Cbd oil for acne before and after

What to Know About CBD Skin-Care Products

Research on this trendy skin-care ingredient is limited. Read this comprehensive guide before you buy.

Before slathering a CBD skin-care product all over your face, test it on a small area of skin, such as your forearm. iStock (2)

Few ingredients have taken skin care by storm quite like CBD. And if you look carefully, it’s everywhere: in sunscreens, masks, lip balms, moisturizers, and more. The question is: Should you really be slathering this stuff on your skin?

First, let’s talk about what CBD is. Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient in the cannabis plant, according to Harvard Health Publishing. CBD can be derived from either medical marijuana or hemp. Although marijuana contains CBD, CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects. (THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical that causes the high.) All that said, CBD won’t lead to any mind-altering effects.

The Proposed Benefits of Skin-Care Products With CBD

Experts attribute the popularity of CBD to its “do anything” reputation. In fact, many people turn to CBD in the hope of treating various ailments, including anxiety, insomnia, pain conditions, and now — increasingly, it seems — skin problems.

In general, manufacturers add CBD to their products to give them a boost. “CBD is a very cost-effective way to enhance products,” says Austin Katz, cofounder of Sheabrand in Brooklyn, New York. CBD is in a range of products — those that claim to treat acne, dry skin, and eczema — because of its versatility. “I think we’re living in an era where people want to feel empowered to address their needs on their own,” he says.

CBD Skincare

Scientific research on the use of CBD in skin-care products is limited. If you’re interested in trying this trend, here’s what a board-certified dermatologist wants you to know.

Potentially Helps Inflammation, Eczema, and Psoriasis

One of the touted functions of CBD is controlling inflammation. “The body has two CBD receptors that we know of: CB1 and CB2,” says Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, adjunct professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora. When applied to skin, CBD interacts with these receptors to turn down the inflammatory response. This happens by “decreasing the interleukins, which are chemicals that are like the immune system’s fire alarm that calls the fire department in an emergency. CBD may decrease the loudness of that fire alarm,” he explains.

In short, you may see less redness overall, and in skin diseases, including eczema and psoriasis, it may also be effective in tamping down itch, possibly because CBD creams may help reduce dryness, per a review published in July 2017 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (Dr. Dellavalle was a coauthor of that report.) Keep in mind, though, that the review included only three studies: two in humans but with small sample sizes and one in mice, which doesn’t necessarily translate to human health. Therefore, more studies on the potential benefits of CBD for reducing skin redness are needed.

Additionally, a small study published in the March-April 2019 issue of the Italian journal Clinical Therapeutics looked at 20 participants with either psoriasis, eczema, or scarring and found that a specific CBD ointment improved measures of skin hydration (by moisturizing and preventing water loss), boosted elasticity in the skin, and in general bettered their quality of life. This could have been due to the fatty acids in the ointment but was also likely in part because of the anti-inflammatory effect of CBD, the researchers say. Yet more research in a larger human population is needed to know for sure.

For many skin diseases, dermatologists often prescribe topical steroid creams, which act as anti-inflammatory medicines. “These are very safe for most people, and they’re effective, but some people don’t want to use steroids in any way. CBD could be a nonsteroidal therapy to fill that gap,” says Dellavalle. Side effects of topical steroids include thinning of the skin if overused or used long term, but you can help avoid these risks when using them correctly, notes the National Eczema Association. Working with your dermatologist to ensure that you have the right medication at the right dosage can help with this.

Indeed, Mona Gohara, MD, a dermatologist in Hamden, Connecticut, and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, prefers to use CBD “in inflammatory skin conditions as they’re fizzling out.” She adds, “I recommend generally using a medication to put out the fire and then using CBD to clean up the carnage.”

Beyond that, though, is the potential to use CBD as a tool to delay early signs of aging. “Inflammation is the basis of all skin disease, including aging,” she says. But while there’s a lot of hype surrounding CBD in skin care — and health in general — there is no cure-all. “Everything has its advantages and disadvantages or limitations,” says Dr. Gohara.

