Although generally thought of as a health supplement taken orally, CBD in the form of a broad-spectrum hemp extract has also been shown to benefit the skin. Initial studies showed its effectiveness as a treatment for eczema and psoriasis. Subsequent studies showed it can also be effective soothing pain from arthritis and sore muscles. But only recently have studies begin to focus on CBD’s role in beauty products, especially those concerned with skin aging.
The following is a simple listing of the known benefits of CBD to the skin. For those who wish to read more in-depth information, a list of research links has been provided at the end of this blog.
CBD’s benefits to the skin:
- Reduces inflammation. This is one of CBD’s chief benefits. When it comes to the skin (and body) inflammation is a source of all kinds of trouble. The anti-inflammatory effects of CBD may gently tighten and reduce puffiness in the delicate under eye area without irritation. On a more serious scale, CBD is a proven treatment for inflammation-based skin maladies like eczema and psoriasis.
- Powerful Antioxidant. This is CBD’s primary claim to fame for beauty products. Simply put, CBD is a more powerful antioxidant than either vitamin E or vitamin C, and just a powerful as BHT, an antioxidant compound that although very powerful has potentially serious side effects. CBD is king in this realm, and its anti-aging properties are well documented. CBD works to lessen the buildup of free radicals over time. It does this by donating an electron to a radical cell, making it whole again. Think about that. Thousands, indeed, millions of free radical cells made right again in the tissues of your skin. The result—less skin pigmentation, slower visible aging, less acne and scarring, less fine lines and wrinkles, and improved skin firmness, smoothness, and luminosity.
- Acne. Acne breakouts are caused by excess oil and bacteria on the skin’s surface that clog pores and infect them. CBD has antibacterial properties that gently fight the cause of acne before it occurs. And more recently it’s been shown to moderate the production of sebum from the skin’s sebaceous glands, reducing the likelihood of an acne breakout.
- No side effects. None of the benefits of CBD would mean so much if they came with serious side effects. CBD has been shown to have next to no side effects when taken orally, and none at all when applied topically.
So why isn’t CBD taking over the beauty industry? For one, it’s still expensive and could easily double the cost of a given product. For another, while most skincare ingredients are by definition short-term solutions, the most important benefit of CBD—fighting the free radicals that lead to premature aging—are long-term. You can immediately see and feel the difference CBD makes in the smoothness and softness of your skin, but the results of its antioxidant ability are slower to materialize. It may take weeks or even months to see the improvement in damaged skin. For many, especially those with normal, healthy skin, including CBD in the daily skincare regimen is an act of faith—you either believe what science is saying about CBD, or you don’t.
Here’s a short list of skin issues and potential remedies for them:
- Pollution and free radicals—wash frequently, use a facial serum with a generous amount of CBD, and apply sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.
- Dry skin—use a hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid, and follow it with a great moisturizer and noncomedogenic organic oils like argan oil and jojoba oil.
- Fine lines and wrinkles—use facial serums with fragmented hyaluronic acid, peptides, retinol, facial creams with large molecular hyaluronic acid (for around the eyes and mouth), and drink lots of H2O
- Uneven skin tone and brown spots—use a gentle exfoliator, and make sure there’s CBD and vitamin B3 in your facial serum.
- Blemishes, acne—AHAs, CBD, Tea tree oil, witch hazel water, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid all help. You may have to experiment to find out what combination works best for you.
- Puffiness, redness, inflammation—CBD, tea tree, argan oil, large molecular hyaluronic acid all work well.
- Psoriasis, eczema—CBD creams and balms can do wonders.
Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and anti-inflammatory effects on human sebocytes (acne):
Free radicals and extrinsic aging:
CBD reduces oil production and inflammation for acne sufferers:
CBD and psoriasis:
CBD’s potential in the development of therapeutics for skin diseases:
Differential effectiveness of selected non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions implicates their introduction in dry/seborrhoeic skin and acne treatment, 2016:
The role of cannabinoids in dermatology:
Exploiting cannabinoid-induced cytotoxic autophagy to drive melanoma cell death:
TRP Channel Cannabinoid Receptors in Skin Sensation, Homeostasis, and Inflammation:
You can reference a more complete list of studies on our Skin Care page.