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Should I Use CBD On My Skin? Absolutely! Here's Why...

Date 19th Nov 2021

Should I Use CBD On My Skin? Absolutely! Here's Why...

Having a great skincare routine has proven to be more than just a passing fad. One of the most consumed content pieces on the internet is the breakdown of celebrities' and influencers' skincare routines for glowing, flawless skin. This is perhaps due to the popularity of "self-care," and no matter what your budget, there are products that cater to everyone.

One of the most buzzed-about ingredients to come into the scene is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD derived from hemp plants is best known as a wellness supplement with a long list of health benefits from supporting healthy stress levels, inflammation, and some people use it to manage pain. If you're most familiar with CBD as oils, edibles, and smokable products, you may be surprised to find out that CBD-infused skin products are being used to support skin issues like line-lines, acne, and scarring.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at how CBD works for the skin and why it's become such a welcome addition to so many beauty routines

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TL;DR:

  1. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many cannabinoids derived from the hemp plant. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system to support homeostasis.
  2. The skin is our largest organ designed to protect and regulate some of our vital functions. There are endocannabinoid receptors found in the skin tissues to support the skin's functions.
  3. CBD skin care does not enter the bloodstream. Instead, it interacts with the ECS in the skin to support a healthy inflammatory response, sebum production, and pain perception.
  4. The CBD content in your skin care products is important to reap the benefits. Shop for CBD skin care products that contain a concentration of at least 5MG of CBD per mL.
  5. Many people are adding CBD to their skin care routines to combat acne, sun-damaged skin, aging skin, and reducing scarring.
  6. Read the whole ingredient list of your CBD skin care products to ensure it has the right formula to support your skin concerns. 

Crash Course On Cannabidiol (CBD) & The Endocannabinoid System

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytochemical from hemp plants that belong to a class of compounds called cannabinoids. The hemp plant has over a hundred cannabinoids that interact with a cell-signaling system all mammals have called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS plays an important role in maintaining optimal bodily function by supporting homeostasis (balance) of many of our vital systems from our metabolism, immune, mood, and memory, and much more. Our body's inherent ability to balance itself is what keeps things like body temperature and blood sugar in the goldilocks zone and keeps us healthy.

The endocannabinoid system's discovery came about when researchers were investigating the effects of cannabis in the body. They found that the main cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD primarily interacted with the ECS.

Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive—it doesn't alter our perception or cause a rush of euphoria. This is because CBD doesn't have an affinity to bind with CB1 receptors in the brain. Instead, CBD has broad-acting effects on maintaining overall wellness because it supports cannabinoid receptor sites' ability to bind with cannabinoids and elevates levels of the body's natural endocannabinoid molecules—sort of like upgrading your cellphone service from LTE to 5G for faster transmission of information.

Does CBD On The Skin Work?

CBD is a versatile compound that can be smoked, ingested, and applied to the skin. This is because you can find CB1 and CB2 receptors in skin tissue.

The skin is our largest organ and plays a fundamental role in protecting us from our environment, regulating hormones, temperature, and the process of wound healing. The ECS helps to support the skin function in all these processes [1].

Unless you're using a medical-grade transdermal CBD patch, CBD skin care products don't enter the bloodstream to interact with receptors in the central nervous system. This means topical CBD products won't work to support mood, concentration, or energy metabolism. Instead, the benefits of CBD are concentrated in the area you've applied it to.

What's The Difference Between CBD Topicals and CBD Oil?

CBD oil or tincture is the most popular CBD product available. It consists of two major ingredients—hemp extract and carrier oil, which are most commonly hemp seed oil, MCT coconut oil, and olive oil.

Pure hemp extract is sticky and highly concentrated. It's difficult to use and accurately dose, which is why it's combined with edible oil and comes in a wide range of concentrations for precise measurements and ease of use.

CBD oils are typically designed for internal ingestion, and they have a wide range of applications because they interact with the endocannabinoid system in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.

Many people use CBD oils to support muscle recovery, healthy inflammation levels, mood, energy metabolism, and regulating disrupted sleep patterns.

In theory, you could apply CBD oils to your skin—but CBD topicals such as creams, lotions, salves, and balms might be a better option as these formulas include skincare ingredients to hydrate and protect the skin which allows for improved absorption.

The most common uses for CBD topicals include supporting muscle and joint discomfort and soothing irritated skin. Some skincare and CBD brands have integrated CBD in their formulas to support anti-aging and anti-acne.

Let's have a closer look at what CBD can do for your skincare routine.

