Skincare is taking the world by storm. People the world over are investing hundreds of dollars in beauty products every year to try and get gorgeous, smooth, glowing skin. Whether it’s face masks, exfoliators or various niche products that claim to close your pores, there are hundreds of over-priced beauty products out there to “help” maintain your skin’s health.
But what if we could be using a single product to boost our dermatological health? Could CBD be the answer?
Whether you have a skin condition you want to fix, or whether you simply want to achieve that oh-so-desired flawless skin look, then CBD might be a viable option for you. In this article, we take a look into CBD’s many properties and whether or not it could help your skin.
What is CBD and What Does it Do?
The cannabis plant, Cannabis Sativa, contains a plethora of compounds known as cannabinoids. These cannabinoids interact with our body because we have an innate biological system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). When we ingest marijuana, we also intake these cannabinoids, which stimulate different receptors in the ECS to trigger different effects. People who smoke marijuana get ‘high’ due to the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found within the plant, which interacts with CB1 receptors in the brain to create this feeling.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is another prevalent compound found within the plant. Studies* have shown that CBD has an ability to counteract the effects of THC, meaning that strains of cannabis with a high CBD content are less likely to get you high.Furthermore, it has been theorised that CBD could have a number of health benefits. Now, since we are aware of the dangers of smoking and because a lot of people would not want to get ‘high’, there are products available out there such as CBD oil, which allows people to ingest CBD and avail of its many benefits without any psychoactive effects.
Whereas THC interacts primarily with CB1 receptors, CBD tends to stimulate the CB2 receptors, found throughout the body in places like the immune system and neurological system. This is why CBD is thought to possess so many advantages. For example, research* has been conducted into CBD as a potential treatment for nausea, chronic pain, depression and anxiety, PTSD and even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Perhaps CBD could also be helpful in treating the skin.
Essential nutrients in CBD
There are a number of essential ingredients contained within CBD that may be beneficial for your skin, and that actually feature in a number of beauty products.
- Vitamins C & E: These vitamins protect the skin from damaged caused by sun, smoke, and other environmental dangers. As antioxidants, they also help to preserve the collagen and elastin in your skin, keeping you looking young.
- B-complex vitamins: B vitamins help to construct your skin. If you suffer from a lack of B vitamins, you can develop skin conditions such as dermatitis.
- Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids: These acids help to regenerate the skin’s outer layer, giving you that desired glow. Again, lack of these fatty acids can lead to skin conditions including acne.
So, with evidence that skin-curing nutrients lie within CBD, there is hope that it could be used to boost skin health. Before we take a look at its potential as a beauty product essential, let’s see what skin conditions it could potentially help.
Psoriasis is an awful skin condition that can trigger low self-esteem in the sufferer. It manifests as red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. Skin cells are usually made and replaced every 3-4 weeks, but psoriasis sufferers undergo this process in just 3-7 days – this is what causes the patches of skin.
The reason for this is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a problem within the immune system; it might even be genetic. In some sufferers, flare-ups of the condition occur due to a ‘trigger’, which can be an injury to the skin, an infection, or use of certain medicines. Thankfully, it is not contagious, but this makes it no less irritating for the sufferer.
Sadly, there is NO cure for psoriasis, but certain treatments do improve the appearance of skin patches. In most cases, topical treatments such as corticosteroids are used, applied directly to the skin. These often burn or sting when applied, and rarer side effects include acne, stretch marks, rosacea (a reddening of the face) or dermatitis. Clearly, this is not ideal.
Could CBD help?
A study* carried out in 2007 by Nottingham University’s School of Biomedical Sciences looked into this possibility. Since CB receptors are present throughout the skin, use of CBD could stimulate these receptors in order to help psoriasis. This particular study found that all the cannabinoids tested (one of which was CBD) prevented the rapid production of keratinocytes (skin cells), meaning that it prevented the creation of these blotchy patches of skin. The researchers concluded that CBD could be a potential treatment for psoriasis.
Atopic eczema, more commonly just referred to as eczema or dermatitis, is a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked. It is a very common condition during childhood and is unfortunately often chronic. That said, it can improve or even clear up completely in some patients as they get older. The affected areas of skin may be small patches, or they can be widespread parts of the body. Most often, it occurs on the hands, the insides of the elbows, backs of the knees, the face, and the scalp.
The exact cause is unknown, but eczema is known to run in families. It also tends to have triggers, such as certain ingredients in soaps and detergents, feelings of stress, or even the weather. Eczema is related to allergies, and so many children need to undergo allergy tests in order to understand the underlying cause of the condition.
Treatments usually involve avoiding allergens and triggers, which is of course not always easy. Topical corticosteroids can be used during flare-ups, but they can have some pretty undesired side-effects, or sometimes moisturizing treatments are used to help the skin.
Could CBD help?
Some believe that CBD could be used as a potential treatment for the symptoms of eczema. A study* published in Trends Pharmacol Sci. investigated this claim, suggesting that the presence of ECS cannabinoid receptors in the skin could be a potential avenue in treating a range of skin conditions including eczema.
