Cannabidiol, often seen abbreviated as CBD, has quickly become a darling active ingredient in the wellness industry. Preliminary research into this non-intoxicating compound found in the cannabis plant suggests that it may help reduce pain and inflammation, quell anxiety, and even help prevent seizures in children with extreme cases of epilepsy.
Recently, more and more beauty product manufacturers have released products containing CBD. In fact, almost every skincare brand these days has a moisturizer or skin serum listing CBD as an active ingredient. But what’s the point of putting cannabinoids in lotions and creams?
What can cannabidiol add to your skincare routine? Can CBD even be absorbed through the skin? Keep reading to discover if CBD is the missing piece in your skincare routine puzzle.
What Is CBD?
Before we get too deep in the weeds, let’s begin with some baseline background information on CBD.
Most people associate the cannabis plant with getting stoned. However, the plant offers much more than just a casual recreational buzz. Inside cannabis exist naturally occurring compounds called cannabinoids, that when consumed, interact with the human brain and nervous system through the endocannabinoid system. You may have heard of the cannabinoid THC since it’s famously the compound responsible for producing the high associated with marijuana use.
THC may be the most famous cannabinoid, but it’s far from the only one. There are over 100 different cannabinoids known to exist in cannabis, and most of them won’t get you stoned. The majority of these non-intoxicating cannabinoids only show up in incredibly small quantities, except for CBD, which is abundant in several different strains of the plant.
For years now, labs all over the world have investigated the potential medicinal benefits of CBD with incredibly promising results. CBD’s anti-inflammatory, analgesic, neuroprotective, and calming properties make it an ideal wellness supplement. Unfortunately, due to complications with cannabis’ legality, it’s been historically difficult to conduct clinical trials using human models. As a result, the FDA has only approved one CBD product for medicinal use—the anti-seizure medication Epidiolox.
Despite not yet having full approval from the Food and Drug Administration, hundreds of thousands of people across the globe use CBD as a therapeutic agent, either by smoking it, ingesting it, or applying it topically.
Can CBD Be Absorbed Through The Skin?
Skincare is one of the more recently discovered uses for CBD, but how does it work? Can CBD even be absorbed through the skin?
The answer is yes and no. Applying CBD topically, whether you’re trying to spot treat a sore muscle with a curative balm or performing your nightly skincare routine, doesn’t work the same as taking a dropper of CBD oil or smoking CBD flower does.
CBD that’s applied directly to the skin won’t ever enter your bloodstream. It will, however, permeate the outer layer of skin where it’s applied and activate the cannabinoid receptors located in the area. This makes topical CBD creams useful for treating specific areas.
CBD Skincare Benefits
So CBD can be absorbed by the skin, but what makes the compound beneficial to a beauty routine?
Preliminary research suggests that topically applied CBD could be a useful treatment for several different skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and pruritus, by reducing inflammation around the area where it was applied.
Studies also indicate that CBD could help prevent acne and treat existing blemishes. Our bodies naturally produce a waxy, oily substance called sebum which lubricates our skin and hair. However, this sebum, along with dead skin cells, can clog pores and cause acne. In addition to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, the cannabinoid also can inhibit sebum production, which can help prevent blemishes from forming.
Evidence also suggests that CBD can help moisturize and hydrate the skin in the area where it’s applied, up-regulating cell turnover and enhancing cell regeneration.
As scientists gather additional information about CBD, we discover even more potential benefits that come from this amazing compound. It turns out, CBD might just be the key to keeping your skin looking beautiful and feeling healthy.