Using cannabis as part of your skincare routine probably isn’t something you ever thought you would consider. However, according to the Cannabis Trades Association, the number of people using cannabis oil, or CBD, to treat medical conditions, including skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis, has doubled in the past year. And with CBD boosting a number of benefits, it may be just the beauty product you need to overhaul your skin care regime.

CBD oil explained

The cannabis plant contains 104 chemical compounds called cannabinoids, with CBD being one of them. CBD is most commonly extracted from cannabis plants and mixed with a carrier oil, such as hemp, to form CBD oil. Despite CBD deriving from the cannabis plant, it has been legal to use since 2016. There is also no need to worry about getting high from using skin care products containing CBD oil. This is because is it doesn’t produce a psychoactive response when used. However, Medical News Today states that cannabinoids such as CBD oil help the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to regulate pain and reduce immune system responses. Therefore, a bothersome skin problem may benefit when treated with skin care products containing CBD oil.

How CBD oil is being used in skincare products

The manufacturers of skin care products are using CBD oil in a variety of their products. Typically, CBD is infused into these products so that consumers’ skin benefits when it is applied to the body. NY Mag states that, presently, CBD oil is most commonly used in high-end creams, gels, and serums. Although, it’s also present in some lip balms and body washes. These products frequently state that they’ll help soothe dry skin and banish wrinkles and spots. And despite studies confirming these claims being sparse, Jeanette Jacknin, a dermatologist who specializes in topical cannabinoids states that when then the endocannabinoid system is disrupted with the likes of CBD it benefits the skin by making it look more youthful, the same way that chia oil does.

Targeting skin conditions

The Guardian reports that 80% of young people experience acne. But CBD could soon alleviate this condition for millions of individuals. A 2014 study conducted by Olah et al found that CBD oil reduces the amount of sebum produced by the body due to its anti-inflammatory benefits. When too much sebum is produced it can plug the hair follicles on the body and cause acne. Meanwhile, trials carried out earlier this year on 40 patients with eczema or psoriasis by Dr. Robert Dellavalle and his team revealed that CBD oil can naturally benefit the two skin conditions. This is further backed by the National Eczema Association who recognize CBD to be effective due to its “anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-itch qualities”.

Alleviating problem skin

Another area where CBD oil can benefit individuals is in the tattoo industry. On average, it takes between one and two weeks for a tattoo to heal. However, by using CBD oil to treat the area, the skin inflammation and pain around the tattoo can be minimized. Market Research reports that tattoo removal is a booming industry which is worth $3 billion due to the number of people regretting their choice of body inking. Having a tattoo removed can take weeks and the process can be painful due to the laser beams which encourage energy to slowly absorb the ink on the skin. But by regularly applying CBD oil before, during and after each session, the inflammation and pain experienced can be reduced.

Is it just hype?

Dr. Frances Prenna Jones, a London dermatologist, believes that the hype around CBD oil is bigger than the benefits it offers consumers. ‘I think it is a bit of a hype. It is a great ingredient, but no more special than a lot of other emollient and anti-inflammatory ingredients like ginger, for instance,’ reports Elle magazine. The excitement of using skincare products formulated with an ingredient which is obtained from a controversial substance such as cannabis could be encouraging consumers that CBD oil is better than it really is. After all, The Body Shop has been selling their Hemp range of skin care products for the last two decades. Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant which shares similar anti-inflammatory benefits to CBD oil. It is also legal when sourced correctly.

Should I be concerned?

With CBD oil being so closely connected to cannabis, it’s understandable that some individuals are concerned about how it could impact them if they slather products infused with it onto their bodies. In June, the UK government announced that CBD oil was to be approved as a medical drug. Meanwhile, the FDA approved CBD oil as a medication for epilepsy during the same month. However, it’s important to note that CBD is not approved by the UK’s MHRA or America’s FDA for skincare use. In one study, the Journal of the American Medical Association highlighted “that there’s no study which indicates the proper dose”. Jacknin also raises the issue that due to CBD products being unregulated, there is the risk that the so-called CBD product inside the packaging isn’t what consumers believe it to be.

CBD oil is a somewhat controversial product which is increasingly being used to treat skin conditions, as well as being added to some of the most frequently used skin care products. While CBD oil is legal to use and research shows that it can alleviate a number of skin conditions, it’s wise to use it with caution. This is because, as of yet, there are no official guidelines in place which state how or when CBD and CBD infused skin care products should be used.