Can CBD for Acne Help Your Skin?
Posted on August 30th, 2021
Considering CBD for acne? You’re on the right track. After all, CBD or cannabidiol is now an important beauty product ingredient. With studies revealing its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-stress properties, it is easy to see why it’s called the ‘Wonder Ingredient”. Even more, according to recent research, cannabidiol may be just what your irritated, breakout-prone needs.
Although research on CBD effects for skin conditions is still early, we check in with board-certified dermatologists to get our facts right about using CBD for acne.
What is Acne?
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions. It causes pimples, painful blemishes, red inflammation and even cysts. At its most basic level, acne develops when your skin pore surrounding a follicle gets clogged with oil. (Which comes from sebaceous glands and dry skin cells.)
You’ve probably experienced one or more of the 4 primary forms of acne. These are blackheads, whiteheads, cysts and pimples. Here is a brief explanation of each:
Blackheads- These are pores that get congested with oil and bacteria
Whiteheads- These are clogged pores that bulge out at the hair follicle wall
Cysts- These are blockages and inflammation that happen deep inside the hair follicle.
Pimples- These occur as a result of inflammation at the follicle tip caused by bacteria.
There are numerous factors that go into what causes this skin condition and how severe it can get. Hormones can result in the production of excess oil, genetics may play a role and stress may aggravate the condition.
Common Acne Treatments
The standard products used to fight acne include medications, astringent wipes and topical creams.
Medications like antibiotics hamper bacteria growth in the clogged pores which can cause cysts and whiteheads. However, such medication comes with the risk of side effects like increased sunlight sensitivity and liver damage. Also, these medications do not come cheap compared to other acne treatment methods.
Face washes or astringent wipes break down the oil buildup that ultimately results in acne. When used on a daily basis, they keep the pores clear of clogs, but in the process, they can dry out and irritate the skin, leading to more skin problems.
Topical creams such as retinol work on pimples. They increase cell turnover, which in turn unblocks the pores. It is one of the more effective acne treatment options, but it has to be used on a daily basis, taking several weeks to show the desired results.
The downside with these standard treatments is that none addresses the primary cause of acne, which is the overproduction of oil by the sebaceous glands. However, recent studies on CBD oil has shown promising results. When ingested or applied topically, cannabidiol can treat acne by addressing the root cause of the condition.
What is CBD?
CBD is an acronym for cannabidiol, a substance that can be found in both marijuana and hemp plants, both of which belong to the cannabis family. When it comes to the root cause of acne (a mixture of oil, dead skin cells and bacteria being trapped in the skin pores) cannabidiol seems to have everything covered. Cannabidiol may be beneficial to these conditions because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also antimicrobial and may reduce sebum release, which can help soothe skin that’s acne-prone.
The Advantages of Using CBD for Acne:
1. Alleviates inflammation
Cannabidiol may help ease the irritation caused by acne, making breakouts seem smaller and less painful while reducing overall redness. This is particularly helpful for acne patients with skin sensitivity since the product won’t cause the irritation and dryness that comes with conventional treatments.
2. It is an Antioxidant
CBD is rich in antioxidants that help protect your skin from radicals which could cause damage and aging over time. With a protective layer of CBD oil, your skin tone and texture may improve following continued use. While most dermatologists can’t vouch for the compound’s ability to fade post-acne marks, it can act as an additional layer of antioxidant protection.
3. Regulates Oil Production
Perhaps one of the most exciting discoveries in the past several years is CBD’s ability to reduce your skin’s oil production. In simple terms, CBD is sebostatic. Recent studies show that the skin has its own endocannabinoid system (ECS). This means that the skin has active cannabinoids which bind to their receptors, signaling for particular activities to happen or not happen.
But how does this relate to oil production in the skin? Well, an increase in sebum production is due to endogenous cannabinoids, namely 2 AG and anandamide. These are produced in the sebaceous glands and act on CB2 receptors which inhibit the lipogenic action. As such, they are able to control oil production in the skin.
4. Acne Multitasker
Instead of acting as a spot treatment, CBD products targeting acne can also help manage the factors that contribute to acne formation. Since it is both an anti-inflammatory substance and can alleviate sebum production, it can be referred to as an acne multitasker. CBD is considered to be a safer and gentler option for most if not all skin types.
Other Skin Conditions
Since CBD has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body, it may help manage other skin conditions such as:
Psoriasis and Eczema
Cannabidiol’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties might prove helpful for inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. According to a 2019 study on the effects of cannabidiol ointments with psoriasis, researchers concluded that the product substantially improved both skin parameters and symptoms.
Wrinkles and Aging
Studies also suggest that cannabidiol boosts collagen production. It is well known that oxidative stress and free radicals contribute to collagen breakdown, and thus wrinkles and aging signs on the skin. Cannabidiol’s antioxidant properties protect cells from radicals and oxidative stress and thus improving collagen levels. Ultimately, the effects help eliminate fine lines and wrinkles.
What are the Side Effects of CBD?
Although rare, the side effects of using CBD to fight acne include drowsiness, fatigue, reduced appetite, dry mouth and diarrhea. Also, cannabidiol interacts with certain medications. Currently, there are no known interactions with other topical applications. However, to be safe, it’s advisable to begin with a patch test. If you feel irritation, that’s a telltale sign that your skin is sensitive to CBD and you should avoid it for acne treatment.
What are the Best Products Using CBD for Acne?
Following the legalization and realization of the many potential benefits CBD has to offer, there has been a surge in the number of CBD products in the market. As such, it can be hard to find the right product for you.
A good rule of thumb is to go for all-natural skincare products that include CBD such as organic creams and salves. You can also opt to mix CBD oil with a carrier oil like olive oil to create your own moisturizer.
You can also consume CBD orally with the aim of treating acne. It helps reduce inflammation, alleviate stress and regulate skin oil production via the endocannabinoid system.
So, if you feel down and unattractive because of an acne condition, turn to the right CBD products for help. The product’s acne-improving capabilities are promising, and with innovation in medicine plus more research, the treatment will only get better in the future.