How CBD can elevate your skin care routine
Reading Time: 8 minutes
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, has a multitude of health and therapeutic benefits including reducing anxiety, promoting muscle recovery, and improving sleep, among others. Over the years, countless studies have established its efficacy in dealing with both short-term pain, as well as more drawn-out chronic illness. This includes studies that have found strong links between reduced risk of several diseases including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and PTSD. Recently, CBD has been touted for its skin care benefits, with many companies even offering CBD infused skin care products. Unlike THC, pure CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning there is no “high” associated with it. Nevertheless, CBD remains a relatively new area of study and much research is still needed to develop a fully comprehensive understanding of it. Below is a quick overview of how CBD functions in the body.
CBD and the body
CBD works with your Endocannabinoid System or ECS to maintain bodily homeostasis (or balance), allowing your body to better handle the external environment. This includes your body’s ability to battle both physical maladies as well as mental tensions. One of the three main components of the ECS are endocannabinoids, among cannabinoid receptors and metabolic enzymes. Endocannabinoids are molecules the body produces that bind to cannabinoid receptors and proteins throughout your central and peripheral nervous systems. When CBD is introduced into the ECS, it acts as a defensive force that blocks enzymes like fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol from breaking down the endocannabinoids that your body naturally produces. This is because CBD is a phytocannabinoid, and while phytocannabinoids can be broken down by bodily enzymes, they do not bind to receptors in the same way that endocannabinoids do.
CBD skin care benefits
Given that it is a phytocannabinoid, CBD also has many cosmetic and beauty benefits. This is why there is a recent buzz surrounding CBD and skincare. For instance, cannabidiol has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Remember, homeostasis isn’t just about your physical and mental health, it also relates to how your body reacts and interacts with your physical surroundings. Your ECS supports your skin’s homeostasis in order to keep it healthy and balanced. If your ECS isn’t receiving the right support, then neither is your skin, which results in an irritated and blemish-prone complexion. Although the available science has only scratched the surface when it comes to how phytocannabinoid interact with the ECS, researchers believe that it supplements the skin’s natural process to give you a smoother and clearer complexion. Below we have provided an accessible guide about CBD skin care benefits if you’ve been considering adding CBD to your skin care regimen.
Many skincare issues are rooted in inflammation, so finding products that can help reduce and eliminate topical inflammation is vital to healthy, glowing skin. Inflammation on the skin can manifest in different ways, such as psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and even cystic acne, which is why reducing inflammation is such a great CBD skin care benefit. It is important to note that inflammation is the body’s immune-response to foreign substances entering the body. For this reason, not all inflammation is inherently bad. When the body initiates an inflammatory response, it is effectively suffocating and destroying the harmful substance. By doing so, it prevents the harmful substance from infiltrating and potentially causing damage and illness. The downside is that the body often can’t tell when a foreign substance is harmful or innocuous, and may still induce an inflammatory response. This can be extremely damaging because the response can have just as a destructive effect on vital tissue as it has on malignant substances. In this way, our health can depend on our body’s ability to fight off its inclination towards inflammation. Non-inflammatory agents like CBD are highly effective in this regard: CBD is able to migrate immune cells responsible for inflammation. In fact, one study examined the use of CBD for inflammation under and over the skin, including the use of CBD for arthritis. The study concluded that, although it is difficult for us to see with the naked eye, applying a sufficient amount of transdermal CBD can help with inflammation.
Another skin care benefit of CBD is anti-ageing. In case you didn’t know, antioxidants and ageing are closely connected. To summarize briefly, antioxidants play a major part in maintaining healthy bodily function, which is why it is recommended that you regularly incorporate them into your diet. Though your body produces antioxidants naturally, just like with other nutrients, deficiencies and increased stress on your system may call for a necessary boost. Antioxidants function as a decelerator of the chemical process of oxidation. Oxidation is a reaction that produces free radicals, which in turn, damage cells by causing illness and…you guessed it, ageing. Antioxidants help to protect the skin from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that are released by environmental pollutants and aggressors like UV rays and man-made pollution. They not only speed up signs of ageing by creating fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots, but they damage the structural part of your skin. Antioxidants put a stop to this chemical reaction by neutralizing harmful oxidizing agents from the bloodstream, boosting the health of cells. CBD contains powerful antioxidant properties that are very similar in structure to what you can obtain through vitamins C and E. By neutralizing the free radicals, the antioxidants in CBD will ensure that your skin remains youthful.
According to an analysis that cited a study from 2005 on hemodialysis patients, CBD could work through nerve endings in order to eliminate itching. Furthermore, a 2006 German study tested a group and found that 86.4% experienced a decrease in pruritus (the sensation of uncomfortable itch) upon using CBD to treat chronic, treatment-resistant itching. Topical CBD benefits the skin as it can visibly reduce redness caused by itching and can be a gentle, non-irritating substitute for harsher creams. However, it is important to remember that itchiness can have many different causes. There are mechanical causes that relate to the body’s processes, such as thermal, which is heat-based, and chemical, which is caused by contact. For this reason, if you are experiencing itchiness, it is important to understand the root cause of the itch before attempting to treat it. Diagnosing an itch incorrectly and subsequently applying the wrong treatment may further irritate your skin and can potentially cause damage.