Possibly Plays a Role in Treating Acne

Along with being a potential therapy for inflammatory skin diseases, CBD is also featured in some anti-acne products. For instance, Mantra Mask’s CBD Blemish Mask combines CBD and pimple-fighting tea tree oil. “There are CB2 receptors on sebaceous glands, which produce oil. According to research, CBD influences the sebum production of cells and has an anti-inflammatory component,” says Jeanette Jacknin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Solana Beach, California, who specializes in CBD skin care. This echoes findings outlined in articles previously published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation and Experimental Dermatology.

Dr. Jacknin also points to preliminary research presented in June 2019 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology that found topical CBD may help kill a range of gram-positive bacteria. “This bacteria is one cause of acne,” she says. (For the study, researchers collaborated with Botanix Pharmaceuticals, a company that develops products to treat skin diseases like acne and psoriasis.)

May Decrease Inflammation From Sunburns

Finally, one of the newest uses for CBD skin care is in sunscreen. Dellavalle notes that it does make sense to add CBD to sunscreen, as its anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce the effects of a sunburn, such as redness. Of course, the idea is to apply sunscreen correctly (following guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology), but in real life, many people miss areas, and applying a CBD-infused SPF may supply more general absorption and temper the reaction of sunburned spots, he says.

What Scientific Evidence Doesn’t Yet Tell Us About CBD for Skin Care

If CBD sounds like the answer to your skin woes, it’s helpful to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. “What we don’t have in CBD is a lot of research. [CBD has] been illegal federally for so long, and it’s been difficult to do research on something that’s previously been considered on par with cocaine or heroin,” says Dellavalle. That’s starting to change, though. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the definition of marijuana, which meant that CBD products were no longer considered like marijuana. This has paved the way for researchers to conduct more studies on CBD, and for product manufacturers to create and sell CBD products legally, though per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is still illegal to market CBD as a supplement.

A review published in June 2018 in the Dermatology Online Journal, which Dellavalle coauthored, pointed out that while CBD may “have shown some initial promise as therapy for a variety of skin diseases,” there is a need for large, high-quality, randomized, controlled trials, a sentiment echoed in an article published in December 2020 in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. Another paper, published in the May-June 2019 issue of Clinics in Dermatology, urges people and their doctors to approach these products with the same caution. Finally, though topical CBD tends to be well tolerated and may have a role in addressing various skin issues (including acne, dryness, and irritation), there’s still ongoing research on the safety of CBD treatment, notes an article published in 2020 in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology.

Unknowns About CBD Dosage

Scientists still don’t know the ideal dose of CBD for treating skin conditions or promoting general health. Some companies, like Sheabrand, formulate with different doses depending on the area of skin the product is designed for — the body or the face, for instance — for maximum penetration. Scientists also don’t know where CBD stands in relation to proven topical therapies, like retinoids, vitamin C, or alpha hydroxy acids.

Questions About Cannabinoid Combinations

There are hundreds of other chemicals in the cannabis plant, and researchers don’t know what combinations are best. For instance, terpenes, the essential oils in plants (including cannabis), may exert synergistic benefits, suggests the Clinical Therapeutics study. “So much research needs to be done. We’ll be sorting this out for the next 25 years,” says Dellavalle. On the horizon with more research from universities and companies, says Jackin, may be more targeted and efficacious therapies for conditions like eczema and acne.

8 Steps to Take Before Trying a CBD Skin-Care Product

For now, know that CBD products are safe in general, and early research suggests that they may make a difference in how your skin looks and feels. Just don’t count on it as a cure-all for any skin condition. In other words, talk to your dermatologist before replacing products they have recommended with ones containing CBD, and don’t treat any new skin conditions with CBD products until you speak to your dermatologist. If you’re interested in venturing into CBD skin care, here’s what you need to know before you buy and try:

Does CBD Oil Help With Acne? Using Hemp Oil to Get Rid of Pimples

CBD is a natural compound found in Cannabis sativa plants. It’s only one of over 100 cannabinoids, which are the active ingredients in cannabis, but it has a plethora of potential health benefits. Can CBD oil also help with acne?

Acne affects over 90% of the global population at some point in their life. And despite being a common issue, for some people, it can be a bashful problem that affects their mental health and lays a shadow over their social life due to its telltale signs.

And if you’re wondering if CBD oil can help you fight acne, we provide the latest research from dermatological studies.

