For some of us, acne is a distant memory that we only revisit when flipping through prom photos at Mom and Dad’s house over the holidays. For others, it’s a response irrevocably tied to our hormones and part of the monthly battle we’re forced to wage against our skin. And for others still, it’s a chronic, often embarrassing, and sometimes painful condition that affects our mental state, self-confidence, and relationships. The topic of discussion today is the utilization of CBD for acne.
CBD for acne at a glance
What the claims are: Used topically, CBD can decrease or eliminate the inflammation associated with acne, thereby reducing redness and irritation. Adopting a CBD for acne regimen can result in fewer outbreaks and the appearance of smoother, more supple, blemish-free skin.
What the studies show: Studies show that, due to the combined lipostatic, antiproliferative, and anti-inflammatory effects, CBD shows promise as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris.
What the facts say: Because of CBD’s effect on inflammation and cell growth, there are indications that a CBD regimen could represent a major breakthrough in the potential treatments of various skin conditions.
Anecdotal evidence also seems to indicate this to be true. Because acceptance of compounds derived from the cannabis plant as a viable option has been slow until now, more studies are needed to determine long-term efficacy.
What exactly is acne?
Acne is a condition in which the hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oil, typically resulting in unsightly bumps, whiteheads, or blackheads. More serious and sometimes chronic cases of acne present deeper skin issues such as nodules or cystic lesions that can be both painful and hard to treat.
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States and affects more than 50 million Americans. While it typically presents during puberty and is more prevalent in teens, adult acne is also very common. In fact, it seems to be increasing in frequency, especially in women between the ages of 30 and 40. There are several potential causes of acne:
- Excess oil production
- Clogged follicles
- Excessive hormones
Common triggers that can cause breakouts are related to diet, medications, and elevated stress levels. For many people suffering from chronic acne, we’re not just talking about a few annoying pimples that mar picture day. It can be a truly devastating condition that takes its toll on a person’s psyche. In 2013, treatment costs associated with acne and lost productivity due to this condition were over $1.2 billion.
How can CBD be utilized to help with my acne?
One way that CBD for acne can help is due to its apparent effect on the body’s sebum production. Sebum is an oily substance produced by the skin which is generally beneficial and keeps our skin looking supple and fresh. The problems arise when our skin produces too much of this substance. CBD seems to help control the amount of sebum the body produces, thereby assisting with the reduction of pustules and pimples.
Another way CBD for acne can assist is due to the body’s immune system responses. Because our bodies naturally want to force out the “invaders” (oils and skin clogging the pores), acne often comes with inflammation, making the appearance of blemishes more noticeable. Then we poke and prod, potentially causing an infection, thereby creating even more inflammation. Because studies show that CBD is an anti-inflammatory, this can really help people suffering from acne during an outbreak.
Lastly, some of the problems associated with acne outbreaks might also be mitigated by the use of CBD. For example, because stress and anxiety are known acne triggers, CBD’s effect on these issues could, in turn, lessen the number of outbreaks. Fewer outbreaks mean less discomfort, potential scarring, and other complications.
It’s also worth noting that, because severe acne can cause mental distress and depression, CBD has also shown to be potentially effective in those areas as well.
What are the risks of using CBD for acne?
We’re happy to report that there aren’t many! While there are some possible minor side effects, CBD for acne is tolerated well by most people. This is especially notable when dealing with conditions like cystic or chronic acne, which are known for prescription treatments ranging from minor side effects like sun sensitivity and skin irritation to much more serious side effects, including:
- Increased risk of depression and suicide
- Increased risk of birth defects
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Ulcerative colitis
Given that information, CBD for acne could be a safer option for some people that is really worth exploring.
We have also read accounts from people who said that using CBD for acne resulted in no appreciable difference in their condition. While that’s not a risk, per se, it certainly bears mentioning that their journey for symptom relief isn’t over. One positive on that front is that, unlike traditional acne treatments, CBD can be used to help a myriad of other conditions, including sleeplessness, anxiety, and pain.
Moral of the story? If it doesn’t help your acne, don’t throw out that bottle! It might be of assistance in some other fashion. And at the very least, given its minor (if any) side effects, it may be worth a try.
So, should I give CBD for my acne a try?
You should always talk to your doctor before trying something new, but CBD for acne is really showing some promising early results. More importantly, the potential benefits seem to outweigh the potential side effects often associated with traditional prescription acne medications.
- Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs
- Endocannabinoids enhance lipid synthesis and apoptosis of human sebocytes via cannabinoid receptor-2-mediated signaling.
- Side effects of common acne treatments.
- Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes.
- The safety and efficacy of 3% Cannabis seeds extract cream for reduction of human cheek skin sebum and erythema content.