CBD oil has shaken off its alternative image, and can now be found in a wide range of beauty products. So, could CBD give your skin-care regime a boost?
Mention to a friend that you’re using CBD oil, and they may look at you suspiciously – it is derived from cannabis, after all. But tell them that CBD oil is now being used in various different skin-care products, and their attitude might change.
CBD skin care is the latest beauty trend that’s taking off both here and in the US – even Gwyneth Paltrow is a big fan1 – but that doesn’t mean it’s just another fad. There’s some solid science behind the boom in CBD skin care.
What is CBD oil?
CBD stands for cannbidiol, a compound extracted from the cannabis plant. It is a cannabinoid, along with its more famous counterpart tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), which has psychoactive properties.2 However, CBD doesn’t contain enough THC to have the same effect,3 so you won’t get the munchies from using a moisturiser.
To make CBD oil, cannabidiol is blended with a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil or coconut oil. CBD oil can then be used alone, or to create various skin-care products.
Why is CBD oil now in beauty products?
Scientists are only beginning to discover the benefits of CBD oil but emerging research shows it has a positive effect on a number skin conditions including acne, dermatitis and psoriasis.4
CBD also has an antioxidant effect,5 helping to protect skin cells from the potentially damaging effects of free radicals. So, exactly how could CBD oil give your beauty regime a boost?
It can tackle oily skin and acne
While oily skin can be caused by genetics, hormones or your diet, CBD oil can help control it. In 2014, researchers from University of Debrecen, Hungary, discovered that CBD oil could stop sebaceous glands in the skin producing excess sebum – the oil that causes a shiny appearance – and also prevented ‘pro-acne’ agents such as inflammatory proteins from being activated.6
A later study by the same team concluded that CBD oil could be a ‘highly efficient, novel anti-acne agent’.7
It fights the appearance of wrinkles
CBD is a powerful antioxidant,8 which means it can help protect the body from harmful free-radical damage. In the skin, this largely means preventing visible signs of ageing, such as wrinkles.
CBD could also stimulate the growth of new skin cells. A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in 2011 found that manipulating the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) – the production of our own cannabinoids that bind to specific receptors in the body and brain – can regulate the life cycle of basal skin cells, which may lead to younger-looking skin.9 It’s thought that CBD can influence the body to use more of its own cannabidinoids.10
It’s good for dry or itchy skin
In 2006 German scientists discovered that 14 patients with dry or itchy skin conditions – either prurigo, lichen simplex or pruritus – who were given a cream containing a substance that could stimulate the ECS, reported an 86.4% reduction in itch.11 The skin also has its own ECS receptors,12 which may make topical application of CBD oil particularly effective.
According to evidence presented by the American Academy of Dermatologists, further studies have found that CBD can ease symptoms of atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema.13
It can soothe sore muscles
CBD could help ease aching muscles after a workout, too. It’s well known that cannabinoids have muscle-relaxant properties, while medicinal cannabis is often prescribed for adults with multiple sclerosis suffering from muscle stiffness.14
The results of a controlled trial by Bath’s Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in 2006 revealed that CBD could tackle symptoms of the inflammatory condition rheumatoid arthritis.15 Patients using a cannabis-based medicine were better able to move around and also experienced greater quality of sleep.
Want to start using CBD skin-care products? Take your pick from luxury brands all the way through to the high street. Remember to do a patch-test 24-hours before use, and be aware that CBD effects include interacting with some medications; talk to your GP if you’ve got any questions.
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies
1. Jenni Avins. Quartzy. Cannabis has officially arrived in the realm of luxury wellness
2. Jilian Kubala. Healthline. 7 Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil (Plus Side Effects)
3. Claire Chamberlain. Netdoctor. What is CBD oil? The uses, benefits and risks
4. Eagleston LRM, et al. Cannabinoids in dermatology: a scoping review
5. European Industrial Hemp Association. Reasonable regulation of cannabidiol (CBD) in food, cosmetics, as herbal natural medicine and as medicinal product
6. Oláh A, et al. Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes
7. Oláh A, et al. Differential effectiveness of selected non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions implicates their introduction in dry/seborrhoeic skin and acne treatment
8. Hampson AJ, et al. Cannabidiol and (−)Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants
9. Tóth BI, et al. Endocannabinoids Modulate Human Epidermal Keratinocyte Proliferation and Survival via the Sequential Engagement of Cannabinoid Receptor-1 and Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid-1
10. Jon Johnson. Medical News Today. Everything you need to know about CBD oil
11. Ständer S, Reinhardt HW, Luger TA. [Topical cannabinoid agonists. An effective new possibility for treating chronic pruritus]
12. Biró T, et al. The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities
13. Dr Jeanette Jacknin. Hemp and Cannabinoids for Beauty and Skin Disorders
14. NHS. Medicinal cannabis (and cannabis oils)
15. Blake DR, et al. Preliminary assessment of the efficacy, tolerability and safety of a cannabis-based medicine (Sativex) in the treatment of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis