CBD & The Human Body
Science & Health
Research Brief - CBD for Skin
CBD has been receiving lots of headlines for its potential positive effects on everything from anxiety to depression to chronic pain to insomnia. However, one area where CBD has numerous potential benefits in on our body’s biggest organ–the skin.
It turns out that many of the potential benefits of CBD, its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, for example, are exactly what makes it potentially very good for the skin. From conditions ranging from psoriasis and eczema1 and acne2 to anti-aging3, the wide-ranging uses of CBD for the skin are just beginning to come to light.
Before we go into the various skin conditions CBD may help alleviate, let’s dive into a bit of science so you understand more about this amazing compound and why it may have such a big impact on the skin.
CBD stands for cannabidiol and is one of the major active cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Existing naturally within the body is a complex neurotransmitter network called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that plays a critical part in the operations of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Cannabis plant cannabinoids, called phytocannabinoids, can trigger the same receptors as the body’s own natural endocannabinoids.
Here is where it gets interesting in regard to the skin. The ECS, which was only just discovered in the 1980s4, is present in the skin itself. According to a study published in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, the main physiological function of the cutaneous ECS is to “control the proper and well-balanced proliferation, differentiation and survival”5 of skin cells, as well as the skin’s immunity.
The study goes on to report that “The disruption of this delicate balance might facilitate the development of multiple pathological conditions and diseases of the skin (e.g. acne, seborrhea, allergic dermatitis, itch and pain, psoriasis, hair growth disorders, systemic sclerosis, and cancer).”6
It seems that the main physiological function of the cutaneous ECS is to constitutively control the proper and well-balanced proliferation, differentiation and survival, as well as immune competence and/or tolerance, of skin cells.
Cannabinoids, it turns out, may have all sorts of therapeutic potential in dermatology7.
Many people, starting with youth and well into old age, suffer from skin conditions. Acne can be a debilitating and painful condition in one’s youth, while dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis may also strike at any time in life. An, of course, no one is able to escape wrinkles and other age-related skin issues.
In this article, we will take you through the research into CBD’s potential and promising impact on dermatological conditions and ailments.
CBD and Acne
Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that causes whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples on the face and upper body. Although most common amongst teenagers, it can strike all ages. The hair follicles, commonly called pores in the skin, contain sebaceous glands that make sebum, a type of oil that acts as a lubricant for your hair and skin. Pores become clogged if there is too much sebum and dead skin cells. When that happens, bacteria gets trapped in the pores, which causes the swelling and redness recognized as acne. Acne results from all these factors working in concert: an abnormally high amount of sebum production, dead skin cells, bacteria and the body’s release of inflammatory chemicals in response.
This is where CBD comes in. A recent study found that cannabidiol can control the production of sebum and fights inflammation and therefore “has potential as a promising therapeutic agent” for the treatment of acne8. Another study found phytocannabinoids help manage skin inflammation due to their “remarkable anti-inflammatory actions.”9
This all bodes well for the potential future application of CBD to treat acne.
CBD and Psoriasis, Dermatitis and Eczema
While dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema are different types of skin conditions caused by different factors, one commonality is that they all involve inflammation of the skin. Because of CBD’s potent anti-inflammatory properties, topical CBD “significantly improved the skin parameters” in cases of chronic inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema and the resulting scars10.
CBD and Dry Skin
Research has also shown that compounds in cannabidiol may be able to help with dry skin syndrome11. While there can be a multitude of causes of dry skin, the amount of oil or sebum the skin produces can be a factor. Because CBD can impact the skin’s oil production, it may be able to help relieve dry and itchy skin.
CBD and Itchy Skin
Itchy skin is common, especially in older adults. When the condition becomes unbearable and the urge to scratch is strong, it’s diagnosed as a condition called pruritus. Researchers have said that “perhaps the most promising role for cannabinoids is in the treatment of itch.” 12
CBD and Aging Skin
Aging is associated with the thinning, drying and wrinkling the skin, which occurs for a number of reasons, including the body’s decreasing collagen production. Collagen plays a vital role in skin’s ability to renew and repair itself, as well as its ability to hold its structure. CBD is a potent antioxidant, shown to be more effective than both vitamins C and E13, according to a study in Free Radical Biology and Medicine. Antioxidants play a big role in helping the skin because they protect collagen, prevent DNA damage, and also slow down sun damage. Antioxidants can slow the aging process by reducing free-radicals and the damage that they can do to the skin. Free radicals occur when the body is under oxidative stress, causing damage to DNA, proteins, and cells14. Free radicals are linked to overall aging and serious diseases.
One recently published paper in the journal Molecules reports that “experimental efforts over the last two decades have unambiguously confirmed that cutaneous cannabinoid signaling is deeply involved in the maintenance of skin homeostasis, barrier formation and regeneration.”15
CBD Products for the Skin
If you are suffering from skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, dry, itchy skin or aging skin, or you just want to improve the overall general health of your skin, it makes good sense to try a CBD skincare products since CBD is natural and proven safe. CBD skincare products come in many forms including oils, balms, salves, and creams.
As companies rush to add CBD to their skin care products, buyer beware. Be sure to choose a product with CBD that is naturally derived compound from the plant as opposed to synthetic CBD. We welcome you to learn about our superior growing process.
- Palmieri B, Laurino C, Vadalà M., Clin Ter. 2019 Mar-Apr;170(2):e93-e99. doi: 10.7417.
- Oláh A, Markovics A, Szabó-Papp J, Szabó PT, Stott C, Zouboulis CC, Bíró T., Exp Dermatol. 2016 Sep;25(9):701-7. doi: 10.1111
- Tóth, K. F., Ádám, D., Bíró, T., & Oláh, A. (2019). Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(5), 918. doi:10.3390/molecules24050918
- Pertwee R. G. (2006). British journal of pharmacology, 147 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), S163–S171. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0706406
- Bíró T, Tóth B, Haskó G, Paus R, Pacher P.Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2009 Aug;30(8):411-20. doi: 10.1016/j.tips.2009.05.004. Epub 2009 Jul 14.
- Marks DH, Friedman A., Skin Therapy Lett. 2018 Nov;23(6):1-5., PMID: 30517778
- Oláh A, Tóth BI, Borbíró I, Sugawara K, Szöllõsi AG, Czifra G, Pál B, Ambrus L, Kloepper J, Camera E, Ludovici M, Picardo M, Voets T, Zouboulis CC, Paus R, Bíró T., J Clin Invest. 2014 Sep;124(9):3713-24. doi: 10.1172/JCI64628.
- Oláh A, Ibid.
- Palmieri B, Ibid.
- Oláh A, Markovics A, Szabó-Papp J, Szabó PT, Stott C, Zouboulis CC, Bíró T,. Exp Dermatol. 2016 Sep;25(9):701-7. doi: 10.1111/exd.13042.
- Mounessa, J, Siegel, J, Dunnick, C., Dellavalle, R. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2017.02.056
- Booz GW.. Free Radic Biol Med. 2011;51(5):1054–1061, doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.01.007
- Lobo, V., Patil, A., Phatak, A., & Chandra, N. (2010). Pharmacognosy reviews, 4(8), 118–126. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.70902
- Tóth, K. F., Ibid.
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