When it comes to CBD skin care, the biggest challenge isn’t choosing between the bewildering array of products, it’s figuring out what’s actually inside them — specifically, how much CBD oil they contain. Understanding the concentration of the key ingredient is a key factor in determining how effective a product will be for your needs. However, it’s a bit more challenging than it might seem at first glance.
For many people, the search starts — and stops — with finding the product’s total amount of CBD. This number, which is usually prominently displayed on the front of the packaging, will often cheerfully announce that the product contains a certain quantity of CBD, which can range from 20 mg to well over 1,000 mg. The arithmetic seems simple: more CBD equals more benefits.
But there are many other factors to consider. For example, 50 mg of CBD in a tiny tube of eye cream will pack a far more powerful punch than the same amount of CBD in a giant jar of body lotion. There’s also the matter of what type of CBD oil a product contains (more on that later). To make an informed decision, you’ll need to do a bit of research — here’s what you should consider before making your next purchase.
CBD skin care products are made by infusing the base substance — such a cream, lotion, or balm — with CBD oil itself. All oils are not created equal, though. For example, consider a body butter that claims to have 300 mg of CBD. Depending on what type of oil it was made with, it could either work wonders for your skin … or have little noticeable effect.
Your odds of success are best if it contains full spectrum CBD oil. This oil has been minimally processed and contains a rich mix of other cannabinoids (including THC and about 100 others), fatty acids (which are great for the skin) and terpenes. These compounds all contribute their own health benefits for the skin, which makes full spectrum oils much more effective than the alternatives.
Speaking of alternatives, the one you’re most likely to encounter in skin care products is CBD isolate, which has been extensively distilled and processed so that contains nothing but the titular cannabinoid. All of the other compounds which are found in both hemp plants and marijuana plants have been extracted from the oil. This might seem like the better choice, but scientists have found that CBD works best in conjunction with these other compounds, a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect.”
So, by understanding the different potencies of various oils, you can see that while a product with 300 mg of CBD isolate might not do much for your skin, one with the same amount of full spectrum oil could be significantly more effective.
One of the most common questions asked about CBD skin care products is, “How much do I need to use to get rid of pimples/erase my wrinkles/etc.?” At the moment, it’s an all-but-impossible question to answer. Since CBD isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there’s no recommended daily dosage for general use, much less for specific skin care purposes.
Although research is progressing rapidly, there’s still no scientific consensus on how much CBD is necessary for an infused mascara to be more effective, or how much a bath bomb must contain to fulfill its lofty promises.
Using one of the many “dosing calculators” available online isn’t likely to help much, either, for a number of reasons. For one, the purposes are different: most dosing calculators are intended to help people choose a CBD dose for medical purposes, such as reducing inflammation or countering insomnia, rather than cosmetic ones like minimizing acne or strengthening hair. The bigger issue, though, is that there’s no one-size-fits all guideline when it comes to CBD dosing, since this depends on highly personal factors like your metabolism.
There’s also the matter of product diversity. Asking about the “average amount” of CBD in a given type of product is like asking about the average number of pages in books — it might be possible to calculate it, but it wouldn’t provide much actionable information when it comes to making your selection.
If you’re focused on maximizing the amount of CBD you use regardless, you’ll need to do a bit of math. Start with the total weight of the product, and divide it by the number of uses it can yield. Then, divide that number by the total CBD content of the product to calculate your per-use dose.
If this sounds like an inexact science, that’s because it is. But in the Wild West of CBD skin care, it’s the best option available at the moment.