June 02, 2021

CBD for Acne

CBD for Acne: Can It Help?

Acne is an age-old issue. CBD is a potential remedy that generations of people worldwide have turned to. It only seems natural that these two things are colliding in today’s beauty and skin health marketplaces.

But, just because peddlers be peddlin’ doesn’t mean their wares are more than mere snake oil paraded around as the newest-fangled acne buster. Which brings us to — ya probably got questions popping around your skull like microwaved corn kernels:

  • Is CBD an effective treatment against those zits?
  • Does CBD only work on ready-to-erupt whiteheads, or can it help deal with scars and pits of past pimples?
  • Can you use CBD to combat blemished on the body (e.g., bacne), or just on the face?

Time to break out and break down the facts people!

Acne For Newbs

If you have acne, you know what it is. But do you really? Before jumping straight to CBD for acne, let’s give a quick overview of this skin condition.

What’s Acne?

Acne is a chronic skin condition characterized by different kinds of bumps or sores (e.g., whiteheads, blackheads, pimples). Flare-ups occur when your pores, glands, or hair follicles get clogged with oil, bacteria, dead skin cells, or other debris.

Last we checked, people are encased in skin, all of which has pores, glands, or hair follicles. So, you can get acne anywhere on your body. Acne’s most common on the face/head, chest, back, and shoulders, though, as these areas have more oil-producing glands.

No definitive cause for acne has been identified, though it’s believed to be an inflammatory and/or immunological disease. There are tons of contributing risk factors — like genetics, hormone fluctuations or imbalances, etc. And, many things that can trigger or aggravate acne (e.g., stress, diet, meds).

As the most prevalent skin disorder in the US, acne affects up to 50 million Americans and costs over $1.2 billion each year.

Conventional Acne Treatments

Well, you know there are aisles upon aisles of over-the-counter remedies you can try: creams, wipes, cleansers, patches, masks. Oh my!

If the OTC path is not working, a doctor may recommend one or more prescription therapies to control acne, prevent skin injury, and to improve the skin’s appearance (buh-bye scars! 🤞). Your doc has several treatment options you can explore — topicals, oral medications, light therapy, chemical peels, and so on.

Alternately, maybe you’re interested in giving Mother Nature’s skin care options a go? Enter CBD for acne….


Acne & The ECS

Every person has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) through which cannabinoids — like CBD — can work with your body. This system exists throughout the bod — including in the skin. In fact, this portion of the ECS is sometimes referred to as the cutaneous cannabinoid, or c[ut]annabinoid, system. (C[ut]e, huh?)

Research over the last couple of decades has shown that the cutaneous ECS plays an essential and significant role in various aspects of skin health. When your skin’s functioning optimally (i.e., in a state of homeostasis), it’s healthy and robust. When your skin’s homeostasis is outta whack — you can start having issues with regeneration and barrier maintenance. Which can contribute to conditions like acne.

CBD & Acne

Caring for acne-prone skin requires a multi-frontal approach. You have to [try to] keep the skin clean, reduce problematic oil production, and heal or repair damaged skin.

It’s still early in the CBD +acne game, but signs are pointing to cannabidiol being a strong contender for the skin care all-star team. Yup, research is starting to show how CBD might give your distressed skin some much-needed TLC.

So, let’s slip into CBDermatologist mode and take a skin deep look at what’s going on in this realm.

Pimple Prevention

A 2019 review highlights some ways that CBD may help stave off acne. Among other things, the CBD:

  • Acted as an anti-inflammatory agent
  • Normalized several acne-promoting factors that stimulate the production of sebaceous oil
  • Exerted anti-bacterial effects

This is just the start of investigating CBD for dermal benefit — and so far what scientists have found is very encouraging!

Banishing Blemishes

Maybe prevention is a wishful thought. You’ve got angry zits right now.

