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CBD for Acne: Can it Help?

Acne affects over 9% of the population worldwide, according to the British Journal of Dermatology 1 A global perspective on the epidemiology of acne Tan, J. and Bhate, K. (2015), A global perspective on the epidemiology of acne. Br J Dermatol, 172: 3-12. doi:10.1111/bjd.13462 Tan, J. and Bhate, K. .

There are numerous potential causes of acne. In most cases, excess oil production is a significant factor. But a combination of genetics, stress, diet, and hormonal activity may also play a part. When acne is severe, it can be painful and cause emotional distress.

CBD skincare products are becoming increasingly popular as a topical anti-inflammatory and acne remedy. There is some evidence to suggest that CBD for acne can be a beneficial treatment option.

Woman applying CBD facial mask to treat acne

What Cause Acne?

Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and excess sebum. Sebum is the oily substance that moisturizes and protects your skin, and when in excess, is one of the major factors in developing acne. When too much oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria build up in your pores, pimples, blackheads, and scarring can result.

Factors that worsen acne:

Studies have found that human skin has its own ECS, where CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors. This is promising since the goal of acne treatment is usually to reduce acne flare-ups and excess oil production.

In a 2016 study, researchers described CBD as a ‘remarkable anti-acne agent’ 7 Differential effectiveness of selected non‐psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions implicates their introduction in dry/seborrhoeic skin and acne treatment Oláh, A., Markovics, A., Szabó‐Papp, J., Szabó, P.T., Stott, C., Zouboulis, C.C. and Bíró, T. (2016), Differential effectiveness of selected non‐psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions implicates their introduction in dry/seborrhoeic skin and acne treatment. Exp Dermatol, 25: 701-707. doi:10.1111/exd.13042 Oláh, A., Markovics, A., Szabó‐Papp, J., Szabó, P.T., Stott, C., Zouboulis, C.C. and Bíró, T . This was primarily due to its powerful anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to reduce oil production. Studies have shown that CBD may also help with a variety of other skin conditions such as eczema, contact and atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis 5 Hormonal treatment of acne in women Ebede, T. L., Arch, E. L., & Berson, D. (2009). Hormonal treatment of acne in women. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 2(12), 16–22. Ebede, T. L., Arch, E. L., & Berson, D .

CBD’s anti-acne effects:

How to use CBD for acne

There are specific CBD products designed to treat acne, most of which are oil-based.

Can CBD oil get rid of acne scars?

Acne scars are usually a result of more severe forms of acne. Picking or squeezing can also increase the risk of scarring. But CBD oil for acne scars may be able to help. In a recent clinical trial, 20 patients with chronic scars from various skin conditions were treated with CBD ointment twice daily for three months 10 A therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars Palmieri, B., Laurino, C., & Vadalà, M. (2019). A therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. La Clinica Terapeutica, 170(2), e93 – e99. Palmieri, B., Laurino, C., & Vadalà, M. . The CBD-enriched ointment was found to significantly improve the skin’s elasticity and reduce redness and inflammation, suggesting great potential for CBD to help reduce acne scarring.

Timeline: How long does it take for these products to work?

The length of time before you see an improvement in your skin from CBD-based products will vary. Factors such as the severity of your condition combined with your diet and lifestyle can all impact how long a noticeable improvement may take.

Some CBD products may contain synthetic oils and waxes that could clog your pores or make your acne worse. As a result, it’s wise to read the ingredients, always choose quality products designed especially for skin treatment, and test patch products first.

Are There Risks in Using CBD Acne Products?

Are There Risks in Using CBD Acne Products?

CBD is considered to have a good safety profile, with minimal side effects 9 An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034 Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. . This is promising news for people who may have experienced the unwanted side-effects (such as skin irritation, nausea, headaches, and edema) of standard anti-acne treatments. These treatments often include benzoyl peroxide, prescription oral and topical antibiotics and isotretinoin (Accutane) 2 Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice Bagatin, E., Freitas, T., Rivitti-Machado, M. C., Machado, M., Ribeiro, B. M., Nunes, S., & Rocha, M. (2019). Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. Anais brasileiros de dermatologia, 94(1), 62–75. https://doi.org/10.1590/abd1806-4841.20198203 Bagatin, E., Freitas, T., Rivitti-Machado, M. C., Machado, M., Ribeiro, B. M., Nunes, S., & Rocha, M .

If you experience redness, swelling, itching, burning, or skin peeling after applying a CBD product, immediately wash the area with cool running water. An icepack or cold compress may offer relief. Discontinue use if you believe you’ve had an allergic reaction.

CBD Products for Acne

Choosing a CBD product for acne often comes down to personal preference and assessing your own skin needs. Some people prefer to use topical oils or creams to target the skin directly, while others may choose to take an oral supplement to reduce overall inflammation.

The best CBD products for skincare are those that are specifically designed for your skin type. We recently reviewed Emerald Deep Moisture Glow Oil and were definitely impressed. A good CBD oil or cream will have beneficial added ingredients. Beware of additives or irritants that may make your acne worse. It’s also important to source a quality product that is made for treating acne to achieve the best results.

When used as a part of your daily routine, CBD is a safe, natural and effective option to improve the overall condition of your skin.

Sources
  1. Tan, J. and Bhate, K. (2015), A global perspective on the epidemiology of acne. Br J Dermatol, 172: 3-12. doi:10.1111/bjd.13462
  2. Bagatin, E., Freitas, T., Rivitti-Machado, M. C., Machado, M., Ribeiro, B. M., Nunes, S., & Rocha, M. (2019). Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. Anais brasileiros de dermatologia, 94(1), 62–75. https://doi.org/10.1590/abd1806-4841.20198203
  3. Zari, S., & Alrahmani, D. (2017). The association between stress and acne among female medical students in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 10, 503–506. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S148499
  4. Motosko, C., Zakhem, G., Pomeranz, M. and Hazen, A. (2019), Acne: a side‐effect of masculinizing hormonal therapy in transgender patients. Br J Dermatol, 180: 26-30. doi:10.1111/bjd.17083
  5. Ebede, T. L., Arch, E. L., & Berson, D. (2009). Hormonal treatment of acne in women. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 2(12), 16–22.
  6. Oláh, A., Tóth, B. I., Borbíró, I., Sugawara, K., Szöllõsi, A. G., Czifra, G., Pál, B., Ambrus, L., Kloepper, J., Camera, E., Ludovici, M., Picardo, M., Voets, T., Zouboulis, C. C., Paus, R., & Bíró, T. (2014). Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes. The Journal of clinical investigation, 124(9), 3713–3724. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI64628
  7. Oláh, A., Markovics, A., Szabó‐Papp, J., Szabó, P.T., Stott, C., Zouboulis, C.C. and Bíró, T. (2016), Differential effectiveness of selected non‐psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions implicates their introduction in dry/seborrhoeic skin and acne treatment. Exp Dermatol, 25: 701-707. doi:10.1111/exd.13042
  8. Eagleston, R., Kalani, N., Patel, R. et al. (2018). Cannabinoids in dermatology: a scoping review. Dermatology Online Journal, 24(6):1
  9. Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034
  10. Palmieri, B., Laurino, C., & Vadalà, M. (2019). A therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. La Clinica Terapeutica, 170(2), e93 - e99.

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