We’ve also prepared the list of the most reputable brands that offer CBD oil online.

Read on to find out what type of CBD is right for you.

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CBD Oil for Acne: The Best Products for Healthy Skin (2022 Update)

CBD oil can be a fine addition to your daily skincare routine. The Internet is full of high-quality CBD products if you know where to look for. It’s important to do your homework before you trust any company with your hard-earned money. You should pay attention to how the hemp is sourced, what extraction methods the company uses to produce its oils, and whether or not these products are certified by independent laboratories.

If you live a busy life and don’t have the time to dig into the quality criteria, we have prepared our list of the best CBD products for acne after reviewing over 30 brands that sell CBD oil online.

Continue reading to find the right product.

1. Royal CBD (Best CBD Overall)

Get 15% off all Royal CBD products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.

Product Details

Potency 250 mg – 2500 mg
Available Flavors Natural, Berry, Mint, Vanilla
CBD per serving 8.3 mg – 83.3 mg

Why Royal CBD is the Best CBD Oil for Acne

Royal CBD is a Nevada-based manufacturer specializing in full-spectrum CBD oil from organic hemp. The plants used for the production of Royal CBD oils come from farms in Colorado, which is known for some of the finest conditions for growing hemp. The brand makes its products using CO2 extraction to ensure the highest purity and consistent potency of its extracts with no toxic solvents on the way. The entire Royal CBD collection is rigorously tested in a certified laboratory for its CBD content as well as for the presence of potential contaminants. You can ask the guys at Royal CBD for lab reports and they will provide it to you via email.

When it comes to using CBD oil for acne, I have two favorite products from Royal CBD: full-spectrum oil and broad-spectrum salve.

The oil is available in 4 strengths (from 250 mg to 2500 mg of total CBD) and 3 flavored options (Berry, Mint, and Vanilla). This product is made from the whole hemp plant, meaning it contains all the non-psychoactive cannabinoids, traces of THC (less than 0.3%), terpenes, and flavonoids. These compounds contribute to the entourage effect, which is a synergy between all phytonutrients from hemp that makes them more effective together than in isolation.

The salve is infused with 500 mg of broad-spectrum CBD, containing all of the above except that there’s no THC in the formula. The salve is also enriched with a cayenne pepper extract to boost the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol. It has a nice warming effect and actually makes a difference when it comes to the painful discomfort of skin breakouts.

  • Made from locally grown organic hemp
  • Extracted with supercritical CO2
  • Infused with full-spectrum CBD
  • Available in 4 strengths and flavors
  • Up to 2500 mg of CBD per bottle
  • 3rd-party tested for potency and purity
  • Great natural flavor
  • Not available in local CBD stores (this may soon change)
  • No vapes in its product line up

2. Gold Bee (Best Organic)

Product Details

Potency 300 – 1200 mg
Available Flavors Natural, Honey, Kiwi
CBD per serving 8.3 mg – 33.3 mg

About Gold Bee

Gold Bee is another great CBD brand from Nevada. Our runner-up makes unique CBD oils that carry a delicious honey flavor that masks the distinct earthy taste of natural hemp extracts. This is actually one of the best-tasting CBD oils I’ve tried during my 5-year journey with CBD products. The guys at Gold Bee have created their blend of organic CBD-rich strains by partnering with farmers from Colorado.

Gold Bee offers CBD oil in three concentrations: 300 mg, 600 mg, and 1200 mg of CBD per bottle. Similar to Royal CBD, these are full-spectrum extracts, so you’re getting the synergistic effects from the original hemp plant. Studies have shown that full-spectrum CBD works better for pain and inflammation than CBD isolate, so these are very decent products if you’re looking for something to deal with acne.

However, Gold Bee doesn’t have any high-potency oils in its selection, which is why they score second place in our ranking of the best CBD products for acne. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the release of a stronger product in the future.

