Health & Wellness

Beyond Skin-Deep: Research Discovers CBD Oil Benefits for Your Skin

By Kristina Parren
Jernej Graj/Unsplash

Why the Skin Care Industry Loves CBD Oil for Skin Care

As your body’s largest organ, your skin is a major reflection of your health and lifestyle. Acne, eczema, aging and sun damage not only cause insecurity, but also pesky (or dangerous) health issues.

If you think you’re all alone when it comes to itchy or problematic skin, think again. The American Academy of Dermatology reports the following statistics for common skin conditions:

  • One in ten people will develop atopic dermatitis (eczema) at some point.
  • Acne affects up to 50 million Americans annually.
  • In one year, the total direct cost of treating psoriasis was over $51 billion nationally.
  • The most common cancer is skin cancer, and roughly 9,500 Americans are diagnosed each day.

If you haven’t heard of CBD oil for skin care, you will soon. Skin care specialists and beauty companies are gravitating towards CBD oil benefits for health and cosmetic uses. Even CVS and Walgreens announced that they will sell CBD products over-the-counter.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, commonly called CBD, is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. Unlike marijuana, there is no psychoactive component, so using it for dry or scaly skin won’t get you high. It is also well-tolerated by most people with few side effects (e.g. nausea, diarrhea, fatigue).

[Read more about the side effects of CBD.]

You’ll find CBD in several forms. CBD is commonly applied transdermally, orally, and in vaping devices via inhalation. Today, topical creams containing cannabidiol are popping up in spas around the country.

Can I Use CBD Oil for Skin Care in My State?

The 2018 Farm Bill declassified hemp products as controlled substances under federal law. This includes hemp-derived CBD and cannabinoids with no more than 0.3 percent of THC (the psychoactive compound). The FDA still holds the right to regulate cannabis products to combat falsified or unproven claims about CBD oil benefits.

Despite the new legislation, non-hemp CBD oil products may still be classified as a controlled substance in your state. This applies to CBD extracted from other cannabis strains. So, you should research your state’s specific laws to make sure you are purchasing CBD oil legally.

Getting Under Your Skin: How CBD Works

Your body’s endocannabinoid system signals CB1 and CB2 receptors that researchers believe to regulate skin cell growth, cell survival, immune responses, and inflammation. CBD, however, is less concerned with binding to C1 and CB2 receptors and more inclined to boost or inhibit them. Conversely, CBD is thought to activate specific receptors and ion channels that influence inflammation, pain and even tumors.

That’s a lot of medical jargon. So, what does this all mean for your skin? It means that CBD works deep within your brain and your cells to treat the skin from the inside out.

Current Research on CBD Oil Effects in Skin Care

Dermatological studies are looking towards CBD and other cannabinoids as potential treatments for symptoms, such as:

  • Pimples and acne
  • Allergic responses
  • Skin lumps and lesions
  • Mild to severe itching
  • Inflammation

Below, we explain the results of several recent cannabis studies that may help drive the future of dermatology.

Acne

You don’t have to be a teenager to suffer from embarrassing outbreaks. Acne is an equal-opportunity villain when it comes to your skin. Sebum (oil) and dead skin can clog hair follicles, leading to red and painful pustules—or cysts for the truly unlucky—on the face, neck, back, and chest. Acne can leave dark spots and scars, and in severe cases, lead to serious depression.

A 2016 study found that many non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids have the potential to be anti-acne agents. CBDV, similar to CBD, reduced inflammation and had a significant effect on “acne-like” lipogenesis or fat formation.

The study was a continuation of a previous study in which CBD was found to reduce inflammation and proliferation (rapid growth) of human sebocytes. Sebocytes are cells that produce and release oil by rupturing.

Eczema

Eczema, known to dermatologists as atopic dermatitis, is an incurable skin condition characterized by dry, red skin and sometimes unbearable itchiness. These unpleasant rashes are usually found on the arms and legs.

Doctors and researchers interviewed by the National Eczema Association touted the anti-itch effects of CBD and other cannabinoids. They also stated that cannabinoids have an anti-microbial effect that inhibits Staphylococcus aureus colonization. The S. aureus bacteria is associated with eczema and complications related to the condition.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is one of many autoimmune diseases. Topical steroids, moisturizers, and pills are prescribed for the condition’s rashes, but—and you guessed it—CBD oil may be an additional treatment option for psoriasis.

Cannabidiol has been studied for its anti-arthritic properties, and this can relieve some joint pain associated with psoriasis. Additionally, CBD has long been known to slow cell growth, which makes it a potential treatment to watch for psoriasis.

Skin Cancer

Can CBD cure cancer? No. But current research and preclinical studies show evidence that cannabinoids signal pathways that control cell growth and death. Several experiments on living and non-living subjects found that cannabinoids induced apoptosis (cell death) and inhibited metastasis and cancer cell growth.

CBD is not a substitute for traditional cancer treatments, but future clinical trials could change the way that doctors and dermatologists approach skin cancer and skin health in general.

CBD Oil in Skin Cosmetics

Let’s transition to a less serious issue: beauty.

Sometimes the main goal of skin care is simply to reduce wrinkles or prevent aging. Cannabis is trendy in the skin care world, and cannabinoids have been linked to anti-aging effects, such as basil cell growth.

In order to achieve substantial CBD oil benefits for your skin, you should pay close attention to the ingredients in CBD-based moisturizers and topical creams. You may want to follow Remedy Review’s tips for choosing CBD skin care.

Here are just a few:

  1. Avoid cheaper CBD “isolates” as they may not be easily absorbed by the skin, especially as time goes on.
  2. “Full-spectrum” CBD products that use the entire plant are more potent.
  3. Try to buy from companies that derive their own CBD.

In other words, if CBD is just an after-thought in the product, you won’t receive the full CBD oil benefits for your skin.

As you navigate the growing number of CBD topicals, you should understand that the industry is still maturing. Further human-based studies, clinical trials and safety regulations are still required to make CBD oil as effective as possible for skin care. Speak to your dermatologist if you plan on purchasing CBD oil for a skin condition.

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