Scars are essentially damaged skin that is caused by injury, surgery, or acne. There are a myriad of treatments that claim to eliminate scarring including silicone gel or silicone dressings, pressure dressings, steroid creams, laser treatment, dermabrasion, surgery, make-up, among others. Topical creams like CBD and certain scrubs are often used in skin care to soothe skin and assist in the regeneration of cells. In 2019, a study published found that patients who suffered from inflammatory scarring benefited tremendously from topically applied CBD ointments. This includes reducing the parameters of the scar. This indicates that the CBD not only visibly reduced the raised inflammation, but it also has an anti-proliferative effect. Another study found that, because CBD enhances the functionality of the ECS, CBD could potentially aid and reduce scar formation.
Oil balancing and sebum production
Sebum is a waxy, oily substance that the skin naturally produces. Its purpose is to coat the skin and protect it from external pollutants. The barrier blocks external substances and prohibits them from entering and infecting our skin. However, sebum can mix with dead skin cells, dirt, and other pollutants before making its way into your pores. This inevitably causes pores to be clogged, which can eventually lead to acne. CBD oil can help to reduce acne because it regulates the body’s production of sebum. A study in 2014 examined the effect of CBD on sebocytes—the cells that are responsible for sebum production. The research concluded that CBD prevented sebocytes from creating too much sebum. Obviously clogged pores caused by contaminated sebum is only one of the many causes of acne. Other factors that contribute to acne include hormonal imbalances, genetics, diet, stress levels, and even some medication. Another study published in 2016 found that cannabidiol contains antibacterial and antifungal effects, which can assist in the reduction of infections from dirt and other skin pollutants. As always, we recommend speaking to a specialist about your specific case before attempting any remedies.
As you age, your epidermis begins thinning and when that happens, your skin loses its elasticity. This gives the droopy appearance that many people associate with aging, but it also causes wrinkles to form. The scientific reason behind why your skin wrinkles as you age, is that the elastin begins to break down. The same 2019 study that found that those who used CBD saw dramatically reduced scarring also found that topical CBD treatment also increased the elasticity of the subjects’ skin. For now, it remains unclear whether the improvements were due to CBD alone or whether other ingredients in the ointment played a factor. Like we said, there is much more to be learned about CBD, and the current science is only scratching the surface. However, what we know for certain is that to promote skin elasticity it is crucial to follow hygienic practices and be sure not to skimp on skincare products—especially in typically overlooked areas like under your eyes and your neck. Picking cannabinoid-rich products that contain botanicals which work naturally with your skin and applying them to vulnerable areas one to two times a day will keep your skin supple and hydrated.
How to use CBD for skin care
It all begins by choosing the right CBD skin care product. Any and all cannabidiol-infused products are formulated using either full-spectrum CBD oil, broad-spectrum CBD oil, or CBD isolate. The difference between the three lies in the type and amount of other compounds that can be traced in the oil. For instance, full-spectrum CBD oil contains all of the compounds found in the hemp plant including vestigial remnants of THC, broad-spectrum CBD oil contains a range of cannabinoids, flavonoids (plant chemicals found in fruits), and terpenes (aromatic oils). CBD isolate, on the other hand, is the purest form of CBD; it doesn’t contain any other compound that you typically find in the hemp plant. It’s important to look for products that clearly mention on the packaging or label the words “hemp extract”, “cannabidiol”, “broad-spectrum CBD”, “full-spectrum CBD”, or “hemp CBD”. Please note that cannabis Sativa seed oil and hemp seed oil is not the same thing as CBD oil and they will not have the same effect on your skin. While CBD oil is extracted from the flowers of the hemp plant, hemp seed oil and cannabis sativa oil are not. CBD oil is a finer, lighter oil, while seed oil is heavier and tends to be greasier and more likely to clog pores.
It is also important to determine the amount of CBD you should be using. When using CBD lotions or oils for pain relief purposes or anxiety, you will understandably be looking for a higher dosage so that it effectively targets the problem. If you are mixing your CBD oil with a carrier oil before using it, it might be wise to start with a small amount and work your way up. Also, it’s a good idea to test it somewhere on your skin that’s less visible to be sure that your skin doesn’t have a negative reaction to the product. Be sure that you trust the quality of the product before using it. According to a study published in 2017, over 60% of CBD products are mislabeled so make sure that the product is safe and the label actually contains what it claims to contain.
CBD comes in many forms. For skin care specifically, it’s customary to ingest it or apply it topically. ResolveCBD has a line of CBD products that can be used topically. For instance, our Natural CBD oil can be mixed with other skincare products (like your favourite moisturizer). Please be aware that our Classic CBD oil contains peppermint oil which may be irritating for some skin types, which is the reason why we recommend to opt for the Natural variation for skincare. Also, our CBD oil contains MCT oil as a carrier oil, which is a comedogenic and therefore may clog pores. Finally, while our new CBD pain cream is excellent for relieving tension, it is not recommended for use on the face because of the blend of essential oils it contains which may be irritating for sensitive skin.
In any case, be sure to do the necessary research for your specific skin type. You know your skin better than anyone, so pick and choose the products and dosages that are right for you. We hope that your journey with CBD and skin care is a pleasant one!