CBD Basics for Exceptional Skin

Michelle Green
By: Senior Editor & Skincare Expert  |  Michelle Green

Every other product on the shelves seems to include the hot new miracle oil, CBD. But what is CBD, exactly? Where did it come from? Which benefits, if any, does it have for skincare? And which supposed benefits are merely myths? 

In this article:

  1. What Is CBD?
  2. How Does CBD Work?
  3. How Does It Help Skin Care?
  4. Types of CBD Oil Products
  5. Potential Side Effects
  6. The Need for Independent Testing

In the beauty world, fad ingredients fade in and out faster than cheap highlights. Is CBD just another untested miracle cure and an excuse for new prices on old products? Or, is this natural oil the real deal? Can it really do everything we’ve heard, or is it too good to be true? 

We needed to know, so we took a deep dive into the research on CBD in the cosmetic and beauty industries and brought it here to you. 

What Is CBD?

What Is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabinoid oil, which is a non-psychotropic extract derived from marijuana. There are roughly 130 chemical compounds that come from the cannabis plant. CBD is only one such compound, and the rest can be filtered out to obtain a nearly pure extract.

To be clear, CBD is not marijuana. CBD products come in a variety of forms and strains, but it either contains zero or trace amounts of THC, which is the psychoactive component in marijuana. Due to such small amounts, CBD will not create the psychoactive “high” feeling that THC can.

CBD was discovered in the 1940s and has been studied ever since. While it’s mainstream debut has been delayed until now, tons of research has been conducted over the past 80 years. 

Most of this research has been into the potential medical uses for CBD, like treating epileptic seizures as well as other neurological disorders, combating various types of addiction, lessening the effects of anxiety and depression, controlling chronic pain, and Parkinson’s disease.

What Is CBD?
CBD extracts and oils are legal for use in every state in America and nearly every other country in the world. 

CBD was first legalized in America as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill. Since its legalization, stores selling this specialty oil have popped up across the country.  Everyday products suddenly have new versions including CBD. 

Oils you vape, oils you smell, oils you place under the tongue, creams, gummies, lotions, shampoos, body washes, perfumes, even food. Everything seems to have CBD in it now. The market has exploded, and CBD has been hailed as a virtual wonder drug capable of alleviating all sorts of aches and pains.

For skin especially, there are claims that CBD can reduce acne flare ups, combat wrinkles and work for anti-aging, and calm sensitive skin. Can one oil really do so much?

How Does CBD Work?

How Does CBD Work?
As with all medications, CBD can affect everyone differently. Talk to your doctor before utilizing if you have any concerns.

CBD works by altering your body’s endocannabinoid system, a portion of your body that influences a variety of feelings and sensations including mood, pain and inflammation. Your body has at least two types of cannabinoid receptors. When you consume CBD, it alters those receptors, making it easier for cannabinoids to affect you.

Most often, CBD when used for skin care is applied topically at the source of the issue. When utilized this way, the body interacts just a little differently. Rather than passing through your digestive tract and receiving nutrients from your blood, your skin is getting a direct dose right where it is most necessary.

How Does It Help Skin Care?

How Does It Help Skin Care?
CBD may benefit the health of the skin.

There are many purported ways that CBD has various health and beauty benefits. One of the biggest and potentially best being its anti-inflammatory attributes. Most skin woes have a foundation in inflammation. Even if that isn’t the only direct cause, it is the root of most skin care woes. One such example is acne.

CBD can help to regulate the output of sebum on our skin. That’s the body’s naturally produced oil that keeps our skin soft and supple. Too little of it and we have dry, flaky, itchy skin. Too much, and suddenly we’re covered in blackheads, whiteheads, and a slew of other oily nightmares. CBD steps in and can take control, which is currently the job of longtime anti-aging favorite, retinoids. 

