Can CBD help with your skincare routine?

November 06, 2021

For those who have never had a skin issue like acne, psoriasis or eczema, it’s hard to comprehend how much it can impact your life. Acne, for example, to an outsider may just seem like spots. Annoying, unsightly, but not a big deal.

For the person dealing with the condition, it’s often much, much more.

Acne is often painful, impacted by multiple dietary and lifestyle factors, and can really take its toll on mental health too. As someone who has experienced acne first-hand from the age of 12 -30, I can tell you that there were days the sight of my skin made me so depressed I literally couldn’t bring myself to leave the house. As a teenager I would sometimes scrub my face really hard in the hope it would all just disappear, spend all my money on new washes and face masks, or even try alternative solutions like never allowing water to touch my face! I remember one holiday where I absolutely refused to ever get into the pool for this reason.

People suffering from other skin conditions frequently describe similar distress and desperation. And, because of this, finding something that genuinely helps (or, better still, actually heals the problem for good) feels nothing short of a miracle. It can literally be life-changing to not have to deal with this sort of thing anymore. 

This is what happened to me when I first started using CBD – in the form of oral drops and face oil.

I’m not the only one. Since trialling a vast amount of CBD products, I’ve seen people with terrible eczema, psoriasis and even undiagnosed skin conditions either have their complaints improve dramatically or go for good. It’s worth pointing out here that not all CBD products are made equal (and if you want recommendations, please feel free to get in touch), and added ingredients, like perfume, in some products can cause problems – so it’s important to get a great product! But aside from choosing a high-quality CBD, ideally free from synthetic or irritating additives, there’s actually some incredible science to back up why CBD can be so great for the skin.

Your skin has its own Endocannabinoid System

As a quick recap, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex network of receptors, which is activated by neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids, to regulate every single bodily process. 

There are ECS receptors throughout the entire body, including in almost every skin cell in every layer of the skin. This makes a fully functioning endocannabinoid system (ECS) a vital part of maintaining good skin health. 

ECS receptors, whether internal or external, can be activated by our naturally produced endocannabinoids (Anandamide and 2-AG) or phytocannabinoids (like CBD, CBG and THC), something called ‘endocannabinoid tone’ is created. This then helps to regulate the normal function of the waterproof skin barrier – our first defence against microbes, UV rays, free radicals and pollution. 

When endocannabinoids are lacking, as can occur due to chronic stress, unhealthy diet, lack of sleep and exposure to other negative lifestyle factors, an effective barrier cannot be made. When this happens, you’re likely to see signs of inflammation, dryness, ageing, a sebum imbalance, itching and more uncomfortable symptoms synonymous with skin issues like eczema and acne.

There are many things you can do to boost endocannabinoid production, such as exercise, meditation and eating certain foods. But, using a CBD face oil, and/or taking CBD internally can help to rebalance the skin by supporting the ECS and restoring healthy function. With full-spectrum oils, you even have cannabinoids that can supplement our internally produced endocannabinoids until the system is up and running again. 

The amazing properties of CBD oil

Although studies are still a little lacking in this area, there are trials indicating that the CBD molecule holds amazing therapeutic potential for treating acne, and atopic dermatitis, keratin diseases, eczema and more.

Findings suggest regular topical use of CBD can help normalise excessive sebum production, assist with the turn-over of new skin cells and reduce the effects of free-radical damage. 

What’s more, the potent anti-inflammatory properties mean that swelling, redness, pain and itching can be reduced right away. With prolonged use, studies have shown the effects go deeper: working with keratinocytes, mast cells, melanocytes and sebocytes in the layers of the skin to produce lipostatic, anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. 

Hemp seed oil is great for skin too!

As is the case with so many conditions, the therapeutic benefits that stem from cannabis go far beyond CBD – or even the 140 other cannabinoids also present in the plant. Oil pressed from cannabis (or hemp) seeds, which contain no cannabinoids at all, also possess many qualities that can aid troubled skin.

Hemp seed oil contains all 21 amino acids – good news for those with acne-prone skin, which tends to have a high percentage of oleic acid and a low percentage of linoleic acid making for a problematic imbalance that needs correcting. Dry or inflamed skin conditions also often have a deficiency in essential fatty acids. All of these are used by a part of the cell membrane that is crucial for proper cell function. 

Hemp seed oil also contains all B vitamins and a ‘perfect’ Omega 3:6 ratio – something no other oil made from the plant kingdom can boast – as well as vitamin E, carotene, phytosterols, phospholipids, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc! All this makes for a super-nutrient boost for undernourished skin. To top it all off, it doesn’t clog pores either! But it does match your own skin’s lipids so closely that it can penetrate deep inside cells and lubricate the surface between them, for intense soothing, hydrating and rebalancing action and improved water resistance and retention.

When dealing with skin conditions, topical application can help enormously, but it’s always worth addressing the problem internally as well because most skin issues are systemic or symptoms of something deeper. With this in mind, if you’re planning on trying CBD for your skin, do consider using an oral CBD product as well as topical, to combat inflammation and imbalances on the inside as well. And think about altering your diet and minimising anything that might be exacerbating the issue, like dairy, wheat, sugar, perfumes, makeup (try switching to natural!) and harsh chemicals.

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