Stroll down the skin care aisle of your local drugstore, and you are likely to see one ingredient on all manner of products from face washes to moisturizers: CBD. Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of the active ingredients in cannabis, and lauded for its ability to alleviate pain and anxiety, as well as other potential benefits. Unlike THC, the other active compound in cannabis, CBD isn’t psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t get you high.
But what can CBD do in skincare products? And is it worth choosing products that contain the compound as a means to improve your skin?
How CBD Works
To understand how CBD might benefit your skincare routine, it’s useful to understand how it works.
You’ve likely heard of the “happy hormones,” the brain chemicals that allow you to feel relaxed, content, and well, happy. One of those hormones is an endocannabinoid called anandamide. Researchers believe that CBD increases levels of anandamide, spurring those happy feelings of bliss and contentment. Increased anandamide also helps reduce inflammation (which in turn helps reduce pain), but also increases activity at other receptors throughout your body.
But there’s a catch. Taking CBD internally, such as in the form of an oil or edible you pick up at your Maryland cannabis shop, it can reach the endocannabinoids throughout your body. This is why you might have an overall feeling of well-being after ingesting a CBD gummy: Your entire endocannabinoid system has been activated. When you apply a topical product, such as a facial moisturizer, only your skin is affected by the compound. It’s not likely that the CBD will actually enter your bloodstream and will only accumulate in the top layers of your skin.
This doesn’t mean that CBD isn’t beneficial to your skin, though.
The Potential Benefits of CBD for Your Skin
According to experts at Cedar-Sinai, CBD skin care products can potentially help manage dry skin and certain skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. That’s due to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, which are largely responsible for the compound’s ability to provide pain relief. When it comes to your skin, inflammation is the source of many issues, from signs of aging to acne.
For example, there is some evidence that using a topical product containing CBD can be just as effective for treating conditions like eczema as topical steroids. Although corticosteroid treatments are proven effective for certain skin ailments, they come with some significant side effects, especially when used on areas with thinner skin, including everything from stinging and burning to increased hair growth, skin darkening, and inflamed hair follicles. CBD doesn’t have the same effects, making it a more attractive option for some people.
CBD has also shown some promise for treating acne. A 2014 study, for example, found that CBD helped control the production of oil from the sebaceous glands, as well as reduced inflammation. Taken together, these effects can potentially reduce the likelihood of pimples forming — without the irritation and initial worsening of acne that can come with the use of retinoids, or the side effects of common prescription medications used to control acne.
Ultimately, doctors say that there is no harm in using products that contain CBD on your skin. Although there may not be a great deal of evidence providing that it has a positive effect, if you are using something that contains CBD and are happy with it, then there’s no problem with continuing to do so.
Choosing CBD Skin Care Products
To increase the likelihood of seeing results from your CBD products, it’s useful to choose the right products and understand what you’re looking at when you read labels.
For starters, CBD products use one of three types of CBD: Isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum. CBD isolate is pure CBD, without any other compounds found in the hemp it’s derived from. It’s the purest form of CBD. Considered the best option for using on your face. It is high in antioxidants and doesn’t contain any other ingredients or compounds. Nothing that can clog pores or cause other reactions.
The difference between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD comes down to THC. Full spectrum CBD contains the full range of compounds found in hemp, including trace amounts of THC. Broad spectrum doesn’t contain any THC. Otherwise, both contain all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in hemp, which may be beneficial to your skin. Keep in mind that products that contain cannabis sativa or hemp seed oils are not the same as CBD. They may offer some similar benefits, but if you want the benefits of CBD, it must be labeled CBD.
Choosing high-quality products is also important to achieving the results you want from CBD skin care. Ideally, you should choose products made from organic industrial hemp. Hemp grown in the US and tested by a third-party lab for purity is best. This ensures that there aren’t trace amounts of impurities. Impurities that can lead to irritation. Stick to brands you trust, and that you’ve researched.
The effectiveness of CBD in skin care products is still being studied. But, that’s not stopping manufacturers from using it in their offerings. If you want to try CBD skincare, there’s no reason not to. It might just be the solution you’re looking for.
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