CBD and cannabis journalist, Ruby Deevoy shares her favourite CBD skincare products.
If you’re someone who suffers from acne, eczema, psoriasis or perhaps the all-new ‘covid skin’ from prolonged mask wearing, it may come as exciting news for you that CBD topicals might be able to help. A lot.
While CBD is perhaps best known for its oral use and internal benefits (and it’s worth noting that this also comes into play when treating external complaints), there’s growing evidence to support how efficacious topical CBD application can be too. As usual, this is via multiple mechanisms.
The endocannabinoid system of the skin
Did you know that almost every skin cell contains endocannabinoid receptors? As our largest organ, the skin plays a vital role in a large number of bodily processes, even producing hormones and housing its own immune system. It’s extremely complex, made of numerous layers and cell types, and acts as our first defence against microbes, pollution, UV rays, allergens, chemicals and more.
A large part of how the skin maintains a strong, waterproof barrier is endocannabinoid tone. This is created when endocannabinoids such as Anandamide and 2-AG are released on demand to keep the skin in balance – exactly the same as its actions inside the body.
Maintaining equilibrium in skin function, whether that’s by balancing sebum, promoting cell growth and division, or eliminating cells no longer required, is of course essential for overall skin health. Applying CBD products topically can help achieve this.
CBD and skin inflammation
CBD (as well as many other cannabinoids and terpenes) is well known for exerting anti-inflammatory properties, both inside and out. It also keeps the immune system in check (the skin’s own immune system included), by preventing its activation when it’s not needed. Controlling inflammation is often key to overall health, skin health included. What’s more, reducing inflammation can provide near instant relief from the pain of cystic acne and eczema.
CBD works deep into the skin
Treating surface symptoms can certainly make a difference to the discomfort and appearance of skin conditions, but it may not deal with the root cause. Fortunately, CBD works deeper, interacting with keratinocytes, mast cells, melanocytes and sebocytes in the layers of the skin to produce lipostatic, anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. This should equate to reduced swelling, redness, itching and pain.
Hemp seed oil for skin
In addition to cannabinoid-rich CBD oil, hemp seed oil (which contains no cannabinoids) also makes a tremendous addition to any skincare routine. It can be used as a cleanser or a moisturiser and is often included in CBD skincare products.
This is because hemp seed oil is densely nutritious, containing a range of vitamins and minerals (vitamin E, carotene, phytosterols, phospholipids, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc to name a few), a perfect Omega 3:6 ratio and all 21 amino acids which are crucial for proper cell function.
These amino acids can be particularly beneficial for those with acne prone skin, which tends to have a problematic imbalance of high oleic acid and linoleic acid, and dry or inflamed skin conditions which have been indicated to appear alongside a deficiency in essential fatty acids.
If you’re worried about this thick oil clogging your pores, you needn’t be – because hemp seed oil is non-comedogenic. It also matches your skin’s natural fats almost exactly, which enables it to penetrate cells and lubricate the surface between them, for impressive hydrating, soothing action and improved water resistance and retention.
Five of the best CBD skincare products
Kloris luxury CBD balm, £62, 800mg CBD
This is a rescue balm everyone should have in the house! Just 1ml of this fragrance-free product contains 13.3mg CBD, so each application provides a very decent dose of broad spectrum CBD. I’ve seen it work wonders on a multitude of skin complaints, from minor burns to eczema.
Cubid Re:scue Butter, £30, 500mg CBD
An exceptional body butter that is gentle on skin but very effective. Ideal for soothing very dry, irritated or inflamed skin with the support of 500mg CBD.
MARA Algae face oil, from £60
This wonderful product contains cannabis seed oil (rather than CBD oil), so contains no cannabinoids. But it is truly exceptional for eliminating even the most stubborn of acne breakouts and is also a stand-out choice for anti-aging properties, partly thanks to the 1.2% retinol.
BNatural Face oil, £22.50, 100mg CBD
Rosehip oil and jojoba oil work wonders on evening out skin tone and fading scars, while 100mg of organic cannabis sativa extract takes the mix from great to amazing! Naturally scented with orange and geranium essential oil.
Grass Roots AHA Cleansing Wash, £28.99, 200mg CBD
This active wash is loaded with a mild but effective combination of acids (lactic, malic, citric and glycolic), natural fruit extracts, aloe vera and 200mg of balancing CBD, which removes makeup and daily build up with ease – without stripping.
Cellular Goods files patent for cannabinoid skin innovation
The UK-based wellness company is developing a new class of skin brightening solutions.
Cellular Goods has filed its first patent application for a cannabinoid-based skin brightening solution.
The UK-based wellness company that provides consumer products formulated with lab-made cannabinoids, has announced the filing of its first patent application, related to the use of cannabinoids for skin brightening.
Internal and external factors like hormonal changes during pregnancy and exposure to the sun can cause skin conditions such as melasma and hyperpigmentation that can make the skin tone change and become uneven.
Within the cosmetics and beauty industry, a number of products have been developed to help people achieve an even and brighter skin tone.
