Smokig cbd oil for skin

Confused About CBD in Skincare? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Faith Xue has worked in digital beauty for 10 years and is currently Bustle Digital Group’s executive beauty director. She was Byrdie’s editorial director for seven years.

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

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In This Article

CBD is the Cady Heron of the skincare world right now—buzzy, intriguing, and full of secrets (though not as much as Gretchen Weiners’ hair). The ingredient has officially crossed over from being a wellness supplement to a beauty buzzword, but it’s not as simple as looking for “CBD” on your ingredients label and calling it a day. There’s a lot of murky marketing out there and more than a few false claims. For example, we’ve seen some major brands hop on the CBD bandwagon and blast it across their marketing channels, when in reality, their products don’t contain any actual CBD at all. We’ve enlisted Dendy Engelman, MD, board-certified dermatologist; Ava Shamban, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Five in LA and co-host of The GIST; Charlotte Palermino, co-founder of cannabis education website Nice Paper, and Ashley Lewis and Meredith Schroeder, co-founders of new online CBD retailer Fleur Marché. Your skin deserves CBD—just make sure you’re buying a product that actually contains it.

Keep scrolling for your no-BS guide to understanding CBD skincare.

Type of ingredient: Antioxidant.

Main benefits: Reduces inflammation, Regulates oil production, Neutralizes free radical damage.

Who should use it: It is recommended for those with inflamed, compromised skin as well as sensitive and dry skin types. It can also benefit those with aging skin.

How often can you use it: CBD skincare can be used daily.

Works well with: Actives that calm and nourish the skin barrier, such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and niacinamides.

Don’t use with: Be cautious with CBD skincare. Since it is an unregulated industry, it is undetermined what actives it deactivates. It is not recommended to use CBD skin products that contain alcohol, as this might combat its beneficial effects and heighten inflammatory skin conditions.

What is CBD?

So, what exactly is CBD? Shamban explains that it is a naturally-occurring chemical compound found in cannabis plants marijuana and hemp. “It’s one of the two primary active ingredients of cannabis, the other one being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the active psychotropic,” she says.

According to Lewis and Schroeder, (who fell in love with the ingredient during their previous jobs curating products for Goop), it’s “a potent antioxidant, highly anti-inflammatory, and has been shown in multiple studies to reduce lipid production from the sebaceous glands (overproduction of this sebum is possibly one component of what contributes to acne formation).” One such study found that CBD could prevent acne in multiple ways.

How does CBD work? Engelman says CBD interacts with our cannabinoid receptors. “We have receptors in every layer of our skin which trigger to our body when there is pain, an itch, etc.,” she 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.”

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Typically, CBD oil is used in skincare products. You can find CBD serums, creams, masks, and body and face oils. That said, hemp seed oil—which has been a common ingredient in skincare products for a long time—is not the same thing as CBD. There’s nothing wrong with hemp seed oil, but it’s not an active ingredient (though it may help with inflammation, hydration, and controlling oil production ).

When buying a CBD skincare product, look for these words in the ingredients list, which indicate there’s actual CBD in the formula: CBD, hemp CBD, full-spectrum hemp extract, phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil, and hemp extract oil.

Benefits of CBD for Skin

  • Treat Inflammatory Acne: CBD might help reduce redness, pain, and swelling associated with inflammatory acne.
  • Regulate Oil Production: As previously mentioned, CBD helps regulate hormones involved in oil production, reducing excess sebum.
  • Reduce Breakouts: CBD may help reduce inflammation of breakouts and, thanks to its oil production regulation, reduce breakouts in general.
  • Calm Rosacea: With its ability to reduce inflammation, CBD may help calm rosacea flare-ups.
  • Neutralize Free Radical Damage: CBD may work to prevent the weakening of the skin by neutralizing free radical damage.
  • Soothe Eczema: CBD helps combat irritation and inflammation caused by eczema, along with chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis, according to Shamban.
  • Decrease Hormonal Conditions: Since CBD is a powerful adaptogen, it may work to decrease the effects of hormones and other compounds that are released into the body in times of stress (ie. kinase, nitric oxide, and cortisol).
  • Hydration: CBD has moisturizing properties that can help combat dehydration and dryness.

The level of benefits for CBD effects on some skin conditions is still up for debate and is a newer science being studied, according to Shamban, and more research is needed to see if CBD or the other agents found in the cannabis plant directly improve skin quality.

Side Effects of CBD

Engelman explains that more studies need to be done to verify the efficiency of CBD oil benefits for skin. As such, topical CBD has no known side effects.

How to Use It

How you use CBD skincare is all about the product you’re using. “Most CBD products are serums or creams,” says Engelman. “Use as you normally would, layering your skincare products from thinnest to thickest. Serums should be applied before creams.” That said, you should never self-diagnose your skin conditions. “Always read packaging and ingredients and check with a board-certified dermatologist, primary care, or other medical practitioner before starting any new supplement or topical care,” adds Shamban.

The Best Products With CBD

This CBD oil can be used on your skin and hair. It promises to help soothe and calm your scalp and skin, providing deep moisture and reducing the appearance of redness and irritation. It contains 100mg of CBD.

Palermino mentions supermodel facialist Ildi Pekar’s CBD line as containing high amounts of CBD. This luxe face oil in particular contains 250mg of CBD oil, along with soothing aloe juice, brightening vitamin c, hyaluronic acid, and more.

