cbd oil benefits for skin

Say what, there’s weed in my skincare?! Ever since the USA legalised the growth of cannabis as an “ordinary agriculture commodity” in 2018, CBD oil has invaded the aisles of all your fave beauty shops. I’m late to jump on the trend, I know. But I don’t do trends. I do science.

For the past few years, I’ve been patiently waiting for science to confirm (or not) the marketing hype around CBD oil. Does it really work to fight wrinkles and acne? And how is it different from hemp seed oil? If you’re wondering why this matter, the answer’s very simple: most products that claim to have CBD oil don’t contain a drop of it. They use hemp seed oil instead. Marketing at its finest indeed (in case you haven’t picked up on it, I’m being sarcastic here).

So should you try CBD oil if you’re concerned about acne or anti-aging? Or is this just another gimmick that’s best left on the shelves?

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is short for cannabidiol oil. “It’s one of the two primary active ingredients of cannabis, the other one being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the active psychotropic,” board-certified dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, says. Canndabidiol is the non-intoxicating component of marijuna. That’s right, CBD oil won’t get you high.

It’s extracted from the flowers, leaves, or stalks of the cannabis plant as a powder and then mixed with other oils (usually hemp or olive) to make it more effective. The three main extraction methods for CBD are carbon dioxide extraction, steam distillation, and solvent extraction.

How Does CBD Oil Work?

“We have receptors in every layer of our skin which trigger to our body when there is pain, an itch, etc.,” board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman explains . “Topical CBD is designed to help those with pruritic skin conditions like eczema or painful conditions like post-herpetic neuralgia when our body’s signals are going haywire. For example, it is not necessarily targeting eczema, but the hormones that are causing the eczema flare-up.”

What’s The Difference Between CBD Oil And Hemp Oil?

Most brands use the terms “CBD oil” and “hemp oil” interchangeably, but they’re NOT the same thing.

Hemp seed: An omega-rich oil derived from the seeds of the hemp plant (a.k.a. cannbis sativa plant). “Hemp seed oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful in treating a variety of skin conditions,” says Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “”Hemp seed oil also acts as an emollient to smooth rough texture on the skin’s surface and [it] offers moisturizing benefits.” But it has only trace amounts of CBD, so you won’t get its skincare benefits from this oil.

CBD oil: Sourced from hemp (Cannabis Sativa) stems and stalks, It’s rich in cannabidiol and contains only minimal amounts of THC It helps soothe skin, reduce acne, and fight premature aging. If that’s what you’re after, make sure “cannabidiol” is listed on the label. All alternative names may just be hemp seed oil in disguise.

Related: Boots Ingredients Hemp Seed Oil Review

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):

CBD Oil Benefits

CBD Oil is multi-tasker. It’s “a potent antioxidant, highly anti-inflammatory, and has been shown in multiple studies to reduce lipid production from the sebaceous glands [one of the main causes of acne],” say Ashley Lewis and Meredith Schroeder, co-founders of new online CBD retailer Fleur Marché. Let’s take a look at its main benefits in more details, shall we?

1. It Treats Acne

CBD oil has the potential to be a powerful ally in the fight against acne. For starters, CBD oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Guess what acne is? An inflammatory disease! Reduce the inflammation and you reduce the acne, too. Studies show that CBD oil might help reduce redness, pain, and swelling that comes along with inflammatory acne.

This oil has another trick (or three) up its sleeve to fight acne. Studies show it helps reduce oil production. It works by suppressing the production of sebum-making cells and make skin less reactive to testosterone.

Too much excess sebum gets stuck in the pores, clogging them. Bacteria P.Acnes get in and start munching on all that sebum (it’s its fave food!), creating an infection. Before you know it, it’s pimples galore. CBD reduces sebum, removing one of the main causes of acne.

Related: Adult Acne: What It Is And How To Treat It

2. It Soothes Sensitive Skin, Rosacea, And Psoriasis

I’ve already mentioned that CDB oil has inflammatory-properties. This is HUGE. I know reducing inflammation isn’t on the list of skin priorities for most women. Ya all want to get rid of wrinkles and acne, right?

