CBD and skincare – what is it, what does it do, and how to use it. We discovered vanity-upgrading indulgences, deconstructed it, and shared all things CBD + skincare in this beauty edit.
The What – What is CBD & How Does CBD Interact with the Skin
The effects of CBD can be felt, but can it be seen? One of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Add that to the familiar list of bodily systems – the nervous system, digestive system, endocrine system, and so on – the ECS is believed to have more cellular receptor sites than any other receptor system. Because of this, it affects just about every part of the body, modulating sleep, mood, pain, inflammation, and more. CBD, or Cannabidiol, is an oily compound found in the sticky resins of the cannabis and hemp plant, and this compound interacts directly and indirectly with our ECS, thus helps to promote anxiety relief – CBD & Stress and Anxiety, restorative sleep – CBD & Sleep, and more. But can it help with our skin health?
The good news is our skin has its own endocannabinoid system¹. Looking at the skin at a glance, it is one of the largest organs of the body. Alongside its function to protect us against environmental damages, it is a highly active structure in itself. For example, the skin possesses the capacity to generate several hormones, has its own immune system, is the largest sensory organ, and so on. Having its own ECS, the skin’s endocannabinoid system is key to creating a delicate balance of skin homeostasis, from cell growth, moisture production, and immune protection². It manages the skin’s components, such as hair follicles, sebaceous and sweat glands in response to the environment, hormones, and the body’s condition.
The Why – Benefits of CBD Skincare
The endocannabinoid system of our skin produces endocannabinoid molecules. If there is an imbalance in our skin’s ECS, we develop skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, allergic dermatitis, hair growth disorders, and excess oil production. A way to balance out our skin’s ECS is to apply phytocannabinoids (or plant cannabinoids) onto the skin. CBD is a plant cannabinoid, thus playing an integral part in optimizing our skin health.
The Benefits – Balance Skin, Acne, Dryness, and more
The skin’s own ECS plays a role in regulating our sebaceous glands and hair follicles. Sebaceous glands are glands that produce sebum. Sebum is a light yellow, oily substance that helps keep the skin and hair moisturized. Sebum is made up of rich, nourishing fatty acids. Too much sebum can contribute to several problems, including acne or oily skin. Too little sebum will result in dry, flakey, irritated skin.
Supporting the skin’s ECS by introducing CBD can help manage and balance our sebum production³. At the core of acne is inflammation triggered by various processes such as sebum production, and infectious and environmental factors⁴. With its anti-inflammatory properties along with reducing sebum production, CBD is a novel way to manage acne, excess sebum, and treat oily skin. Moreover, by balancing our sebum production, CBD can help combat dry, irritated skin without causing breakouts.
The Benefits – Soothe Complexion, Anti-inflammatory, Reduce Redness
Thanks to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties⁵, topical CBD can help reduce inflammation and redness, soothing the skin. Gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin, CBD can help offer relief by reducing the symptoms of rosacea and eczema.
The Benefits – Antioxidant Boost, Slow Signs of Skin Aging
CBD has potent antioxidant properties⁶ (similar to tried-and-true antioxidants, vitamins C and E). Antioxidants are substances that protect the skin from free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental aggressors (such as UV rays and pollution). Free radicals can assault the skin, damaging the structural parts of the skin and accelerating the visible signs of skin aging – fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. By neutralizing free radicals before they can do damage, antioxidants help skin stay more youthful looking longer.
A Vanity-Upgrading Indulgence with Nourishing CBD
The highest CBD concentration in the beauty industry, this award-winning Saint Jane CBD serum is packed with 500mg of full-spectrum CBD plus 20 potent botanicals to deeply hydrate, calms and soothes the skin. Radiance-amplifying actives like Sea Buckthorn, Calendula and Rose gently resurface and detoxify pores, while full-spectrum CBD helps relieve inflammation and redness.
The How – How to Use CBD Skincare
CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, along with supporting the ECS by balancing sebum production, make it a perennial beauty staple. Currently, most CBD skincare formulations are in oil form, such as face oils. The beneficial properties of CBD can also be combined with other powerful botanicals and ingredients (like Sea Buckthorn, Rosehip, and Gotu Kola) to amplify the overall potency and effect.
CBD Face Oils as Skincare
Depending on the other oils in the formulation, most plant oils are considered emollients, which are lighter oils that sink into the skin. This means it can be used earlier in our skincare routine and not necessarily last to seal in moisture. Experimentation is highly encouraged – apply CBD beauty oils as the last step after serum and moisturizer to lock in long-lasting hydration. Alternatively, blend with creams for an intensely moisturizing experience. Or massage into freshly cleansed skin right before putting on a sheet mask to help the active ingredients penetrate deeper!
CBD Face Oils with Makeup
A great partner to enhance makeup! To help prime the skin for a better makeup application, massage a few drops onto skin ahead of foundation or concealer. This also helps with hydration and allows the makeup to gently glide along the skin. Another way to use CBD beauty oils is to create the look of luminous skin. Mix in a few drops with foundation to create a lighter, dewy coverage. Or to create a soft tinted moisturizer, mix a few drops of oil with a tiny amount of foundation. Play with the oil-to-foundation or oil-to-concealer ratio to find the perfect blend. And last but not least, add a final touch to completed makeup looks by tapping one or two drops over the cheekbones to create a soft highlight.
CBD, A Perennial Beauty Staple
CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make it a perennial beauty staple. Explore notable formulations: VERTLY – 300mg of full-spectrum CBD plus 24 nutrient-dense botanicals designed to firm and refresh the skin. KANA – 50mg of CBD with 16 plant-based oils packed with essential fatty acids to nourish and soothe the skin.
⁴ Gollnick H.P., Zouboulis C.C. Not all acne is acne vulgaris. Dtsch. Arztebl. Int. 2014;111:301–312. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2014.0301
⁵ Clin Ter. Mar-Apr 2019;170(2):e93-e99. doi: 10.7417/CT.2019.2116
Please use this as a guide and not medical advice. Written under the guidance of our Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Junella Chin – one of the world’s leading cannabis physicians and a board member of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine.