All You Need to Know About Treating Eczema with CBD

Full guide on using CBD oil to treat eczema

Image Credit: By Emily frost on Shutterstock

Eczema comes from the Greek language and means “to boil over.” If you have ever dealt with eczema, you know that it isn’t just a small rash on your skin and boiling over is probably an accurate description. It’s a red, angry looking condition that can affect how you live life. Something so small as doing the dishes can make it even worse. Using certain skin creams can make you feel like your skin is on fire, and makeup? Well, you can just forget about that until the eczema on your face clears up. Waking up scratching furiously scratching your hands because of eczema is not too uncommon. Having eczema isn’t about not having a beautiful complexion or flawless skin. Vanity isn’t the only thing that hurts when this skin enemy shows up. This rash can come up as a red, crusty, oozy patch, and if that doesn’t sound bad enough, it can crack and bleed as well. So what causes this condition to occur, and what can be done about it? Treatments for eczema vary, and often one thing doesn’t work for everyone. However, one natural remedy, CBD oil, could help to bring relief to those who have a painful bout of eczema pop up. With how unrelenting this skin condition can be, finding relief is a must.

What Is Eczema?

Eczema is the name for a group of different skin conditions that cause inflammation and irritation of the skin. These include types of eczema like:

  • Atopic dermatitis: This is the most common form of eczema. Those who have this condition have a history of allergies such as asthma or hay fever. Though the exact cause of atopic dermatitis isn’t clear, it does leave your skin dry, itchy and irritated.
  • Contact dermatitis: Common triggers of contact dermatitis are things like poison ivy, poison oak, certain dyes, nickel, latex, certain fragrances such as in lotions and perfumes and some medications. This type of eczema happens after you have touched something and your skin becomes red and painful. This reaction could either be caused by an allergic reaction or could be due to damage to the protective layer of skin.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema: This type of eczema is commonly associated with seasonal allergies or high levels of stress. This condition produces blisters that appear on the bottoms of your feet and palms of your hands. They are typically itchy and can be filled with fluid. This condition is also more likely to happen if your hands or feet are in moisture a lot.
  • Nummular eczema: This eczema usually appears in coin-shaped spots on your skin. They can either be brown, red or pink. These areas can itch and burn and some will ooze and scab over. The skin in the affected areas is usually red, flaky and inflamed. This is a severe form of eczema that should be treated immediately. If left untreated a skin infection could occur.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis: This form of eczema can appear on your body and scalp. It is an itchy, red, flaky rash that can look like scales. The causes are unclear, but a combination of things including stress, genetics, cold, dry weather and certain medical conditions can all contribute to seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Stasis dermatitis: This is a condition that affects people who have poor blood circulation. This typically shows ups in the legs as this is where poor blood flow tends to happen. It is rare for stasis dermatitis to occur in other areas of the body, though it is possible. The valves in the leg veins can become weak with age, which makes blood leak out and pool in the legs. This poor circulation doesn’t mean that you will get stasis dermatitis, however, keep a close eye out for swelling around the ankles as this is the first sign of stasis dermatitis. This swelling will go away while you sleep but comes back during the day. Skin discoloration and varicose veins are also early signs of stasis dermatitis.

It’s important to know that eczema is not contagious and can not be caught by someone else. The development of eczema has to do with genetics and allergic reactions. As a whole, most forms of eczema have a few symptoms in common:

  • Dry, irritated skin
  • Redness
  • Inflammation
  • Severe itching
  • Scaly, rough patches of skin
  • Fluid-filled blisters that burst and scab
  • Swelling

Not only are there different forms of eczema, but there are also varying degrees. Your eczema may come and go away completely, or it may stick around. You may have eczema on your face, hands, feet or the backs of your legs. Eczema is a blanket term to describe different types of inflammation in the skin, which is always accompanied by red, itchy skin. Some types of eczema will produce blisters, but not all. However, atopic eczema is considered severe and long-lasting. Though atopic dermatitis and eczema are often used interchangeably, atopic dermatitis is simply a form of eczema, while the term “eczema” could be referring to a completely different type of skin condition. It is advisable to visit your doctor to know exactly what condition you have and what the best way to treat it may be.

How Can Eczema Be Treated?

Once your doctor has determined that you have eczema, a treatment plan will be decided. Your doctor or dermatologist will talk with you about your symptoms, family history and any allergies that you may have. This will can not only help your doctor to determine whether or not you have eczema but what type you have as well.