  • Sourced from US-grown organic hemp
  • Contains full-spectrum CBD
  • Up to 33 mg CBD/mL
  • Great potency range for beginners
  • Third-party tested for potency and purity
  • Great honey flavor
  • No high-strength CBD oils

3. CBDPure (Top Transparency)

Product Details

Potency 100 – 1000 mg
Available Flavors None
CBD per serving 3.3 – 33 mg/mL

About CBDPure

In my opinion, CBDPure is the best company for those who have never used CBD oil for acne. The potency of these oils is great for beginners, starting at 100 mg of CBD per bottle, which translates to 3.3 mg of CBD per milliliter. CBDPure has recently added a 1000 mg concentration to their lineup to cater to users who have some experience with CBD but don’t need more than 30mg of CBD in their routine.

CBDPure’s products are designed for mild-to-moderate symptoms of acne, so if you’re looking for something stronger, we recommend that you choose something from the two above brands. One thing is certain: you won’t be disappointed with the quality of its CBD oil. CBDPure is a living example of transparency, plus they have a 90-day return policy that allows you to get a full refund for your product if you’re not satisfied with the results.

  • Sourced from organic Colorado-grown hemp
  • Extracted with supercritical CO2
  • Lab-tested for potency and purity
  • 90-day return policy
  • Only two forms of CBD available
  • Low potency
  • No topicals available

4. Hemp Bombs (Best CBD Isolate)

Product Details

Potency 125 – 4000 mg
Available Flavors Natural, Acai Berry, Orange Creamsicle, Peppermint, Watermelon
CBD per serving 4 – 133 mg/mL

About Hemp Bombs

Hemp Bombs offers the best products for those with acne who are looking for THC-free CBD oils. The company specializes in making pure CBD extracts in a very wide potency range, with up to 4000 mg of CBD per bottle.

This CBD oil is a good choice for people with acne who don’t want to take any amounts of THC in their routine. Hemp Bombs offers both broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate, so if you undergo drug tests at work, this is your best bet. While full-spectrum products won’t get you high, taking high doses daily may result in a false-positive result on the drug test.

Keep in mind that using CBD oils with zero THC only provides some part of the entourage effect, or no entourage at all when you take CBD isolate. This means that you may eventually need to take more CBD oil to experience the desired effects.

  • Sourced from organic hemp
  • Extracted with CO2
  • 0% THC
  • Available as broad-spectrum or isolate
  • Third-party tested for CBD and contaminants
  • Up to 4000 mg of CBD per bottle
  • 5 strengths to choose from
  • Infused with synthetic flavorings
  • No “entourage effect” from other cannabinoids and terpenes
  • Most people don’t need such high doses of CBD oil in their routine

5. CBDistillery (Most Affordable)

Product Details

Potency 250 – 5000 mg
Available Flavors None
Potency 8.3 – 166 mg/mL

About CBDistillery

CBDistillery blazed the trail for other companies when they started to sell CBD oil over five years ago. Since then, the brand has not only become one of the largest suppliers in North America, but it has also managed to maintain high quality and uphold its reputation in the cannabis community. On top of selling an impressive range of different CBD products — available as full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD (pure oil) — CBDistillery also provides education to its customers under the hashtag #CBDMOVEMENT.

One of the great things about this company is the potency choice it offers. CBDistillery covers the entire potency range for CBD oils, from 250 mg to a massive 5000 mg of total CBD. At 166 mg of CBD per milliliter, the strongest bottle provides enough CBD to get you supplied for months to come.

CBDistillery offers the most affordable products, with prices starting at $20 per bottle of CBD oil (250 mg), so while the company doesn’t use organic hemp (which is a little downside), it still has the best CBD oil for those shopping on the budget.

  • Available as full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD
  • Extracted with CO2
  • 5 potency options to choose from
  • Up to 166.6 mg of CBD per bottle
  • Third-party tested for potency and purity
  • Very affordable
  • Made from non-organic hemp
  • No flavored options

What Causes Acne?

Acne typically affects teenagers, particularly throughout puberty, but it can happen to people of all ages. Acne is a skin condition that causes white-headed or dark-headed breakouts due to clogged hair follicles on the face and upper body.

The area around the face and upper body have the highest concentration of sebaceous glands, which are responsible for oil production in the skin and are connected to hair follicles.