Guess what’s behind acne and wrinkles – and rashes, rosacea, eczema, and pretty much every skin evil you can think of? Inflammation. It really is the root of ALL skincare problems. That’s where CBD oil comes in. Studies show that CBD oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve itching, reduce redness, and soothe irritated skin. This makes CBD oil an effective treatment for inflammatory conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

Related: How To Care For Sensitive Skin

3. It Fights Wrinkles

Like all natural oils, CBD oil has its fair share of antioxidants that slow down premature aging. Antioxidants work by neutralising free radicals, nasty molecules that trigger a cascade of inflammation that results in dark spots, wrinkles, and saggy skin.

Here’s the catch: there’s not much research on the antioxidant properties of CBD oil. It’s an antioxidant, but not the only or best antioxidant for your skin. By all means, make it a part of your skincare routine. But don’t rely only on it to slow down premature aging. The more antioxidants you feed your skin, the younger it’ll look.

Related: Common Antioxidants Found In Skincare: Which Ones Are Right For You?

4. It Moisturises Skin

CBD oil has moisturising properties that help banish dryness and dehydration. Like all oils, it has the ability to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier. When this protective barrier is broken, moisture evaporates out of your skin, leaving it all dry and irritated. Patch it up and watch your skin transform. Now moisture is able to remain into your skin, it plumps it up so fine lines and wrinkles look smaller and makes your complexion softer to the touch.

cbd oil skincare benefits

Side Effects

There’s not much research on CBD oil and its side effects on the skin. At the moment, CBD oil is generally considered to be safe. Unless you’re allergic to it, there’s no reason to avoid it.

How To Use It

How to use CBD oil depends on the product you’re using. If you’re using a serum, it goes after cleansing/exfoliation but before moisturiser. If you’re using a moisturiser, it goes in between serum and sunscreen in the morning. An oil is always the last step of your skincare routine at night. How much should you use? As much as you need to cover your entire face.

How Often Can You Use It?

This oil is gentle and suitable for daily use.

Who Should Use It?

CBD oil is most suitable for sensitive skin with a compromised protective barrier and suffering from conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It’s also a wonderful oil for dry skin.

Can You Use It During Pregnancy?

As CBD oil is still fairly new in the skincare world, I recommend you talk to your doctor before using it, just to be on the safe side.

How To Find The Best CBD Skincare Products

Not all CBD oil products are created equal. Some use hemp seed oil and slap CBD oil on the bottle to get you to buy them (how is that even allowed?!). Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping for skincare products with it:

  • Cannabidiol: If this doesn’t appear on the ingredient list, you may not be getting the real deal.
  • CBD Isolate: It means pure CBD (no other cannabinoids or antioxidants).
  • Full spectrum CBD: It has CBD + every other component in the hemp plant (including other cannabinoids and antioxidants).
  • Broad spectrum CBD: No THC (the part of cannabis that makes you high) is detectable.

What Are The Best Skincare Products With CBD Oil?

  • Herbivore Botanicals Emerald + CBD Deep Moisture Glow Oil ($58.00): Rich in moisturising natural oils, it softens skin and reduces irritations. Available at Beauty Bay, Revolve, and SpaceNK.
  • Perricone MD Hypoallergenic CBD Sensitive Skin Therapy Nourishing & Calming Moisturizer ($75.00): It’s enriched with plenty of soothing ingredients, including CBD, to reduce redness and calm down eczema and psoriasis flare-ups. Available at Harrods, Perricone, Selfridges, and Sephora.
  • Truly Blueberry Kush CBD Body Oil ($44.90): A hydrating, fast-absorbing formula that deeply moisturises skin (without leaving a greasy residue behind!), fights premature aging, and soothes irritations. It doesn’t smell like blueberries, but hey at least it works wonders. Available at Ulta.

The Bottom Line: Is CBD Skincare Worth It?

CBD oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help fight acne, soothe irritations, and prevent premature aging. But research here is just at the beginning. If you’re curious to try it, go ahead. Just don’t ditch your retinol for it.