What to Know About CBD Skin-Care Products
Research on this trendy skin-care ingredient is limited. Read this comprehensive guide before you buy.
Before slathering a CBD skin-care product all over your face, test it on a small area of skin, such as your forearm. iStock (2)
Few ingredients have taken skin care by storm quite like CBD. And if you look carefully, it’s everywhere: in sunscreens, masks, lip balms, moisturizers, and more. The question is: Should you really be slathering this stuff on your skin?
First, let’s talk about what CBD is. Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient in the cannabis plant, according to Harvard Health Publishing. CBD can be derived from either medical marijuana or hemp. Although marijuana contains CBD, CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects. (THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical that causes the high.) All that said, CBD won’t lead to any mind-altering effects.
The Proposed Benefits of Skin-Care Products With CBD
Experts attribute the popularity of CBD to its “do anything” reputation. In fact, many people turn to CBD in the hope of treating various ailments, including anxiety, insomnia, pain conditions, and now — increasingly, it seems — skin problems.
In general, manufacturers add CBD to their products to give them a boost. “CBD is a very cost-effective way to enhance products,” says Austin Katz, cofounder of Sheabrand in Brooklyn, New York. CBD is in a range of products — those that claim to treat acne, dry skin, and eczema — because of its versatility. “I think we’re living in an era where people want to feel empowered to address their needs on their own,” he says.
Scientific research on the use of CBD in skin-care products is limited. If you’re interested in trying this trend, here’s what a board-certified dermatologist wants you to know.
Potentially Helps Inflammation, Eczema, and Psoriasis
One of the touted functions of CBD is controlling inflammation. “The body has two CBD receptors that we know of: CB1 and CB2,” says Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, adjunct professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora. When applied to skin, CBD interacts with these receptors to turn down the inflammatory response. This happens by “decreasing the interleukins, which are chemicals that are like the immune system’s fire alarm that calls the fire department in an emergency. CBD may decrease the loudness of that fire alarm,” he explains.
In short, you may see less redness overall, and in skin diseases, including eczema and psoriasis, it may also be effective in tamping down itch, possibly because CBD creams may help reduce dryness, per a review published in July 2017 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (Dr. Dellavalle was a coauthor of that report.) Keep in mind, though, that the review included only three studies: two in humans but with small sample sizes and one in mice, which doesn’t necessarily translate to human health. Therefore, more studies on the potential benefits of CBD for reducing skin redness are needed.
Additionally, a small study published in the March-April 2019 issue of the Italian journal Clinical Therapeutics looked at 20 participants with either psoriasis, eczema, or scarring and found that a specific CBD ointment improved measures of skin hydration (by moisturizing and preventing water loss), boosted elasticity in the skin, and in general bettered their quality of life. This could have been due to the fatty acids in the ointment but was also likely in part because of the anti-inflammatory effect of CBD, the researchers say. Yet more research in a larger human population is needed to know for sure.
For many skin diseases, dermatologists often prescribe topical steroid creams, which act as anti-inflammatory medicines. “These are very safe for most people, and they’re effective, but some people don’t want to use steroids in any way. CBD could be a nonsteroidal therapy to fill that gap,” says Dellavalle. Side effects of topical steroids include thinning of the skin if overused or used long term, but you can help avoid these risks when using them correctly, notes the National Eczema Association. Working with your dermatologist to ensure that you have the right medication at the right dosage can help with this.
Indeed, Mona Gohara, MD, a dermatologist in Hamden, Connecticut, and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, prefers to use CBD “in inflammatory skin conditions as they’re fizzling out.” She adds, “I recommend generally using a medication to put out the fire and then using CBD to clean up the carnage.”
Beyond that, though, is the potential to use CBD as a tool to delay early signs of aging. “Inflammation is the basis of all skin disease, including aging,” she says. But while there’s a lot of hype surrounding CBD in skin care — and health in general — there is no cure-all. “Everything has its advantages and disadvantages or limitations,” says Dr. Gohara.
Possibly Plays a Role in Treating Acne
Along with being a potential therapy for inflammatory skin diseases, CBD is also featured in some anti-acne products. For instance, Mantra Mask’s CBD Blemish Mask combines CBD and pimple-fighting tea tree oil. “There are CB2 receptors on sebaceous glands, which produce oil. According to research, CBD influences the sebum production of cells and has an anti-inflammatory component,” says Jeanette Jacknin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Solana Beach, California, who specializes in CBD skin care. This echoes findings outlined in articles previously published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation and Experimental Dermatology.
