CBD & hemp seed oil skincare products: do they work?

Vanessa Gibbs

CBD has taken the health world by storm. You can now find this ingredient everywhere from supplements to gummies, haircare and make-up. It’s now in skincare products too and promises to do everything from smooth wrinkles to clear acne. 

Another ingredient you may have seen becoming more popular is hemp seed oil. While related, hemp seed oil and CBD are totally different ingredients and can help your skin in different ways. But what actually are these ingredients and should you be using them? That’s exactly what we’re going to cover. More and more skincare brands are jumping on the trend, and we want to break down if these ingredients are actually something you need in your daily routine. 

Here at Face Dr, our team is made up of passionate skin experts with decades of experience. They know everything there is to know about the latest ingredients out there, including CBD and hemp seed oil. We don’t specifically recommend these ingredients—as there are plenty of others with much more research behind them—but we still think it’s important to know more about them if you choose to use it. If you would like to skip the reading and get professional advice, click the button below to book your free skincare consultation with a Skin Expert. 


Here’s what we’ll cover: 

  • What CBD and hemp seed oil are (and what’s the difference) 
  • What CBD and hemp seed oil do for the skin 
  • Whether you should use CBD or hemp seed oil  
  • How to use CBD and hemp seed oil 
  • Who should (and shouldn’t) use CBD and hemp seed oil 
  • The side effects of CBD and hemp seed oil 
  • The top products with CBD and hemp seed oil 
  • Whether you should use different ingredients instead 

Want to save time and find the best skincare products for you straight away? We offer free online skin consultations with a member of our friendly team. They can analyse your skin, answer any questions and recommend the best products to help with your exact concerns—all in just 30 minutes. 

We’ve also covered other skincare ingredients in depth like ceramides and antioxidants. Ready to upgrade your skincare knowledge? Here’s our guide to CBD and hemp seed oil. 


cbd skincare serum with cannabis leaves

What are CBD and hemp seed oil?

Let’s start with CBD. CBD is a cannabidiol, a compound found in the cannabis sativa plant. However, it won’t cause a high as it doesn’t contain the THC compound, or tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the only compound of the plant that makes you high. 

CBD can be extracted from any part of the plant, like the flowers or leaves, and is mixed with a carrier oil, like coconut oil, to create CBD oil. It is now being used in products to reduce anxiety and stress, inflammation, muscle aches and even epilepsy. 

CBD in skincare exploded in popularity around 2018, and has only become more popular since. In skincare, you can now find it in everything from moisturisers to masks, serums to cleansers. 

Hemp seed oil also comes from the cannabis plant, but it is only made from the plant’s seeds. It also can’t cause a high as it does not contain THC. Hemp seed oil has been used in the skincare world for much longer—you may have even used it without knowing it. It is most often found in serums and moisturisers. 

The main difference between the two is that hemp seed oil doesn’t contain the active ingredient of CBD. It’s only made from the seeds and without this compound it doesn’t provide as many of the stronger benefits, like being as anti-inflammatory. It can, however, do plenty of other things for your skin, so don’t write it off just yet. We’ll dive into exactly what both of these ingredients can do in skincare.

Face Dr top tips: 

  • Hemp seed oil can also appear as cannabis sativa oil on ingredients lists
  • CBD can appear as hemp CBD, full-spectrum hemp extract or hemp extract oil—although as CBD is such a popular skincare ingredient at the moment, most products make it clear that they include it 

What exactly can CBD and hemp seed oil do for the skin? 

CBD and hemp seed oil products can have all kinds of claims for what they can do for your skin. Here are some of the more proven ones, many of them are even the same: 

CBD can: 

  • Boost moisture 
  • Provide the skin with antioxidants to protect it from free radical damage 
  • Reduce inflammation 
  • Regulate oil production to reduce acne and oily patches 
  • Reduce acne scarring 
  • Soothe irritation 
  • Reduce signs of ageing 

Hemp seed oil can: 

  • Boost moisture 
  • Reduce breakouts and clear acne 
  • Soothe irritation 
  • Reduce redness 
  • Repair skin barrier to reduce sensitivity 
  • Regulate oil production to reduce acne and oily patches 

CBD vs hemp seed oil — which one should I use? 

CBD products can be easily absorbed into our skin, penetrating into the deeper layers where they bind to receptors. We have cannabinoid receptors in our skin cells, so once the ingredient gets here it can help to heal our skin from the inside, regulate systems—like how much oil our skin is making—and reduce inflammation. 

