Why Should I Use CBD Topicals As Part Of My Skincare Routine?

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What can CBD bring to the skincare industry?

The largest organ of our body, our skin, is a living, breathing organism that does an excellent job of protecting us from foreign bodies and infections. However, just like eating the right foods keeps our digestive system happy, the right creams and lotions can do wonders for our skin. For many, skincare is a daily affair, with cleansers, toners, and moisturisers key to helping the skin look and feel revitalised and refreshed. Recently, CBD has found its way into the beauty industry as companies worldwide explore how the compound can be utilised.

Although the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nature of CBD appears ideally suited to beauty creams, it is the ongoing research into CBD topicals and skin conditions that makes the partnership so exciting.

Before we take a look at the results of preliminary studies, it is worth going beneath the surface of our skin. It is here we can start to understand how CBD topicals work, and what that could mean for your daily skincare routine.

Understanding how CBD topicals work

When ingesting CBD, the cannabinoid interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system, improving the binding efficiency of receptors and encouraging the production of beneficial enzymes. Much like a general manager, CBD's role is to support the ECS in maintaining balance. Fortunately, the same process applies to our skin—but rather than entering the bloodstream, CBD shows effectiveness at a cellular level, providing a localised effect.

The topicals category is vast, and includes creams, salves, lotions, oils, and balms. When CBD is applied locally, it is absorbed by the pores in our skin, allowing it to interact with the ECS. By acting in this way, CBD topicals may be able to help with signs of ageing and reduce dryness or sensitivity. Research also suggests that CBD creams may support the treatment of conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.

Research into the effectiveness of CBD and skin conditions is ongoing

With the basic principle of CBD topicals out of the way, it is time to look at what the research suggests about their effectiveness. Research is ongoing, but early results appear favourable.

A 2007 study from the School of Biomedical Sciences at Nottingham University wanted to understand the role CB2 receptors played in the proliferation of keratinocytes. Keratinocytes account for over 90% of the cells in the outer layer of our skin, and are responsible for keeping fungi, viruses, and radiation at bay. The problem, however, is that an overactive production of keratinocytes leads to uncomfortable skin conditions such as psoriasis.

Results showed that while CB receptors didn’t play a significant role in the proliferation of keratinocytes, cannabinoids did. The researchers went on to add that their results indicated “a potential role of cannabinoids in the treatment of psoriasis”.

A second study, this time from The Journal of Clinical Investigation, tested the effectiveness of CBD in treating acne. Two underlying mechanisms that contribute to acne are inflammation and overproduction of sebum. While sebum exists to support our skin’s protective qualities, too much of it can lead to negative outcomes. Researchers concluded that CBD has “lipostatic, antiproliferative, and anti-inflammatory effects”, going on to say that “CBD has potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris”.

While both studies were performed in vitro, they do suggest an underlying mechanism between CBD, the ECS, and chronic skin conditions. The goal for future studies will be to identify how to take advantage of this mechanism to develop targeted therapies.

CBD and skincare products—the perfect match?

CBD may be able to soothe sensitive skin and tackle signs of ageing, all the while encouraging a balanced environment in which our skin’s natural ecosystem can thrive. When incorporated into medical salves, it may give the millions of people living with skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne an alternative method of treatment.

As we alluded to earlier, these studies appear to be the tip of the iceberg for CBD topicals. A 2018 review titled “Cannabinoids in Dermatology” suggests the scope of infused beauty and healthcare products may extend to dozens of skin conditions. Regardless of how you intend to use CBD-infused skincare products, it appears there may be numerous benefits—but only time will tell.

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