Dr. Jacknin also points to preliminary research presented in June 2019 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology that found topical CBD may help kill a range of gram-positive bacteria. “This bacteria is one cause of acne,” she says. (For the study, researchers collaborated with Botanix Pharmaceuticals, a company that develops products to treat skin diseases like acne and psoriasis.)
May Decrease Inflammation From Sunburns
Finally, one of the newest uses for CBD skin care is in sunscreen. Dellavalle notes that it does make sense to add CBD to sunscreen, as its anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce the effects of a sunburn, such as redness. Of course, the idea is to apply sunscreen correctly (following guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology), but in real life, many people miss areas, and applying a CBD-infused SPF may supply more general absorption and temper the reaction of sunburned spots, he says.
What Scientific Evidence Doesn’t Yet Tell Us About CBD for Skin Care
If CBD sounds like the answer to your skin woes, it’s helpful to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. “What we don’t have in CBD is a lot of research. [CBD has] been illegal federally for so long, and it’s been difficult to do research on something that’s previously been considered on par with cocaine or heroin,” says Dellavalle. That’s starting to change, though. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the definition of marijuana, which meant that CBD products were no longer considered like marijuana. This has paved the way for researchers to conduct more studies on CBD, and for product manufacturers to create and sell CBD products legally, though per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is still illegal to market CBD as a supplement.
A review published in June 2018 in the Dermatology Online Journal, which Dellavalle coauthored, pointed out that while CBD may “have shown some initial promise as therapy for a variety of skin diseases,” there is a need for large, high-quality, randomized, controlled trials, a sentiment echoed in an article published in December 2020 in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. Another paper, published in the May-June 2019 issue of Clinics in Dermatology, urges people and their doctors to approach these products with the same caution. Finally, though topical CBD tends to be well tolerated and may have a role in addressing various skin issues (including acne, dryness, and irritation), there’s still ongoing research on the safety of CBD treatment, notes an article published in 2020 in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology.
Unknowns About CBD Dosage
Scientists still don’t know the ideal dose of CBD for treating skin conditions or promoting general health. Some companies, like Sheabrand, formulate with different doses depending on the area of skin the product is designed for — the body or the face, for instance — for maximum penetration. Scientists also don’t know where CBD stands in relation to proven topical therapies, like retinoids, vitamin C, or alpha hydroxy acids.
Questions About Cannabinoid Combinations
There are hundreds of other chemicals in the cannabis plant, and researchers don’t know what combinations are best. For instance, terpenes, the essential oils in plants (including cannabis), may exert synergistic benefits, suggests the Clinical Therapeutics study. “So much research needs to be done. We’ll be sorting this out for the next 25 years,” says Dellavalle. On the horizon with more research from universities and companies, says Jackin, may be more targeted and efficacious therapies for conditions like eczema and acne.
8 Steps to Take Before Trying a CBD Skin-Care Product
For now, know that CBD products are safe in general, and early research suggests that they may make a difference in how your skin looks and feels. Just don’t count on it as a cure-all for any skin condition. In other words, talk to your dermatologist before replacing products they have recommended with ones containing CBD, and don’t treat any new skin conditions with CBD products until you speak to your dermatologist. If you’re interested in venturing into CBD skin care, here’s what you need to know before you buy and try:
CBD Oil for Wrinkles: Does It Actually Work?
You probably already know someone who takes CBD oil to relieve stress or anxiety or rubs CBD balm on their joints after sports or before bed. Chances are good that you know the basics about CBD, but what’s the connection to aging and wrinkles?
Cannabidiol or CBD is a component that occurs naturally in cannabis. Unlike the tetrahydrocannabinol or THC in cannabis, CBD won’t get you high, but it does boast a range of medicinal uses. In fact, more and more consumers are now using CBD to treat all kinds of maladies, from insomnia and nausea to muscle pain and depression.
So maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that now CBD is turning up in all kinds of high-end skincare serums, gels, masks, and creams, all of which make different claims. Some aim to alleviate dry skin, others can prevent pimples, and some smooth wrinkles.
