Hemp oil is nothing new: in Europe, it’s been used since 1200 B.C.E., while in China, its history stretches back at least 6,000 years. But recent years have seen a boom in hemp oil’s popularity worldwide, and the scientific world is now waking up to the benefits. In the U.S. alone, the market for CBD is predicted to be worth more than $20 billion in sales in the next four years, with a fair chunk of that stemming from topicals.
Full of antioxidants and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, this oil packs a nutritional punch your skin, hair and body will love. But with everything from CBD salves and balms to hemp creams to straight-up oil available these days, it can be time-consuming to figure out which hemp oil topical is best for you. We took a look at the many uses of these products.
What Are Hemp Oil Topicals?
Put simply, hemp oil topicals are products such as creams, balms, salves and oils which are applied to the skin or hair, as opposed to products that are consumed as capsules, drops or gummies. While ingesting CBD brings a whole host of benefits and can help you nurture yourself from the inside out, applying hemp oil topicals can provide other advantages.
What Happens After You Apply Hemp Oil Topicals
You may already know that CBD works by giving the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) a helping hand. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but the ECS is an important biological system that helps bring balance to your mind and body. This system is pretty cool: it regulates key physiological activity in your body, such as sleep, appetite, discomfort, memory and mood. You might like to think of it as the conductor of your body’s orchestra, making sure everything is in balance to keep you ticking along nicely.
Our bodies have millions of receptors known as CB1 and CB2 receptors, which support and report back to the ECS. When CBD products are absorbed through your pores, they bind with these receptors and help restore homeostasis (balance) to the area. This could mean soothing discomfort, relieving inflammation or giving your skin the boost it needs.
One of the key benefits of applying CBD – rather than consuming it – is that it allows for a targeted impact on a certain area, such as stiff calf muscles after a hike, dry skin patches or a breakout. You’re helping your ECS out where it needs it most.
CBD balm or CBD cream?
Both balms and creams are effective products, but they can potentially yield different results. Creams usually have a higher water content, meaning they are absorbed by the skin more rapidly. Salves and balms are often more oil based, and therefore offer a slower release of CBD.
Uses of Hemp Oil Topicals
A Breakout-Busting Oil
Yes, really. It may seem counterintuitive to put oil on skin prone to breakouts, but hemp oil can hold a whole host of skin-soothing benefits. A 2014 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that the CBD in hemp oil can help the skin regulate oil production, curbing those annoying breakouts. Another study in 2016 highlighted the antifungal and antibacterial properties of the cannabis plant, which could help reduce the number of infections from dirt and impurities that lurk on the skin.
And hemp oil helps bust zits in yet another way. If your skin is dry, your body may attempt to overcompensate by overproducing more sebum, which in turn leads to breakouts. By keeping your skin in tip-top nourished condition with hemp oil, you could be looking at fewer pimples.
Need more convincing? Hemp oil also is rich in vitamin D, and doesn’t clog your pores.
Try This: run a bubble bath and kick back with one of our CBD-rich Broad Spectrum Hemp Sheet Masks, made with organically sun-grown U.S. hemp and supercharged with hemp extract and natural oils to leave your skin glowing and hydrated.
A Solution for Sore Muscles
We all carry stress and tension in our muscles. From tight shoulders after a day at the desk to sore muscles after a workout, CBD oil could be your secret weapon. A 2018 study showed that CBD is effective in easing many types of discomfort, which is why so many people are turning to it as a soothing muscle rub.
Muscle aches after a heavy workout, are caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. Inflammation in these muscles triggers your body to start repair, but you may be in for stiffness and discomfort along the way. Because of CBD’s ability to calm inflammation, many gym lovers have been turning to it as an effective muscle rub.
Try This: Rub a CBD balm or salve on your skin after a workout or whenever you are feeling muscle discomfort. Our CBD-rich Broad Spectrum Hemp Balm is great for applying while on the go to revive tired limbs.
A Treat for Dull Skin
If your skin is looking a little lackluster, hemp oil may be the perfect way to give it a boost. The well-documented anti-inflammatory qualities of CBD stem, in part, from gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which encourages new cell generation and skin growth.
Hemp oil also contains linoleic acid and oleic acids, known for their anti aging qualities, and is packed full of vitamins A, C and E.
Try This: Our Broad Spectrum Hemp Comfort Cream is a treat for dry skin, providing topical relief from redness and flakiness. Rub it gently onto problem areas on your body, and use a sheet mask to brighten up the skin on your face.
A Savior for Your Hair
Hemp oil might just be your hair’s new best friend. If your locks are dry or damaged from styling and dye jobs, the omega-3 and omega-6 in hemp oil could come to the rescue. These fatty acids have been shown to help manage hair loss and maintain thickness in the hair shaft.
Easy for the hair to absorb, hemp oil adds shine and moisture without weighing your locks down and could even help keep your color fresh between trips to the salon. Vitamin E can also provide a real boost to your hair’s elasticity.
Because of hemp oil’s anti-inflammatory properties, it may help those who suffer from itchy, flaky scalps. There are CBD shampoos on the market, but these may not contain the same essential fatty acids found in hemp oil.
Try This: if you have dry or damaged hair, warm a few drops of hemp oil in your palms before distributing it onto your strands. Those with thin or limp hair should probably avoid aiding oil to the hair shaft, but if you’re looking for an overnight scalp treatment, massage a few drops into the scalp before bed and shampoo it out in the morning.
There’s a reason hemp oil has been used for thousands of years to boost health and wellness. With the latest scientific studies now backing its benefits, there’s never been a better time to look after your body with CBD-rich broad spectrum hemp. With SHEbd, you can be sure that our premium-quality, organically grown U.S. hemp products are the real deal.
Rosie Hopegood is a journalist, editor and content writer based in London. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Guardian, The Telegraph and Vice.