At this point, it feels like not a beauty product on the planet that hasn’t been infused with CBD — and sugar scrubs are no exception.
Long a staple in the self-care world, sugar scrubs have two main purposes: Exfoliating and hydrating the skin (there’s some interesting overlap with CBD here). As the name suggests, their main components are sugar granules, which provide gentle exfoliation, along with a variety of oils, which both hydrate and provide a pleasant scent. People with sensitive skin often prefer sugar scrubs over similar products such as salt scrubs, since they’re less likely to cause irritation.
That could be especially true when the sugar scrub in question contains an added dose of CBD, whose anti-inflammatory properties have been touted as the answer for skin complaints ranging from pimples to puffy eyes — with a not-insignificant amount of scientific evidence to support at least some of these claims.
So of course, beauty brands have been quick to add CBD to their sugar scrubs. Interestingly, a surprising number of these products are vegan, a fast-growing trend in CBD skin care. For example, there’s Blue Ridge Hemp Co.’s CBD Infused Organic Coconut Sugar Scrub, which costs $40 for a 4 oz. tub containing 100 mg of CBD (this is CBD isolate, however, which means it won’t be as effective as a full spectrum CBD oil). There’s also the CBD Sugar Scrub from Life Elements, which is both vegan and cruelty-free, and packs in more CBD (150 mg) for a substantially lower price ($21). However, that CBD still isn’t the most effective variety available: It’s broad spectrum, which lacks the tiny traces of THC that make full spectrum products a superior option.
In fact, for some reason the vast majority of CBD sugar scrubs don’t contain full spectrum CBD — though some, like W!NK’s $34 Purify Sugar Scrub, claim to be made with “mult-cannabinoid” CBD.
Regardless of the type of CBD oil they contain, sugar scrubs do have a number of clear benefits for the skin. The first, and most obvious, is their ability to exfoliate. The results of such a treatment are often described with somewhat vague terms like “vibrant” and “glowing,” but here’s a more tangible explanation.
According to skincare experts, the reason your skin sometimes appears “dull” is because it’s actually dead. Not all of it, of course, but the cells of the top layer — which is what you see when you look in the mirror. Removing those dead skin cells has a number of benefits, with the biggest one being that it prevents pores from getting clogged. As a result, using a CBD sugar scrub could help you avoid breakouts before they start.
Another benefit of sugar scrubs that doesn’t depend (entirely) on their CBD content is the ability to hydrate the skin. Most products contain a range of other ingredients that are well-known for their moisturizing abilities — for example, W!NK’s scrub comes with argan oil and avocado oil, while Life Elements’ scrub has shea butter and sweet almond oil.
But if the sugar, oils, and other ingredients are doing most of the heavy lifting, then what’s the point of adding CBD in the first place? Here, it’s hard to say. While CBD isolates and broad spectrum oils aren’t entirely useless, they’re also known to be less effective than full spectrum varieties. And in such low and unpredictable dosage levels (it’s impossible to determine exactly how much CBD is in a single golf ball sized-glob of sugar scrub, but it’s not a lot) it’s doubtful whether the CBD itself is giving any benefits that the other ingredients aren’t providing already.
Considering that you can get a high quality conventional sugar scrub for under $10 — Amazon’s top selling product goes for $6, in case you’re curious — CBD-infused ones probably aren’t worth your time.