Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Comedogenic

Why doctors think hemp seed oil is beneficial for inflamed skin. A dermatologist and cosmetic chemist breakdown the different skincare oils and explain the benefits of using non-comedogenic oils for acne-prone skin.

‘Hemp Seed Oil Saved My Skin From Breakouts—And Doctors Agree It‘s Legit’

When my skin started freaking out after I went off of birth control (yep, that’s a potential side effect), I was desperate for a solution. My normal skincare routine stopped working, and I wasn’t sure what to do.

I had been an avid user of face oil, but it turns out there are certain oils that aren’t as good for acne—olive and coconut, for instance, are comedogenic, meaning they will clog your pores. However, as I went digging around online there was one that kept showing up as friendly for all skin types, particularly the pimple-prone: hemp seed oil.

Nutiva Organic, Cold-Pressed, Unrefined Hemp Seed Oil from non-GMO, Sustainably Farmed Canadian Hemp, 24-ounces

My skin was more calm, less red, and I wasn’t getting any new, major pimples.

After reading through Reddit reviews, I decided to go with Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Hemp Seed Oil. I picked a bottle up at Whole Foods (you should be able to find it at any natural grocer) and applied it as the last step of my skincare routine. I poured a little in my palms, rubbed them together, then pressed into my skin. While the results weren’t immediate, after consistent use for one week straight, I started noticing that my skin was calmer and less red. And I wasn’t getting any new, major pimples. Since making the switch, I’ve tried going back to other moisturizers—but my skin would start acting up again.

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One thing to note: You have to keep the oil refrigerated because it is cold-pressed so it’ll go bad if you leave it out.

Even though I already know it worked, I asked the experts for the real reason hemp seed oil is so good for acne-prone complexions. “This oil is particularly good for people prone to redness and skin irritations like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis because it’s high in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that help to hydrate the skin,” said Dr. Maura Henninger, a Naturopathic Doctor in New York City. “It’s also beneficial for acne-prone patients because of its antibacterial properties, thanks to those same omega acids.”

Dr. Henninger also noted that it’s a good oil for oily skin types because “it’s considered a dry oil, so it absorbs quickly and isn’t greasy.” Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, agrees. “Hemp seed oil is rich in fatty acids, which help hydrate and soothe inflamed skin and may even control skin oil production that can help treat acne,” he said. He also assured me that hemp seed oil is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog my pores.

Chelsea Burns Chelsea Burns is the Beauty Director for Women’s Health and has been writing in the beauty and wellness space for over six years with her work appearing in Real Simple, Health, Fitness, and

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Dermatologists Say These Non-Comedogenic Oils Will Clarify—Not Clog—Your Pores

Brooke Shunatona is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was the senior beauty editor at

Onyeka Obioha, MD is an LA-based board certified dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, as well as a member of the Skin of Color Society.


It wouldn’t be fair to lump together an entire skincare category as “bad,” but if you’re someone with acne-prone, oily skin, you might be guilty of doing just that when it comes to face oils. So what if we told you that non-comedogenic oils don’t only exist but you (yes, even you) should definitely be using one? As board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Herrmann, MD, puts it, “Plant-based oils contain essential fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants, which nourish the skin but also strengthen its barrier, increase elasticity, and fight damage from environmental chemicals and UV.” See? There are so many potential skin benefits you’d be missing out on without a face oil. But, as Herrmann points out, there are numerous plant oils and extracts, and their chemical composition of fatty acids varies, and different ratios of acids can be helpful or more harmful for acne.

To understand the difference, scientifically speaking, between oils that clog your pores and ones that don’t (i.e., comedogenic vs. non-comedogenic oils), we turned to cosmetic chemists Gloria Lu and Victoria Fu of Chemist Confessions.

“There actually isn’t any set defining chemical structural difference between comedogenic and non-comedogenic oils,” Lu explains, adding that how these ingredients interact with skin and cause comedones is actually not well understood. It’s an empirical trait qualified through testing (that’s somewhat controversial), but based on that testing, Lu says there are quite a few non-comedogenic oil options in skincare.

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But first, a word on comedogenic oils. The most common pore-clogging oil is coconut oil, but the experts also flag palm, soybean, wheat germ, flaxseed, and even some ester oils, like myristyl myristate, as comedogenic. Herrmann adds that other oils higher in oleic acid, like cocoa and shea butter, might be less helpful and encourage breakouts in those who are prone. If you’re using a blend of oils, you’ll generally want to avoid those aforementioned comedogenic oils, but Fu points out that just because a product has comedogenic ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean the product is bad. “The entire formula and the concentration of the offending ingredient also matters,” Fu explains.

Now, let’s get into all the non-comedogenic oils that even those with acne-prone skin could feel comfortable using. Of course, there are no universal recommendations, so be sure to always try it on a small area of skin first. “Oils can impact individuals differently, and their effect may be varied due to someone’s natural skin hydration and oil composition and what medications they may be using,” Herrmann adds.

Below, your guide to non-comedogenic oils and seven worth checking out.