Skincare professionals rejoice to potentially have a new weapon in their arsenal, especially for those who are allergic to traditional retinoid-based acne treatments. As an added bonus, utilizing CBD doesn’t come with the “retinization” process, a reaction which causes some retinol users to face redness and irritation before the positive benefits start to occur.

How Does It Help Skin Care?
Many spas now offer experiences including CBD oils for complete relaxation and rejuvenation.

In addition to its anti-inflammatory nature, CBD is also an excellent source of natural antioxidants which are proven to slow the signs of aging. It counteracts the damage done by free radicals and helps promote and maintain a healthier skin surface, which leads to a more balanced tone and continued elasticity. 

In short, CBD may be able to help treat wrinkles, but more importantly, it could  keep them from happening in the first place.

On top of all of these benefits, CBD soothes sensitive skin to such a degree that it could be included alongside more irritable ingredients to nullify their less pleasant effects while also enhancing the desired ones. Studies on these effects are still on-going.

Types of CBD Oil Products

Types of CBD Oil Products
Balms, oils, tinctures, and more! CBD is available in almost any form.

CBD comes in many varieties. Some can be ingested, such as candies, pills, or tinctures. There are many CBD topicals that can be used for skin care as well. These include lotions, creams, balms, and hand salves. Each comes with its own uses and has differing composition.

  • Lotions and creams: One popular use for CBD oil is in lotions and moisturizers. This is because scientists are finding more research that CBD can help those with dry skin and eczema.
  • Balms and salves: Because it helps with inflammation and pain, CBD oil is also found in balms for sore muscles or joints.
  • Facial oils: Facial oil easily lends itself to the addition of CBD oil. It can help moisturize the skin, as well as reduce inflammation and redness.
  • Makeup: CBD makeup is becoming increasingly popular. Some of the makeup products you can find include mascara, lipsticks and glosses and eyebrow tints. These products offer calming and moisturizing effects.

Potential Side Effects

Potential Side Effects
There is still plenty that is unknown about CBD.

There are very limited recorded incidents of negative interactions with CBD. 

In fact, less evidence exists linking this particular compound to anything remotely dangerous than there is proof of carcinogens in current beauty staples. Parabens, for example, have shown a definitive link to increased rates of cancer, yet remain legal, even if frowned upon. 

Meanwhile, most of the evidence regarding CBD is positive, yet it still battles a questionable connotation.  

With that said, some people do still experience minor side effects with CBD use. These may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Lightheadedness
  • Diarrhea or appetite problems
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue and sleepiness

The best way to alleviate these side effects is to begin using CBD gradually, thus easing your way in and ensuring that any effects you feel will be minor. That being said, it is worth trying CBD for its potential to help reduce inflammation, heal scarring and achieve exceptional skin.

The Need for Independent Testing

The Need for Independent Testing
Testing is on-going, but happening at a faster-than-ever pace nowadays.

While there needs to be more research performed on the effects of CBD oil, it does so far show itself to have positive properties. Researchers and users report that it helps with dry skin, inflammation, acne, and oil production. 

There is no shortage of CBD oil products, so you can find one that will suit your needs and preferences just about anywhere. From gas stations to pharmacies and everywhere in between, a CBD product is somewhere within reach. 

We recommend reputable and knowledgeable sources for the most safe, effective use. Even stores like Sephora and Ulta carry CBD enhanced products. Or grab some at your local big box grocers. Then there’s always the internet, but be sure to do your research and read some reviews before making a big investment.

As with any new beauty product, you should begin by adding it gradually to your routine, and pay special attention to how your skin reacts as you continue use. Should any pain, irritation, or adverse effects occur, consult your doctor.

Want more information on the latest beauty bits and skincare situations?  Check out our other articles to stay up to date on everything beautiful!

Michelle Green
Senior Editor & Skincare Expert
Michelle Green is a well-established aesthetician with over 20 years experience in skincare. She has researched over 5,000 products over the past decade, striving to help her readers fine-tune their skincare routine so they can get the results they want.

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