There are four main causes of acne:

  • Excess sebum production: the sebaceous glands can produce too much oil, giving the skin a greasy look. This, in turn, can block the follicles.
  • Dead skins due to the clogs: when the follicles get clogged, they become inflamed and cause dead skin cells to amass. The problem gets continuously worse because more oil and dead skin gathers in one place, resulting in cyst-like lumps.
  • Bacteria build-up: dirty pores can result in bacterial infections, which can deteriorate inflammation and increase the size of the breakouts.
  • Stress, medication, and hormones: these three factors can make acne worse, especially when it comes to androgens, which are hormones released during puberty. These hormones cause the sebaceous glands to swell, causing more clogs. Certain medications and excessive stress have also been identified as potential causes of acne.

Contrary to common myths, acne can’t be caused by poor hygiene or eating greasy foods.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a natural compound found in cannabis that has been a hot topic in the medical world for the past few years. Touted for its wide range of health benefits, CBD oil is widely used for a variety of conditions, from anxiety and depression to pain, insomnia, seizures, and neurodegenerative disorders.

CBD oil is actually a worldwide phenomenon because it provides the benefits associated with using cannabis without the high feeling of marijuana. CBD itself is non-intoxicating, and the majority of CBD oils are made from hemp plants, which contain less than 0.3% of THC.

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CBD also has no known overdose limit and is non-addictive. Even high doses such as 1,500 mg daily are well-tolerated in humans.

CBD belongs to a group of molecules known as cannabinoids. It’s actually one of over 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids within the cannabis plants. These compounds interact with a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

CBD Oil and the Endocannabinoid System

The human body is a very complex organism. It consists of over 37 trillion individual cells on average. The human brain alone is made from millions of neurons that can send thousands of different messages every second. Many of the pathways in our bodies are well understood, whereas others remain a bit fogged by the lack of long-term research. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is one of the latter, although scientists and medical researchers are learning more every day.

The ECS is the major regulatory network present within all animals, from primitive sea life to monkeys, domesticated animals, and humans. Each body naturally produces its own cannabinoids internally; these molecules control a wide range of biological processes through a network of cannabinoid receptors. The endocannabinoid system is just as important as our ability to breathe.

That’s because the ECS helps maintain homeostasis in the body, which is a state of biological balance between all vital functions.

Consuming plant-derived cannabinoids, such as CBD, will cause them to interact with the ECS. By signaling the cannabinoid receptors, they can produce beneficial effects for physical and mental health. One such benefit is reducing the symptoms of acne.

Does CBD Oil Work for Acne?

There’s a growing amount of research supporting the theory that CBD oil may be helpful for acne. The effects may vary from person to person depending on what type of acne a person suffers from and what causes it.

CBD oil may help reduce various forms of acne thanks to its ability to influence the production of sebum in the body. Sebum is a waxy, oily substance produced in the skin. CBD oil also has remarkable anti-inflammatory qualities, which makes it a good option to consider as an acne treatment.

Why is this trait important for acne and its symptoms? Sebum helps protect the skin from environmental risks. However, it can mix with dirt, dead skin cells, or other pollutants, causing the pores to clog. Clogged pores then become inflamed and cause skin breakouts.

In a 2014 study, researchers examined the effects of CBD on human sebocytes, which are the cells that produce sebum [1]. The research team found that the CBD prevented these cells from releasing excess sebum. They also discovered that the CBD oil prompted an anti-inflammatory reaction in the cells, preventing inflammatory cytokines from activation. Cytokines may cause acne, so reducing their concentrations may prevent future breakouts.

Finally, in a 2016 review of the cannabis plant, cannabinoids such as CBD were mentioned for their antibacterial and antifungal effects [2]. These properties may help reduce infections from pollutants on the skin.

That being said, we still lack human clinical trials to recommend CBD oil products as a direct anti-acne treatment. If you feel that CBD oil could help with your condition, consult a holistic physician who will be knowledgeable on natural skincare remedies.

CBD Oil & Body Acne

Body acne is triggered by the same processes as facial acne, so there’s a chance that CBD-rich products could help reduce it. Many skincare companies incorporate CBD into bath bombs, soap bars, and lotions. Although CBD products may not be specifically advertised as anti-acne, their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects may provide some relief.

What About Using CBD Oil for Acne Scars?

Sometimes, when a pimple gets enlarged and the skin is picking, you may suffer from acne scars. In a study published in the journal La Clinica Terapeutica, 20 participants with scars from atopic dermatitis and psoriasis used CBD-enriched ointment to affect areas on the skin twice daily for three months.

