What CBD Oil Can Do for Your Skin

Two women with clear complexions after using CBD oil for skin

It’s an ingredient that’s become almost as ubiquitous as mascara in some beauty aisles, but there is still a lot of confusion regarding CBD oil’s benefits for skin. And actually, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

One of over 100 compounds called cannabinoids found in hemp, CBD has been used in traditional healing for centuries, but research supporting it didn’t emerge until recently (over the last century, the bulk of scientific inquiry has focused on THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid compound found in marijuana).

And although the research may be new, it’s nonetheless impressive. Here’s what you should know.

What are CBD oil’s benefits for skin?

Studies have demonstrated that CBD is antioxidantanalgesic (pain-killer), and antibacterial, but from a skincare perspective, its anti-inflammatory powers are its #1 talent. “The skin’s cannabinoid receptors, which CBD interacts with, help regulate pain and itching,” says NYC dermatologist Dendy Engelman. That’s a big deal, since many skin issues, from breakouts to signs of aging, are fueled by inflammation in the first place.

And science supports its efficacy in this capacity: research shows that CBD may treat all kinds of skin problems, including chronic conditions. A study finding that CBD slows overproduction of skin cells signals promise for psoriasis; its modulation of inflammatory markers made it an effective treatment for eczema in another study. Engelman says CBD may even turn out to be a “natural remedy for acne lesions.” One recent study found that it helped suppress breakouts by regulating oil production.

Are CBD oil and hemp seed oil the same thing?

They’re both oils and they’re both made from hemp, but CBD is extracted from the plant itself — stalk, flowers, etc — and hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the plant only, which contain zero CBD.

Still, hemp seed oil is a fantastic skincare ingredient in its own right. It has omega fatty acids 3, 6, and 9 to replenish moisture without clogging pores. And like CBD oil, it’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

So what should you look for when buying CBD oil for skin?

It may sound obvious, but if you’re trying to buy CBD — whether a face oil, body lotion, bath soak, or beyond — make sure you’re buying CBD. Many companies are partaking in a whole new type of greenwashing — making their product look as if it contains the hemp-derived compound when, in fact, it contains zero CBD. Check the label for CBD oil (listed as CBD oil, hemp extract, or cannabidiol). In addition, look for a formula that’s full-spectrum (extracted from the whole plant for efficacy) and Co2-extracted (the safest method available).