Updated: Apr 10
CBD oil and related topical products such as creams are an increasingly popular option for relieving skin conditions.
These include acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, itching, eczema, dryness, and many others.
Skin disorders are quite common in Australia, largely because of exposure to high levels of UV radiation. For example, one 1999 study of 1457 Australian adults found that 7.1% had warts, 12.8% acne, 6.9% atopic dermatitis, 9.7% seborrhoeic dermatitis, 6.6% psoriasis, and 58.2% seborrhoeic keratoses.
Additionally, Australia has the highest skin cancer rate in the world.
Research shows that CBD has anti-inflammatory effects and other beneficial properties that can help keep the skin healthy.
Read on for a detailed look at what science has to say about CBD for skin conditions.
How CBD Can Help With Skin Conditions
CBD can benefit the skin and other aspects of our health by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).
This essential system consists of endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by the human body), cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), and special enzymes.
The ECS regulates essential processes such as immunity, inflammation, mood, pain, appetite, and digestion. It’s present in every part of the body, including the skin.
Indeed, research confirms that the endocannabinoid system plays a key role in skin health, largely by regulating inflammation and skin cell growth. There’s also evidence that ECS dysfunction can contribute to or even cause skin disorders.
Although research on CBD treatment in skin disorders is just beginning, the findings are promising.
So far, studies suggest that CBD and other cannabinoids can help treat acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, itching, and potentially even skin cancer.
Psoriasis & Atopic Dermatitis
One of the most promising studies of CBD’s skin benefits came out in 2019. Twenty people with psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and scarring from these conditions were treated with a CBD-infused ointment.
The study found that CBD treatment reduced skin symptoms and psoriasis severity, and improved measures of skin health and appearance such as elasticity and hydration.
Meanwhile, a 2007 study found that CBD and two other cannabinoids — THC and CBG — reduced the proliferation of keratinocyte cells (excessive skin cell growth), the main cause of psoriasis.
Research suggests CBD can also help with acne: one of the most common and frustrating skin conditions out there.
In one 2014 study, researchers applied pure CBD to human sebocytes, the skin cells that produce the oily sebum implicated in acne.
CBD reduced inflammation, the creation of new sebocytes, and the production of sebum, leading the researchers to conclude that “CBD has potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris.”
One of the most exciting potential uses of CBD is treating skin cancer. For example, a 2012 study found that CBD suppressed the growth and promoted the death of skin cells infected by Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), which causes Kaposi sarcoma, a type of skin cancer. There’s even more evidence that CBD can help with other types of cancer.
Multiple studies have shown that cannabinoids can relieve pruritus, the medical term for skin itching.
Most notably, there’s evidence that anandamide — the endocannabinoid whose levels are increased by taking CBD — suppresses the sensation of itching.
Additionally, several review papers conclude that cannabinoids as a whole (including CBD) hold amazing potential to treat skin disorders. Most recently, a 2019 review concluded that cannabinoids could be an alternative treatment for acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, skin cancer, and skin itching.
Using CBD Oil and Topicals for Skin Health
Although more high-quality human studies are needed, there’s plenty of evidence that CBD can relieve a wide variety of skin conditions. So, how do you best use CBD to benefit your skin?
We recommend that Australians opt for full-spectrum CBD products. Full-spectrum hemp extracts contain the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial hemp compounds. By working together in synergy, these natural phytochemicals produce greater benefits than pure CBD on its own.
In terms of specific products, you can use both full-spectrum CBD oils and topical preparations such as creams and body butter. You should apply a generous amount directly to the desired area of skin.