In honor of today’s unofficial slash widely celebrated non-holiday — better known as 420 day — we’ve got some hempseed oil skincare knowledge to drop. 

Seattle skincare company Cannabis Basic’s founder Ah Warner has spent over two decades educating people on the benefits of hempseed oil and advocating for it both in Washington State and D.C. The first thing Warner wants you to know? Hemp oil is not derived from pot, aka the THC-filled stuff that makes you high. Hempseed oil comes from industrial hemp seeds. Not buds, not leaves, not resin. Hemp seeds. Full stop.

Read on about the differences between the two — and why you might want to consider adding hempseed oil to your beauty routine.


CBD vs. hempseed oil: Which is the better skincare ingredient?

Waves of weed-related science is becoming more mainstream these days. And with that knowledge, a new crop of skin products are popping up, claiming “hemp-derived CBD” or something similar. They might say “hemp” on the label, but these aren’t hempseed oil products. It’s a misnomer, and it’s fueled by confusing information out there as to the kind of cannabis that gets you high, which is completely different than the industrial hemp that can make almost anything — from strong, beautiful clothes to beauty products. 

CBD is enjoying widespread “miracle” status. People want to eat it, smoke it and vape it, but some might also think that they can use CBD oil for skin ailments or anti-aging. This, as we learned, is a pity. Especially at its price point. CBD in any form doesn’t come cheap.  

Alternatively, the beauty and effects of hempseed oil are known in relatively small circles, regardless of its decades-long run delivering skin magic. 

“There’s such a craze for ‘CBD anything,’ and the skincare coming out of it is coasting by on CBD’s ‘trending’ reputation,” Warner says. “But CBD products simply don’t have hempseed oil’s skin nutrition and protection. Hempseed oil is the closest balance to our own natural oil production, making it really easy to absorb its beneficial properties. Pound for pound, it’s the best oil for human skin, period.” 


Related: 7 top cosmetic treatments that skin experts swear by (and use themselves)


What our doctor says about hempseed oil

Skincare expert and a plastic surgeon Dr. Anthony Youn weighs in on this trend. “Hempseed oil is fast becoming one of the most popular ingredients in natural skincare,” he says. “It’s made purely from hemp seeds, unlike CBD oil, which is made from leaves, flowers and stalks.”

So, what are the beauty benefits of hempseed oil? Dr. Youn explains: “It’s chock-full of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, including stearidonic acid, a potent anti-inflammatory, which soothes dry, aged and inflamed skin. The concentration of fatty acids make hempseed oil a great, emollient moisturizer for the skin, with long-lasting hydration.”

But wait, there’s more.

Warner tells us, “Hempseed oil is rich in vitamins B6, E, and C, and also rich in amino acids that help generate collagen, elastin, help skin retain moisture and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.”

Dr. Youn adds, “When vitamins E and C are combined, the antioxidant activity is synergistic, creating a more powerful impact on free radicals than when either vitamin is used on its own. B6 is important in skin development and maintenance. It’s known for strong antioxidant effects, and a deficiency can lead to dermatitis or skin inflammation.”

Additionally, hempseed oil has other potential health benefits, like encouraging healthier hair and nails. It’s also a mercury-free fatty acid that can help promote brain and heart health, and your immune system.


How do I know my hempseed oil product is legit?

Warner recommends that if you’re looking for a skin-loving product with hempseed oil, to “scrutinize that ingredient list.”  

“Avoid anything like ‘proprietary blend’ or ‘cannabis extract,’ ” she says. “Those phrases don’t tell you exactly what’s in there, and it’s about what they aren’t saying. Avoid ‘fragrance oil,’ they clog pores and create a barrier. Yes to essential oils or terpenes — they’re one in the same. Also, you want your oils cold pressed or expeller pressed. Otherwise, it is chemically pressed using hexane, which is just gross.”

To recap:

  • Hempseed oil is made from hemp seeds. That’s it. It’s available in every state.
  • Anything with “hemp” on the label that doesn’t explicitly say “hempseed oil” on the ingredient list is suspect.

Knowledge is power. Happy 420!


Have more questions about skincare ingredients? Ask a doctor.