CBD and Acne: How It Can Help Keep Your Skin Clear

It’s surprising to see the progress of mainstream medicine when it comes to effective acne treatment.

Even “new” medicines tend to be repackagings of the same basic ingredients – benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and vitamin A derivatives.

Unfortunately, some people have bad reactions to one or more of these products. The FDA even sent a warning letter out in 2014 about severe allergic reactions to some over-the-counter acne treatments. So it’s not surprising that more people are now seeking natural alternatives.

CBD and skincare aren’t new phenomena, but their popularity has continued to grow over the last few years. Researchers are also gaining a new understanding of how it works in the body, so there’s an increasing interest in CBD for acne as an alternative acne option.

CBD, Acne, and the Endocannabinoid System

Cannabis affects human health through the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of receptors that transmits signals throughout your neural network. 

The ECS usually handles all the endocannabinoids that are produced naturally by your body. However, it can also process any external cannabinoids that enter your body- typically through the use of cannabis.  

There are over 100 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, each affecting your ECS in different ways. These cannabinoids can be divided into three categories based on their use: recreational, medical, and synthetic. 

THC is the only one among 100+ cannabinoids that brings about the psychoactive effects- the “high”- for which cannabis is typically known. 

The cannabinoid that we are interested in here, however, is the non-psychoactive CBD. 

The CBD Cannabinoid

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been a primary interest for pharmacological research in recent years. 

Specifically, CBD for anxiety relief is still one of the major focuses of studies, and there’s significant research that supports this fact. This is because the ECS can help regulate your mood, especially anxiety. 

Additionally, CBD may help with pain, movement disorders, cognition, and a variety of medical conditions and illnesses.

The direct intake of cannabis will always induce a high since you’re also consuming the psychoactive cannabinoids as well. 

Fortunately, CBD oils extracted from hemp plants don’t have any traces of THC. Therefore, they can induce the positive effects of CBD without getting you stoned.

CBD Inhibits Sebum Production 

While the ECS is not directly responsible for bodily functions, it does help regulate them. In this case, the ECS regulates the production of various types of skin cells, among which are the oil-producing skin cells. 

Over the last decade, a group of Hungarian researchers has been doing some revolutionizing work regarding the relationship between the ECS and skin. Their findings determined that CBD triggers your ECS to inhibit the production of sebum– the substance that makes your skin oily.

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Sebum is, in fact, a major culprit for acne. 

For some reason, the hormonal surge you get at puberty may increase the production of sebum to the point where it clogs up your pores and creates zits. That’s why most of us find that our acne diminishes in tandem with our skin drying out as we get older. 

However, the hormonal bump before menstruation or other hormonal imbalances can also trigger acne. 

There are other factors in play as well, such as genetics, diet imbalances, bacteria, and external causes of inflammation. In fact, even a negative emotional state can manifest on the skin, usually in the form of acne and skin bumps.

It’s also believed that stress makes acne worse, although the exact reasons aren’t clear – probably another reason it’s worse in teenagers!

Acne can also be a side effect of other skin conditions, such as dryness, itchiness, pH imbalances, and sensitivity

Luckily, CBD can circumvent all of these causal factors for acne. 

How to Use CBD for Acne

Most people who use CBD for medical purposes take it orally or by inhaling, whether through tinctures, capsules, food additives, or even CBD vapes. Transdermal patches can also be very effective.

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However, the only known and thoroughly researched CBD administration technique for acne is applying it externally- like regular topical creams. 

However, you can’t apply CBD oil directly to your skin. Instead, you have to mix it with a carrier oil- such as coconut oil, argan oil, or shea butter- whichever works best for you. 

You can also try CBD topicals, which are already mixed with carrier oils and possibly other soothing ingredients as well. 

CBD Dosage for Acne

Unfortunately, since the Hungarians were just working with skin cells in a lab and not actual human subjects, they couldn’t provide any information about CBD dosage

You’ll just have to experiment with varying doses, depending on your particular situation. Generally, it’s good to start with a moderate dose. Give it a couple weeks to work and keep adjusting as needed.

You can also take CBD both internally and externally- especially if you feel like it works better for you. 

Remember: we’re still in the experimental phase of using CBD medicinally. So, a lot of these decisions regarding administration and doses will come down to what works best for you. The only way to know what’s right is through trial and error. 

How to Apply CBD Topicals on Your Skin 

The best way to apply CBD topicals on your skin is by incorporating them into your daily skincare routine: 

  • Wash and dry your face thoroughly. 
  • Apply moisturizers, serums, or any other creams that you use routinely before applying the CBD topical. 
  • Using a clean cotton swab to apply the topical on the affected areas. 
  • Leave the topical on for at least an hour. The best thing to do is to leave it on overnight. 

Are There Any Side Effects of Using CBD for Acne?

There are no known side effects of using CBD topicals for acne. However, you might experience some negative effects from other ingredients present in the product. 

For example, some oils can actually promote acne for people with sensitive skin. 

Additionally, you might be allergic to some of the ingredients, so it’s always best to do a patch test first.

  • Using a cotton swab, apply the topical on a small patch of skin on your arm. 
  • If you feel any tingling or burning, immediately remove the product. 
  • Even if you don’t feel anything immediately, let it sit on your arm for at least an hour. Look out for redness or inflammation. 
  • If you don’t experience any negative side effects, you can safely use the topical on your face. 

 If you are dealing with acne, or have a teenager in your life who is, CBD oils are definitely worth a try.

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