3 Ways to Use CBD for Acne - Limits of Its Use | cannabisMD

3 Ways to Use CBD for Acne and the Limits of Its Use

Limits and 3 ways to use CBD for Acne

Image Credit: Tyler Nix on Unsplash

It estimated that acne affects approximately 80% of the population at some point. This isn’t shocking, as most of us have had some form of acne at some point. For the majority of us, the occasional mild outbreak during our teen years isn’t the end of the world. However, for those of us who have suffered from severe acne, the condition can have a lifelong impact on body confidence and self-esteem.

From topical acne treatments to birth control pills, the pharmaceutical industry has developed a wide range of acne treatments over the years. Some of these treatments work more effectively than others, and some even cause a whole new set of skin problems. So, finding the right treatment isn’t always as simple as it seems.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the newest treatment options for acne prone skin. This natural remedy, which is derived from the cannabis plant, hasn’t been studied to the same levels as its pharmaceutical counterparts. Relatively little is known about it today and for all intents and purposes, it remains an experimental treatment. However, this doesn’t seem to be deterring folks much.

How Does Acne Work? What Are the Risk Factors?

Acne is caused by one simple thing; the overproduction of sebum. Sebum is an oil which is naturally produced in the skin by the sebaceous gland. Sebum has some critical functions in the skin, least of all keeping the skin soft and supple. However, sometimes the sebaceous gland becomes overactive and produces too much of the oil. This is when problems arise.

When the gland produces too much sebum, the skin becomes very oily. The skin can’t absorb the excess oil as it should be and it gathers on the surface of the skin as a result. When this happens it can clog pores, trapping dirt, dead skin cells and other grim in the pore. The clogged pore then becomes a hot spot for acne bacteria, which is spread from one area of the skin to another every time you touch your face.

The immune system, which is hypersensitive to the presence of all bacteria in or on the body, responds immediately. This response is what causes the red, inflamed, painful and puss filled sores on the skin. While researchers are still trying to better understand why the body produces too much sebum, they have linked this phenomenon to a number of factors. They include:

  • The hormonal imbalance which occurs during adolescence
  • Stress
  • Consumption of oil-rich foods and the use of oil-based cosmetics
  • Changes to hormone levels during menstruation

While a lot of the current acne treatments can be highly effective at tackling the amount of sebum on the skin, many can come with their own set of problems. For example, salicylic acid often overcorrects the problem and leads to dry skin. This is because, rather than addressing the root cause of acne, they simply attempt to treat the resulting symptoms. This is where some researchers believe CBD could stand out.

How Does CBD Help Treat the Symptoms of Acne?

CBD is a cannabinoid. This term is used to describe a particular type of chemical compound which, you might be surprised to learn, are found naturally in the human body. In fact, the endocannabinoid system is found in the body of most animals. Although this system was only discovered in the early 1990’s, which is relatively recently by scientific standards, scientists have learned a lot about it and it’s role in the human body since then.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex system of receptors which are found throughout the body. However, they are primarily located in the largest organ of the body; the skin. Studies indicate that the ECS has a regulatory effect on skin health, as well as other things such as mood. This means that when the body has enough cannabinoids, the skin is healthier as a result.

The main benefit of CBD in relation to acne is based on this theory. CBD oil acts as a cannabinoid supplement to the body. When ingested in particular, it boosts the the endocannabinoid system and this in turn boosts skin health. It’s believed that this can lead to the regulation of oil production and can correct the overproduction of sebum, reducing acne.

Another benefit of CBD to those prone to acne is its anti-inflammatory properties. CBD has been found to reduce inflammation dramatically in an extensive number o f studies. This is why it is now becoming an increasingly commonplace treatment for chronic pain conditions which are caused by inflammation including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and arthritis. It’s thought that it can be used in the same way to reduce skin inflammation caused by acne.

Using CBD for Acne

When it comes to actually using CBD for acne, there are a number of different methods you can try. However, below are the three most popular.

CBD Skin Care Products

The range of skin care products on the market today which use CBD as their active ingredient is growing rapidly. From topical ointments and lotions to serums and masks, it’s not hard to get your hands on CBD skin care products today. These products are a great way to use the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD to reduce the painful redness that acne can cause.

CBD Capsules

Ingesting CBD using a capsule is many people’s preferred method of use. There are two main advantages of this method. The first is its convenience. Taking a supplement with your morning coffee is something that we can all squeeze into our hectic lives without much fuss or hassle. The second is its ability to address the root cause of the problem. While topical treatments are highly localized, ingestion means that the ECS itself reaps the rewards. The belief is that this will reduce sebum production and acne at the source.

Vaping CBD for Acne

Vaping is a third option for people who are considering using CBD. Vaping has become very trendy in recent years. While the vaping industry was initially focused on replacing cigarettes and helping people to kick their nicotine addiction, it has expanded hugely in a short space of time. Vaping CBD is now ubiquitous. Although the effects are not as potent as ingestion, vaping will effectively have the same result.

As is usually the case with experimental natural remedies, CBD has been the focus of a growing amount of internet sensationalism. What we do know about CBD is still relatively limited. We know that it has enough acne fighting potential to be taken seriously as a treatment option for people with acne prone skin.

CBD’s interaction with the ECS and powerful anti-inflammatory properties make it a serious contender in the running for the skincare awards. There certainly is enough evidence to support this theory to counter some peoples insistence on dismissing it entirely.

All things considered, there is every reason to feel positive about the future of CBD in medicine. Currently being studied as a treatment of severe illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and some forms of cancer, the prospect of CBD based pharmaceuticals is bright. For now though, the age-old adage of “buyer beware” is apt.

Sarah Tyrrell
Sarah Tyrrell
Sarah Tyrrell is a health, wellness, and lifestyle writer based in Ireland whose work has appeared in The Irish Times and The Independent, among others. In 2017, she founded the lifestyle brand “Self Love and Sarah” to promote healthy self image and body positivity for women.

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