The American Academy of Dermatology has identified acne as the most common skin condition in the United States. It’s estimated that 85 percent of teenagers and young adults experience at least one acne outbreak between the ages of 12 and 24. Many adults experience occasional or chronic acne as well.
Acne treatment is a billion-dollar industry. Many long-term acne sufferers are desperate to clear their skin without soaking their pores in unnecessary chemicals. They’re tired of investing hundreds of dollars in prescription or over-the-counter treatments that may come with harsh side effects. That’s why many consumers are now using CBD for acne treatment.
What Causes Acne?
Acne is a skin condition that can appear on any part of the body. It occurs when pores and hair follicles clog due to the accumulation of dead skin cells and an oily secretion known as sebum. Inflammation and infection of the sebaceous glands can also play a role in an acne outbreak. Some people suffer from excess sebum production, but there are many lifestyle factors that may also cause acne, including:
Excessive face washing
Squeezing pimples and spreading puss
Consuming fatty or greasy foods
Depending on the type of acne suffered, you may notice any of the following blemishes during an outbreak:
Small bumps (early pimples)
Pustules (puss-filled pimples)
Papules (pimples without puss)
While whiteheads and blackheads are often considered more of an annoyance than a serious problem, nodules and cysts penetrate deep into the skin. An outbreak with these more serious forms of acne can lead to skin scarring if not treated quickly and efficiently. Even early pimples and small pimples or blackheads can interfere with self-confidence. They also make many people physically uncomfortable and socially self-conscious.
Why Many Acne Treatments Fail
There are thousands of topical acne treatments on the market, but they’re not all guaranteed to work on your skin. What you need to overcome an acne outbreak depends on the type and cause of your acne. You may not know the type and cause for every outbreak, so you start trying various creams, washes, lotions and serums with varying degrees of success. There are many reasons that those treatment options may not work, including:
Internal causes of acne are ignored. Factors like stress level and food choices are often neglected while the pores are over-treated with harsh topical treatments. A comprehensive treatment plan is needed to address all causes contributing to your acne outbreak.
Some treatments contribute to pore clogging rather than curing it. That’s often due to added ingredients that aren’t compatible with all skin types or acne forms. A product that works well for one person may make things worse for another.
Users take the “more the merrier” approach. Excessive skin washing and the use of harsh cleansers can strip natural oil from the skin. It can also lead to inflammation, which leaves the skin more vulnerable to an acne breakout.
Many users stop treating an acne outbreak once they start seeing results. Unfortunately, stopping the successful treatment too soon can lead to repeat outbreaks.
Finally, far too many people take the reactive approach to treating acne. They wait for signs of an outbreak and then start searching for the treatment. It’s more effective to take a proactive approach. That means that you focus on keeping your skin healthy and preventing acne outbreaks rather than reacting after they set in.
CBD may help you care for your skin on a daily basis, eliminating the need to battle one outbreak after the other. It only takes a little bit of the right products to keep your skin clear, especially if you’re also willing to drink more water and eat healthier foods to support your skin naturally.
Is CBD the Acne Cure You Need?
Research into the impact that CBD may have on various forms of acne is still in the early stages. While there is no official recommendation for the best dosage and style of administration when treating acne with CBD, there is some evidence that cannabis is a valuable resource for acne sufferers.
Controlling Sebum and Inflammation
One study published in a 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that CBD can effectively regulate sebum production and reduce skin inflammation. Controlling the production of sebum is a powerful way to prevent future outbreaks for people who suffer from acne caused by overactive sebaceous glands.
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can also make acne less prominent and physically uncomfortable. Inflammation leaves the skin red, swollen and irritated. Reducing that inflammation can result in a less dramatic appearance that may boost self-confidence for long-term acne sufferers. Less inflammation may also mean greater physical comfort and a reduced risk of future acne outbreaks.
CBD is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, omega 3s and omega 6s. These properties moisturize and nourish the skin, creating a more youthful glow when a CBD product is applied consistently. While keeping the skin strong, nourished and moisturized may not prevent all future acne outbreaks, it is an essential element to acne prevention.
Medical professionals have debated the relationship between food and acne for many years, but there is scientific proof that nutrients are critical to the health of your skin. For example, vitamin A is found naturally in the sebaceous glands. When deficient in this vitamin, you will suffer from dry skin, fingernails and hair. Your nails are brittle and break easily, you may benefit from consuming more vitamin A.