After that period, the researchers found that the skin’s appearance improved when it comes to elasticity and hydration thanks to the CBD treatment. Although the study didn’t tackle pitted scars, it does show promise that CBD oil could help reduce the appearance of scarring.

How to Use CBD Oil for Acne?

There’s a common misconception about using CBD oil for acne, namely that you have to apply it directly to the skin. While CBD has anti-inflammatory properties when applied topically, pores that are already blocked pores will be more difficult for CBD to get through. CBD is an oil, so putting it directly on the trouble spot can cause further clogs to the pores which could subsequently spur the onset of acne or worsen it.

If you want to use CBD oil for acne, keep in mind that it can reduce inflammation and influence sebum production by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. To ensure the most efficient route of administration, place a few drops of CBD oil under the tongue twice a day to reduce excessive sebum release.

Once the skin is able to cleanse itself, you can begin to use CBD-infused topicals to enhance the effect and provide your skin with other nutrients, such as essential fatty acids, vitamins, and trace minerals. Still, we recommend that you continue to ingest CBD for acne.

How Could CBD Oil Help with Other Skin Problems?

Wondering if CBD oil may be helpful in treating other skin conditions on top of acne? Below you’ll find some examples.

Itchy Skin

CBD was mentioned as a potential treatment for itchy skin in a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD) [3]. The journal cited a 2005 paper that found 81 percent of patients with itchy skin who treated their problem with a CBD cream experienced complete regression of their symptoms [4].

The authors of the JAAD article suggested that cannabinoids may be able to block signals transmitted to the brain from nerve endings in the skin that indicate skin itching. When combined with skin-soothing ingredients like menthol in topical products, the effect can be even stronger.

Psoriasis

A study published in the journal Peer J Life & Environment revealed promising findings for people with psoriasis [5]. The study found that cannabinoid receptors located in the skin can reduce excess skin cell growth, which is a common issue among those with psoriasis.

The researchers stated that cannabinoids could have the potential to turn off the receptors that are involved in excess skin cell buildup in patients.

Because the researchers used human cadaver skin instead of living skin, it’s difficult to say if they could achieve the same results with the latter. Nevertheless, the study holds promise for those looking to try CBD products to reduces the discomfort resulting from psoriasis.

Sensitive Skin

The same benefits that apply to conditions like eczema or psoriasis may also help with general irritation of the skin and its appearance. However, people need to make sure that their products don’t contain other skin irritants that could compromise the efficacy of CBD and further irritate sensitive skin.

Aging and Wrinkles

Not only is CBD a potent anti-inflammatory, but it also has remarkable antioxidant qualities, which may translate to better skin health and reduced age lines and wrinkles. If you want to maximize the benefits of using CBD oil in your anti-aging routine, make sure to include other antioxidants, such as those from fruits and vitamin E.

Is CBD Oil Safe for Acne?

CBD has a “favorable safety profile,” as stated by the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research [6].

The researchers found that the most common side effects of taking CBD oil include fatigue, diarrhea, dry mouth, and changes in appetite. However, these side effects were mostly experienced by people who took CBD under the tongue or in a capsule form, not topically.

If you experience symptoms like swelling, itching, or skin peeling after applying CBD-infused products, wash the irritated area with water, and apply cold compresses if needed.

Key Takeaways on Using CBD Oil for Acne

Studies show promising results when it comes to using CBD oil for acne, but until researchers conduct large-scale trials on living skin, official government agencies won’t acknowledge it as an official treatment.

If you buy CBD products for acne, make sure that they come from a trusted source — one that uses organic ingredients and doesn’t include any skin irritants. Always check if the company you’re about to buy from provides third-party lab testing reports. Certificates of Analysis from an independent laboratory are proof that the oil contains the advertised amount of CBD and is free of potential contaminants and unwanted additives such as solvents or pesticides.

Do you use CBD for acne or other skin conditions? Does it work?

Nina Julia

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

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CBD Oil For Acne: Everything You Need to Know

Bryan is a contributing writer for Byrdie covering all things beauty and grooming. He has over 16 years of experience in beauty editorial and has been with Byrdie since 2020.

