A Guide to Using CBD Oil for Acne

Young woman looking at face in mirror for acne

Posted on June 8th, 2020

Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? Your skin, or epidermis, is the surface epithelium of the skin, overlying the dermis. It protects your internal organs, and it acts as your first line of defense against external elements. But, because it faces so many attackers, your skin will likely lose a few battles. This is why most people suffer from some sort of skin condition during their lives. To help keep your skin in good condition, you need to wash regularly. And you also need to nourish your skin using natural products that allow it to thrive. Your face is sensitive and you should take care of it — especially your face —  and should be a regular activity, like brushing your teeth. AND washing your hands! So, how can CBD oil be used for acne?

Acne is one extremely common skin condition, affecting so much of the population. Acne varies from mild to severe, but, in all its forms, acne affects your appearance and can mess with your self-esteem. That’s one of the reasons why acne-fighting products are always in demand. But what substance can actually alleviate acne, and how well can CBD oil work for acne? 

In this piece, we will look at some of the causes of acne; we’ll also share some of the ways that CBD can naturally address those causes. Just continue reading this enlightening information for your acne-fighting tips. 

What Is CBD?

Before we explore CBD and acne, we need you to really understand what constitutes Cannabidiol (CBD). You may associate CBD with other cannabis products, and you’ve probably heard at least something about the legal issues surrounding their consumption. And, since cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD, is a compound extracted from the cannabis plant, so you may be worried about legality. Plus, you might be wondering whether taking CBD will make you feel “high”? Even applying cannabinoids to your skin will transfer those cannabinoids into your body and thus your blood. Your skin is like a sponge, and why washing it regularly can be a good thing! 

Note that while CBD comes from cannabis plants, it’s very different from THC, which is the plant’s psychoactive ingredient. Pure CBD like an isolate is not psychoactive, so you should not be worried about getting high. Full Spectrum CBD has a very small amount of THC which is three-tenths of one percent, or 0.3%, and will not get you high either. Instead, you should be excited about CBD’s potential effects in and on your body,  all of which owe to the cannabinoid’s interactions with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). In recent years, scientists have connected the ECS to our immune and nervous systems, meaning it’s involved with our pain signals, anxiety, inflammation, and depression. When you understand all the systems of our ECS address, you can also understand why we study and focus on CBD for its effect on your experience of these systems. 

But back to our original topic: can we use CBD oil with skin conditions such as acne? We’ll get to that topic in a minute, but first, let’s get a better understanding of acne’s underlying causes.  

Young woman looking in mirror at acne on faceWhat Is Acne?

Acne vulgaris is a condition that results from inflammation of the sebaceous glands. There are various types of acne, and many suggested causes for each kind. Some suggest causes originate from the inside, and others suggest causes arise from outside elements, and others agree with both sides.  Unfortunately, medical professionals haven’t settled on one root acne cause. But we can all agree that this condition can take a major toll on your mental health when you are dealing with stubborn acne issues. CBD is new and now it becomes another option that may have the potential to improve the skin.   

While every type of acne presents with slight differences, skin inflammation is a common acne symptom. As a result, you’re likely to see redness around individual pimples. And, in more severe cases, this redness can spread across your whole face.

Acne is more common in teenagers, especially during puberty.  Many adults, however, also struggle with persistent acne. They may even develop symptoms for the first time during adulthood, as a result of bodily hormonal changes and other catalysts. Basically, you’re never completely free from acne risk: it can hit at any point in your life, even if your breakout probability lowers as you age. One thing we are certain of is that when acne is an issue it has our attention. 

In most cases, acne clears up on its own, and you won’t need any form of medication. So why are acne medications so prolific? The answer is simple:  most people don’t have the patience to wait, even if some over the counter products worsen acne symptoms — people will seek solutions. 

How is that possible? How can acne get worse, or skin become further irritated when using products that are supposed to help solve acne issues? Many acne medications contain dangerous chemicals that increase your skin’s sensitivity. So, while these products may clear up some pimples, they may also take a toll on your skin’s healthy appearance. Then, there are some medications that come with very serious warnings that can quite literally scare the prescribed user. Thus, adding to the stress of dealing with acne in the first place! 

