What effects does CBD have on the skin?

CBD effects on the skin

Few ingredients have taken skin care by storm like CBD. And if you look closely, you can find it everywhere: in sunscreens, masks, lip balms, moisturizers, and more. The only question is, should you really smear this stuff on your skin?

First, let's talk about what CBD is. Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active component of the cannabis plant, according to Harvard Health Publishing. CBD can be obtained from either medical marijuana or hemp. Although marijuana contains CBD, CBD has no psychoactive effects. (THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical that triggers the high.) That said, CBD has no mind-altering effects.

The purported benefits of CBD skin care products

Experts attribute the popularity of CBD to its reputation as an "all-rounder". In fact, many people are turning to CBD in hopes of using it to treat various ailments such as anxiety, insomnia, pain and now, it seems, increasingly, skin problems as well.

In general, manufacturers add CBD to their products to spice them up. "CBD is a very inexpensive way to improve products," says Austin Katz, co-founder of Sheabrand in Brooklyn, New York. Because of its versatility, CBD is found in a number of products - those designed to treat acne, dry skin, and eczema. “I think we live in a time when people want to feel empowered to solve their needs themselves,” he says.

Potentially helps with inflammation, eczema and psoriasis

One of the touted functions of CBD is to control inflammation. "The body has two CBD receptors that we know about: CB1 and CB2," says Robert Dellavalle, professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora. When CBD is applied to the skin, it interacts with these receptors to dampen the inflammatory response. It does this by “reducing interleukins, which are chemicals that act like the immune system's fire alarm that calls the fire department in an emergency. CBD can lower the volume of this alarm, ”he explains.

In short, you may see less redness overall, and for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, it may also be effective in relieving itchiness, possibly because CBD creams can help reduce dryness, like an im Published July 2017 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology Study shows. (Dr. Dellavalle co-authored this report.) Note, however, that the report included only three studies: two in humans, but with small sample sizes, and one in mice, which is not necessarily applicable to human health. Therefore, more studies are needed on the potential benefits of CBD in reducing skin redness.

small study, published in the March-April 2019 issue of the Italian journal Clinical Therapeutics, examined 20 participants who had either psoriasis, eczema, or scarring and found that a special CBD ointment improved the skin's moisture levels (by adding Moisturized and prevented water loss), increased the elasticity of the skin and generally improved the quality of life of the participants. This could be due to the fatty acids in the ointment, but likely also in part to the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, the researchers say. However, more research on a larger population is needed to be certain.

For many skin conditions, dermatologists often prescribe topical steroid creams that act as anti-inflammatory drugs. “These are very safe and effective for most people, but some people don't want to use steroids. CBD could be a nonsteroidal therapy that fills that void, ”says Dellavalle. Side effects of topical steroids include thinning of the skin with excessive or long-term use, but you can avoid these risks if you use them correctly, explains the National Eczema Association. Working with your dermatologist to make sure you are getting the right medication in the right dosage can help with this.

Mona Gohara, MD, a dermatologist in Hamden, Connecticut, and a clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, prefers to use CBD "for inflammatory skin conditions as they subside". She adds, "I generally recommend using a drug to put out the fire and then using CBD to clear the slaughter."

In addition, CBD can also be used as a means to delay early signs of skin aging. "Inflammation is the foundation of all skin diseases, including aging," she says. But while there is a lot of hype about CBD in skin care - and health in general - there is no panacea. "Everything has its advantages and disadvantages or limitations," says Dr. Gohara.

May play a role in acne treatment

In addition to being a potential therapy for inflammatory skin diseases, CBD is also used in some anti-acne products. Mantra Mask's CBD Blemish Mask, for example, combines CBD with tea tree oil, which combats pimples. “There are CB2 receptors on the sebum glands that produce oil. Research has shown that CBD affects cells' sebum production and has an anti-inflammatory component, ”said Jeanette Jacknin, MD, a certified dermatologist in Solana Beach, California who specializes in CBD skin care. This is in line with the findings of articles published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation and Experimental Dermatology.

Dr. Jacknin also cites preliminary research presented at the American Society for Microbiology's annual meeting in June 2019 that shows that topical CBD can help kill a range of Gram-positive bacteria. "These bacteria are a cause of acne," she says. (For the study, the researchers worked with Botanix Pharmaceuticals, a company that develops products to treat skin conditions like acne and psoriasis.)

May reduce inflammation from sunburn

Finally, one of the newest uses for CBD skin care is in sunscreens. Dellavalle notes that adding CBD to sunscreens makes sense, as its anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the effects of sunburn, such as redness. Of course, applying sunscreen properly is important (as per American Academy of Dermatology guidelines), but in real life, many people skip areas, and using a CBD-infused SPF can provide for more general absorption and the sunburned area response mitigate, he says.

