The Complete CBD Skincare Guide – Can Cannabidiol Help Your Skin?

There is no reason to continue using the chemicals found in traditional beauty products in the modern era. Such items contain ingredients potentially harmful to the skin, including aluminum, DEA, MEA, and TEA.

Humans have used herbs, extracts, plant oils, and other natural ingredients on the skin for millennia, to great effect. However, it is only recently that CBD skincare has become a hot topic. Now, a growing number of people realize that the cannabinoid has potentially beneficial effects on the skin.

This article focuses on six of these benefits. It also helps you determine the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil and steers you in the direction of the most popular CBD skincare products on the market right now.

How Does CBD Skincare Work?

CBD is the most abundant non-intoxicating cannabinoid in most cannabis strains. It is also prominent in industrial hemp. As it doesn’t cause a high, it is a preferable option to THC for a growing number of users.

CBD impacts the cannabinoid receptors (mainly CB1 and CB2) that are part of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Problems with the ECS could be the reason for various dermatological conditions, such as acne and psoriasis. Along with other cannabinoids and terpenes, CBD could help reduce pain and inflammation when applied topically to the skin.


Cannabidiol also has antioxidant properties. As a result, it can neutralize the free radicals that lead to oxidative stress. Free radicals are a significant factor in the aging process.

It is important to note that the ECS is a complicated mass of cell receptors that balance various skin functions. Such functions include pigmentation and oil production. CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects could decrease swelling, pain, and redness. The cannabinoid could also assist with dry skin.

In general, the best option when using CBD oil for skin is to apply it topically in the form of a lotion, salve, ointment, or cream. The best topicals on the market contain natural ingredients that help moisturize the skin, just like ‘traditional’ skincare products.

The CBD soaks into the skin but doesn’t reach the bloodstream. Then it interacts with CB1 receptors, particularly if there is any THC present. CBD also interacts with receptor families such as TRPV receptors. These actions help modulate the pain and inflammatory response.

For the record, you’ll need to invest in a transdermal product such as CBD patches if you want the cannabinoid to reach the bloodstream.

What Are the Most Important Skincare Benefits?

The level of research into CBD skincare benefits has grown exponentially in recent times. Logically, if CBD can help us when consumed orally, it can also have beneficial effects on the skin. After all, the skin is by far the largest organ in the body.

CBD has tremendous potential as a skincare product with dozens of possible benefits.

Studies have found that when you apply CBD topically, it affects our TRPV-1 and GPR55 receptors as it does our CB1 and CB2 receptors. If this proves the case, cannabidiol has tremendous potential as a skincare product.


There are dozens of possible skincare benefits associated with CBD. However, we have decided to focus on six conditions for which there is positive research involving cannabidiol.

Relieving Skin Irritation

CBD’s anti-inflammatory nature is perhaps the most pertinent benefit when it comes to skincare. It can reduce oil production, increase moisture, and reduce pain and itching. However, cannabidiol’s ability to combat inflammation helps with almost every condition on this list.

A study published in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry in 2015 highlighted CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties. The researchers found that the cannabinoid reduces inflammation via numerous pathways in the body. As a result, it can target different forms of inflammation. The research team concluded that CBD was potentially effective for helping with numerous conditions where inflammation is a problem.

A CBD skincare regime should focus on products that contain the cannabinoid but also other anti-inflammatory agents. These include lavender, eucalyptus, and turmeric.

Alleviating Symptoms of Psoriasis

An estimated 125 million people have psoriasis globally, including 8 million Americans. According to, almost 60% of people with the condition reported that it represented a major problem in everyday life. It is a skin disease that causes red, itchy, scaly patches. It is a condition without a cure and appears in cycles that can last for months.

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However, CBD could provide psoriasis patients with new hope. The cannabinoid could slow down the overgrowth of certain cells in the skin, some of which can lead to psoriasis. A study published in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology in 2020 looked into CBD’s therapeutic potential for skin disorders.

The authors wrote that preclinical evidence suggests CBD is potentially efficacious for skin disorders such as psoriasis. More research is required, but cannabidiol could soothe the pain caused by psoriasis and perhaps even reduce its appearance. Certainly, there are countless anecdotal accounts to this effect.

Combat Acne

Between 40 and 50 million Americans suffer from acne. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t primarily confined to adolescents. Indeed, over 50% of females and 40% of males aged 25+ have acne. There is contrasting information regarding the use of CBD for acne. At present, it seems as if CBD used orally is the best option to prevent it in the long term. Topically applied cannabidiol seems more effective when used on existing breakouts.

In any case, CBD could help combat acne by affecting how the body produces sebum. Sebum is an oily wax created by the skin and is prevalent on the face. It helps protect our skin from outside pollutants. However, when it mixes with these contaminants, it can clog pores, leading to acne.

A 2014 study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation looked at CBD’s impact on human sebocytes. These sebocytes are the cells that create sebum. According to the study, CBD stopped the cells from creating excess levels of sebum.

The researchers also found that CBD caused an anti-inflammatory reaction in the cells, which halted inflammatory cytokine activation. This is relevant because cytokines are linked with acne.

Fights Bacterial Infections

One of the more interesting potential skincare benefits of CBD is its ability to combat bacterial infections. Gram-positive bacteria, for instance, can cause serious skin infections along with pneumonia.

However, there is evidence that CBD could act as a superbug antibiotic. This is a major development because human resistance to antibiotics has reached a dangerously high level. Researchers in Australia tested CBD against various bacteria in 2019. The study included bacteria known as being resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics.