Well, CBD might also be an up-and-coming go-to substance for getting rid of those, too. A small clinical trial in 2019 yielded promising results. In this study, 20 patients applied a CBD-enriched topical ointment to their blemishes and scars twice daily for three months. By the end, their skin was vastly improved. Better still, no one suffered any adverse reactions (e.g., irritation or allergic reactions).

The CBD seemed to help by reducing inflammation and redness of the lesions and surrounding skin. It also cut sebum production.

Scars & Pits…

It’s probably safe to say that after wrestling with acne, the last thing ya want is to see the legacy of those tough bouts. But the reality is that acne can cause lasting effects long after the bumps have gone. Scarring and pitting aren’t uncommon remnants of acne.

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough published literature on CBD’s ability to help with scars and pits left behind from acne. What little there is, though, does support claims that the look and feel of your skin may still benefit from CBD’s anti-inflammatory and anti-reddening prowess. And there are current studies investigating CBD’s impact on things like skin texture, aging, etc. — fingers crossed the findings are good!


Incorporating CBD Into Your Anti-Acne Plan

While there are several pharmacy-grade therapeutic CBD products going through clinical trials, there aren’t any on the market yet. In fact, the FDA has only cleared a few CBD-based medications. And none of them have anything to do with your skin.

So, if you are thinking of trying CBD for acne, you’ll have to go a different route.

CBD Products For Acne

You have a few options here:

  1. Explore the booming world of beauty care goods that feature CBD in them. These are available all over the place.
  2. DIY your own CBD-infused skincare. There are loads of recipes online for creating both scratch-made cleansers, serums, and more as well as how to add CBD oil to your favorite store-bought anti-acne washes and creams. Just be sure to use a high-quality CBD oil that’s derived from the best hemp and is ultra bioavailable.
  3. Consider an ingestible CBD product — like CBD softgels or CBD drops. The studies we found specific to acne-related research looked at topical CBD treatments. Other not-yet-published studies are exploring alternate CBD delivery methods — something to keep an eye on. So, while we can’t recommend oral CBD as a possible part of your anti-acne routine, it’s still an option. And, by taking CBD internally, you may experience non-skin-related bennies, too.

Complementary Inclusions

The other components in broad-spectrum CBD oil products may boost the skin care results. Research suggests that terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids provide a synergistic anti-inflammation effect.

Products containing certain other botanical oils might up the lovin’-the-skin-yer-in level. For example, coconut oil — which is the carrier oil Pure Craft uses in our tinctures and softgels — has all kinds of beneficial properties. It’s been shown to improve the skin barrier, fight bacteria and inflammation, have an antioxidant effect, and slow skin aging. Not too shabby!

CBD Protocol For Acne

To harness CBD’s potential preventive muscle, you’ll likely want to use it on a regular basis. It may take some time and experimenting to strike upon the consistent regimen that’s effective for you.

Of course, if you’ve got a blooming patch of pimples at this very moment, you can certainly employ your CBD beauty toolkit. Try CBD products or formulations designed for tending to active outbreaks.

And remember, CBD doesn’t have to be just for the spots on your face. Many CBD skincare products — like infused soaps — were conceived with body acne in mind.

Words To the Wise

Be sure to read and follow the instructions on the packages of your CBD skincare products. The product labels (and certificates of analysis) will also tell you what’s in the product.

If you have any existing medical conditions or take medications, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor before embarking upon a CBD program. Your doc can advise you on the safest way for you to merge CBD into your overall healthcare strategy.

The Skin(ny) On CBD For Acne

There’s a lot of research touting CBD’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and other characteristics. These qualities may be beneficial in many ways — including addressing skin conditions like acne.

Research into CBD for acne, specifically, is quite limited. Available findings support CBD’s ability to reduce acne and some of its contributing factors (e.g., sebum production). More research is in the works!

If you decide to try CBD for acne relief, use the best CBD oil product possible. You can find ready-made topical CBD skincare products or concoct your own. You can also consider oral CBD, like tinctures or softgels. Consistent use of CBD may produce better results — particularly for pimple prevention.


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