EducationIs hemp seed oil effective for childhood eczema?

Is hemp seed oil effective for childhood eczema?

8 min read

Sam North


As any parent who has watched their child struggle with eczema knows, seeing your baby covered in itchy red patches can be distressing. Finding an effective treatment can be a frustrating and often disheartening process, but hemp seed oil may just hold the key to relieving your child's eczema symptoms.

Baby eczema in focus

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.

There is currently no cure for baby eczema, 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.

When does childhood eczema appear?

Eczema often appears in the first few months after birth and usually improves as children age. 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.

Needless to say, 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 sativa L. genus, it doesn’t contain any psychoactive or intoxicating ingredients (zero THC), it is legal in the UK for over the counter sale, and it is safe for children.

Understanding hemp seed oil

Hemp seed oil is derived from hemp plants, where the seeds are harvested and cold-pressed. This process yields an oil that, while producing less quantity compared to traditional heated extraction methods, preserves its eczema-beneficial nutritional profile. The oil maintains all of its nourishing properties when cold-pressed, ensuring its effectiveness for those seeking relief from baby 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. This also means it is capable of producing huge amounts of seeds quickly, and does so without requiring pesticides or herbicides. Its seeds contain high levels of essential fatty acid (EFA) linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, known as omega-6 and omega-3.

The power of essential fatty acids in hemp seed oil

Linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid are essential fatty acids, which means our bodies do not produce them naturally. They play a crucial role in the structure of cell membranes, maintaining healthy skin function, and reducing inflammation.

Hemp seed oil is one of the highest natural sources of these acids, making it an ideal treatment for eczema. Hemp seed oil is made up of 70-90% polyunsaturated fatty acids (including Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids), as well as minerals, proteins, and vitamin E.

In short, hemp seed oil for childhood eczema may be an effective and natural alternative for managing your child's symptoms. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help cut down redness, itching, and discomfort. Its gentle and natural makeup makes it safe to use on sensitive skin. As always,

The science behind baby eczema and hemp seed oil

The currently available research is shedding light on the wide range of hemp seed oil skin benefits, and more specifically, on its ability to help manage eczema symptoms.

A 2005 20-week study showed significant improvements in the clinical symptoms of atopic dermatitis, the most common form of baby 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 reduce skin dryness, itchiness, and pain of eczema. Other research suggested applying hemp seed oil for eczema in children reduced the number of traditional medications patients needed to take.

In addition, hemp oil contains compounds that reduce oxidative stress, stimulate skin regeneration, improve elasticity, retain moisture, and increase collagen production - all of which should help reduce the severity of childhood eczema.

Applying hemp seed oil for baby eczema

One question we hear all the time is "Is hemp oil safe for babies' skin?"

Yes, hemp seed oil is safe for all ages, but that is not to say that it comes with zero risk of allergic reactions.

Although hemp seed oil has been reported to have benefits for childhood eczema, it is not as widely recognised as some of the pharmaceutical treatment options. There are no specific dosage recommendations for hemp oil application for infants, but that has more to do with its exceptional saftey profile than its effectiveness. It is generally applied topically, and the dosage varies based on the concentration of hemp seed oil in the product.

Safe application tips for babies

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

Always make sure to use pure and high-quality hemp seed oil from a trusted brand. Look for organic, cold-pressed, an appropriate concentration, and third-party tested products when choosing a hemp seed oil product.

Remember that while hemp seed oil is a natural and safe alternative for managing your baby's eczema, it is not a replacement for medical treatment. In the case of severe or persistent symptoms, consult your doctor to understand all the treatment options available.

It is often recommended for babies suffering from eczema to add 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 a babies 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.

Allergies and side effects awareness

Hemp seed oil allergic reactions are exceedingly rare, but it's always best to conduct a patch test before incorporating it into your baby's routine. Additionally, as with any natural product, there may be some side effects or interactions with other medications. It's always best to discuss this with your doctor before use.

FAQs on hemp seed oil for childhood eczema

Can hemp seed oil be ingested for eczema relief?

Ingesting hemp seed oil can contribute to eczema relief by enhancing skin health from the inside out.

How long does it take to see results from using hemp seed oil on eczema?

Results can vary based on the individual's skin condition and the severity of eczema. Some may notice improvements within a few days, while others may need several weeks to observe significant changes. Consistent application is key to achieving and maintaining results.

Can hemp seed oil be used in conjunction with other eczema treatments?

Yes, hemp seed oil can be part of a comprehensive eczema treatment plan, including moisturisers, corticosteroids, and diet modifications.

Is there an age restriction for using hemp seed oil on children with eczema?

No specific age restriction exists for topical hemp seed oil use. However, it's crucial to conduct a patch test and start with small amounts to monitor for any adverse reactions. Consultation with a paediatrician or dermatologist is recommended to tailor the approach to the child's age and eczema severity.

Final thoughts on hemp seed oil for infants

Hemp seed oil is undeniably rich in highly beneficial nutrients and compounds, and  research indicates it can alleviate the primary symptoms of baby eczema. For 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 quickly.

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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Sam North, a seasoned writer with over five years' experience and expertise in medicinal cannabis, brings clarity to complex concepts, focusing on education and informed use.

Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

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