CBD Skincare – Does it Work?

Hemp and CBD have had a role in skincare for longer than you might realise: Ancient scriptures found in Thailand included instructions for CBD skin treatment. Hemp seed oil has been used on skin for centuries for its moisturising properties and more recently The Body Shop created their own well-received hemp product line.

Now, products linked to hemp, CBD and cannabis have been pushed firmly into the limelight and CBD skincare has become the latest must-have in your beauty regime.

Hemp fibres have a long history of use in canvas and sackcloth but the latest skincare ranges to source ingredients from the same plant are far from rough and ready.

CBD extracted from hemp has quickly become a sleek and desirable boutique ingredient with many fans and even celebs purchasing high end products and raving about them.

But what exactly is CBD? Why is it so special? Does it work? Here at YCB, we have taken take a closer look to see for ourselves if it’s worth the fuss.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural substance found in all varieties of the cannabis plant. It supports your body’s health and wellbeing by interacting with specialist receptors found in your nervous system.

It is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant but is believed to be among the most beneficial. The cannabinoid THC is also found in cannabis and it is this that makes it psychoactive and produces a high when consumed. 

CBD, however, is extracted from varieties of cannabis called hemp which are naturally low in THC, containing less than 0.3%. This means you can safely and legally experience the benefits of CBD without becoming intoxicated.

Why do people use it on their skin?

To reduce acne – Applying a CBD product to your skin to treat acne has been reported to work in several ways. It cleans the skin of any bacterial build up, soothes the inflammation of the outbreak and reduces the amount of sebum on your skin. Sebum is a natural oily substance that is one of the main causes of acne. It causes clumps of dead skin cells to build up and get trapped in pores.

To prevent the effects of skin aging – CBD is believed to have antioxidant properties which could prevent damage to cell DNA and collagen by binding with free radicals. This promotes the elasticity of your skin cells preventing wrinkles and other signs of aging. These antioxidant effects also protect against skin aging caused by sun damage.

To relieve sensitive and dry skin – CBD has a calming and soothing affect when applied, some are devised specifically for dry sensitive skin. It has also been linked to reduced redness and an improvement in several conditions that may cause or exacerbate sensitive skin, such as eczema.

To reduce inflammation – Its potential to reduce swelling and inflammation in the skin could make it effective for many skin conditions. This would reduce itching and symptoms from skin conditions that irritate and inflame the skin, like psoriasis and rosacea.

Hemp vs CBD

Although CBD is extracted from hemp you will still see some products with one or the other on the label. While both items may be similar, this labelling highlights a big difference. 

Products labelled as hemp or hemp oil will not contain CBD unless it is also specifically mentioned on the label. They are made from an oil that comes from crushed hemp seeds. It is great for your skin, is rich in Omega oils 3 & 6 and works well as a moisturiser but doesn’t contain CBD.

Those labelled with CBD are made with extract from hemp leaves, stems and flowers. It contains CBD and other cannabinoids, these can also include natural plant extracts to enhance the effect.

Does it work? 

Studies and anecdotal evidence indicate that CBD can be a very effective for skincare. However, it depends on the individual product you choose and what you need it for.

Many consumers have been diligently testing out the effectiveness of CBD skincare and adding items to their routines. Rachel Lapidos at Well and Good reported that CBD reduced puffiness and redness better than any of her previous go to products.

People of all skin types have reported seeing a definite change when switching to CBD skincare and many have made the change permanently. Other users like Lindsey Unterberger at Glamour enjoyed the products but didn’t feel that there was a significant difference between her usual routine and one containing CBD.

The Science

A study from 2014 found that CBD prevented skin cells from producing too much oily sebum. Excess sebum can cause several skin complaints including acne. Its anti-inflammatory effects were noted in a 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. It significantly reduced the itchiness and dryness caused by conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis.

Some skin problems can be caused by a build-up of dirt in pores allowing the growth of bacteria. Research has shown that CBD has antibacterial and antifungal properties. At the core of CBD’s anti-aging properties is the claim that it is an antioxidant. As far back as 1998 it was found that CBD could outperform the antioxidant properties of vitamin C and E.

How to make it work for you?

CBD skin products can be used for a wide range of complaints as well as becoming an integral part of your beauty regime. To improve your skin health a body salve can be a great way to start your CBD journey and see the effects yourself. Many balms and creams are also enhanced with complementary active ingredients, so it is important to read the contents and select the right one for your needs. 

For a cheaper alternative to CBD products, those enriched with hemp oil provide a great moisturising effect and won’t make your skin breakout. However, if you want the full rejuvenating and soothing effect of the hemp plant go for those that contain CBD.

CBD treats many skin conditions in different ways and many people have found it effective. Why not give it a try?

Wassana Lampech

Wassana Lampech is a medical technology graduate and a freelance writer. She has been writing since her college days, and has been a freelance writer for the past 4 years. You can follow her on Twitter here: @wassmam

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