Most products in the market rely primarily on active ingredients such as Vitamin C, exfoliating acids and hydroquinones that while effective in tackling melasma and hyperpigmentation, can cause skin irritation and sensitivity.
This has created a need for new ingredients that are equally effective as the components in traditional skin brightening products, but that don’t produce the uncomfortable side effects and have better tolerability for frequent use.
Cellular Goods conducted scientific research to assess the potential of cannabinoids as skin brightening ingredients.
The series of research, which involved in-vitro human tissue models, a well-established method for assessing the effectiveness of skin brightening ingredients, found that lab-made cannabinoids, namely cannabigerol (CBG), can improve the effectiveness of certain active ingredients used in traditional skin brightening products.
These findings provide the basis for a new class of skin brightening solutions that can improve skin tone evenness associated with various factors, such as melasma and hyperpigmentation.
This application is the first patent filed by the company and is anticipated to form part of a wider patent portfolio driven by Cellular Goods’ research into the wellness benefits of lab-made cannabinoids.
The company has been using research to offer customers innovative products such as its Rejuvenating Cannabinoid Face Serum, the UK’s first CBG-based serum to prevent the signs of ageing caused by UV light exposure and inflammation.
Anna Chokina, CEO of Cellular Goods, said: “From having skin brightening properties, through to helping prevent the signs of ageing caused by UV light exposure and inflammation, cannabinoids have a number of skincare benefits that we are only just starting to understand. The filing of this patent based on our own research is part of our efforts to help unveil the benefits of cannabinoids, as well as to develop science-backed innovations that can improve people’s wellness.
“We look forward to contributing to the growing body of research on cannabinoids, particularly their skincare benefits, while also growing our patent portfolio.”
Alexia Blake, head of research and product development added: “We are proud to be developing the body of research on the skin brightening qualities of cannabinoids with the completion of our research and the filing of this patent.
“This work builds on our existing research involving lab-made cannabinoids, including the publication of a white paper on the potential benefits that cannabinoids can have for the skin by preventing the signs of ageing caused by UV exposure and inflammation. We are committed to continuing to develop research that will help us better understand the unique benefits of cannabinoids and how to effectively leverage these benefits across our product offerings.”
CBD and hair loss – new trial to examine its potential for regrowth
Could CBD help prevent hair loss and encourage regrowth?
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
A new consumer trial is to study the potential of CBD as a treatment for hair loss.
The trial led by Britannia Life Sciences will explore whether a topical cream, made with CBD, can promote hair thickness and regrowth.
A subsidiary of Britannia Life Sciences, a global development platform for cosmetic and wellness products, is said to be finalising a formula for a topical cream that includes broad-spectrum, CBD-rich hemp oil, to be used in the study.
The consumer trial will be managed by Advanced Development and Safety Laboratories’ (ADSL) existing beauty platform and will take place under the guidance of health professionals.
Participants are currently being recruited and will test the product over a six month period while providing weekly feedback.
The global hair loss treatment market experienced sales of over £2.5 billion in 2020.
Speaking with Cannabis Health, Peter Shippen, CEO at Britannia Life Sciences said: “We have been conducting research into the benefits of cannabinoids in the areas of health and wellness. Hair loss or growth is the first in our series of collecting evidence of the benefits of cannabinoid use.
Utilising a proprietary formulation that includes CBD, we hope to generate results that support our thesis that CBD promotes hair growth. Ultimately we believe that this study could lead to a commercial product that could disrupt the topical hair growth market. The results will be used to build support claims and inform future product development.”
Shippen added: “We are initially targeting 20 patients but could expand subject to demand. Participants should have a desire to increase hair growth and could include people with baldness or hair loss, but not Alopecia areata, and be willing to commit to a six-month trial.”
CBD for hair loss and regrowth
Previous studies on CBD for hair loss has shown that it may help with hair regrowth. Stress and anxiety can have an effect on hair loss and animal studies have shown positive effects for reducing anxiety.
A study from 2021 revealed that participants who applied CBD to their hair and scalp experienced regrowth after six months. However, the results were more prominent in men rather than women. An average of 4 mg of CBD was applied to the hair and it increased hair growth by 93.5 per cent.
How CBD can help to boost your favourite beauty and skincare products
Wondering if that exfoliator or topical really needs to contain CBD?
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
CBD is popping up in lots of our favourite products and topicals, could it really help skincare to work harder or is it just a gimmick?
It can feel like CBD in literally everything these days from toothpicks, topicals to sportswear. One industry that has been an early adopter of the power of cannabinoids in the beauty market. But, with the volume of skin care products such as CBD lotion, eye creams or even mascaras on display, it can start to feel a bit overwhelming.
We examine the benefits of CBD when added to different skincare, topicals or beauty products and how effective it could be
When it comes to shopping for a new moisturiser, pay attention to the label. Some products like lotions may use hemp seed oil and other skincare may contain CBD. However, this has led to a lot of confusion.
