CBD for Acne: Things to Know Before You Try

CBD is becoming a popular remedy for a wide range of issues, including common skin disorders like acne.

Acne affects millions of people worldwide. Some figures suggest that the condition affects as much as 9.4% of the global population. Furthermore, acne does not just affect the skin. It can have a severe negative impact on patients’ self-image and confidence – in some cases leading to anxiety and depression. Even once the acne itself has cleared, some patients have scarring, which acts as a lifelong reminder.

Unfortunately, many acne treatments are harsh on the skin or cause other unpleasant side effects. Therefore, many people are turning to other remedies like CBD for acne relief.

What Causes Acne?

People most often associate acne with teenagers, and hormonal changes can indeed be a factor. However, acne can persist into adulthood, and some people experience it for the first time in their 20s or 30s.

The root cause of acne is blocked sebaceous glands in the skin.

The role of the sebaceous glands is to release a substance called sebum. Sebum is a mixture of lipids (fats), and scientists believe it plays a role in protecting the skin.


However, in some people, the skin produces too much sebum, which clogs up the glands. When the sebaceous glands become blocked, dead skin cells and bacteria build up inside. This triggers an inflammatory response, which makes the skin red, swollen, and sore.

Does CBD Help Acne?

Research has shown that CBD could help to relieve acne in several different ways. Firstly, it appears to reduce sebum production in the skin. Secondly, it may help prevent the overgrowth of cells that could clog up the sebaceous glands. Finally, there is some evidence of potential anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it could relieve symptoms such as redness and pain.

The science behind CBD and acne symptoms is in its infancy, and much more research needs to be done.

CBD for Acne: How Does It Work?

CBD exerts many of its effects on the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is present in most of the body’s tissues. It has a regulatory function, meaning that it maintains a state of balance within the body.


The ECS is involved in everything from movement to mood. It also plays an essential role in maintaining the health of the skin.

The Endocannabinoid System and Skin Health

In the skin, the ECS is responsible for controlling cell development and growth. It also plays a role in inflammation and hormone production. Scientists believe that dysregulation of the ECS could contribute to many common skin disorders. These include psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and scleroderma.

The ECS works by producing chemicals known as endocannabinoids. These can bind with receptors called cannabinoid receptors to trigger numerous different biological reactions. Cannabis compounds such as THC and CBD can also interact with these receptors to have similar effects.

The CB1 receptors that are most prevalent in the brain and nervous system react dramatically with THC. This reaction creates the intoxicating high for which marijuana is most famous. However, the CB2 receptors that are most prevalent in peripheral tissues interact more strongly with CBD. This includes the CB2 receptors in the skin.

When CBD acts on these CB2 receptors, it helps to regulate the ECS in the skin. The CB2 receptors are also where CBD may display some of its potential anti-inflammatory effects. However, CBD also acts outside of the ECS, further enhancing its impact on acne problems.

How CBD Works Outside of the ECS

As well as acting on the ECS, CBD works on something known as TRP channels. TRP stands for transient receptor potential, and these channels play an important role in sensory perception, including pain.

It also appears that TRP channels interact with CBD to contribute to its anti-acne symptom effects. Scientists think that this reaction stops the overgrowth (proliferation) of sebum-producing cells known as sebocytes.

Finally, CBD could have an inhibitory effect on lipid-producing (lipogenic) compounds. These compounds include testosterone and a chemical called linoleic acid. This triple-action (anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferation, anti-lipogenic) makes CBD so promising in the reduction of acne-related issues.

Things to Know Before Trying CBD for Acne

If someone suffering from acne wants to try CBD, there are a few things they need to know first.

The most crucial factor to consider is how to consume the CBD. Traditionally, people use CBD in an oil form. They place a drop or two under the tongue and wait for it to dissolve for 30–60 seconds, then swallow.

Those seeking to use CBD can also buy it in the form of capsules or edibles. The problem with taking CBD by mouth is that it has to pass through the digestive system and liver before it reaches the skin. This means that much of it gets lost along the way.

Therefore, a better method may include applying CBD directly to the skin itself. Consumers can use a CBD topical that is designed especially for the skin.

Topical products often contain a range of other soothing ingredients in addition to the CBD.

However, some of these products may contain grease or other emollients that could make acne worse. CBD users should exercise caution when using any new item for the first time. Although most people consider CBD safe, there is always a small risk of side effects.

If a person takes CBD by mouth, it could cause tiredness, stomach upset, or changes in appetite. CBD can also interact with many other drugs and medications. These include antidepressants and macrolides, a class of antibiotics that doctors sometimes prescribe for acne.

People can minimize the risk of these side effects and interactions by applying CBD directly to the skin. Even so, they should test it out by trying it on a small area of skin first. Consumers should carefully watch for any reactions such as swelling, itching, or peeling skin. If any individual experiences these symptoms, they should discontinue use immediately.

Choosing a CBD Cream for Acne

Another thing that consumers should be aware of when buying CBD for acne is that the market is currently unregulated. This lack of regulation means that many companies get away with selling low-quality CBD. Some products do not contain as much CBD as they should, and others contain contaminants like pesticides or other toxins.

When choosing a CBD cream for acne, they should look for a well-established company with plenty of positive customer reviews. Most reputable brands publish third-party lab reports on their websites, so customers can be confident about exactly what is in each product.

They may also want to consider whether their CBD is full-spectrum or isolate and how the manufacturers extracted it. There are many ways to extract CBD from hemp or cannabis, and most experts consider CO2 extraction the best.

Finally, consumers should not shop by price. High-quality CBD is expensive, but it can act as an investment in a person’s wellness goals. A benefit of quality CBD is that users typically only need to use a small amount each day. Therefore, products should last for a while.

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CBD for Acne: Final Thoughts

CBD may be useful for a variety of acne-related symptoms. It has the potential to reduce inflammation, decrease sebum production, and stop the overgrowth of cells.

Furthermore, CBD is a substance that works in harmony with the body. As such, it should not cause the irritating side effects that traditional acne therapies can.

However, there are a few things to consider before trying CBD for acne. Firstly, consumers will need to find a product that is high-quality and suitable for their skin.

People should also note that most of the existing research on CBD for acne is in its infancy. Studies on real, human subjects are still sadly lacking. Therefore, there is no guarantee that CBD will work, as it impacts each person differently.

Finally, people should talk to a family physician or dermatologist before trying CBD for acne. This is especially important if they use any other medication or topical treatments. They will ensure that CBD is safe and won’t make matters worse in the long run.

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