Rachel is a board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor at Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Dermatology. She has contributed to Byrdie, as well as Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire, Allure, Vogue, and the New York Times, and more

Madeline has been with Byrdie and Brides since 2021. Most recently, she lead social media at Glamour magazine where she covered pop culture, beauty, and fashion.

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In This Article

CBD oil is seeping into virtually every beauty product category nowadays—even in deodorant and toothpaste. With its anti-stress, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory claims, it’s no wonder this so-called “wonder ingredient” is pushing its way into our self-care routines. Even more, according to the latest studies, CBD oil may be exactly what your breakout-prone, irritated skin needs to get back into shape.

Although there’s still a great deal of required research ahead to determine how best to use CBD to treat acne, we talked to a panel of experts, including cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson of BeautyStat, Michele Green, board-certified dermatologist, Kenneth Howe of Wexler Dermatology, and Rachel Nazarian of the Schweiger Dermatology Group to get the facts as well as the potential of using CBD oil for acne.

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Keep reading to determine if CBD’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and oil-regulating properties actually work wonders for acne.

Meet the Expert

  • Ron Robinson is a cosmetic chemist at BeautyStat. is a board-certified dermatologist based in Manhattan.
  • Kenneth Howe is a board-certified dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology.
  • Rachel Nazarian is a New York City-based dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group.

Type of Ingredient: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, sebum-regulating.

Main Benefits: Reduces inflammation, healing and calming, regulates oil production, neutralizes free radicals.

Who Should Use It: It is recommended for those looking to treat mild to moderate inflammatory acne lesions at home. It’s also great for sensitive or those allergic to typical anti-acne ingredients, such as benzoyl peroxide or retinol.

How Often Can You Use It: Products containing CBD oil can be used twice per day as part of your usual anti-acne skincare routine.

Works Well With: Ingredients designed to calm skin and decrease inflammation, including arnica, hyaluronic acid and ceramides.

Don’t Use With: Ingredients that can counteract the anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD, such as alcohol. Also, be aware that CBD is still an unregulated ingredient, and ongoing research is still exploring CBD’s pathways and other ingredients it may or may not work well with.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD—which stands for Cannabidiol—oil is a compound derived from both hemp (cannabis sativa) and marijuana (cannabis sativa indica) plants, both of which are part of the cannabis family. When it comes to acne’s root causes—a combination of bacteria, oil, and dry skin cells getting trapped in your pores—CBD oil seems to have all bases covered. “CBD oil is beneficial to these conditions due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It reduces sebum production and is also antimicrobial, so it works great for acne-prone skin,” says Green. She also cited a 2007 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science that showed CBD oil applied to the skin may inhibit the overproduction of keratinocytes (skin cells), thus eliminating yet another acne-causing culprit.

Benefits of CBD Oil for Acne

  • Reduces inflammation: CBD oil helps soothe irritation caused by acne, noticeably reducing overall redness and making breakouts appear smaller and less painful. This is especially helpful for acne-prone skin sensitivity, as CBD oil works without the dryness, redness, or irritation of conventional ingredients.
  • Controls oil production: “The most exciting finding of CBD oil is that it’s ‘sebostatic’—it cuts down on oil production in the skin,” says Howe. “Current evidence suggests the skin has its own endocannabinoid system, which is to say cannabinoids are active in the skin, binding to their receptors, and signaling for certain activities to occur or not occur.” How does that relate to oil production? Green explained that “the increase in sebum production is a result of endogenous cannabinoids (anandamide and 2AG) which are produced in the sebaceous glands. These endogenous cannabinoids act on CB2 receptors inhibiting the lipogenic action, therefore regulating sebum production.”
  • It’s an antioxidant: CBD oil is packed with potent antioxidants that help protect skin from free radicals resulting from environmental damage and improve texture and tone over time. While none of the dermatologists could vouch for CBD oil’s ability to fade post-acne marks, it could provide an extra measure of antioxidant protection into your anti-acne routine.
  • Acne multi-tasker: Rather than act as a spot treatment, acne-targeting products containing CBD oil may help manage the overall issues that contribute to acne formation. Nazarian says, “Because it works as both an anti-inflammatory and can decrease oil production, it has the ability to multitask as an acne product. It may be considered a gentler option and a safe option for many different skin types.”

