EducationHow helpful is hemp seed oil for rosacea?

How helpful is hemp seed oil for rosacea?

6 min read

Editorial Team

How helpful is hemp seed oil for rosacea?


Rosacea is a common skin condition which causes redness. It usually begins with people blushing or becoming flushed more easily. Normally affecting the nose, cheeks and forehead, it’s a long-term condition, with sufferers experiencing periodic flare-ups.

It can impact anyone, though symptoms normally appear in people over 30, and it particularly affects women and those who are fair-skinned. Men do get rosacea, and symptoms can become more severe or advanced before they seek treatment.

The causes of rosacea are not fully understood, though if family members suffer from it, you’re more likely to suffer too. Factors which make the blood vessels on the face get larger lead to it, though it’s thought this could be caused by a combination of external environmental factors, genetics, and immune system dysfunction. So far, no genetic link has been proven, nor has a link to bacteria on the skin or in the gut.

What is certain is that rosacea can affect people’s quality of life, leading to low self-confidence and self-image.

Symptoms and treatment

The main symptoms include blushing and persistent redness. Some patients may get bumps and pimples which are raised and red that may look a bit like acne. They may experience burning and stinging, skin thickening, eye irritation, raised red patches, and facial swelling.

Current treatments include topical and oral medications to manage symptoms and flare-ups, laser treatment, antibiotics, and in severe cases, surgery to correct disfigurements. However, hemp seed oil is emerging as a potential complementary treatment which could provide relief because omega fatty acids present in the oil can soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. In particular, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) can calm skin redness, aid skin repair and promote healing.

Understanding Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil is widely used in a range of health and skincare treatments. Packed full of essential fatty acids including Omega-3 and -6, it’s said to be particularly beneficial to a range of skin conditions.

Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the cannabis sativa L. plant. This hardy, versatile plant has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years and has a range of potential health benefits. Over the centuries, it has been used to treat everything from gout and constipation to skin inflammation and gastrointestinal diseases. While research is ongoing, there is high potential for new medicines and positive health outcomes from the medical use of cannabis, particularly in the areas of pain relief for cancer sufferers and those suffering from autoimmune illnesses.

To make hemp seed oil, the seeds of cannabis plant are harvested and then ground down and the oil from this cold-pressed process is collected. It has a clear green colour and sometimes has a nutty flavour.

Often, people will refer to hemp seed oil and cannabidiol (CBD) in the same breath but they’re not the same thing. While CBD products, one of the two most active cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis, use the leaves, stalks, and flowers from the cannabis plant, hemp seed oil comes purely from the seeds.

The seeds contain very little CBD, nor does it contain any tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the bioactive compound that gives users the characteristic intoxicating ‘high’ and sense of euphoria. It does, however, have a rich nutrient profile, bioactive ingredients and fatty acids which can be beneficial to rosacea sufferers. As well as Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, it is rich in vitamins B and D and contains gamma-linolenic acid.

Rosacea and hemp seed oil: The connection

Hemp seed oil has many benefits for the skin. It possesses antioxidant and anti-ageing characteristics, which can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It is also a natural humectant – a substance which draws water into skin, hair, and nails – and therefore has a moisturising effect.

  • Regulates oil production – Hemp seed oil can moisturise the skin without clogging pores and is suitable for all skin types. It can reduce oil overproduction which can lead to acne, and it can balance out dryness.
  • Soothes redness – As we have mentioned, hemp seed oil contains the omega-6 fatty acid GLA which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties but also aids new cell generation and skin growth. This can reduce redness and inflammation of the skin while simultaneously offering a hydrating effect.
  • Can act as a cleanser – Hemp seed oil is good for removing makeup and the build-up of dirt on the face, which may contribute to rosacea flare-ups.

Applying hemp seed oil for rosacea

Hemp seed oil can be bought in its pure form, or it can be mixed into a range of moisturisers, creams, and ointments to be applied to the skin.

One of the easiest ways to use hemp seed oil is as part of your daily skincare regime. Simply take a small amount of the oil, about a 1 pound sized amount, and rub it gently into the skin on your face. It can also be incorporated into soap.

Safety and considerations

Hemp seed oil does not contain THC and very little CBD, so it has no psychotropic effects. However, this has been disputed by some and, given inconsistencies in manufacturing processes, a cautious approach is advised when purchasing it and to only buy from reputable suppliers.

It’s generally considered safe to apply to the skin, but some users may find it causes localised irritation. Additionally, although it can be used in place of olive oil in cooking, some users may find ingesting it could cause digestive issues or stomach upsets.

Hemp seed oil is legal in the UK as it doesn’t contain any THC.

Is hemp seed oil an effective treatment for rosacea?

While hemp seed oil is widely used in skin care products and has a range of beneficial effects, its role in improving rosacea remains unproven. Given its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it may well help relieve symptoms in sufferers. It could also act as an alternative to steroid-based treatments which produce unwanted side effects, subject to further research.

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Editorial Team

Article written by the Releaf Editorial Team, a group of seasoned experts in cannabis healthcare, dedicated to enhancing awareness and accessibility in the field through their wealth of knowledge and experience.

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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Editorial Team