CBD Oil and Retinol: Better Together?

Combining CBD oil and Retinol, do they work together?

CBD oil and retinol are both effective skin care products. Image Credit: By Ann Tramell on Shutterstock

Good skin care should be easy and effective, and by that measure, CBD retinol products are some of the best. In the ever-changing world of beauty, they offer a bit of elegant simplicity — and consistent results.

Even skin care novices know how rare this can be. Navigating the skin care aisle can be daunting — you’re standing there trying to figure out the difference between all of the beauty products in front of you, palms clammy and forehead damp with sweat, while you struggle to remember the purposes of hyaluronic acid, glycolic solution, salicylic acid, comedogenic oils and non-comedogenic oils, alpha and beta hydroxys — it’s all a bit much.

But It doesn’t need to be so complicated. Rather than a chore that you dread, your skin care routine can play a pivotal role in your self care practice, helping you prepare for the day ahead, or relax after a long one and get ready for a night’s rest.

However, the truth is that not all skin care products were created equal and some are going to be much more effective than others. CBD and retinol products belong in this group. Both ingredients have been heavily tested in laboratory studies and by consumers, and the results are in: they can have transformative effects on the skin.

What Do CBD and Retinol Do?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s one of the most well known of the many natural chemicals found in the cannabis sativa plant. Extracted as an oil, in the last few years it’s been the subject of extensive research. Studies have shown that it has a long list of medicinal qualities, from anxiety relief to better sleep. But it’s the effects of CBD on the skin that have made it a household name among American beauty aficionados.

Part of its appeal lies in its anti-aging abilities. It fights off free radicals, which are known to attack healthy skin cells and cause wrinkles. It also increases collagen production, which helps to reduce the appearance of existing fine lines on the face. It can also help to reduce acne by restoring balance to the levels of sebum produced in the skin, and soothe eczema and psoriasis prone skin thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory properties.

Retinol is the umbrella term used to describe retinoids, of which there are five main types used in skin care. All retinoids are a slightly less potent form of a prescription-only Vitamin A derivative called Tretinoin. They’re only a bit milder, though, and can be harsh on the skin when used incorrectly (more on that later) but when they’re applied properly they can have dramatic effects on the complexion.

One of the things retinol creams, serums and lotions are most known for is plumping and firming the skin, thus reducing the signs of aging. These products boost collagen production to fill out fine lines and wrinkles for a more youthful complexion. Their collagen-boosting abilities also help with treating scars, such as indented acne scars.

These two skin care ingredients can make a big difference to your beauty regimen and your skin. But you need to know how to use them correctly, especially where retinol is concerned.

Using CBD and Retinol: What You Need To Know

CBD is a fairly innocuous ingredient that hasn’t been shown to cause any harsh side effects, irritations, or reactions. Still, you shouldn’t immediately rush out and buy whatever CBD skin care products you see. There are some that are better than others, and some that … aren’t, like those that try to pass off hemp seed oil as CBD.

For the best results, you’ll want a full spectrum CBD oil, which has the most to offer your skin. This is because it contains not just CBD, but also all of the other chemicals, terpenes, fatty acids, and essential oils found in cannabis plants. These work together to accentuate and elevate the benefits of each individual ingredient, leading to better results.

Choosing the right CBD is relatively straightforward; retinol, on the other hand, requires a little more attention. Don’t be put off though — a good one is well worth the extra effort. Here are three tips to make sure that you get off to the right start:

1. Choose Wisely
If you haven’t used a retinoid before, you’ll need to introduce it to your skin gradually. Skin care brands like The Ordinary offer a range of retinoids in varying concentrations. It’s best to start with the lowest concentration, and work your way up as your skin’s tolerance builds over time.

2. Apply Carefully
When using the product itself, make sure to only use it in the evenings and at least 20 minutes after washing and cleansing your face — otherwise you could have an unpleasant reaction. Add a pea-sized amount to the palm of your hands and begin to press it firmly into the skin. Don’t rub it as you would a lotion, and steer clear of areas of the face that tend to become irritated more easily than others.

If you’re skin does start to sting (a gentle tingle is okay), immediately rinse the product off. Follow up about 30 minutes later with a light moisturizer and eye cream to avoid dry skin as retinoids can be ever so slightly drying.

3. Use Protection
If you start using a retinol product, it is absolutely essential that you use an SPF everyday (this includes an SPF lip balm). Really you should be doing this anyway, as research shows that 80 percent of UV rays can penetrate even the thickest cloud cover, and that the blue light emitted from device screens is just as damaging to the skin as sun exposure. But this becomes even more crucial once you start using retinoids, as they are proven to increase your sensitivity to the sun and blue light.

So yes, you want to be careful when introducing new products to your skin. It’s the largest organ of the body, and also one of the most sensitive. But don’t forget to have fun with it. We tend to take skin care very seriously, but it’s not life or death. Enjoy yourself, enjoy your products, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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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