CBD is often added to moisturisers because it has hydrating properties. A study in the Clinical Therapeutics journal examined the effects of CBD cream or lotion on 20 patients with either eczema, psoriasis or scarring. Results showed that the cream could be an effective moisturiser and prevented water loss while boosting the elasticity of the skin. The researchers stated this may be because of the anti-inflammatory properties and fatty acids in the creams.
When looking for a CBD product, keep in mind that hemp seed oil has no CBD. A good product will also reveal the percentage of CBD in the product, it will be clearly labelled and the website should display lab testing or results.
The same fatty acids are why hemp seed oil is added to moisturisers.
Hemp seed oil works as a light moisturiser that doesn’t clog the pores which can lead to breakouts. The omega-6 fatty acids contained in the seeds acts as an anti-inflammatory which can help with skin growth and cell renewal. Hemp seed oil is produced by compressing the hemp seeds rather than using the leaves or flowers of the plant.
As well as the Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, hemp seed oil also contains unsaturated fats such as linoleic acid, γ-linolenic acid, and α-linolenic acid. These three oils help the skin to retain the moisture it receives from the product.
Exfoliators work by speeding up the skin’s removal of dead skin cells. The lotions contain natural exfoliators such as crystals, or micro-fine granules that are rubbed into the skin to remove the cells and clean out pores.
However fine the particles in an exfoliator, can leave your skin feeling a bit irritated or red. This is one of the reasons why it is recommended that you exfoliate once or twice a week depending on your skin’s oil production. Oilier skin can cope with exfoliators better than drier skins which may struggle with irritation.
CBD may work well in an exfoliator as it can help to soothe irritated skin. If not in the actual product, then studies show it could help to apply directly to the skin afterwards.
A study on CBD involved 20 healthy male and female participants who had sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)-induced irritation (a substance used in studies to imitate the symptoms of contact dermatitis). The groups were given either a 0.1 per cent CBG serum or a placebo to apply topically over two weeks. The CBG serum revealed statistically significant improvements compared to the placebo group, especially for transepidermal water loss or redness.
The skin around our eyes is incredibly delicate which is why creams for this area tend to be lighter than moisturisers.
CBD could help to moisture the skin leaving it more supple and soft. However, it may help to combat ageing by smoothing out the skin.
When applying cream to the eye, make-up artists will often use their third finger to dot on the lotion then smooth out towards the temples of the face. Using the third finger regulates the amount of pressure applied to the skin so it doesn’t cause any damage. Smoothing out the moisturised skin towards the temple helps to drain the lymph nodes thereby reducing the puffy effect we can get from sleepless nights or screens.
An extra tip is to use eye massagers or smooth metal eye tools so that the coldness of the surface reduces puffiness further.
CBD oils may also help to reduce sleepless nights which can contribute to puffy or dark circles around the eyes.
A study from 2019 examined if CBD could improve sleep or reduce anxiety. It involved 72 patients with 47 experiencing anxiety and 25 experiencing poor sleep.
The participants were given a capsule containing 25 milligrams of CBD daily. In the first month, 79.2 per cent reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7 per cent reported better sleep.
Topicals are one of the fastest-growing areas of the CBD market. They may also offer more than just moisturising or hydrating properties.
The CBD is absorbed through the skin on the hands and may help with painful conditions such as arthritis. Results from one study showed a reduction in pain caused by arthritis. Osteoarthritis was induced in male rats before they were given a dose of CBD. The results showed a potential difference in inflammation when CBD was applied topically.
Our skin can really be affected by the cold or changing weather. These conditions can lead to chapped lips which is why CBD may be able to help and is available in many skincare products including lip balm.
In a recent study, 11 participants applied a CBD and 0.2 per cent retinol topical to their entire face once a day for 42 days. Each of the participants had skin imperfections such as dehydration or roughness. All participants recorded an improvement, with 90 per cent willing to suggest the product to others. Those with visible pores and dehydration showed the greatest improvement.
Spot control topicals
Breakouts happen to the best of us but there is nothing worse when it is right before a big event.
Spot lotions work by drying out the area surrounding the spot while applying various ingredients to the location. The product should also tackle redness, inflammation and be anti-bacterial. This may mean that the product includes ingredients such as salicylic acid or Benzoyl Peroxide. While both ingredients are common in spot lotions, they can also be irritants to sensitive skins.
CBD could present an alternative to this due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation showed that CBD may prevent sebum production in the skin while having an anti-inflammatory effect. So skincare such as lotions or creams containing CBD could help to control the level of natural oils, otherwise known as sebum to prevent further breakouts while calming the area where it has been applied.
There are unsurprisingly not that many studies on the effects of CBD in mascara products. While CBD may condition as any oil product would, our lashes are not the best location for absorption.
If you do decide to use mascara with CBD oil then it’s worth looking at what other ingredients are in your product. Coconut oil has been shown to protect hair against damage and is often used as a carrier for CBD products. However, this doesn’t mean applying your tincture or oil to your eyes as this may actually cause irritation.
Fatty acids such as lauric acid mean that the hair shaft can absorb coconut oil more easily. Although again, this is in studies on hair not eyelashes. When it comes to choosing the best product with CBD it may be better to stick to creams and lotion.
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