In a recent study, CBD showed the ability to kill bacteria that rivaled many regularly used antibiotics.

In each case, CBD showed the ability to kill bacteria that rivaled many regularly used antibiotics. In addition, the researchers tested the cannabinoid against strains of staphylococcus, which can cause skin infections and strep throat. Remarkably, CBD killed the bacteria within three hours, compared to antibiotics which took 6-8 hours. Once again, research is ongoing, but this is potentially a hugely important use of CBD.

Helps with Skin Aging

Our skin loses its elasticity when we age because of a decrease in collagen production. This loss of elasticity manifests as wrinkles that generally appear on the face first before becoming noticeable on the rest of the body.

It seems as if CBD could target wrinkles from the interior and exterior of the body, thus reducing visible signs of aging. When it binds with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it has an effect from the inside out. When CBD binds with the TRPV-1 and GPR55 receptors, it works from the outside in.

A study published in Molecules in 2020 found that CBD extracts can positively affect skin cells. These benefits include increased hydration, antioxidant activity, and inhibition of the aging process. The researchers found that CBD prevented various skin degradation processes, such as elastase and collagenase, that are responsible for aging.

Boosts the Protective Shield

Our skin consists of various layers, each of which is responsible for important functions in protecting the body. This protective shield includes the stratum corneum (the outer layer) along with keratin and natural moisturizers inside our skin cells. Things such as excessive sun exposure, stress, environmental pollutants, and detergents can damage the skin barrier.

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The aforementioned Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology study from 2020 found that CBD could help maintain skin homeostasis and barrier function.

CBD Oil for Skin vs. Hemp Oil for Skin: What Are the Differences?

A common mistake made by people seeking CBD skincare products is to confuse them with hemp oil for skin. As a result, they purchase a hemp seed product because it is significantly cheaper than anything with a CBD label.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous vendors sell such items while claiming these products can help relieve pain. Worse still, they do so while charging what one would expect for a CBD oil product.

However, there is a BIG difference between CBD oil and hemp oil, which we outline next.

Hemp Oil for Skin

Hemp oil typically comes from the seed of the hemp plant. It is essential to note that hemp seeds contain negligible amounts of CBD and other cannabinoids. Hemp seed oil still has many benefits. For example, it is an outstanding nutritional source due to its immense level of fatty and amino acids.

Also, hemp oil for skin has plenty of benefits. These include:

  • Moderating oil production.
  • Reducing the effects of atopic dermatitis.
  • Moisturizing the skin and reducing inflammation.
  • Anti-aging properties.

You can use hemp oil topically or orally. As there are practically no cannabinoids involved, hemp seed oil doesn’t face the same legal maze as CBD. Also, hemp seed oil absorbs rapidly and is non-comedogenic. This means it won’t clog or block the skin’s pores.

CBD Oil for Skin

Proponents of CBD oil suggest that it is more beneficial for the skin than hemp seed oil. However, one might argue that it needs to be given its significantly higher price tag!

Users are advised to focus on full-spectrum products as they contain dozens of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Remember, CBD has a greater effect on the CB1 receptors when there is a little THC present.

Other cannabinoids, such as CBN and CBG, could also have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.

However, if purchasing a CBD product derived from hemp, make sure it contains a maximum of 0.3% THC. Otherwise, the hemp is classified as cannabis. If you live in a state where marijuana is illegal, you’re breaking the law when buying anything with an excessive level of THC.

Other cannabinoids, such as CBN and CBG, could also have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that help the skin. Terpenes such as beta-caryophyllene and humulene are also anti-inflammatory agents and interact with CB receptors. This combination of compounds could provide your skin with the best results.

Most Popular CBD Skincare Products?

Before considering any skincare products containing CBD, make sure you only deal with reputable brands. These companies include third-party lab reports with every batch of products and generally use CO2 extraction to take the cannabinoids from the hemp. They also ensure their products contain no more than 0.3% THC.

Check the list of ingredients, and avoid any product that contains harmful chemicals. Instead, focus on brands that use natural ingredients such as shea butter, aloe vera, and essential oils. Here are five of the most popular CBD topical products for the skin available right now:

  1. PureKana: Topical CBD Ointment (600mg CBD)
  2. Premium Jane: CBD Topical Salve (750mg CBD)
  3. FAB CBD: Topical CBD Cream (600mg CBD)
  4. Saint Jane: Luxury Beauty Serum (500mg CBD)
  5. Lily CBD: Aloe Vera Lotion (500mg CBD)

Final Thoughts About CBD Skincare

Research into CBD’s efficacy for numerous skin conditions is in its relative infancy. Nonetheless, the available studies have revealed exciting news across the board. The non-intoxicating cannabinoid could help with:

  • Skin inflammation
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne
  • Bacterial infections
  • Wrinkles and other signs of aging
  • Protecting the skin barrier

There are hundreds of CBD brands that sell skincare products. You can purchase salves, lotions, creams, ointments, and much more. So, whether you want a body lotion or something to use before bedtime, the market has you covered.

Remember to ensure that the CBD product you choose has a maximum of 0.3% THC. It must also come with a third-party lab report, and ideally, the brand will use CO2 extraction.

At present, there is no clearly defined ‘dose’ when using CBD for your skin. Therefore, it is best to begin with a small amount on a test area. Then, once you’re sure there are no adverse effects, you can start using the CBD product in earnest.

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