What Are the Common Types of Acne?


Blackheads develop when sebum hardens, clogging up your skin pore. Blackheads don’t become inflamed, but they can interfere with your desire for a smooth, uniform skin appearance.  Without treatment, blackheads may oxidize your skin as they dissolve, leaving you with darker skin patches. 


Whiteheads are small, white bumps that appear without inflammation. They can be caused by acne and a wide variety of other skin conditions. Small whiteheads may go unnoticed, and they are unlikely to leave you with significant scarring.

Nodular Acne

This is the most common type of acne. It is characterized by pus-filled nodules that can become inflamed. They have a white center when observed closely, but they could also show up as red, inflamed sections of skin. Eventually, nodular acne clears up on its own, but popping the pustule to expel its pus can leave you with scars.

Cystic Acne

This is the most severe type of acne, and it is rare. With cystic acne, your pustules form in your skin’s inner layers instead of on the skin surface. These pustules are so deep that it is quite hard to pop them, which can create swelling too. They come in clusters and can affect the entire appearance of your face.

What Makes Acne Worse?

While acne can clear up on its own, some of our habits actually worsen breakouts. Here are some acne-boosting habits to avoid: 

Getting handsy: when you have pustules all over your face, it is tempting to touch them. This only makes your acne worse, however, since the bacteria in your hands get into your pores, increasing your risk for another breakout. Especially with all germs, touching your face is the easiest easy to transfer germs into your body. Just keep your hands OFF your face. 

The food you eat also plays a large role in your acne breakouts. It’s good to avoid oily foods if you’re dealing with acne. Instead, choose nutritious fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins A, B5, C, D, and E.

Some studies suggest that avoiding dairy and alcohol may also help you avoid breakouts. And be sure to drink enough water to keep your skin hydrated, since dry skin actually starts producing more oily sebum. 

How Can CBD Oil Address Acne?

Now that we have covered CBD, and if you’re still reading, you know what acne is, right? Many people use CBD products for acne because of its suggested anti-inflammatory properties. Since CBD may target inflammation in your body, and acne is an inflammatory condition, many people report reduced breakout intensity with CBD use.

Studies also indicate CBD sebostatic effects. This study suggests that CBD may act on the hyperactive sebum glands, helping restore them to their normal working condition. With these glands working regularly, acne breakouts pop up less often.

Additionally, since CBD works with your body’s natural endocannabinoid system to restore internal balance (homeostasis), CBD may impact your anandamide levels. Anandamide is an ECS component that regulates cell growth. CBD may help balance your anandamide levels, reducing acne-triggered hyper cell growth on your skin.

Tanasi CBD lotion and salve on bathroom counterWhat Is the Best Way to Use CBD Oil for Acne?

You might be wondering how you can get CBD oil into your body to make it work for you? Well, you have a few options to consider: 

The first, and most obvious method, is by applying CBD directly on your skin in the form of a CBD salve or lotion, or specifically formulated product for your face. Just read any product’s ingredient list carefully, making sure they’re free of substance that could actually cause another breakout. 

You can also take CBD oil orally in the form of capsules. This allows you to control your exact CBD dose, and the effects may last longer. Tinctures are also a great option:  just drop your dose underneath your tongue, hold in place for one or two minutes, and swallow any liquid that isn’t already absorbed.

What Are the Side Effects of Using CBD Oil for Acne?

CBD may change the appearance of acne, and it comes with very minimal side effects. Some users report dizziness, mood changes, and dry mouth, but these side effects are rare and usually only appear with higher-than-recommended doses. To avoid any issues, start by taking smaller CBD doses and see how it works for your body before increasing.

In Summary 

CBD is a natural and effective new option and way to find a solution that can address acne. While there are many other options on the market, most do not give their promised results, while they do expose your body to harmful chemical compounds. CBD, on the other hand, is a natural product option that carries minimal side effects. It is worth trying it as another solution that may work for you. It is also entirely legal, as long as you purchase hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% THC concentration. And, so long as you source your CBD from a reputable vendor, it’s safe and legal to explore CBD to target your acne. 

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