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Engelman is a fan of these bath salts from Lord Jones. “I love [them] because they combine magnesium and Himalayan salts, essential oils, arnica, and CBD, which will reduce inflammation, promote relaxation, and increase a sense of well-being.”

Palermino also swears by this soothing sleeping mask from Kana. “Even though it’s lower on the CBD dosing scale, it’s one of the nicer lightweight sleeping masks I’ve tried,” she says.

Lewis and Schroeder are also fans of Kana, citing this this all-purpose face oil (which contains 100mg of CBD) as a favorite. “It’s formulated with a ton of other powerful botanicals that help to hydrate skin and manage redness,” they explain. “It’s a great addition to both your morning and nighttime routine.”

You get a whopping 100mg of CBD in this honey-infused stick, which is why Lewis and Schroeder cite is as a favorite. “We love the format of this product,” they say. “It’s easy to apply any time of day, and you can use it for anything. From chapped lips, to under eyes that need a little brightening, this stick is soothing, calming, and easy to pop in your bag and use anywhere.” (It was also one of our editors’ picks for the month of October).

Let’s not forget that the anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD can extend to your body, too: “This serum is formulated with an array of medicinal herbs and over 80 phytocannabinoids,” Lewis and Shroeder say. “It does triple duty by soothing, relaxing and hydrating your skin and muscles. It’s a must for anyone who’s had a long day and needs some relief.”

Fans of Lord Jones’ best-selling Body Lotion ($24) will want to try this oil alternative, which contains 100mg of CBD and comes in rollerball form for easy application (not to mention built-in massage abilities). Plus, the light, floral scent is incredibly soothing.

Saint Jane, the brainchild of a former Sephora exec, is a CBD skincare line that’s not here to mess around. Its hero product, the Luxury Beauty Serum, contains a whopping 500mg of CBD, along with 18 other 100 percent natural skin-loving oils, from frankincense to sandalwood. Massage this in morning and night for a lit-from-within glow, even in the dead of winter. Trust us, your skin will thank you.

Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

Baswan SM, Klosner AE, Glynn K, et al. Therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD) for skin health and disorders. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2020;13:927-942. doi:10.2147/CCID.S286411

Atalay S, Jarocka-Karpowicz I, Skrzydlewska E. Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019;9(1):21. doi:10.3390/antiox9010021

Up In Smoke? Exploring the use of CBD Oil in Dermatology

Chances are that at least one patient has asked you about cannabidiol or CBD oil lately, and it’s likely that even more are using CBD oil to treat or prevent a host of ailments, including some skin conditions. But what, if anything, do we know about these uber-popular products?

CBD 101

CBD or cannabidiol is found in both marijuana and hemp (two varieties of the same plant species: Cannabis). Unlike the better known compound in Cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it cannot get you “high.” Cannabis that is bred to have high THC levels is known as marijuana, while cannabis bred to have low to no THC is called hemp. Put another way: CBD is found both in hemp (CBD concentration varies from low to high, THC concentration is less than 0.3%) and marijuana (CBD concentration varies from low to high, THC concentration is greater than 0.3%).

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There has been explosive growth in availability of CBD products, largely because the 2018 Farm Bill once again made hemp farming legal in the US, following a decades-long ban. Prior to the 2018 bill, hemp was treated in the same manner as marijuana by the federal government. Despite the infux of over-the-counter CBD products, the FDA has not approved any CBD products except for one prescription drug to treat rare, severe forms of seizure disorders in children.

CBD Oil and Skin Conditions

Evidence suggests it is theoretically possible that CBD oil does something for skin; most of the optimism is based on the recognition that there are Type 2-cannabinoid receptors in the skin. These cannabinoid receptors have demonstrated numerous in vitro activities on keratinocytes. However, CBD has not been shown to activate the Type 2-cannabinoid receptor. Any activity in the skin is likely driven by activating or blocking receptors in the Transient Receptor Potential vanilloid (TRPV) family.

There is no direct evidence in humans that CBD oil can improve or reverse any skin condition…yet. Lack of evidence of benefit is not evidence of lack of benefit.

Safety is an important consideration for patients using CBD oil. Using CBD topically is unlikely to cause any problems, but it is hard to know which products have the purest CBD. Taking CBD orally could result in a positive drug test. Altough CBD itself will not cause a positive drug test, CBD products can be contaminated with trace amounts of THC—too low cause psychotropic effect, but enough to cause a positive test.

Be Honest

The reality is that we are not yet armed with sufficient information to recommend CBD products. Honesty is the best policy if patients ask about CBD. Consider a statement along these lines: “We don’t know if it works or not, but it may not be worth spending your money on…yet.”

If a patient says that a friend or family member is using a product and it is working great for them, I advise the patient to try that product if they wish. A website called ConsumerLab.com independently tests supplements and recently published a report on CBD oil. These tests are looking at what is in the product—not whether it “works”—but they did identify some top picks (see sidebar).

Based on a presentation from Cosmetic Surgery Forum (CSF) 2019. To register for 2020: CosmeticSurgeryForum.com.

Matthew J. Zirwas, MD

Matthew J. Zirwas, MD, is a dermatologist at Bexley Dermatology in Bexley, OH.

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