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Does CBD Skincare Actually Work? 


Enter CBD skincare – it’s slowly moved from the hushed, whispered circles of beauty enthusiasts to something that’s seen as sophisticated and luxurious. 

Sheet masks, creams, serums – even coffee has been infused with CBD oil so we can reap the healing benefits.  We were curious as any to hear about the latest buzzy ingredient making its way into our routines. But before we start slathering CBD beauty products onto our skin we wanted to check it out for ourselves. 

The smoothing, soothing and skin-glowing properties of CBD are said to pose anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits; some even claim it’s a fix for acne.  

CBD is trending in a market expected to reach $2.1 billion by 2020. But is it really worth the hype? 



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How Does CBD Skincare Work? 

Like any topic when it first reaches legalization (such as in Canada and some parts of the US), there’s a fair amount of confusion. For those unfamiliar, CBD stands for cannabidiol which is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. 

CBD is proven to offer a range of medicinal uses, treating epilepsy, parkinson’s disease, as well as reducing pain, anxiety and depression, to start. 

The reason you can use CBD medically, or now in skin care, is because CBD does not get you ‘high.’ It’s a different compound found in the plant that’s responsible for giving you the psychoactive experience – that’s THC.

CBD mimics the body’s natural endocannabinoids and helps the body achieve homeostasis, or balance. This includes controlling inflammation, whether the source is environmental or biological. 

This is great if you’re inhaling or ingesting CBD, but what does this mean when you’re applying CBD directly on the skin? While there is evidence of CBD and THC helping to reduce the above symptoms for medical patients, there is less evidence for when it is applied topically and for skin care

Most CBD-infused skincare products boast that CBD has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, so let’s have a closer look at the claims.


Can CBD Really Treat Skin Inflammation, Itching, Pain?

At this stage, there are only a handful of scientific studies that show the benefits of cannabinoids on itchy skin. The root cause of itchy skin is inflammation, so researchers believe in theory, this avenue should be worth pursuing. 

The main problem with topical CBD products is that it’s tricky to create CBD creams and serums that can penetrate deeply enough to relieve symptoms without seeping into the bloodstream. As consumers, we have no idea how penetrating the products available today are and how much CBD you need topically for a real impact.

With all the anecdotal accounts of relief from pain and itchiness, we must keep in mind that a lot of these CBD products also contain ingredients like menthol, shea butter and arnica which by itself already provide itching and pain relief.

All that being said, it’s still not clear as to what extent topical CBD products can treat skin skin inflammation, itching and pain. Anecdotal evidence points to some degree of effectiveness, but everyone’s skin is different. It’s difficult to say anything definitive about the effectiveness of CBD across different ethnicities, ages, skin types and environments

Without a sufficient amount of research-backed studies that account for all of these factors, it’s difficult to say if CBD products produce an effect, if any.


Benefits Of CBD Oil For Acne

The reason people are so excited about CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties is because almost every diagnosable skin condition from eczema to acne is linked to inflammation.

Excessive sebum production, blocked pores and a build up of bacteria triggers skin inflammation which results in acne breakouts. 

Looking at the research, a 2014 study found that CBD helps suppress breakouts by regulating oil production of the sebaceous glands. This study also shows that CBD both counters inflammation, as well as slows sebum production. 

This is good news for acne sufferers hoping to move away from drugs like Accutane – better known as the acne drug of last resort because of its severe side effects. 



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CBD For Anti-Aging And Moisturizing Effects?

CBD products like hemp oil have long been used for their moisturizing and nourishing properties.  But put plainly, that there is little to no evidence at this stage, but with legalization, scientists will have the freedom to pursue further research. 

User experience and anecdotal evidence is a whole other story. 

Elise Jahns, the 71-year-old mother of beauty editor Erin Jahns says this about her use of a CBD sheet mask:

“…Instantly, my face looked and felt significantly more hydrated. My dullness was gone and the overall effect was glowy, bright, and healthy.”

She continued, “My complexion had a tighter, tauter feel that made it feel like I had gotten a mini face-lift or something.” 

She isn’t the only one. On Sephora, users of products with high percentages of CBD say it’s “a face lift in a bottle,” “I’m seeing discoloration and fine lines disappear” and “I haven’t had a pimple since I started using [it].” It continues! Skin “looks flawless in HD, “there is “almost immediate hydration,” and it “leaves my skin glowing”.

This begs the next question: How can we get these results? The theory is that if CBD oil also has antioxidant properties, it could counteract free-radical damage to reduce wrinkles, fine lines and dull skin. 

For those of you who are keen to try out these products, here’s a quick glance at what the beauty industry is claiming.


Any Tips On Using CBD Topicals For Skin Care?

If you’re interested in checking out CBD skin care products, here’s a list of products you’ll see available with the claim of repairing and soothing dry and irritated skin: 

  • Masks and facial serums
  • Eye creams 
  • Creams and moisturizers
  • Lip balms and gloss
  • Mascara and eyebrow gels 
  • Shampoo, conditioner and hair products which are said to stimulate hair growth.

We’ll leave you with 3 final tips: 

  1. If your state already has a medical cannabis program, purchase your CBD products from a licensed dispensary. This will avoid oversight issues like incorrect labeling of the components of the product, which is obviously unethical and possibly illegal
  2. Read the backs of labels carefully that will tell you how many milligrams of CBD each pump of a product contains or how much is in the entire product. 
  3. Consult a medical professional before use. Make sure CBD products are right for you and find the amount your body can safely handle before trying them out! 

And keep an eye out! Cannabis legalization is sweeping the world and the barriers to research are slowly being lifted. With more CBD research being conducted, you’ll be sure to find something that will keep you in on the excitement and the glow. 

Let us know how your skincare journey is going @kiseu

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