Can CBD Oil Reduce the Appearance of Wrinkles?

CBD oil used to treat wrinkles.

CBD oil may soften wrinkles. Image Credit: By Geinz Angelina on Shutterstock

Cannabis is better known for its relaxing properties than its wrinkle-fighting abilities, but the plant is full of compounds that help keep your skin looking great. The most famous of these is CBD, the non-psychoactive extract of the cannabis sativa plant that has revolutionized the skin care world.

Since CBD oil is also said to get rid of pimples, relieve anxiety, and treat fungus, it’s understandable that many are skeptical that it works for wrinkles as well. However, according to George Washington University professor of dermatology Adam Friedman, its potential “far outweighs retinoids,” the main component of retinol creams that are currently the most common over-the-counter treatment for fine lines and wrinkles. In this case, the hype might actually be justified — according to Friedman, “This is going to be the best panacea for skin care and many other areas in medicine.”

His view might be an overly optimistic one, but when it comes to fighting wrinkles, claims of CBD oil’s benefits are on solid scientific ground. While there’s always the chance an unwary consumer could pick up a dud of a product in this largely unregulated market, a CBD lotion, serum, or tincture that actually contains what it claims could be your ticket to side effect-free wrinkle removal.

Why CBD Oil Is So Effective at Reducing Wrinkles

First, the short version: free radicals are one of the main causes of wrinkles. Antioxidants prevent free radicals from doing their harm. CBD oil may be the world’s best antioxidant.

Now, the long version:

Free radicals are tiny molecules in the body that attack healthy cells and damage their structure by stealing electrons from them. Although free radicals are normal, their numbers can grow out of control as we age. If left unchecked, they can cause not only wrinkles but also more serious illnesses such as inflammatory conditions and heart disease.

If you’re wondering where free radicals come from, the answer is: many places. They’re produced by metabolic processes in the body, but they also come from as a result of exposure to the sun, radiation, pesticides, and cigarette smoke. While it’s possible to protect against some of these external sources of free radicals — for example, by wearing a sunscreen with an enhanced SPF — dealing with those made within the body requires a healthy dose of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are present in many fruits and vegetables, though concentrated vitamin C and vitamin E are the most common ones used in skin care products. However, lab studies show that CBD may be more powerful than either (the U.S. federal government even took out a patent on its antioxidant abilities), which is one of the main reasons it’s become a staple in so many anti-aging products.

What to Look For in a CBD Wrinkle-Fighting Product

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that every anti-aging skin care product containing CBD is going to turn back the hands of time, but there are a few useful tricks for picking a winner. Here are the most important things to look for when you’re choosing a product to fight the signs of aging.

Full Spectrum CBD
The most important thing to look for in CBD beauty products is the right kind of CBD. There are many different types that have varying levels of effectiveness, but the gold standard is full spectrum CBD oil (preferably derived from the marijuana plant, if you live in a state where it’s legal). As well as high levels of CBD, these oils also boast the full range of other cannabinoids found in cannabis plants as well as fatty acids, essential oils, and terpenes. Products containing full spectrum oil will have a much more powerful effect on your skin than ones with broad-spectrum oil or CBD isolate.

Moisturizing Agents
You’ll also want to make sure your product contains moisturizing agents such as hyaluronic acid. Keeping your skin hydrated is the best way to keep wrinkles at bay, as parched, dry skin will crease and crack more easily. This is especially important if you live in a dry environment or spend a lot of time in climate-controlled settings.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
Most of us are aware that excessive sun exposure is a sure way to get a wrinkled complexion (among other, more harmful things), but even if you spend your entire life indoors, you’ll still want to find a product with a high SPF. That’s because the blue light emitted from your computer, phone, and tablet can be just as damaging to your skin.

A good SPF product — whether that’s a lotion, cream, or mask — will help protect from both. Best of all, they can easily replace products you use in your current skin care routine, so there’s no need to alter your daily habits.

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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