Hemp seed oil works much like any other skincare oil you might find. It does get absorbed into the skin, but it works on more of a surface level to tackle dryness, acne and inflammation.

Therefore studies are starting to show that CBD oil may be more effective, especially when it comes to reducing inflammation and protecting the skin from damage, ageing and discolouration. 

Some studies have found that CBD can work well on those with dermatitis and psoriasis. This is because CBD has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s even been shown to help to reduce the redness that comes with rosacea. 

However, CBD is still a relatively new ingredient in the skincare world and while the studies are looking promising, there’s still not loads of research behind the compound just yet. Plus, hemp seed oil has plenty of benefits, especially if you have sensitive skin. It’s also safe for those who are pregnant. 


hemp plant leaf for hemp seed oil skincare

How do you use CBD and hemp seed oil?

Most often, you’ll find both of these ingredients in a serum. You can simply apply these as you would any other serum, usually by gently rubbing a few drops into the skin once or twice a day as part of your normal routine. Most products are safe to use daily, morning and night, but of course, always check the instructions of the product you’re using. 

Who can use CBD and hemp seed oil?

Both hemp seed oil and CBD can be used by all skin tones and types. They’re both moisturising, so they’re great for those with dry skin. Both can reduce redness and inflammation, which is great for sensitive types. And they can both work to reduce oil production so those with acne-prone skin or oily skin types can use them, too. 

Who can’t use CBD and hemp seed oil?

There are not many people who should avoid these ingredients. If you’ve got extra sensitive skin, be sure to pay attention to the ingredients list to check for added fragrances or other harsh ingredients that could cause a reaction. 

If you have a severe acne, rosacea, eczema or another skin condition, it can be helpful to speak with a skin expert before using these products, especially CBD as it’s an active compound. While it may be totally safe, and CBD in particular may even help, severe versions of these skin conditions are always trickier to manage. That’s why getting an expert opinion on what new ingredients you introduce into your routine is helpful.

Many experts say that hemp seed oil is safe for those who are pregnant, and while CBD probably is too, it hasn’t been studied enough, so it’s often best to simply avoid it. 


woman looking at skin in mirror skincare routine with cbd

Which skincare ingredients can you use with CBD and hemp seed oil?

Both CBD and hemp seed oil work well with most other skincare ingredients. In fact, you can find both of these mixed with everything from retinol to glycolic acid in one product. 

What are the side effects of CBD and hemp seed oil?

Both CBD and hemp seed oil have no known side effects. But, of course, as with any new skincare ingredient, you should always patch test before using it. Simply swipe a small amount of a new product on a discrete patch of skin, like the inside of your wrist. Wait 24 to 48 hours then check for signs of redness or irritation. If everything is clear, it’s most likely that you won’t have a reaction to the product if you use it fully on your face. 

Of course, there’s always a chance your skin could react to another ingredient in the product, like an added fragrance for example. Look out for side effects like redness, itchiness or dryness. Reduce the amount you use the product, or stop using it completely, if you notice anything. These minor reactions should go away on their own, but speak to a professional if they don’t. 

Worried about reactions? Why not speak with a skin expert who can analyse your skin and recommend the best products for your skin type and concerns? We offer free online skincare consultations to do just this.  

Products to try with CBD and hemp seed oil


Hemp seed oil:


Do we recommend CBD and hemp seed oil? 

The short answer is no. While there are some promising studies about these ingredients, especially CBD, there are other skincare ingredients out there that simply have years more scientific research behind them. We never want to waste our client’s time—or money!—so we only ever recommend medical-grade ingredients that are guaranteed results. 

So while CBD and hemp seed oil could tackle concerns like signs of ageing, dry skin and acne, we know other ingredients that will definitely tackle these, and they’ve got the science backing to prove it. Looking for what we do recommend for those concerns? Our skin experts can analyse your skin and recommend the best ones for you with a free consultation

 skin expert with skincare serum offering free skincare consultations

In summary

So, while both CBD and hemp seed oil can help with everything from sensitive skin to acne, which one should you use? Or should you turn to a different ingredient altogether? It all depends on your skin. 

Here at Face Dr, we offer free online skincare consultations where you can speak to an expert member of our team. In a 30-minute video call, one of our skin experts will analyse your skin, ask about your specific concerns and then recommend the very best products out there to help. We can help to build you an entire new skincare routine or simply offer advice on one or two products to add to tackle something in particular. 

There’s never any obligation to buy and we only ever recommend products we’ve tried and tested ourselves, so you can trust you’re getting the very best skincare advice—all from the comfort of your own home. 

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