear anything that is sleeveless and i live in tx and it gets hot here.

    • Hi Peggy- Unfortunately, no. But our Castile soaps and lotions do help promote healthy skin that can better heal itself.

  2. Does Dr. Bronner also work as vaginal wash? If so all of them? I’ve tried the lavender and it like burned me

    • Hi Raquel – I use the Castile head to toe, but on more sensitive areas, you need a lot less. Just a couple drops. Also, the lavender soap, with its pure essential lavender oil, is surprisingly spicy. Synthetic lavender, which is more common on the market, lacks that punch. You might do better with one of the milder essential oils such as Rose or Almond, or even the Unscented.

  3. I love my Hempseed oil ! I consume 2 to 3 tsp a day! I use after a shower, when my skin is still wet, Then towel dry! I use on my face at nighttime ! I love the way my skin looks & feels in the morning! I’m 48 & still get carded! ??

    • Hi Rose – As you’ve found, hemp oil is very nourishing for the skin. Thank you for sharing!

  4. My skin is starting to wrinkle, and I heard that hemp oil can be used to help stop these effects. Your article had some great information about oil like this, and I liked how you said that full spectrum hemp oil is extremely non-comodogenic, meaning it doesn’t clog pores. It also has lipids mirror the lipids that our skin produces naturally, so I’ll keep this in mind when considering hemp oil for my skin care routine.

  5. I used it with Shea butter,vit E oil,calendula,grape seed oil in a body butter.it healed my sons dry &eczema skin.my son is 5months,it’s so mild&effective for newborn sensitive skin.

  6. Time for true confessions, folks. It is February 9, 2017, and I have missed several months of comments for the simple reasons that things went a little crazy around here. I very much apologize. I am tackling them now for the sake of those faithful and new readers who might actually read them all. I am going to start with the most recent. Bear with me.

    • Hi Lisa!
      I just made a body butter with Hemp oil, the recipe called for two tbsp. Do I refrigerate it? I wanted to sell to my clients but now I’m not so sure.

      Thank you

    • Hi Veronica – Yes, because hemp oil needs to be refrigerated, the body butter does as well. The hemp oil will make it very nourishing for the skin – especially during the winter months.

  7. What type of Hemp seed oil do I buy to use on skin or face, refined or unrefined?

    • Hi Dionne – Unrefined, or raw, would have more of the benefits than refined. It will definitely need to refrigerated, though.

  8. I have been looking for some remedies to take care of health since long time finally I found here.
    Thank you for writing such an important post.

  9. Hi, I was wondering if you know of adverse effects of hemp oil? I was all set to make my own hair oil using hemp oil, until I just read that a lady who was consuming it started to get a receding hairline and her period also stopped. That’s worrying stuff, so I’m not sure if my hair would be harmed by using it topically. Perhaps more research is needed into this substance.

  10. Thanks for the great info. I remembered I bought some hemp oil because of this article. I have psoriasis and suffer from dry skin. I applied it today for the first time and it made my skin feel great.

    • My brother has cancer . after doing chemo his skin is very dry. I will have try this oil. Thank you so much

  11. My mom has been having issues with eczema, and her doctor recommended she try hemp oil for some relief. Sure enough, it works really well. So well that she’s starting to use it elsewhere, including in her food! I’ll definitely have to try some, thanks for sharing.

    • That’s great, Rachel! Let us know here if you have further success stories!

    • I, too, am interested in any updates from Rachel re her mothers excema, including if she saw a difference after adding it to her food as a supplement; With Thanks.

  12. Can I buy good quality ham oil in a health food store or where?

    • Hemp oil is available in health food stores across the US. It may be kept in a refrigerated section. You can also order it online. Nutiva sells directly from their website, but if you Google “where to buy hemp oil”, you’ll get other options as well.

  13. Never realized all the benefits of this pressed oil. Interesting!

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