The Benefits Of Adding CBD To Your Skincare Routine

CBD-infused skin care products are becoming all the rage for their claims to calm inflammation from acne, control excess oil production, and even turn back the hands of time for a more youthful complexion.

While there is a significant amount of research to support CBD and its anti-inflammatory effects when taken internally, let's get into the nitty-gritty and look into some of the research that supports some of these marketing claims.

1. Some CBD Face Creams May Help With Acne

A lot of traditional acne treatments available focus on drying out the skin to reduce oil production that clogs pores. While this may work temporarily, it damages the skin's natural protective barrier as oil is important for maintaining skin health.

The endocannabinoid system plays a role in supporting the proper inflammatory function of the skin, and as we know, CBD supports this cell-signaling function. But it may also show anti-inflammatory benefits in another way.

CBD also binds to transient receptor potential (TRP) receptors that are present in skin tissue. This system is involved with the formation and healthy function of the skin barrier, cell growth, inflammatory processes, and pain signaling [2].

In a 2018 study, CBD applied to cultured human sebocytes (where the skin's oil is produced) found that it inhibited the fat formation of various compounds including linoleic acid and testosterone, which are prone to clogging pores [3].

By supporting these processes, CBD has a better chance at eliciting anti-inflammatory effects that lead to acne breakouts and help to maintain a healthier skin barrier without dehydrating the skin.

2. CBD May Have Antioxidant Properties To Support Anti-Aging Formulas

There are many studies that suggest CBD as a powerful antioxidant compound. Antioxidants work to protect cells' DNA from free-radical damage. Aging cells is an inevitable process of life, but there are factors in our environment and lifestyle that can speed up the destruction of cells that lead to premature aging.

For example, too much exposure to the sun's harmful UV rays leads to an increase of free-radical damage that results in sunspots, fine lines, wrinkles, and leathery skin.

Anti-aging skincare products often have high concentrations of antioxidants to combat signs of aging. The most common forms of antioxidants in skincare include vitamins C and E. Some studies suggest that high levels of CBD can prove to be a more potent source of antioxidants than vitamins C and E [4,5].

3. CBD And Other Ingredients May Help Reduce Scarring & Discoloration

Sometimes what's getting between you and the perfect glass-like complexion is scarring as a result of old acne breakouts or wounds.

Acne scars are often the result of inflamed blemishes from clogged pores. When the pore swells with inflammation, it breaks the follicle wall, causing damage to the surface of the skin and the tissue beneath it. As the skin heals, it releases a protein called melanin (which gives skin its color). Depending on your genetics, your skin may be more prone to produce more melanin resulting in hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.

Applying CBD to breakouts can help with anti-inflammatory effects, reducing the damage on the skin which means your scars may not be as noticeable once they heal.

Preliminary trials also demonstrate CBD's potential to support regulating the proliferation of melanin, which may reduce the hyperpigmentation of acne scars [6].

Ingredients You Should Avoid Using On Your Face

Not all CBD topicals will provide you with the glowing skin you're after. It's important to read the full ingredient list and make sure there aren't any pore-clogging ingredients or irritants in the formula.

Natural oils and butter like coconut oil, lanolin, and shea butter are found to be incredibly nourishing to the skin, but not all skin on your body can handle the richness of these ingredients.

The skin on the face is much more delicate than the skin on your hands, legs, and feet, so while body creams, butter, and massage oils could benefit from containing these ingredients, it's best to avoid them on your face.

The molecules in coconut oil, lanolin, and shea butter are quite large and are prone to clogging pores. In the skincare community, these compounds are non as comedogenic ingredients.

Dermatologists have come up with a comedogenic scale to estimate the ability of some ingredients to irritate and clog pores that may lead to breakouts. You can find more resources on skincare ingredients and their comedogenic rating here.

That being said, everyone's skin may have different requirements and may be more tolerant to rich ingredients. Coconut oil may be okay to use on your face and some people swear by it in their skincare routine, so before applying any skincare product all over your face, you should patch test it on your neck to ensure you don't have any adverse reactions.

How Safe Is CBD To Use On The Skin?

CBD is considered to be safe and well-tolerated when applied to the skin, so there's a very slim chance it would have any negative effects.

Because there are not many guidelines and government regulations surrounding CBD manufacturing, not all CBD extracts are made with the same level of care and attention. Most of the adverse reactions experienced from CBD skincare come from poor ingredients and poorly manufactured CBD can be one of them.

CBD is extracted from hemp plants, which are highly sensitive to their growing environments. CBD can be grown just about anywhere, and it's an incredibly robust plant, which means it'll even flourish with heavy pesticide use and contaminants in the soil.

