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Hemp Oil for Psoriasis: Is It Helpful for Your Scalp?

Posted on September 28, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Kevin Berman, M.D., Ph.D.
Article written by
Sarah Winfrey

Some people with psoriasis seek out alternative or natural remedies to add to their treatment regimens. Those with scalp psoriasis, in particular, often try hydrating products such as oils to help ease dryness, itching, and flaking. Alongside magnesium oil and neem oil, one such product MyPsoriasisTeam members have shown interest in trying is hemp oil or hemp seed oil.

Here’s what you need to know about hemp oil, including what it is, how it may be used, and what research suggests about its potential benefits for people living with scalp psoriasis. As always, talk with your dermatologist before incorporating new products — even natural or plant-based products — into your psoriasis management regimen.

What Is Hemp Oil?

When searching for hemp oil products, you may feel confused by the different product names and what they mean. “Hemp oil” can refer to a product extracted from industrial hemp plants (Cannabis sativa) used in the manufacture of cosmetic products like soap and materials like paint and linoleum. Industrial hemp is very low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that causes the “high” associated with marijuana. Specifically, hemp contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, far less than the amount necessary to experience a high.

Sometimes, the term “hemp oil” means edible hemp seed oil, also extracted from industrial hemp. Hemp seed oil is pressed from the cannabis plant’s seeds that do not contain psychoactive elements. Hemp seeds are also edible and can be found in some grocery or health food stores. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized hemp seed-derived products as safe for human consumption.

Hemp oils used for consumption or manufacturing do not contain CBD or have just trace amounts.

In some instances, the term “hemp oil” may be used to mean CBD oil, which is extracted from the flower buds and leaves of the cannabis plant and contains cannabinoids. This article focuses on hemp products without CBD. Read more to learn about CBD and psoriasis.

Check labels carefully to know what you’re purchasing.

How Might Hemp Oil Help Scalp Psoriasis?

The effects of hemp oils on the symptoms of psoriasis and scalp psoriasis have not been a focus of studies. However, related research can help us understand potential benefits.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Oils made from hemp seeds contain a high concentration of unsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Clinical trials and other studies have determined that omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, possess anti-inflammatory properties along with the ability to help skin retain moisture. These characteristics may make omega-3s beneficial for people with autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, including psoriasis. Because study participants have shown reduced disease activity and less reliance on anti-inflammatory medications, scientists believe that anti-inflammatory supplements like omega-3s may help relieve psoriasis symptoms.

Findings also suggest that topical use of omega-3 fatty acid oils — specifically, fish oil — may be helpful for the skin. Potential benefits include improving the skin barrier, relieving dryness and itchiness, reducing wrinkles, and promoting wound healing.

How To Use Hemp Oil

Some MyPsoriasisTeam members consume hemp seed oil or use it topically to help ease psoriasis symptoms or psoriasis flare-ups. “The hemp oil seems to be working,” wrote one member. “My skin is clearing up.”

Consuming Hemp Oil

Some people take the edible oil like they would a supplement, and others use it to make salad dressings or mix it into other foods. Because it has a low smoke point, hemp oil is not recommended for frying.

“I’ve been drinking the hemp oil,” wrote one member, “and I’m starting to see a little change in my skin.” Before ingesting any hemp seed oil, double-check the packaging to ensure it’s safe to do so.

Applying Hemp Oil to the Skin

As when using other topical oils, the general strategy involves applying the hemp oil to the affected areas of your scalp, letting it sit to give it time to be absorbed into the skin, and then washing away any oil that is left. You may want to do a patch test first if you are prone to allergic reactions or have sensitive skin.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a shampoo containing hemp oil or choose to mix one yourself. You may also want to apply hemp oil directly to any plaques or lesions on your head or other parts of the body, allow the oil to be absorbed, and then wash the remainder away. This may also soften the scales and plaques of psoriasis so that they wash away with the oil. There are also lotions, creams, and other topical applications for hemp oil.

If left on the scalp, hemp oil may clog pores or cause hair to look greasy and messy, so you’ll want to wash your hair well with a regular or psoriasis shampoo after using hemp oil.

One member shared, “My sister was amazed at how good my skin looks. I think it’s all down to the oil I’m using. I apply hemp oil and hemp oil cream to my patches every morning and evening, and I use hemp oil shower wash. I can’t recommend it enough!”

Talk to your dermatology team before you start any new care regimen for scalp psoriasis. They will help you find the right product for your needs, review potential side effects, and give you additional instructions for using hemp oil as safely and effectively as possible.

Find Your Team

Are you or a loved one living with psoriasis? Consider joining MyPsoriasisTeam today. Here, on the online social network for people who live with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, you can share your journey, ask questions, help others find the answers they need, and more. It won’t be long before you have a team of people available for support who understand life with psoriatic disease.

Do you use hemp oil to treat psoriasis on your scalp? Are you looking for new skin care options and considering hemp oil? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or by posting on MyPsoriasisTeam.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Kevin Berman, M.D., Ph.D. is a dermatologist at the Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
Sarah Winfrey is a writer at MyHealthTeam. Learn more about her here.

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