If you are a chronic sufferer of cystic acne, a confidence-sapping and horribly persistent condition, your prayers may have been answered in an unlikely source. Instead of mercilessly squeezing those unwanted zits or taking up prescription medication from your doctor, CBD oil could provide the answer.
But what about treatment that is effective and won’t cause you to have horrible side effects like mental illness or damage to your reproductive health? Drugs like Accutane, also known as isotretinoin, that are prescribed for the treatment of acne have been known to cause extremely undesirable side effects, such as mental illness or even issues regarding your reproductive health. The last thing you need when you’re dealing with the anxiety that can be caused by cystic acne is a low libido and debilitating depression.
Another option would be to go for the bactericidal benzoyl peroxide which is applied directly to the spot, but this option can cause damage and severe irritation to the skin, especially at the start of any treatment, and exacerbate underlying medical conditions to do with the skin. There is also the option of using antibiotics as a treatment for acne, but this should definitely only be used as a last resort in the most severe of cases. If you are considering using antibiotics as a form of acne treatment, check out our article about when treating acne with antibiotics is necessary.
It is also worth considering that all these treatments require a prescription from a trained doctor, and it costs a lot of money to see a dermatologist, not to mention how much it costs to pay for prescriptions. That’s a high price to pay for clear skin! Cystic acne is such a common problem, that a cheaper, non-prescription answer could prove to have wide-ranging positive effects on people’s lives.
What about a more natural approach to healing cystic acne? CBD oil can be used as a topical treatment for acne and it has been shown to have little to no known side effects. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid (phyto means plant). Phytocannabinoids – there are around 85 to 100 known – are compounds found in the Cannabis sativa L plants. That is, the industrial hemp or marijuana plants.
Phytocannabinoids are compounds that look like the endogenous compounds (meaning natural compounds generated by the human body) called endocannabinoids. Some evidence even shows that cannabidiol – CBD – is metabolized more slowly and has more long-lasting positive effects than endocannabinoids do such as anandamide. It is also not psychoactive like THC, and for most intents and purposes, will not show up as a false positive on a drug test for marijuana.
So how might CBD oil, either ingested or used topically, help heal and prevent acne? Here’s how some studies show it may be very effective at reducing the need to pick or pop:
First of all, we know that CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory. After you get a blackhead – which is an oxidized or blackened plug of bacteria, dead skin cells and sebum – a bacterial infection is likely to follow. Then comes inflammation, with redness, pain, and swelling. This is your skin’s natural response to killing the noxious bacteria that sort of spills out around your blackhead, sometimes under the skin very deep, causing a large, painful infection.
CBD acting as an anti-inflammatory is, of course, good news for acne sufferers. But in order to really inoculate acne, the overproduction of sebum needs to be controlled. What is sebum? Lipids, or at the molecular level, fat – this results in oily skin. Oil production is directly related to the likelihood of acne and skin which over-produces oils is more prone to acne infection. Oils clog the pores of the skin, which in turn causes blackheads, and eventually, whiteheads and cystic acne to develop. The skin pores, or follicles, need to breathe but they can’t because the oil production can become too thick. This results in the follicles being plugged be the sebum and sooner or later a whitehead to form.
Blech. So how does CBD help with the overproduction of sebum? We’ll try not to be too technical here, but it might be difficult to avoid! Here goes nothing…
In preclinical trials, researchers are determining the pathways involved in CBD’s effective anti-acne treatment. Lipostatic in this sense means CBD slows down the overproduction of sebocytes by upregulating a protein that inhibits pro-sebocyte signaling. Sebocytes are the fat cells in your oily skin. They don’t contain the energy that your normal fat cells do, though, they’re just lazy and sit there on the top of your skin. Of course, you need these sebocytes at healthy doses so your skin can maintain a youthful plump and moisturized appearance. However, too much sebocyte production and those couch potato cells make you look like you eat too much pizza. CBD also down regulates cell proliferation marker MK167 – which is the marker responsible for too many skin cells dying too fast.
Tons of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin mixed with tons of oils and subsequent bacterial inflammation is the unholy trinity of acne vulgaris – the most common human skin disease. CBD oil is already used as a common acne treatment, mainly in Europe. CBD oil, used topically, has been shown to accumulate in the sebaceous glands below the skin’s outer layer of skin called the epidermis.
This might sound counter-intuitive, but it isn’t (You’re telling me to put oil on the surface of my oily skin?). CBD has been shown to have “high lipophilicity” and can enter the skin via “transfollicular” transport. This means CBD just likes to slide down the hair follicle and enter your skin’s pores and do its business down in there. CBD continues to show its promise at inoculating acne with its “triple anti-acne” properties, and it won’t leave you sterile or depressed. CBD Oil for Cystic Acne could prove to be the answer to long-term sufferers’ prayers, without those scary side effects.