How does it work? Like other powerful antioxidants, CBD can help reduce visible signs of aging. CBD topicals can soothe inflammation and counteract damage from free-radicals, improving signs of aging such as wrinkles, ruddy skin tone, and skin dullness and making them less noticeable.
In this post, we’ll cover how CBD can help reduce wrinkles and aging in the following sections:
Causes of Skin Aging
The vast majority of visible aging of the skin is caused by exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) light. Stress, pollution, an unhealthful diet, and other factors related to lifestyle are also relevant. In fact, only a small portion of the aging we see on our skin is caused by changes that naturally occur in our bodies as we get older.
After age 20 or so, the skin becomes less elastic and firm as the body produces about 1 percent less collagen each year and also reduces elastin production. The skin becomes thinner and more delicate, and its capacity to heal itself lessens. These problems get worse as less oil is produced by the oil glands beneath the skin’s outer layer, and the end result of the combined changes can be larger pores, fine lines, sagging skin, and wrinkles—all traits that can make the skin appear even older than it really is.
It’s not yet possible to prevent aging, but there are things we can do to target, prevent, and in some cases reverse premature aging. This is particularly true given that so much of what causes signs of aging skin (such as sunlight exposure or poor diet) originates outside the body and within our control.
The question is, how could CBD help reduce or mitigate the impacts these factors play when it comes to signs of aging?
What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol or CBD is a non-intoxicating plant compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Therefore, it occurs naturally in both hemp plants and marijuana plants. Typically manufacturers extract CBD as a powder and suspend it in an oil such as hemp oil, olive oil, or coconut oil. Because CBD is fat-soluble and each of these oils has its own benefits, each suspension may enhance the CBD’s effectiveness.
Unlike the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana, CBD oil in skincare products cannot get you high. CBD simply does not share the same mind-altering qualities.
CBD oil and hemp seed oil are not the same thing, but both are excellent for the skin. Although businesses often market the two products interchangeably, the difference is in the CBD concentration itself. Hemp seed oil contains only trace amounts of CBD, if any, though it is derived from hemp plant seeds. Hemp seed oil is among the best non-animal sources of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids, and many of these acids are known for their skin-moisturizing benefits such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).
CBD oil is much more concentrated in CBD. All FDA-regulated CBD products follow the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI), meaning they should have their name and an ingredient label that actually lists cannabidiol. Any alternative titles or terms on ingredient labels may or may not signal a product that actually contains cannabidiol. For example, “CBD-enriched hemp seed oil” is not the same ingredient as cannabidiol. In any case, you can always request the assay or product specification from the company to be 100 percent certain of what you are getting.
What Does CBD in Skincare Do?
In broad terms, we are just beginning to learn how CBD and skin care work together. It works in the body and in topical CBD products.
CBD is one of more than 100 phytocannabinoids (plant cannabinoids). The human body produces its own cannabinoids naturally throughout the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, and those cannabinoids are called endocannabinoids. In the body, endocannabinoids bind as neurotransmitters with the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and body. They help achieve stasis and regulate many internal functions such as appetite, hormones, immune system, mood, sleep, and more.
The ECS cannot always completely regulate all bodily functions or produce the exact right level of cannabinoids itself. This is why introducing phytocannabinoids from cannabis can improve the body’s health in a number of ways.
CBD Oil vs CBD Topicals for Wrinkles on the Skin
Listen, no matter what, do not smoke to help your skin. That is a fail. Whether it’s cannabis, regular cigarettes, or CBD flower, smoking is just not ideal for anti-aging. Smoking can produce free radicals, and other organic materials in the cannabis plant and certainly in some vape pen oils contain substances that are not great for your lungs or skin once they’re burned and inhaled by you.
This essentially leaves you treating skin conditions with CBD topicals such as face cream or balm and CBD oils. One acceptable method for consuming CBD in the anti-aging context is to use a strong, high-quality CBD extract or CBD oil orally. Particularly if you hold the product under your tongue to absorb, you may experience the effects more quickly.
However, for skin treatments including anti-aging and wrinkles, topical CBD lotions and creams can also be beneficial, particularly when applied directly to target areas in high doses. The best of these products also provide other organic compounds such as essential oils, vitamin E, and other skin health ingredients that encourage additional collagen production, tighten the skin, and offer other critical nutrients that boost the skin’s health to the next level.
How Does CBD Treat Aging?