That is why many acne treatments and skincare products now include forms of vitamin A. While there is no proof that what you eat could cause or prevent an acne outbreak, there is proof that you can support the health of your skin by consuming more nutrient-rich foods. The cannabis plant just happens to contain many of the nutrients that your skin needs to stay healthy. Many of those nutrients are readily available through pure CBD products.
Reducing Stress Levels
CBD may help improve the condition of your skin by lowering your stress level. This indirect benefit works like this:
1. There is a proven connection between stress and acne. One study of 22 college students found that acne outbreaks worsened when emotional stress increased. Multiple surveys have also found that the majority of acne sufferers believe stress and anxiety have an impact on their outbreaks. Stress might not cause acne, but it can impact the severity and length of an outbreak.
2. Researchers have determined that cannabis is an effective tool to combat stress, anxiety and depression. When administered consistently over time, CBD can help control your moods so that you’re more relaxed and easygoing. That calm state of mind may help your body react in a less dramatic manner to stress, which may limit the impact that stress has on your acne.
Researchers have determined that cannabis products high in THC and CBD are the most effective at reducing stress. They recommend a dose of 10 or more puffs of high-THC/CBD cannabis daily. THC is the cannabis compound that has a psychoactive effect and leaves you feeling high. High-THC cannabis products are derived from the marijuana plant and may present legality issues, depending on where you live.
CBD products with only trace amounts of THC are often derived from the hemp plant and won’t produce a high. They’re legal in most states and are readily available online. Even though these products don’t contain the benefits of THC, they can still help with relaxation and stress relief. The key is to take a pure CBD product on a consistent basis as a preventative measure.
Limitations of Using CBD for Acne Control
There are a lot of benefits to taking CBD for acne control. There are also some potential downsides that you should keep in mind:
There isn’t much scientific research focused on the use of CBD for acne treatment or prevention. You can start experimenting with CBD acne and skin care products today, but there is no proven dose or combination of ingredients that is guaranteed to work for your skin. We should know more about how CBD impacts acne as more research is completed.
Most creams and lotions containing hemp-derived CBD aren’t designed to penetrate the skin deeply. They may have a powerful impact at the surface level, but they won’t go deep enough into the pores to have the dramatic effect that some users expect. The best way to determine if surface-level intervention is enough to combat your acne is to give a few CBD skincare products a try. It’s never a waste of time due to the natural antioxidants, vitamins and moisturizing properties of CBD.
As with any skincare or acne product, consistent application is important. Your acne may not disappear overnight once you start using CBD products, but you should notice some improvement within a month or two. Don’t give up on your chosen product too soon. It needs time to work its magic.
Not all CBD products are equal in quality. It’s often difficult do determine exactly how much CBD is included in a skincare product, especially if you buy from a small seller making natural products from home. Do your research to find a trustworthy source offering pure CBD products with an adequate dose in each package.
If a topical acne treatment that contains CBD doesn’t work or makes your acne worse, you can’t blame it fully on the CBD. Skincare products contain other ingredients that may not work well for your skin type or the type of acne that affects your skin. You may try a different CBD product and have different results. Save yourself some time by researching all ingredients included in a product before you make a purchase. Knowing what you’re putting on your skin is important.
You can benefit from the stress-reducing qualities of CBD without applying it directly to the skin. It’s more effective to take liquid drops or a tincture orally. You may even experiment with vaping or dabbing CBD if you want more immediate stress relief.
As CBD products become more readily available and research advances, it will get easier to find quality CBD facial products that help combat acne. For now, have fun trying new products to see what results they may provide. In addition to acne control, you may benefit from a well-moisturized, glowing complexion that looks more youthful.
Potential Side Effects of Topical CBD Application
The medical community now warmly embraces CBD partly because its side effects are so mild when compared to many prescription medications. Most research into the side effects of CBD pertains to oral administration. The biggest side effects include:
Most people only experience these side effects when consuming CBD in high doses. For instance, a CBD edible may have more cannabis than expected and could lead to mild side effects. If you use CBD oils or tinctures to lower your stress and indirectly improve your acne, keep these potential side effects in mind. Also pay attention to the source of cannabis in edibles because some may contain THC, especially when purchased through a dispensary.
You’re less likely to experience side effects when applying a CBD skincare product to your skin. Just keep in mind that creams, lotions and acne treatments will contain other ingredients that may have an impact on your skin. Always test a new product on a small patch of skin first. If you experience even mild irritation, don’t apply it to larger areas of skin.