No Prescription Needed: 10 Skin Benefits of CBD

Written by Heather Kreider, L.E., R.N., co-founder of Hempfield Botanicals

Hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) products are all the buzz right now in the skin care and natural wellness industries. With a vast amount of information available, including marketing hype based on unsubstantiated claims, it is natural that many are wondering what the truth is about CBD and its effects on skin and health. It is critical not to accept all claims about CBD’s benefits at face value.


Learning is key. Before incorporating hemp-based CBD into treatments, look for brands that can provide research-based education, not just marketing fluff. Here are 10 ways that CBD may benefit the skin.


1. Skin Penetration: CBD, which affects the body’s endocannabinoid system, has been shown to penetrate the skin readily. The endocannabinoid system consists of a group of receptors that regulates various physiological processes such as pain, mood, sleep, and digestion. Data has indicated that the endocannabinoid system also plays a role in maintaining balance across various skin functions.


2. Antibacterial Properties: CBD can work as an antibacterial agent against acne. Also, research is ongoing to study the use of CBD to combat the multi-drug resistance of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria. Note that cannabinoids, like CBD, might also potentially be used as biodegradable, antibacterial agents for cosmetics and toiletries, providing an alternative to synthetic preservatives that have questionable safety and effects on the environment.


3. Reduced Sebum Production: CBD has been shown to slow sebum production and help reduce acne. It inhibits secretions by sebocytes (the cells that secrete sebum). CBD activates the ion channels on sebocytes, facilitating the flow of calcium to the cells. This reaction inhibits lipid synthesis, which has been known to play a role in causing acne.


4. Anti-inflammatory Effects: Cannabinoids can also help decrease skin inflammation. Recent data suggests that CBD may prevent the increase of a pro-inflammatory cytokine known to contribute to the development of acne. CBD has also been shown to help ease inflammation associated with atopic dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, and systemic sclerosis.


5. Pain Reduction: CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system to help reduce pain from inflammatory acne flareups. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) of the United States National Library of Medicine, “results strongly suggest that CBD’s universal sebostatic action is accompanied by substantial anti-inflammatory effects, which would be very much desired in the clinical treatment of acne vulgaris.”


6. Wound Healing: Scientists have, for a long time, been studying the use of topical CBD for treating wounds. In 2018, a small study conducted by Chelliah MP, Zinn Z, Khuu P, and Teng JMC, showed pediatric patients with epidermolysis bullosa (a group of diseases that causes blistering skin) benefited from topical CBD. The CBD treatments reduced pain and blistering and facilitated the healing of the wounds.


7. Antipruritic Properties: CBD may help control the discomfort of pruritus (itchy skin). By acting upon CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD may decrease the stimulation of nerve fibers responsible for the annoying itch. In one small study, pruritus was reduced by an average of 86.4%.


8.Erythema Reduction: Erythema, redness of the skin caused by increased blood flow in surface capillaries, can happen with skin inflammation, injuries, or infections. In a study, cream with 3% cannabis seed extract decreased skin sebum and erythema, which shows its potential as a treatment for acne and seborrhea.


9. Antiaging Effects: CBD and other cannabinoids are undergoing studies in the treatment of diseases linked to exposure to free radicals (oxidative stress) known to cause signs of aging. Cannabinoids, with their antioxidant properties, convert free radicals into a less reactive species and may offer antiaging effects when applied to the skin.


10. Anti-Cancer Properties: Normal skin and skin tumors – non-malignant, as well as those with melanoma and other cancers – express cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. By activating those receptors, CBD may help prevent and reduce the growth of tumors by inhibiting cancer cell proliferation (their division and increase in number) and increase cancer cell apoptosis (cell death).


Inflammatory skin diseases are one of the most common and frustrating dermatological problems. Cannabinoids and CBD products are showing promise as a natural way to give people relief. However, additional research must be done to ensure objectivity.


This is an exciting era of skin care as the industry continues to learn more about the benefits that CBD products might offer to clients. Surely, some fascinating breakthroughs are on the horizon.

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