Other Skin Benefits

One thing worth pointing out about incorporating CBD oil into your skincare routine is how kind it is to skin. “It’s gentle, and that’s what makes it stand out from other options,” said Nazarian. “Additionally, there are many skin types that are either too sensitive to use ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or retinol on, or they have allergies to these ingredients. Having an additional tool in the ‘acne toolkit’ will always be useful in the fight for healthy skin.”

Side Effects of CBD Oil

Though rare, the known side effects of using CBD oil for acne include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. CBD oil is also known to interact with certain medications such as blood thinners. While there are no known interactions with other topical products, you should start with a patch test if you’re concerned about a reaction. If you experience irritation, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re sensitive to CBD oil, and you should stop using it.

How to Use It

When it comes to actually using CBD oil to treat acne, you may find yourself wondering: supplement or product? Nazarian says, “The evidence supporting use of CBD in treating acne is purely topical at this point. Use of CBD was tested topically on skin cells and has shown promise. Oral supplementation or smoking of CBD formulations has not been evaluated in this manner and can not be recommended.”

The good news is, there’s no shortage of CBD-laced products. One of the most popular routes is face oil. Oils are still having their moment in skincare, as they’re ideal for virtually every skin type (depending on the formulation) and act as an excellent carrier for a variety of potent compounds—like CBD. Oils are also easy to incorporate into a multiple-step skincare regimen, so if you’re looking to up your anti-acne game with an extra product that has very little likelihood to interact with your existing products, a face oil containing CBD oil might be the perfect fit. There are also various cleansers, creams, lotions, and oils for the face and body, but it’s important to steer clear of any that might contain potential comedogenic ingredients.

While the doctors we spoke to were happy to recommend products, they were also quick to remind us that CBD is still an unregulated ingredient, making it difficult to gauge a product’s efficacy. There’s no way to specify the purity or optimal percentage of active ingredients required for the product to be effective.

The Best Products with CBD Oil for Acne

“This product packs a 100mg hemp oil lightweight formulation which also contains adaptogens” (plant-based roots and herbs that help calm our body’s reaction to stress), says Green.

This anti-blemish cream combines 200mg of CBD hemp extract with 1% salicylic acid to calm and soothe active breakouts and clear up blemishes, blackheads, and whiteheads while keeping skin smooth and hydrated.

These concentrated patches will help you forget everything you knew about spot treatments that dry zits into painful oblivion. It is packed with the ideal ratio of salicylic acid and hemp to reduce inflammation and speed healing, while hydrocolloid action stops the infection in its tracks.

Each scoop of these luxe bath salts contains approximately 20mg of CBD oil and a host of other de-stressing and body-boosting ingredients, including pink Himalayan salt, arnica, Epsom salts, and calendula. Plus, they get two thumbs up from Nazarian, who praises their ability to decrease inflammation and encourage relaxation. Great for a bacne-busting soak—make sure the water isn’t too hot.

When cleansing broken-out skin, it’s important to be thorough while still respecting the skin’s moisture barrier. While this refreshing gel cleanser doesn’t contain actual CBD oil, it’s stacked with Cannabis Sativa seed and green oregano oils.

The skin around the eye area is the thinnest and most delicate on the face, so while an eye cream isn’t exactly first on the list of anti-acne products, one containing CBD could tick off two essential boxes of your skincare regimen: eye care and soothing anti-acne action.

Rather than applied topically, a few drops of this ultra-pure, ultra-potent CBD oil taken each day orally may help balance out the stress levels and reduce inflammation.

CBD oil is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation, controls oil production, and manages the overall issues that contribute to acne formation.

Yes, it’s especially beneficial for acne-prone skin. “It’s gentle, and that’s what makes it stand out from other options,” said Nazarian. “Additionally, there are many skin types that are either too sensitive to use ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or retinol on, or they have allergies to these ingredients. Having an additional tool in the ‘acne toolkit’ will always be useful in the fight for healthy skin.”

Nazarian says, “The evidence supporting use of CBD in treating acne is purely topical at this point. Use of CBD was tested topically on skin cells and has shown promise. Oral supplementation or smoking of CBD formulations has not been evaluated in this manner and can not be recommended.”

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