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Hemp oil is very suitable for usage in high-class cosmetic products. In a concentration around 80 %, hemps unsaturated fatty acids have excellent skin care properties: they prevent excessive skin moisture loss or dehydration, skin cracking and, they are able to support partial recovery of skin’s own lipid production.

An additional point to mention, is the almost exclusive composition of both essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid as well as the rare gamma-linoleic acid. The most important application of gamma linoleic fatty acid (GLA) is treating skin ailments such as neurodermititis, psoriasis or, to assist in healing scars. It is possible to balance deficiencies of essential fatty acids through outer application with ointments or also with inner application (e.g. through hemp cooking oil).

Cosmetic skin problems such a dry, scaly, or cracked skin react favourably to an outer treatment with essential fatty acids.

Although both of the essential fatty acids as well as gamma-linoleic fatty acid are also found in other plant oils e.g. evening primrose and borage in high concentrations, in comparison, hemp posseses two further major advantages:

Hemp contains both essential fatty acid linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid in a ratio of 3:1. This composition is almost identical with the fatty acid structure of human skin (4:1) . In comparison, the evening primrose and borage show an unfavourable ration of at least 30:1.

Additionally, no pesticides or herbicides are applied in commercial hemp cultivation. In comparison to evening primrose and borage cultivation, that are both grown in pest and weed sensitive special cultures and usually require pesticides, hemp therefore offers very clear ecological and health oriented advantages.

Human skin is not only a sense organ and a temperature regulator, but is also has an important defence function. It protects the body from excessive loss of water and from intrusion of undesireable substances and organisms. The most important duties for this defence function are taken over by the outer, thin layer of the skin, the so called stratum corneum or subcorneous. This is made up from dying and dead skin cells held together by a mixture of different fats, just as bricks are held together by mortar.

Dry skin is favoured by enviromental factors e.g dry heating air, too much sun, excessive use of strongly fat-removing soaps, unfavourable bath additives or other detergents but can also be caused by cell metabolism slowing, due to aging or diabetes. Dry skin is characterized by a skin “defatting” and a most distinct change of skin lipid composition in the callus. The skin becomes literally thinner and allows greater loss of skin moisture. Relief of this situation can be achieved by better supply of fats and this, can be reached both through nutrition, as well as, through outer application of suitable skin care products.

Hemps advantages in cosmetics are based on the physical and biochemical effect of it’s fatty acids. Even if terms such as essential fatty acids or gamma-linoleic acids were not known at that time, hemp was still used by the old romans and the great queens such a Cleopatra. Our middle european ancestors also used ointment, lotions and baths out of, and with, hemp.

Texts were complied in cooperation with (Authors: D. Kruse / M. Karus)