Wrinkles: there are so many reasons we get them, and so much of the damage is done long before we’re adults who care. Anything from a genetic predisposition to crow’s feet, smoking, sun exposure from UV rays, or even just extensive stress can apparently be written all over our faces.
But antioxidants are one of the keys to fighting the ravages of aging, and that’s the first reason that CBD topicals can help visibly diminish issues like skin dullness, wrinkles, and ruddy skin tone.
CBD oil helps combat wrinkles and reduce signs of the aging process in the following ways:
Has an Antioxidant Effect
CBD from the hemp plant has even more powerful antioxidant properties than vitamins C and E. These antioxidants help reduce free-radicals which wreak havoc throughout the body—including attacking the collagen fibers. CBD also fights harmful free radical byproducts of natural bodily processes such as toxins, not just externally sourced free radicals.
CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that can treat skin inflammation, relax the skin, and reduce redness, leaving existing damage such as wrinkles less visible. These anti-inflammatory effects also make CBD topicals effective treatments for eczema and psoriasis. GLA and the essential fatty acid omega 3 also reduce inflammation and gently moisturize the skin.
Encourages Sebum Production
One of the keys to dealing with both signs of aging and acne is regulating sebum or oil production in the face. CBD and hemp oil both regulate the oil glands to maintain the correct level of sebum production. Optimal sebum production means smoother, less sensitive, more supple skin.
Soothes Sensitive Skin
CBD oil also boasts notable skin-normalizing, soothing, and calming benefits and can help minimize skin sensitivity issues, including reactivity and redness. These benefits can help anyone’s skin cope with the rigors of exposure to environmental stressors.
When you think about anti-aging properties and CBD, you might have mostly prevention of skin damage in mind. There is some evidence, though, that CBD may help reverse existing signs of aging as antioxidants. And there are still other ways that using CBD topicals could help develop a more youthful appearance:
Friends With Benefits: Skincare & CBD
CBD has been a beauty buzzword for quite some time now. This comes as no surprise since it encompasses much of our current obsessions – natural beauty and stress-relief. When a single ingredient crates this much rumble you know it’s worth exploring further. What is it? Is it safe? Is it worth incorporating into your skincare routine?
Table of Contents
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol – a natural compound found in cannabis plants. These plants contain two primary active ingredients: THC and CBD. THC is the psychoactive ingredient while CBD isn’t. In other words, CBD is safe and won’t make you feel high. What it can do is pump you up with antioxidants and alleviate anxiety and inflammation . It is used as an epilepsy treatment and it’s linked to pain relief. We extract CBD from the parts of the plant that are full of cannabinoids like flowers and leaves.
Hemp oil vs CBD oil
Not all cannabis-infused skincare contains CBD. Some skincare and beauty products contain hemp oil instead. Unlike CBD which comes from the leaves and the flowers, hemp oil comes from the seeds and contains no cannabinoids. To clarify, hemp seed oil comes with its own array of benefits – it’s an amazing moisturizer with rich fatty acids. But if you’re looking to try out CBD for some of its potent properties – make sure you’re buying products that contain CBD oil and not just hemp oil.
CBD skin benefits
This cannabidiol comes with a plethora of astounding benefits. It’s highly anti-inflammatory – it reduces irritation and redness, even combats breakouts. Moreover, this acne fighter soothes psoriasis and slows down aging signs. CBD owes its healing abilities to its potent antioxidant properties . Who doesn’t want protection against free radicals while providing hydration, nourishment and stress-relief?
How to use it with your skincare
Incorporating CBD into your skincare is a great idea. Maybe you’re looking for extra protection against free radicals and oxidative stress. Try to combine a few drops of CBD oil into your sunscreen and pack on the protection. Want to boost your hydration? Mix the oil with your moisturizer! Extra sensitive skin? Try applying CBD oil topically with a cream or a serum when your skin gets irritated. And whenever your skin feels stressed or irritated, opt for a facial treatment worthy of the most relaxing spa experiences in the world – our Cannabis Seed Oil Mask .
Also, you can use CBD to benefit the skin on your entire body. Firstly, draw a nice warm bath. Secondly, stir a couple of drops of CBD oil into your bath. Finally, lay back and relax. Soothing and hydration are guaranteed!
How do you incorporate antioxidants into your routine? What do you use to fight stress and breakouts? Have you ever tried CBD-infused skincare or other beauty products? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comment section! We wish you a stress-free and antioxidant-filled day!