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CBD + Your Skin

What you need to know about topical cannabidiol

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar
by Stephanie Papanikolas
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 3 min read
CBD plant with bottle
Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar
by Stephanie Papanikolas
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 3 min read
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Cannabis sativa might not be everyone’s favorite flower, but legal use of marijuana (including CBD) is becoming more and more mainstream. By 2018, CBD was legalized for use in all 50 states. And that’s just one reason why this charming hemp extract is now being added to just about everything, from cosmetics to cappuccinos.

What is CBD?

CBD (AKA cannabidiol) is a cannabis extract that’s been rising in popularity in homeopathy. It’s non-psychoactive (unlike its counterpart, THC), meaning it doesn’t give your body a “high.” That’s made CBD extremely appealing as a cosmetic ingredient that can be marketed as both all-natural and soothing.

Is CBD good for skin?

There is evidence that shows CBD may have hydrating and anti-inflammatory effects. If that’s true, then it could also potentially help with acne that’s caused by inflammation.

But neither of these claims are proven by scientific studies (yet). That means that I can’t endorse CBD as having any skin benefits. Bummer, I know. On the brightside, our top researchers are looking into it, and we’re learning more every day.

If you’re curious…

I took a look at the most recent studies of CBD — and there are a lot of them! Here are the 3 I found most interesting:

  1. A study from 2019 looked at 20 patients with chronic skin disorders. The subjects applied CBD ointment regularly for 3 months. Findings showed that symptoms improved.

  2. A study from 2020 looked at 29 patients with chronic pain from nerve damage. Some of the patients were given a placebo, and the others were given a CBD cream. Findings showed that CBD cream helped reduce pain and discomfort.

  3. Another 2020 study performed a double-blind study on 18 adults that compared the effects of oral CBD supplements to a placebo, and found no measurable difference. However, vaporized CBD (as well was THC/CBD) did produce noticeable effects.

So, the research can be conflicting! And keep in mind that these are just 3 studies, and each study has a very small sample size. While we can’t draw broad conclusions from these studies, they can give us an idea of how CBD might be used in the future.

CBD in cosmetics

In recent years, CBD has become more and more common as an ingredient in makeup and skincare.

  • Milk Makeup’s KUSH line mascaras, brow gels, and lip glosses are infused with CBD oil.

  • Happy Dance is the brand of actress Kristen Bell and luxury skincare brand Lord Jones that offers CBD-infused bath products.

  • Hempz (the skin-and-bodycare brand that’s all about hemp oil) has a CBD skincare collection that includes 7 products just for the face, including an eye cream.

It’s important to note that these products don’t really claim to treat anything in particular, so I’d make my buying decisions based on factors other than CBD content. (For what it’s worth, Curology doesn’t use CBD in any of its products.)

And keep in mind, every skincare line may have potentially irritating or comedogenic products, so we can’t vouch for a line or brand of products as a whole. If you’re thinking of trying a new product from one of the brands we mentioned, make sure to check the ingredients on first!

If you’re looking for a skincare routine that’s designed by dermatologists to help treat acne and signs of aging, then sign up for a free month of Curology.

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas

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