Ten thousand Americans are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer every day, nearly four million every year. With smoke and pollution on the rise and Earth’s protective ozone layer growing thinner, the skincare crisis could become even worse in years to come. The best way to prevent this–perhaps the only way–is to adjust our habits by washing more effectively, using a good sunscreen, trying not to overdo our exposure to the sun, and incorporating antioxidant products into our skincare regimen. In this new era of skincare, a creme or lotion must do more than just moisturize our skin–it must also help repair it and effectively defend it against the buildup of free radical cells.
Free radicals are cells that have lost a molecule from environmental or other factors and attack healthy cells to steal that molecule back. They’re like pirates, looting our healthy cells and turning them into free radical “zombies” that attack other healthy cells, a process that if left unchecked can result in a serious buildup of free radical cells, leading to illness and aging.
Antioxidants check this process by donating a molecule to a free radical, effectively making it whole again. Our body manufactures some antioxidants but not nearly enough to counter the challenges of our day. We have to supplement this process with antioxidants in our skincare products and in our diet (blueberries, strawberries, nuts, and dark green veggies are all high in antioxidants).
For years, the most common antioxidants were vitamins C and E. More recently, we’ve begun to see cannabidiol (CBD) used for this purpose. A patent granted to the Department of Health and Human Services in 2003 (see link below) describes CBD as an antioxidant and neuroprotectant more powerful than either vitamin C or vitamin E. CBD is also an effective anti-inflammatory, which is very good news for our skin, because inflammation causes swelling, redness, puffiness, and itch that not only age us but if left unchecked can result in a host of serious skin conditions.
Most of the following links on the efficacy of CBD to protect our skin and reduce inflammation come from the Library of Medicine at our National Institute of Health.
- Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants
- The Role of Cannabinoids in Dermatology
- Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes (acne)
- Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis
- Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis
Consumer links–easy reads:
Huffington Post article 11/27/2018, “Does CBD Really Help with Pain?”
New York Times article “Why is CBD Everywhere?”
Dr. Oz Show, October 2nd on “CBD Among Other Things.”
Article in glamour Magazine, “I replaced my entire beauty routine with only CBD products.”
If you’re wondering just how CBD works, “CBD and our Endocannabinoid System“ (ECS) is a good read.
In 2015, NIDA director Nora Vlkow made a presentation to congressional members that was quite eye-opening. She stated that “Rigorous clinical studies are still needed to evaluate the clinical potential of CBD for specific conditions. However, pre-clinical research (including both cell culture and animal models) has shown CBD to have a range of effects that may be therapeutically useful, including anti-seizure, antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-tumor, anti-psychotic, and anti-anxiety properties (emphasis added).” A powerful statement, one that bodes well for the future of healthcare. Read the full transcript here.