Skip to main content

Topicals are pretty different from other CBD products like oil tinctures or pill capsules as they are not ingested but absorbed by our skin. This process allows for more targeted relief than an overall sense throughout the body. 

This is because CBD does not enter the bloodstream; instead, it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in the skin pores near the product’s application.

Suppose you’re still unsure about CBD topicals and how they work. In that case, this article will cover everything you need to know about these products, including the different types of CBD,  CBD skin absorption, how CBD can affect different skin conditions, and how to find the right CBD product. 

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the hundreds of natural compounds in the cannabis Sativa plant.

However, the prominent psychoactive cannabinoid found in this plant is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the compound that causes the sensation of getting high. 

However, CBD is not psychoactive and will not cause this effect. CBD’s potential to aid with common ailments like chronic pain, inflammation, insomnia, and more makes CBD so popular.

CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and mixed with other ingredients to create various products, including tinctures, edibles, vapes, and topicals. 

Types of CBD

There are three main types of CBD, all containing different amounts of additional compounds and levels of THC. These different types of CBD are as follows:

  • Full Spectrum- Includes all parts of the cannabis plant with all the additional cannabinoids and contains less than 0.3% THC.
  • Broad Spectrum- Contains most of the cannabis plant compounds and only contains trace amounts of THC. 
  • Isolates- Pure CBD containing zero other cannabinoids or THC. 

Does CBD Absorb Through the Skin?

CBD works with the skin in one of two ways: topically and transdermally. Through the topical application, the compound interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ESC) and stimulates a specific set of cannabinoid receptors. 

The receptors are called CB2 receptors and they connect to the peripheral nervous system, which reaches multiple different organs in the body, including the skin, but does topical CBD enter the bloodstream?

Unlike other CBD products, infused topicals do not enter the bloodstream but instead provide a localized effect by interacting with nearby receptors.

A transdermal application, however, penetrates through the skin, reaches the lower levels beneath the epidermis, and gets into the bloodstream.

By entering the bloodstream, the CBD can affect the entire body providing benefits such as calmness or relaxation. 

CBD Topical Benefits

Research suggests that CBD can benefit a variety of skin conditions thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of the extract that can aid in reducing dryness, irritation, and skin redness. See how CBD can affect different skin conditions below. 


Acne can occur when the hair follicles of the skin are plugged with excess sebum oil and dead skin cells, causing blackheads, white heads, and pimples.

The CBD product can reduce inflammation and redness, improving the look and feel of the skin.

CBD extract can also act as a hormonal balancer and can potentially manage sebum oil production and reduce the chance of acne in the future. 

Sensitive Skin

Oil’s soothing properties and other common ingredients like shea butter and beeswax can relieve irritable or reactive skin. In addition, using a CBD topical product can reduce inflammation and redness in the skin. 


Psoriasis is defined as a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the lief cycle of skin cells to be accelerated, leaving a red or pink appearance on the skin.

CBD can work with the endocannabinoid system and help balance and regulate skin pathogenesis.

While psoriasis has no cure, CBD can certainly help manage the condition and provide relief from irritation.


Eczema is relatively similar to psoriasis in that it causes painful, itchy, and inflamed rashes.

However, CBD can interact with the endocannabinoid system and potentially help the body reach homeostasis and reduce symptoms of eczema.

In a 2020 study, a group of participants who experienced eczema was told to use a CBD topical, and 50% reported their condition had improved.

Choosing the Right CBD Product for Your Skin

With such a large and underregulated market, knowing what to look for is essential in finding the right product. When shopping for a topical CBD product, consider all the factors below.

Make sure the product is lab tested

An independent third-party lab must test CBD products to verify safety, potency, and other ingredients, so the consumer knows what is happening in their body.

These lab results are known as the Certificate of Analysis or COA. These COAs also report other cannabinoids, terpenes, or harmful toxins such as traces of pesticides.

If you cannot find the COA for a CBD product, you will be better off shopping elsewhere. 

Checking product’s packaging

Pay attention to the CBD product’s packaging and make sure that it displays that the product contains cannabidiol or CBD.

If you find that the ingredients on the packaging only list hemp or hemp seed oil, then it is likely that the product does not have any CBD.

CBD is not found in the hemp plant’s seeds but the stalk, stems, and leaves.

Look out for other ingredients

CBD topicals like lotions or soaps can contain several other ingredients. Ensure the product does not contain any ingredients you are allergic to prevent an adverse reaction.

In addition, research any ingredients you are unfamiliar with before applying the CBD topical to your skin. 

Final Thoughts

CBD topicals have shown great potential in managing common skin ailments such as dry skin, acne, and sensitivity. The CBD in these products works in tandem with the endocannabinoid system to balance and regulate different functions. 

Topical CBD products can provide a more targeted sense of relief as the CBD interacts with localized receptors rather than entering the bloodstream.

Do your research, pay attention to packaging, and ensure your products have been lab-tested before buying. 


  1. Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders

  1. An Observational Study of the Application of a Topical Cannabinoid Gel on Sensitive Dry Skin       abinoid-gel-on-sensitive-dry-skin-S1545961620P1204X/

Leave a Reply