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From lotions and creams to salves and serums, the addition of CBD appears to be the latest trend in health care and skin care. 

But what exactly is a cannabis compound doing in your cleanser, moisturizer, or bathwater? 

What’s the benefit for your skin? 

As a topical agent, CBD can be directly applied to certain areas of the body to reduce inflammation and soothe certain skin conditions.

Keep reading to find out more!

CBD Skin Care 101

Lately, there’s a lot of hype around skin products infused with CBD. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 100 identified cannabinoids in the cannabis plant for the uninitiated. CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects, unlike its sister compound Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

In other words, there’s little chance that your CBD topical will make you feel high.

The Endocannabinoid System

CBD topicals can work so well because of the presence of the endocannabinoid system in your body.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex signaling system in your body that comprises cannabinoid receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids. 

It is believed to be responsible for regulating different processes and functions in the body, including sleep, memory, reproduction, fertility, immune response, etc.

CBD is effective because our skin is full of cannabinoid receptors, which interact with a CBD topical after absorption into the skin.

Research is only just beginning to scratch the surface of how CBD interacts with these receptors. 

For instance, early studies show that CBD and other cannabinoids create an anti-inflammatory action known as keratinocyte cytokine production.

CBD Oil for Skin: Benefits

While there isn’t enough in-depth data available to prove the benefits of CBD for skin conditions, research is underway, and some early studies have shown promise for CBD benefits for the skin.

CBD for Acne

Acne is the most common skin condition in humans. CBD contains many compounds with oil-reducing, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties that may help improve acne.

A 2014 study explored the effects of CBD on human sebocytes. These are the cells that create sebum, which is a waxy, oily substance the skin produces.

While sebum helps protect our skin, excessive sebum can also result in acne. The study indicates that CBD can prevent sebocytes from creating too much sebum.

Another 2019 study suggests that CBD may also be beneficial for treating the appearance of acne scars.

Hydrates the Skin

A 2019 study notes that CBD may be useful for treating some common symptoms of skin conditions, such as dryness and itching.

In addition, the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may be beneficial for reducing potential triggers of eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis.

As CBD oil can help soothe skin and reduce the appearance of irritation, it may be helpful for people with sensitive skin.

CBD for Wrinkles

A 2017 study highlights the antioxidant properties of CBD. Oxidative stress can contribute to the aging process.

Therefore, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may help prevent the appearance of aging in the skin.

CBD Skin Oil: Potential Side Effects 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people generally tolerate CBD well. However, there are some common side effects of CBD, which may be dose-dependent, including:

  • Dry Mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in Appetite and Weight

Other Considerations

It is also worth noting that CBD may interact with certain medications, so people who currently take prescription medications must talk with their doctor before using any CBD products.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, the FDA warns against CBD use in all forms, whether cream or an oral capsule.

In addition, the FDA is studying the safety of CBD products, including cosmetics, food, and supplements.

Before you try any CBD products, read the product labels carefully for active ingredients. Even so, it can be hard to know exactly what’s in the product, including how much CBD it contains. 

If you have questions, talk to your doctor about them.

CBD Topicals: Products

There are many different kinds of CBD skincare products on the market.

From CBD creams to gummies to oil tinctures – there are usually several other hemp-derived CBD products that can offer you relief that goes beyond skin deep relief.

As the name suggests, CBD topical balms and creams have been infused with CBD extract from the hemp plant and can help heal and soothe the skin.

Although CBD is the main ingredient in these balms, it is usually complemented by other elements like Shea butter and coconut oil to protect, nourish, and moisturize every skin type naturally.

CBD Cream

CBD creams commonly contain a combination of oil and water. They are formulated to hydrate skin while protecting from moisture loss. 

Many CBD creams and lotions are formulated with additional ingredients to enhance their rejuvenating potential and skin-soothing benefits.

You may want to research any unfamiliar oils or plant extracts listed in your CBD topical cream to ensure you select the best product option for your skin type.

CBD lotion or cream serves as an excellent moisturizer with pain relief and inflammation reduction benefits. 

CBD Ointment

Topical CBD ointment is usually formulated with oils and waxes to create a semi-solid substance.

Since it is not absorbed into the skin as quickly as CBD cream, ointments sit longer on the surface of your skin, so the effects are typically longer lasting.

Ointments are usually the product of choice for CBD users looking for extended relief.

However, many CBD ointments contain other essential oils known for their pain-relieving potential.

A CBD ointment could do the trick for long-term, super-targeted pain relief.

To use a CBD ointment, apply a small amount to the area, making sure to rub it into the skin as best you can. 

CBD Bath Bomb

CBD bath bombs are balls you add to your bath water for a pleasant, relaxing, fizzy sensation. 

Once they encounter the water, they begin fizzing, releasing the ball’s CBD, essential oils, and fragrance into the bathwater. It creates a pleasant experience and allows the oils and other ingredients to penetrate the skin. 

This means you get to enjoy the healing benefits of CBD and its skin-enhancing benefits by direct contact.

CBD Transdermal Patch

CBD patches are transdermal patches that slowly release CBD into the bloodstream through the skin. 

Users also favor transdermal patches when looking for continuous CBD absorption in a specific area of their body.

To use a transdermal patch, you stick it on your skin, like a sticker, and let it go to work. Transdermal CBD patches can last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. 

Just keep in mind that if you’re new to CBD, a transdermal patch may be too strong to start with.


“CBD skin cream: How to use and best options” by Medical News Today. Published Mar 2021.

“Endocannabinoid system“ by Wikipedia. Published Feb 2022.

“Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis” by Eur J Pain. Published Oct 2015.

“The Effectiveness of Topical CBD Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities” by Curr Pharm Biotechnol. Published 2020.

“CBD Patches: Do They Work for Pain?” by Healthline. Published Nov 2021.

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