Research has found that CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that it could help eczema sufferers by reducing inflammation experienced during a flare-up. This could also help to eradicate rashes. There is no concrete evidence that CBD could alleviate all the symptoms of eczema as of yet, but there is promising research that suggests it could help to get rid of, or at least reduce, some of the symptoms.
An incredible 80% of all people between the ages of 11 and 30 have acne outbreaks at some time. Acne refers to spots, oily skin and sometimes skin that is hot or painful to touch; it usually occurs on the face, back, or chest. There are many different types of spots that occur with acne, and they vary in severity – cysts, for example, run great risk of permanent scarring. This is why sufferers of acne are often desperate to find a treatment that works, as it can be a very embarrassing condition.
The cause of acne is usually down to hormones, which is why it often occurs around puberty. These hormones trigger the abnormal production of sebum, blocking the pores and causing spots. There are also other causes, but this is the most common.
If you have acne, you are advised to avoid washing your skin too much and refrain from ‘cleaning out’ blackheads, since this can cause permanent scarring. You should also be using products that are gentle on the skin. It can also be treated with several creams, lotions or gels that treat spots, but some of these are very strong and can damage the skin if used too much. Antibiotics may be prescribed for severe acne, but side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain and loss of appetite – not ideal.
Could CBD help?
Acne could possibly be treated by CBD. A 2014 study* found that administering CBD to sebocytes (which produce sebum), the overproduction of sebum is prevented, thus reducing the chance of developing acne. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce the appearance of spots. Since acne can be such a difficult condition to live with, this study offers a good degree of hope to individuals who suffer from bad skin.
CBD as part of your skincare routine
As well as treating some pretty nasty skin conditions, CBD could be a good way to simply maintain your skin’s health year-round. Since it contains so many good nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Omega-3, CBD is making its way into the beauty industry.
Cindy Capobianco is co-founder of Lord Jones, a brand that makes CBD-laced body lotions. “For 5,000 years, cannabis has been helping everyone. Before 1937, when it was prohibited, there was a cannabis elixir on every shelf. It reduces inflammation and pain in a way I’ve never seen anything work,” she says, promoting the wonderful possibilities of CBD in beauty products.
More and more companies are including CBD as an all-in-one ingredient in skincare products, as it is able to reduce puffiness, swelling and even spots. What’s more, if you buy CBD body lotions to improve the look of your skin, you could also be managing things like pain at the same time! CBD has been shown to have some pain-reducing properties, which is an additional benefit.
Already, there is a number of CBD-infused beauty products out there, so be on the lookout for lotions, balms, face serums, and body oils.
There are many different ways to administer CBD. Of course, the most well-known way would be to smoke a high-CBD strain of cannabis, but smoking in turn has its own negative effects. Moreover, this might not be the best way to get your CBD fix if you’re looking to treat skin conditions. Let’s take a look at some other options.
Tinctures such as CBD oil is usually taken by administering drops beneath the tongue. CBD oil tells you the exact content of CBD contained within the bottle, and usually comes with a dropper or syringe so that you know exactly how much you are taking. If you are wanting to measure an exact amount of CBD and take it as part of your daily routine, then tinctures might be a great option for you.
However, some people really don’t like the taste of CBD oil, as it can be quite earthy due to its plant background. Furthermore, taking a tincture is probably a better option if you are looking to treat multiple conditions, and not just something limited to the skin.
2. Vaporizer oils
As a healthier alternative to smoking, vaping allows you to ingest CBD without inhaling any of the toxic compounds that accompany smoking marijuana cigarettes. You can get a CBD hit and feel the effects quickly by using a vaporizer containing CBD oils.
Once again, this is probably a better option for those looking to treat a range of conditions, not just skin problems. Additionally, buying the vaporizer itself and constantly topping up the oil cartridge is not the cheapest way to get your CBD fix, so it might not be the best option for you.
3. Topical balms and creams
This is where you should probably be looking if you want to use CBD to treat a skin condition. This involves applying a CBD-infused cream directly to the affected area, in this case the skin. The CBD is absorbed into the skin from there, and you can reap its many benefits in a very simple way. Of course, this method is very easy to slot into your daily routine, and if you suffer from pain in your acne flare-ups, for example, you can apply the lotion any time you feel discomfort.
The only real downside is that it’s hard to measure exactly how much CBD you are administering at any one time, since you scoop a random amount of lotion out on your finger. Despite not being wholly accurate, however, anecdotal evidence shows that many people benefit from this kind of CBD treatment. If you’re suffering from a skin condition, this may be the best avenue for you.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Skin Health
CBD has a whole host of potential benefits for a myriad of health conditions. Now, it is even thought that it could be helpful in treating skin conditions including the likes of psoriasis, acne, and even eczema. Furthermore, it could simply be used to maintain skin health and keep you looking youthful and beautiful.
Thanks to its natural, skin-boosting ingredients, CBD seems to be a viable option to include in your daily skincare routine. It’s even ideal, because there are so many different ways to administer it, depending on your personal preference. For skincare specifically, we recommend trying out topical lotions and balms infused with CBD goodness.
Not convinced? Why don’t you try it yourself? You could be feeling the effects of flawless skin in no time!