Should I Use CBD Products on My Skin?
If you’ve walked down the drugstore aisle recently, you might have noticed a new acronym popping up on the labels of many skincare products: CBD.
CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. Compared to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive, which means that ingesting it or putting it on your skin will not cause you to feel “high.”
CBD oils, lotions, and creams are readily available in many states as over-the-counter beauty products and the market for CBD is growing fast.
How CBD affects your skin
Dr. Nima Gharavi, dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon at the Cedars-Sinai Cosmetic Dermatology Program, says CBD may play a role in hydrating the skin and have anti-inflammatory effects, so using a product that contains CBD might help with treating dry skin or certain inflammatory skin disorders.
“However, more studies are needed to see if CBD or other chemical agents found in the cannabis plant directly improve skin quality and have other health benefits,” Dr. Gharavi says.
The potential health benefits of CBD
While the effect of CBD on your skin is unclear, there’s a lot of interest in CBD research, Dr. Gharavi says.
“Right now, the way we treat eczema, psoriasis, and most inflammatory conditions of the skin is through the use of anti-inflammatory agents, the most common being topical corticosteroids,” Dr. Gharavi says.
“Topical steroids, however, have potential side effects, particularly on thin skin found around the eyes, in the armpit area, or the groin.”
If CBD can produce the same anti-inflammatory effect as a steroid without the potentially negative side effects, then the use of CBD could be an encouraging new method to treat these skin conditions.
“I’d like to see more data on how CBD, in the form of a topical agent, could have promising or comparable anti-inflammatory effects as a steroid,” Dr. Gharavi says.
Are CBD products safe for your skin?
Dr. Gharavi says there’s likely little harm that can come from applying a CBD beauty product to your skin.
If you experience a skin irritation, a rash, or an allergic reaction from using any type of skincare product, consult a dermatologist.
THE TRUTH ABOUT SKIN CARE PRODUCTS WITH CBD
It’s said that skin care products infused with cannabidiol (CBD) can do everything from clear acne to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Before you spend your hard-earned money on one of these products, here’s what you should know.
Misleading health claims appear on CBD-infused skin care products
None of the claims that CBD can treat conditions such as acne, rosacea, or psoriasis have been proven. Research on using CBD is still in the early stages.
Until there is enough research to support these health claims, making such claims is considered misleading. In the United States, such claims are also illegal. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent warning letters to companies making such claims.
This may seem like a hard stance for the FDA to take. It’s doing this to protect people’s health. More research is needed to know whether CBD can treat these conditions. More research is needed to know whether CBD is safe.
People often mistakenly believe that CBD is harmless
CBD-containing skin care products may seem harmless. These products are widely available. You don’t need a prescription. You may even pick up a product and notice that it says it can treat acne or another skin problem.
The FDA warns that CBD comes with possible health risks. On its website, the FDA says, “CBD has the potential to harm you, and harm can happen even before you become aware of it.”
Research shows that taking CBD oil can damage your liver. This finding comes from clinical trials.
These clinical trials were run to find out whether taking CBD oil can reduce seizures in children who have rare forms of epilepsy. It can. To date, nothing else has been found to reduce or prevent these seizures. For this reason, the FDA approved a medication that contains CBD oil in 2018.
Doctors watch patients taking this medication, Epidiolex®, carefully. Patients get their blood tested often because only a blood test can find early signs of liver damage.
You cannot feel early signs of liver damage. Without blood tests, the damage can build up and cause end-stage liver disease. The only cure for end-stage liver disease is a liver transplant.
While it’s unlikely that applying a product containing CBD to your skin will damage your liver, the fact is it’s too early to tell.
We do know that some people who use CBD skin care products develop a rash. What we don’t know is whether the CBD or another ingredient in the product that causes the rash.
And that’s the point. More research is needed.
Findings suggests CBD holds promise for treating some skin conditions
Small studies have looked at CBD as a possible treatment for skin conditions, such as acne, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis. Findings from these small studies suggest CBD may be an effective treatment for some skin conditions.
Before CBD becomes a treatment option for any condition, dermatologists say it’s essential to answer many questions, including:
- What is the proper dosage of CBD for treating each condition?
- How does CBD interact with other medications that a patient may be taking?
- What are the possible side effects of applying CBD to the skin?
CBD products can be mislabeled
Findings from CBD studies indicate that some products may not actually contain the amount of CBD listed on the package.
In one study, researchers bought 84 products containing CBD from 31 different online companies. When they analyzed the amount of CBD in each product, they discovered that only 26 of the 84 products contained the amount of CBD stated on the package.
Even more concerning, some products contained a good amount of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that causes people to get high.
While you cannot get high from applying a lotion or lip balm, this finding suggests it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re getting when you buy a product that contains CBD.
It also suggests that manufacturers may be mixing up their plants. CBD comes from the hemp plant, which contain very little THC. You get THC from marijuana plants.
How do you feel about using CBD?
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) would like to know how you feel about using CBD-infused skin care products.