It's important to know where the hemp is sourced from because third-party lab tests have found trace amounts of pesticides, solvents, and heavy metals in CBD extracts from poor growing and extraction processes that may cause skin irritation.

Neurogan Skincare Products

We've developed a line of skin care products featuring our premium high-potency full spectrum CBD extract and botanical extracts to support a glowing complexion.

Our products start at the source, our high CBD hemp crops are grown on the West Coast. With careful CO2 extraction methods, we're able to preserve more cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant for an impressive full spectrum extract which we feature in high potencies in our formulations.

One of the biggest issues we found in our research in developing our line of CBD skin care is that so many products out there don't include enough CBD to provide any effects. Most of the research supporting CBD for skin health have higher concentrations of CBD in order to penetrate the skin barrier and deliver its effects.

Let us introduce you to our line of CBD skin care.

1. CBD Clear Skin Cream | 4000MG (2oz) | Full Spectrum

The Clear Skin Cream is formulated with ingredients like babchi oil and tea tree oil to combat stubborn breakouts. These essential oils combined with potent CBD extract have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help to support normal inflammation levels and prevent the build-up of bacteria that can clog pores. The cream is lightweight and quick-absorbing, perfect for daytime use.

2. CBD Face Cream 250-1000MG

For normal to dry skin, your face will feel nourished and protected with our best-selling CBD face cream. It has a light but creamy consistency that glides onto the skin with CBD oil to help condition the skin barrier. It comes in three potencies, 250MG, 500MG, and 1000MG to suit your preferences.

3. CBD Night Serum 500-1000MG

The CBD Night Cream has a rich buttery consistency packed with natural ingredients like jojoba seed oil, calendula, vitamin E, and calming chamomile to replenish the skin overnight. It comes in either 500MG or 1000MG of hemp extract to support inflamed skin issues and sun-damaged skin for gentle repair while you sleep.

4. CBD Lip Balm 200MG

When it comes to skincare, the lips are often neglected but are still an important part of maintaining a healthy, youthful look. The skin on the lips is much more delicate and shows earlier signs of aging and dehydration, which is why we've formulated a high potency CBD lip balm to nourish and protect the lips.

The Takeaway: CBD Skin Care

CBD is a welcome guest on our skin care product shelf. CBD is a well-tolerated compound that provides gentle yet powerful support to the natural skin barrier. The beauty industry is always quick to jump onto trending compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential—but they can often miss the mark on executing an effective product.

Keep in mind that the amount of CBD in the product is important—high potency topicals are generally safe and well-tolerated on the skin and provide you with the best chances for the benefits of CBD.

Shop for CBD oil and products that come from well-sourced hemp crops with a third-party lab test to verify the contents and quality of the extract. Trace amounts of contaminants from the farming and extraction of CBD could leave behind nasty chemicals that can exacerbate skin conditions.

For more resources on how to use CBD in your wellness regimen, you can check out our blog or get industry news sent straight to your inbox by signing up for our Insider Scoop newsletter.

Resources:

  1. Bíró, T., Tóth, B. I., Haskó, G., Paus, R., & Pacher, P. (2009). The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities. Trends in pharmacological sciences, 30(8), 411–420. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tips.2009.05.004
  2. Baswan, S. M., Klosner, A. E., Glynn, K., Rajgopal, A., Malik, K., Yim, S., & Stern, N. (2020). Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 13, 927–942. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S286411
  3. Oláh, A., Tóth, B. I., Borbíró, I., Sugawara, K., Szöllõsi, A. G., Czifra, G., Pál, B., Ambrus, L., Kloepper, J., Camera, E., Ludovici, M., Picardo, M., Voets, T., Zouboulis, C. C., Paus, R., & Bíró, T. (2014). Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes. The Journal of clinical investigation, 124(9), 3713–3724. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI64628
  4. Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2019). Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9010021
  5. Hampson, A. J., Grimaldi, M., Axelrod, J., & Wink, D. (1998). Cannabidiol and (−) Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 95(14), 8268-8273.
  6. Tóth, K. F., Ádám, D., Bíró, T., & Oláh, A. (2019). Cannabinoid Signaling in the Skin: Therapeutic Potential of the "C(ut)annabinoid" System. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(5), 918. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24050918
Katrina Lubiano
Katrina Lubiano

Katrina Lubiano is a content writer in the health and wellness space based in Vancouver, Canada — Canada's epicenter for cannabis culture. When she's not working, she enjoys sailing, watercolor painting, and cooking.