Taking care of your skin is vital to maintaining all-around healthy skin. This is no different when it comes to eczema. In many cases with eczema, you just need to make a few small changes to help your skin heal. These could include things like:

  • Changing your soaps and lotions: When you have eczema, the skin’s outer protective layer is damaged making that part of your skin more vulnerable to irritants in soaps and moisturizers. Common soaps also have surfactants which help to break down dirt from clothes, skin and other surfaces. Though this chemical is great for cleaning, it’s not so good for your skin. While the skin’s pH level is around 4 to 5, the pH level of most soaps is a more alkaline 9 or 10. When the pH levels on the skin are increased by things such as soaps, bubble baths and shower gels, this can make eczema worse. That doesn’t mean that you should forget soaps all together. It is still very important to keep your skin clean as bacteria and dirt can just encourage eczema. Using soap that is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and has a low pH could help to alleviate the symptoms of eczema. As for moisturizers, creams are best for eczema as lotions have a higher water content which can further irritate your skin. Creams that are fragrance-free, perfume free and dye free are best. If your skin is still irritated when using these soaps and creams, you should consult your doctor for other options.
  • Don’t take hot showers: Taking short, warm showers are best to avoid drying out your skin. Long, hot showers and baths can dry out the skin making eczema worse.
  • Manage your stress: Stress is one factor that could lead to eczema. Being able to manage your stress responsibly can help to alleviate your symptoms. Getting good, quality rest is one of the best ways to help your stress levels. Activities such as meditation, exercise, playing with animals, art and massage are all proven ways to help you to relax.
  • Put some moisture in the air: Running a humidified could help with your dry skin. Dry air can wreak havoc on your skin, so keeping the air more humid can help.
  • Medications: Hydrocortisone is an over-the-counter ointment that is often used to help with mild eczema. If your doctor thinks that your case is more severe than a prescription may be needed. Antihistamines are taken orally and can help to relieve some symptoms. These may make you drowsy. Corticosteroids are a prescription steroid that is prescribed if other treatment options have not worked. Ultraviolet light therapy can also be used if your eczema is considered severe.
  • Injections: A medicine that is administered through an injection called Dupilumab is used for atopic dermatitis. This drug’s focus is on controlling inflammation. It is given every two weeks and should be used by adults only.

There are also several home remedies that could help to ease the symptoms of eczema. These include:

  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil has become the go-to item for many situations. Want a healthy cooking oil? Coconut oil. Moisturizer for your hair? Coconut oil. Want to make soap? Add some coconut oil to the mix. It is also a very mild and cooling skin moisturizer that is full of nutrients. It can help to ease the itching and pain associated with eczema.
  • Chamomile>: This is an herb that can be applied topically and may help to relieve eczema. In one study it was concluded that cream that contained chamomile extract was more effective at treating eczema than cream that had 0.5% hydrocortisone.
  • Manuka honey: Manuka honey is known for being antiseptic which can prevent infections in those who have open wounds due to eczema. According to a study, Manuka honey effectively treated eczema by reducing redness and dry spots.
  • Witch hazel: Not only can witch hazel help to control the oozing of blisters due to eczema; it can help to control itching as well. Applying the herb to the skin regularly will render the best results.
  • Aloe Vera: Aloe vera gel is very cooling and can help in moisturizing and controlling itching. When ingested, the juice from an aloe vera plant can also promote the healing of the body. It is also a great antiseptic and can help to heal wounds caused by eczema.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water can help your body to detoxify and avoid infection.
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Eating foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids is one way you can keep you eczema at bay. Eczema is an inflammatory condition as well as one associated with redness and irritation. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to be anti-inflammatory which could help in cases of eczema. Foods high in omega 3 fatty acids include fish, flaxseed, olive oil and spirulina.

These are all great ways to help treat your eczema. Prevention methods, such as using mild soaps and detergents, bathing regularly, keeping your skin moisturized and wearing gloves when you do the dishes or clean, can also stop eczema before it starts. Eczema is on a cycle with many people. One day you may have no signs of eczema at all, and the next day you could have a flare-up. Prevention and catching the condition before it gets too severe is important in keeping your skin healthy. If you have open, fluid producing sores or are itching to the point that it is interrupting your sleep then you should see your doctor to discuss how to get rid of your eczema.

All too often doctors will prescribe a quick-fix steroid ridden cream. These work fairly well, and in severe situations they may be necessary to help clear up the eczema if it has become out of control. However, using this cream on a daily bases may not be the best for your health. On the flip side, sometimes the natural cures just aren’t strong enough or don’t seem to work consistently.

Could there be other options?

The answer to this may lie in a very unlikely place: The cannabis plant.

Can CBD Help Eczema?

Cannabis is an ancient crop that has been around for literally thousands of years. People have grown this plant for medicine, clothing, ropes, food and oil. There are many different varieties and strains of cannabis, all with different properties than the rest. While some cannabis plants are known for being psychotropic and could get you high, others didn’t have this ability. This difference has largely to do with genetics, as years of breeding plants has led to many different strains.

One very important difference between cannabis plants has to do with plant components known as cannabinoids. Perhaps the most popular of these cannabinoids is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC has been known for getting people high for years, and has led to some pretty intense laws against this chemical. However, not all cannabis plants contain the same amount of THC. Some have so little (0.03%) that the compound has no euphoric or dysphoric effect on the person consuming it. These cannabis plants are classified as hemp. Canada for example, have made 0.03% the maximum level of THC that can be in a plant while still considering it hemp. Higher than this percentage and the plant can be classed as marijuana.

Another difference between marijuana and hemp comes down to the way it is grown. While marijuana is typically grown indoors to closely monitor it’s THC content and its growing conditions, hemp is grown outdoors. This also allows hemp to grow much bigger and yield more, with farmers paying less attention to the plants.

