CBD and Skin

Research suggests that CBD has a positive effect on skin health and could be used to support treatments for a variety of skin conditions. CBD (Cannabidiol) is a natural plant cannabinoid, which are chemical compounds present in the hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa). Manufacturers, such as HempWell can combine CBD extract with an oil, balm, or cream. People looking to use CBD on their skin can purchase CBD pain creams and balms or specific skin care products. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which can be useful for treating skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. In this article, we will discuss what CBD oil is, what skin conditions it can provide benefits for, and how to use it.

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“CBD may play a role in hydrating the skin and have anti-inflammatory effects, so using a product that contains CBD might help with treating dry skin or certain inflammatory skin disorders.”

Dr. Nima Gharavi, a dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon at Cedars-Sinai, an academic healthcare organization based in Los Angeles

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Inflammation, Eczema and Psoriasis

One of the most well-researched properties of CBD is its ability to control inflammation. 

“The body has two CBD receptors (that we know of): CB1 and CB2, when applied to skin, CBD interacts with these receptors to turn down the inflammatory response,” says Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, professor at the Department of Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora.

This occurs 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. You may see less redness overall, and less redness in skin diseases, including eczema and psoriasis. A 2017 review published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that CBD creams help reduce dryness, which can reduce itchiness. 

In April 2019, a small study was published in Clinical Therapeutics where 20 participants with psoriasis, eczema, or scarring were treated with CBD ointment. They found that CBD improves measures of skin hydration (by moisturising and preventing water loss) and boosted elasticity in the skin. This bettered the quality of life of the participants. Whilst these effects could be due to the fatty acids in the ointment, the researchers said it was in part due to the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD. 

Dr. Alster, who writes for the Dermatology Times, says “Topical CBD is safe and works effectively for all skin types. The products are easy to administer. Sufferers of serious medical skin conditions and those who are seeking innovative skincare options can benefit from topical CBD use. Anti-inflammatory properties associated with CBD are beneficial in treating such dermatologic conditions as acne, psoriasis and eczema due to reduction of dryness, irritation and redness. CBD-containing creams, oils, gels and serums not only moisturise and soothe the skin but are also showing encouraging results in relieving pain caused by certain skin disorders.” CBD has been shown to exert antioxidant activity, meaning it can repair the skin from free radicals which can help smooth fine lines and wrinkles, as well as reduce breakouts and blemishes. According to Dr. Alster, “In addition, CBD-containing products are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which improve overall skin appearance and provide a more youthful glow.” Topical CBD is safe and has no known negative side effects. “The CBD skincare industry is still very young, so further research and experimentation is needed.” says Dr. Alster. 

Peter Lio, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, Founding Director of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Center, and contributor to the National Eczema Association, stated that there are very few studies of topical CBD and eczema. 

A 2019 study published in Clinical Therapeutics investigated the effects of CBD ointment on people with atopic dermatitis. They found that CBD helped clear the skin and reduced itch, which improved the associated sleep loss. Research suggests CBD is antimicrobial, with some evidence showing it works almost as well as antibiotics at killing Staphylococcus aureus. Staph aureus can infect the skin of people with atopic dermatitis, which triggers flare ups and other complications. “Evidence in humans is still pretty limited, which means it’s hard to know how well CBD works for eczema, or the key components necessary for success,” Lio said. Hopefully there will be clearer answers about CBD and eczema soon. There will soon be results from a clinical trial of CBD gel in 200 people with moderate atopic dermatitis. So is CBD safe and worth-trying for people with eczema? Evidence shows that topical CBD is safe. “I think that for adults who want to try a CBD topical, there’s little to lose,” said Lio, who has many patients who benefit from the products. Like with any skincare product, CBD can cause a reaction, so we recommend testing a small area over a couple days before applying all over. 

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CBD and acne

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According to Medical News Today, there is evidence suggesting that CBD can help acne. It varies with each case, depending on what kind of acne it is and what is causing it. CBD oils can help reduce various types of acne due to its ability to adjust sebum production. Sebum is a waxy, oily substance that is produced by the skin. Acne is the most common skin condition in humans, most people deal with acne at some point in their lives whether it be occasionally or on a daily basis. 

Sebum protects our skin from the outside world. Unfortunately, it can mix with dead skin cells and other pollutants, resulting in a trapped pore. This clogged pore then becomes acne. There are many factors that influence acne, such as excessive sebum production, genetics, and hormonal imbalances. Other factors, such as diet, stress, and some medications can increase the severity of acne. A 2014 study investigated the effects of CBD on sebocytes, the cells that create sebum. They found that CBD prevents sebocytes producing too much sebum. The researchers also found that CBD triggers an anti-inflammatory reaction in cells and prevents the activation of inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines trigger acne, so this reduction may prevent further breakouts. A 2016 review highlighted the antibacterial and antifungal effects of CBD, which can reduce infections from dirt and other pollutants. Whilst these results are promising, there are not enough human trials. More studies in humans are needed to provide direct evidence, so that doctors can recommend CBD products for an anti-acne skincare routine.

CBD and acne FAQs

Does CBD absorb through the skin?

CBD can be absorbed through the skin tissue efficiently which can then reach muscle and joint tissue. CBD does not reach the blood stream by being applied to the skin. However creams can be effective for providing targeted relief. CBD applied topically also affects skin cells that produce sebum, reducing inflammation which can help to prevent redness and blemishes.

What is CBD skin care?

CBD skincare means using topical skin products with CBD added. This can help boost the anti-aging, anti-inflammation and anti-oxidant properties of a skincare product. WHy not read The Power of CBD Skincare: Guest Blog Post to learn about how CBD skincare helped one customer tackle their skin disorders.

Is CBD effective through the skin?

CBD absorbed through the skin is effective for localised relief. However, CBD absorbed through the skin does not enter the bloodstream, so many benefits, for example CBD’s anti-anxiety properties, are not applicable via this method.

Is CBD legal in Ireland?

CBD is legal in Ireland. Irish regulations state that CBD oil is legal so long as it contains no THC. Our CBD is regularly checked by third party labs to make sure our products are safe and legal. These reports are always available to view on our website, and we’re proud to be one of the first companies to have their products listed on the FSA’s new approved CBD products list. When you buy CBD from HempWell, you can rest assured that you’re receiving high quality, ethical CBD products.

Is CBD safe to use?

CBD is completely safe.Our CBD isolate has a guaranteed purity of at least 99.9%. We extract our CBD from hemp we grow ourselves, so we know exactly what it’s made of! We regularly have our oils tested by third-party labs to make sure there’s quality in every bottle. You can check out our lab reports here to see results from these tests.

Can I take CBD for skin disorders while on medication?

Consult your doctor if you’re thinking of taking CBD while on medication.