Is hemp seed oil effective for childhood eczema?

Is hemp seed oil effective for childhood eczema?


Sam North is an experienced cannabis consultant and writer who provides education and guidance for businesses, commercial projects, and private clients. With over 5 years of industry experience, Sam is passionate about the potential of cannabis to help restore balance and well-being into people's lives.

As a parent, it can be distressing seeing your baby covered in itchy red patches. Eczema is a very common childhood condition, affecting one in five babies in the UK. It is characterised by red and inflamed patches of skin which itch. Sometimes, these patches can crack and bleed. While not life-threatening, it can certainly cause them discomfort and some sleepless nights as they struggle with the unbearable itch.

Eczema is thought to impact around 20% of children in the UK. There is currently no cure for this condition, and its causes are multifaceted. While genetics play a role, the immune system's reaction to environmental factors like certain foods, perfumes, clothing, fibres, and chemicals also contribute. However, there is limited clinical evidence confirming the specific triggers for flare-ups. If eczema, hay fever, or asthma runs in your family, there is a possibility that you and your children may be impacted as well.

Eczema often appears in the first few months after birth and usually improves as children get older. Traditional treatments for mild cases focus on using cleansers and applying a fragrance-free moisturiser or ointment after bathing. Corticosteroids may also be used to treat inflammation and redness on the skin.

Naturally, you want to do all you can to relieve your child’s distress. Some parents prefer natural treatments over pharmaceutical options, which is where hemp seed oil can be of benefit. Although derived from hemp, which is part of the cannabis plant family, it doesn’t contain any psychoactive or intoxicating ingredients and is legal in the UK.

Understanding hemp seed oil

Hemp seed oil is derived from hemp plants, where the seeds are harvested and carefully cold-pressed. This process yields an oil that, while producing less quantity compared to traditional heated extraction methods, preserves its eczema-beneficial nutritional profile. By opting for this method, the oil maintains its nourishing properties, ensuring its effectiveness for those seeking relief from eczema.

Hemp is an extremely versatile part of the cannabis plant family, and one of the fastest-growing plants in the world, second only to bamboo. Being one of the pioneers in fibre production, it has found its way into various applications such as clothing, shoes, textiles, ropes, fishing nets, and paper. Although it has gained recognition for its industrial uses, the focus has now shifted towards its therapeutic advantages as a wellness supplement.

Although hemp seed oil comes from the cannabis sativa L. family, it doesn’t contain the psychoactive element of the plant, known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and is perfectly legal. However, it does contain a rich nutritional profile of compounds known to help keep skin healthy, including between 70-90% polyunsaturated fatty acids (including Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids), minerals, proteins and vitamin E. It is also believed to have antioxidant properties.

The science behind baby eczema and hemp seed oil

A 2005 20-week study showed significant improvements in the clinical symptoms of atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, while a 2011 study showed supplementing a diet with Omega-3, which hemp seed oil has in abundance, could reduce inflammation and anxiety.

A 2014 review also concluded that hemp seed oil could also reduce skin dryness, itchiness, and pain of eczema. Other research suggested taking hemp seed oil reduced the number of traditional medications patients needed to take.

In addition, hemp oil was said to contain compounds that reduce oxidative stress, stimulate skin regeneration, improve elasticity, retain moisture, and increase collagen production.

Applying hemp seed oil for baby eczema

Although hemp seed oil has been reported to have benefits for childhood eczema, it is not as widely recognized as other medical treatment options. As such, there are no specific dosage recommendations for infants. If you intend to introduce it into your child's diet or skincare routine, it is advisable to start with a small amount and gradually increase it, and to do so with the guidance of a healthcare professional.

For eczema, hemp seed oil can be rubbed directly onto the affected skin, ideally two to three times a day. Some babies may experience mild irritation, so make sure to test it on a small patch of unaffected skin first and wait 24 hours before applying it to the eczema-affected areas.

For babies, it is often recommended to pop a few drops of hemp seed oil in their bath. Hemp seed oil can have a moisturising effect on the skin, and this is an uncomplicated way to incorporate it into their evening routine.

Safety and considerations

When it comes to using products for babies, it's always wise to approach with caution. While hemp seed oil is generally considered safe, it's important to consult your doctor first to ensure they approve its use on your baby.

It's also critical to be aware that there is a possibility of side effects, such as skin irritation. Therefore, it's recommended to start with small amounts and closely observe how it affects your baby before considering increasing the dosage.

Final thoughts

Hemp seed oil is undeniably rich in highly beneficial nutrients and compounds, which research indicates can alleviate the primary symptoms of eczema. Given its positive effects in adults, it is reasonable to assume that it would also be advantageous for infants. However, when it comes to young children, a cautious approach is essential to ensure that they do not experience any undesirable side effects.

Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional before introducing hemp seed oil into your baby's diet or skincare routine. With their guidance, you can ensure that your baby receives the relief they need from eczema without experiencing any negative effects.

Don't let the stigma surrounding medical cannabis prevent you from getting a suitable treatment. Releaf provides tailored monthly packages, specialist consultations for medical cannabis, and a unique medical cannabis card for protection, all based on your medical cannabis prescription.

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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