Legality is also where there is an line drawn (albeit fuzzy) between cannabis and marijuana. Though marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 drug and is illegal to grow in America under federal law, hemp products are still ok to bring into the United States. A whopping 500 million dollars of hemp are imported into America, cited by the Hemp Industry Association.

Researching these plants is not easy due to the strict laws and extensive regulations attached to them. Having cannabis categorized as a schedule 1 drug hasn’t been doing the research community any favors.

This doesn’t mean that research hasn’t been conducted, however. Researchers are still studying the plant extensively to understand better its potential uses.

Though THC is a well-known cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, this doesn’t mean that it is the only one. There are over 100 different cannabinoids to consider. One particular cannabinoid that is gaining in recognition is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is found in all cannabis plants, and can even be found in larger quantities in the hemp plants. However, unlike THC, it is non-psychotropic and does not create a high. This means that you can use a hemp or cannabis variety that is high in CBD but very low in THC and still be able to reap the medicinal benefits without the risk of becoming high.

CBD is often extracted from the plant and is used for numerous different types of ailments. One of these such ailments is eczema.

CBD can be found in hemp oil, which is also high in omega 3 fatty acid and omega 6. These essential fatty acids are especially good for skin health and can help to keep the membranes of skin cells flexible. They have been known to fight a collection of skin conditions such as acne, pain and inflammation and reduce scarring. So it isn’t surprising that hemp seed oil is beneficial in treating eczema.

But what about CBD?

CBD is a notorious anti-inflammatory. It has been recognized as helping to soothe and treats skin disorders such as eczema. CBD, being a cannabinoid, interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is a system of receptors that can control functions such as mood, sleep, inflammation and immune functions. The link between cannabinoids and the immune system could explain why CBD works well as an anti-inflammatory. Many researchers believe that one reason people get eczema is because of an imbalance in the endocannabinoid system. CBD could help to re-balance this by interacting with the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Since skin cells and the nerve fibers of the skin contain these receptors, this could be why CBD can help with skin inflammation.

There have been multiple studies on how CBD could help with skin help. One study suggests that CBD has anti-inflammatory effects on human sebocytes. This means that it can treat acne by controlling the oil production in the skin, and also can help alleviate inflammation. This shows the CBD could help to heal skin issues having to do with inflammation.

One study suggests, as previously mentioned that the disruption of the endocannabinoid system itself plays a huge role in skin conditions such as allergic dermatitis, acne, seborrhea, itch and pain, psoriasis, systemic sclerosis and cancer. By bringing this system back in balance with the cannabinoid CBD, this could help to treat and prevent various skin disorders involving itchy skin, inflammation and pain such as eczema.

If you’re convinced that you want to give CBD products a try to improve your eczema, a couple of things should be on your to-do list. First, consult your doctor, and second, find a quality CBD product.

CBD Oil Products

Once you start researching CBD oil products, you may become a little overwhelmed. Since cannabis is becoming more recognized for its medicinal benefits, CBD has made it to the spotlight. You can find anything from edibles to drops to even treats for your pets. Depending on what’s ailing you (or your pet) you may need something that is taken orally or topically.

When it comes to eczema and skin conditions, topically may be your best bet. CBD oil has made it to skin care in the form of salves, balms, lotions and creams. They are marketed as helping aching muscles and dry skin conditions such as eczema.

Purchasing CBD oil isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Many people believe that the FDA views CBD hemp oil as a dietary supplement and that you can freely purchase CBD hemp oil online and have it delivered to you. While you can purchase it, the FDA has put some “high CBD” hemp oil vendors under fire, calling their products “unapproved drugs.” Many of these companies say that their products are completely legal since they are hemp derived. While this is technically true, they are still not allowed by federal law to market them as medicinal. The DEA continues to regulate and restrict hemp cultivation and importing. The laws on cannabis are nothing short of confusing, so make sure that you do your research before purchasing CBD oil products.

Here are a few rules on purchasing CBD oil products:

  1. Don’t cheap out. Getting a high-quality product is important in getting the most out of your treatment. This means that you may have to spend a little more to get a good product.
  2. Don’t be fooled by any marketing schemes. If the product is promising to cure everything, you haven’t started off on the most honest foot. CBD oil is great, but it’s not a one-size fits all.
  3. Make sure your product isn’t high in THC. CBD will not get you high, so make sure that you get the purest product is essential.

Whatever product you decide on using, the outcome may have you pleasantly surprised. While relief is something that all who have this itchy, painful condition are searching for, they can’t always find it. CBD oil has proven to be an effective treatment for itchy, painful skin conditions such as eczema, without any harsh steroids. With the mildness of CBD, it’s safe and effective, which makes this a great choice for even the most delicate of skin. CBD could be the gentle eczema treatment you need to give you relief from your eczema symptoms.

Consult a trusted physician to discuss whether CBD oil products are right for you.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
At cannabisMD we aim to provide you with all the information and knowledge you need to take the next step in your personal cannabis journey! Read about our team

1 Comment

  1. Sylvia says:

    Is it safe for an 11 year old boy?

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