The Big Beauty Promises of CBD Cream: Does it Really Work?

Christine Colbert June 3, 2021 0 comments

CBD has taken the beauty industry by storm and you can find it in just about every cosmetic line. Is it just hype?

CBD is everywhere – in topicals, lotions, face masks, massage oils and even mascara. Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, is arguably the most popular additive in beauty products today – from CBD cream to CBD oil, to soothing CBD salves. And, because it comes from the hemp plant, it is now legal.

But, does CBD cream actually work? Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned industry marketers against touting unproven claims when advertising CBD products. More research on the effectiveness of CBD is being published every day, but, truthfully, most of what we know comes from trials done on mice or in vitro. These results don’t always translate well to humans.

However, the evidence in regard to CBD is building. It’s becoming clear that CBD can provide potential benefits when applied topically. Multiple studies show that CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory. This means CBD can be enormously helpful in treating skin conditions.

How Hemp Skin Care May Help Hard-to-Treat Skin Conditions

A non-toxic anti-inflammatory isn’t just good for irritated skin, it’s incredibly helpful to conditions like eczema and psoriasis, which can be hard to treat. Unfortunately, many of the pharmaceuticals created to treat these skin conditions can cause further irritation or harmful side effects.

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A study published in La Clinica Terapeutica (2019),[1]B. Palmieri, C. Laurina, M. Vadala. A Therapeutic Effect of CBD-Enriched Ointment in Inflammatory Skin Diseases and Cutaneous Scars. Clin Ter. Mar-Apr 2019;170(2):e93-epp. doi: 10.7417/CT.2019.2116. observed twenty patients with skin disorders. Researchers concluded that CBD ointment — without any THC — helped patients with inflammatory skin disorders. They also found that CBD ointment provided a safe, non-invasive skin care option.

Another study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science (2007), [2]J. Wilkinson, E. Williamson. Cannabinoids Inhibit Human Keratinocyte Proliferation Through a non CB1/CB2 Mechanism and Have a Potential Therapeutic Value in the Treatment of Psoriasis. Dermatological … Continue reading discovered that cannabinoids could inhibit the proliferation of keratinocytes. These are the primary type of cell found in the epidermis and protects against microbial, viral, or fungal invasion, as well as against UV radiation. The process of proliferation can become dysfunctional, leading to early keratinocyte cell death (psoriasis or eczema). Topical cannabis application may slow this process while it reduces inflammation.

The potential ability to help manage symptoms of eczema and psoriasis is big news for CBD. But, CBD creams and oils can also help with other skin conditions. Research has shown that cannabis creams may also potentially help with acne and redness. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (2014), [3]Attila Oláh, Balázs I. Tóth, István Borbíró, Koji Sugawara, Attila G. Szöllõsi, Gabriella Czifra, Balázs Pál, Lídia Ambrus, Jennifer Kloepper, Emanuela Camera, Matteo … Continue reading showed that CBD reduced the amount of sebum in the skin, making it a useful treatment for acne. Research also suggests that CBD cream may be helpful in relieving skin dryness.

cbd cream in canister with cannabis leaves

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CBD Cream for Joint and Muscle Pain?

The business of CBD topicals isn’t just booming in the beauty industry. Creams containing cannabinoids are also becoming increasingly popular for people battling joint and muscle pain. Cannabinoids are lipophilic (they like fats and oils), so in order to treat joint and muscle pain, they need a carrier oil to help them penetrate the skin barrier.

With an adequate delivery system, like emu, hemp seed, olive or coconut oils, science shows that CBD can help relieve localized pain. A study published in the European Journal of Pain (2016), [4]D.C. Hammell, L.P. Zhang, F. Ma, S.M. Abshire, S.L. McIlwrath, A.L. Stinchcomb, and K.N. Westlund. Transdermal Cannabidiol Reduces Inflammation and Pain-Related Behaviours in a Rat Model of … Continue reading discovered that CBD relieved arthritis pain and inflammation in rats. Another study published in Pain (2017), found that CBD could help rats with pain resulting from osteoarthritis.

And in 2019, the Arthritis Foundation reported that seventy-nine percent of 2,600 arthritis patients who were surveyed had thought about using CBD to treat their condition, or had already used it with high rates of success.

While human trials are lacking, dermatologists have said that CBD is generally safe for humans to use. Most reactions incurred from CBD creams and oils are due to a secondary ingredient in the product. That’s just one of the reasons why health professionals and experts are advising consumers to pay attention to the ingredients in the products they’re using.

Things to Know About Hemp Skin Care

When shopping for CBD cream or any other hemp skin care product, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Namely, what is the CBD product intended to treat? For issues under the skin, such as arthritis and joint pain, choose a product with a good, lipophilic delivery system. With an oil-based solution, CBD can bind to fat molecules and get where it needs to go.

CBD-infused products made with hemp seed oil can be extremely beneficial for the skin. Hemp seed oil is effective for treating dryness, and it’s a good carrier oil, too. However, be aware that hemp seed oil alone does not contain CBD. It’s chock-full of polyunsaturated fats, so even by itself it can be helpful to the skin. But for that anti-inflammatory CBD boost, look for products that specify a certain amount of cannabidiol. Further, if hemp seed oil products claim to contain CBD, make sure there is the addition of CBD in the ingredient list.

cbd cream in canister with cannabis leaves

Buy CBD From Trusted Sources

Since CBD legalization is still relatively new for Americans, the market is largely unregulated. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2017), [5]Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, PhD, Mallory J. E. Loflin, PhD, Brian F. Thomas, PhD, et al. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. … Continue reading an excess of sixty percent of CBD products sold online do not contain the amount of CBD advertised. To ensure the product you’re buying is what it says it is, look for a label that shows testing by a third-party.

Also, keep in mind, even though carrier oils may help CBD manage symptoms of joint inflammation and pain, it won’t get into the bloodstream. So topicals, like CBD cream, are not the best method of treatment for internal systemic problems. However, for skin disorders and joint-related pain, CBD may provide some much-needed relief.