What science hasn't told us yet about CBD for skin care

If CBD sounds like the answer to your skin problems, it helps to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. “What we don't have with CBD is a lot of research. [CBD has long been illegal at the federal level and it has been difficult to research anything that was previously considered to be equivalent to cocaine or heroin, "says Dellavalle. However, that is beginning to change. The 2018 Agriculture Act removed hemp from the definition of marijuana, which means that CBD products are no longer viewed like marijuana. This has paved the way for researchers to conduct more studies on CBD and given product manufacturers the ability to legally develop and sell CBD products, although it is still illegal to market CBD as a dietary supplement, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) .

A review published in Dermatology Online Journal in June 2018, co-authored by Dellavalle, indicated that while CBD has "shown initial promising results as a therapy for a number of skin diseases," it is still large, high-quality , randomized, controlled trials need to be conducted, which was also confirmed in an article published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in December 2020. Another article published in the May-June 2019 issue of Clinics in Dermatology urges people and their doctors to treat these products with the same caution. Although topical CBD is usually well tolerated and could play a role in a variety of skin problems (including acne, dryness, and irritation), the safety of CBD treatment is still being researched, according to an article published in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology was published.

Unknown about CBD dosage

Scientists still don't know the ideal dose of CBD for treating skin conditions or promoting general health. Some companies, such as B. Sheabrand, use different dosages, depending on which area of ​​skin the product is intended for - z. B. for the body or face - to achieve maximum penetration. Scientists also don't know where CBD compares to proven topical therapies such as retinoids, vitamin C, or alpha hydroxy acids.

Questions about cannabinoid combinations

The cannabis plant contains hundreds of other chemicals, and researchers don't know which combinations are best. For example, terpenes, the essential oils found in plants (including cannabis), could have synergistic benefits, according to the study by Clinical Therapeutics. “There is still so much research to be done. We'll sort that out over the next 25 years, ”says Dellavalle. With more research from universities and companies, Jackin said, more targeted and effective therapies for diseases such as eczema and acne could be developed.

8 Steps To Consider Before Trying A CBD Skin Care Product

For now, you should know that CBD products are generally safe, and initial research suggests that they can improve the look and feel of your skin. However, don't rely on them to be a panacea for every skin problem. In other words, speak to your dermatologist before replacing the products they recommend with products that contain CBD, and do not treat new skin problems with CBD products until you have spoken to your dermatologist. If you're interested in CBD skin care, here are some things you should know before you buy and try it:

Try it out first. CBD is well tolerated, says Jacknin. Still, it's important to know that the ingredients in the product won't harm your skin, especially if you have a sensitive complexion. "Whenever you apply an herbal product to your skin, there is a possibility of allergy," says Dellavalle. He recommends testing the product on the forearm once or twice a day to see if a rash develops. Is the skin clear? Then use the product on your face to see if it makes any difference on you.

Do your homework. Even if the ideal dose has not yet been determined, the CBD content of the product should be clearly stated on the label. "I wouldn't buy anything that didn't tell you how much CBD it got," says Jacknin. With the surge in popularity, there are also snake oil sellers claiming that products contain CBD when they do not contain any CBD; these products are simply not yet well regulated. You can check the FDA website to see if any particular company has received a warning for misleading labeling. Jacknin also recommends looking for the COA, the Certificate of Analysis, on the bottle, which indicates a third party inspection. 

Know what CBD is. Jacknin says she saw that "Cannabis sativa oil”Was marketed in stores as CBD oil. “But that's only hemp oil. CBD is made from hemp oil, but the hemp oil itself contains only a very small amount of CBD, ”she says. In this case, the stores may not be deceiving, but they may not know exactly what they are selling.

Remember, more research is needed. Keep in mind that according to the FDA, CBD products cannot claim to treat or cure a specific disease. The FDA also advises that it is currently unknown how the different types of CBD administration affect absorption by the body, or how the use of multiple CBD products can affect health over time. For example, it is unclear how taking an oral CBD tincture compares to using a topical formulation, or whether using a CBD skin serum along with adding an oil to your diet has any health effects.

Inquire. There may be licensed drop-off points in your area depending on the laws in your state. Employees there often have the best information about product testing, third-party verification, and recommendations for quality brands, says Dellavalle. 

Buy wisely. "This is a situation where the buyer has to be careful," says Jacknin. "The market is not fully regulated and there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there trying to make money from it," she says.

Talk to your dermatologist. If you're struggling with a skin condition, CBD products can fit into your treatment regimen. Or maybe not. Talk to your dermatologist about whether and how CBD products fit into your current treatment regimen, especially if you are currently treating a skin condition.

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