Hemp is as good for your skin as it is for the rest of you—making it this year's must-have beauty ingredient.
Cannabis is the beauty world’s newest trendy ingredient. As more states loosen their laws surrounding cannabis and researchers become increasingly interested in hemp and CBD, we’re seeing beauty and wellness brands incorporate cannabis into everything from face serums to body oils to makeup and even spray tans.
“More companies are adding CBD oil to their formulations,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD, FACS of Troy, Michigan. “It is being used in more and more skincare products. In beauty and cosmetics, so many people want to try the newest trend. CBD is currently it.” What’s more, he says, early research supports CBD’s effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
While CBD may be getting tons of buzz, “cannabinoids have been used in skincare and wellness for hundreds of years,” points out Shauna Blanch, co-owner of Color Up Therapeutics in Denver. “Hemp used to grow everywhere before it was deemed illegal, and it was used for many different salves, oils and tinctures.”
Here’s what you need to know about CBD-infused beauty.
Looking Good With CBD
According to Youn, CBD is being used in all types of formulations, including moisturizers, anti-acne serums, cleansers and eye creams.
“CBD has several inherent properties that make it very effective for certain conditions,” he explains. “First, it’s an anti-inflammatory. So many skin conditions are the result of excess inflammation, from acne to eczema to even premature aging. Applying CBD as a serum can help reduce inflammation and calm these skin conditions.”
Youn adds that CBD offers potent antioxidant activity, neutralizing free radicals and protecting the skin from showing signs of age prematurely. “There is also some early evidence that CBD can help reduce sebum, or oil, production, which can also be helpful in people with acne.”
What more, he says, CBD has potential to soothe sensitive or irritated skin—especially helpful if it is applied as a moisturizer.
Researchers are starting to come up with the data that supports these statements. One 2017 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, for example, found that products with cannabinoids may be effective against psoriasis as well as atopic dermatitis (characterized by dry, itchy skin) and contact dermatitis (a rash that develops when an irritant touches the skin).
Who should use CBD-infused skincare products? The short answer is, “anyone.” However, Youn says he currently sees CBD being the most beneficial in people with adult-onset acne and other inflammatory conditions, such as rosacea.
Skin in Balance
The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors throughout the body that controls everything from mood to appetite to the immune system; these receptors have been found in the skin as well. CBD taps into that system.
“CBD works by communicating with our endocannabinoid system to create balance within the body, and topically it creates balance on the skin,” explains licensed esthetician Emily Davis, director of education at Color Up Therapeutics. She explains that CBD can target multiple skin conditions at once, which helps to simplify your skincare routine. Blanch notes that when you switch to CBD products, you’re getting beauty benefits without synthetic substances and harsh chemicals.
“The body doesn’t need a lot of cannabinoids to excite the endocannabinoid system,” Blanch says. “Just a few milligrams can get the job done.” You can start off with a CBD body lotion for overall wellness and skin health, she advises. Incorporating CBD into a skincare routine can be as simple as adding a CBD daily serum and moisturizer, she notes, or as extensive as incorporating it into every step of care—including cleanses, masks, treatment oils, serums, eye creams and sunscreens.
“Adding a CBD bath bomb or bath salt to a mani or pedi service is another way to up the ante and to evoke a more pleasurable and healing experience during this beauty routine,” Blanch adds.
What’s Next for CBD?
Already CBD massages and facial care are popular, and now CBD-infused waxing treatments and CBD spray tans are gaining interest, says Blanch.
Davis says she sees CBD becoming a big trend in nail spas. “Nail technicians are getting really excited about offering CBD manicures and pedicure to their clients because of the added relaxation and the healing benefits for their clients,” she says.
CBD Versus THC
More than 80 cannabinoids can be extracted from the cannabis plant, although CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the most recognizable, explains Brandon Beatty, the CEO of Bluebird Botanicals, a hemp and CBD company. “THC has psychoactive properties that make users feel ‘high,’ while CBD is completely non-psychoactive.”
CBD for Men
“Because CBD targets multiple skin conditions with one ingredient, it also is a great option for men, who generally want a simple skincare routine,” says Emily Davis. For example, Color Up Therapeutics has a CBD Refining Facial Scrub and UV Repair Moisturizer that can be incorporated into men’s skincare routines.