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A look at the elusive science behind CBD skincare

A look at the elusive science behind CBD skincare

CBD is one of those buzzy, vague ingredients that we can’t seem to stop hearing about. It’s in our food, it’s in our drinks, our vitamins, our gummies and now, even our skincare. Head over to Sephora or Ulta and you can revamp your skincare routine with CBD infused serums, moisturizers and oils–but what exactly does it do? One of the major benefits retailers touts is its soothing effect, but what about the effects it has on our skin? We reached out to some experts to explain and demystify the skincare ingredient.


Let’s start with what it is, CBD is short for ​cannabidiol​, a naturally-occurring chemical compound derived from Cannabis sativa plant, which you’ll know as marijuana. Now while CBD is derived from marijuana and is an active ingredient, it won’t get you high, that’s actually THC which you won’t find in your CBD moisturizer. Instead, CBD in some forms is ​said to​ have a calming effect, ease stress and anxiety, and help with pain management.

Malaika Jones Kebede, CEO of luxury CBD wellness brand ​BROWN GIRL Jane​ CEO, explains how the product can possibly be beneficial overall, “CBD oil works to bring us back to a state of homeostasis–allowing us to feel more balanced, focused, and centered–all without any intoxicating or addicting elements. It’s a plant-based cannabinoid that works by interacting with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), a biological system that plays a central role in regulating a wide range of issues including mood, inflammation, sleep, anxiety, and pain.”

Now onto skincare, as you can imagine this ingredient will have probably similar effects on your skin. Malaika says, “High-quality CBD is powerful for so many reasons- it’s naturally-occuring, clean, and has a remarkable range of calming and balancing effects on skin.” Diving a little deeper, for all of us with breakouts and dullness from stress, our quarantine diets and mask induced acne (dubbed ​maskne​), CBD can offer some relief for your stressed out skin. “Inflammation is the root of all skincare evil, and CBD is highly anti-inflammatory. Additionally, it yields more antioxidants than both Vitamin C and D and can help reduce redness, puffiness, clogged pores among other skin issues. CBD has also been shown to lessen lipid production from the sebaceous glands, which leads to acne and overall irritation.”

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While it’s an ingredient worth trying and adding to your routine in some capacity, ​Dr. Bhanusali​ notes that while studies have shown it could have benefits as an anti-inflammatory and aid chronic itch, there’s still more research to be done. “More and more literature is being published and while I have to caution it’s still early, the results have been holding and it looks like CBD may be a great ingredient in the future.” He continues, “The one thing that concerns me is the lack of uniformity from product to product. It’s hard to say which products have high-quality products vs those who don’t and I think that’s one of the biggest barriers we still face.”

Keeping that in mind, CBD is an ingredient with major potential even if you aren’t oily or acne-prone, ​Dr. George Skandamis​ of Universal Dermatology & Vein Care​ says, “[…] Its calming benefits help sensitive skin.” He continues, “CBD has some antioxidant effects so it can be used in anti-aging creams to help with issues like wrinkles, and evening the skin tone.”

Now that we’ve given you all the info on CBD skincare, we’re rounded up a few picks for you to try.

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