Acne is a common skin condition, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating. Anyone dealing with breakouts has probably searched high and low for a remedy, and it's worth turning to CBD as a potential aid.
Acne is difficult to deal with because it's not a simple skin condition. It's caused by a combination of factors, including oil production (which is influenced by hormones), pore structure, dead skin cell turnover, and the presence of acne bacteria on the skin.
How Can CBD Help Acne?
If you're already a committed CBD fan, then you may have already guessed: Since CBD can be anti-inflammatory, it helps with acne by calming it down. Inflammation is one of the most major aspects of acne. Clogged, infected pores become pimples as a result of inflammation, which makes them swell up and turn red. CBD's rapid soothing effect can bring down even the worst pimples very quickly.
What's interesting is that this isn't CBD's only anti-acne benefit. CBD can also be sebostatic, which means that it can reduce oil production in the skin. Research on this topic is still in its infancy, with most studies done on cell cultures. However, we expect human trials to be published soon, so we'll know exactly how well it can work.
Finally, CBD has the potential to act as an antibacterial agent, specifically against gram-positive bacteria like the type that causes acne. This is another instance when testing was done on animal models and in test tubes rather than directly on humans, so we can't say how CBD would compare against proven anti-acne medications like benzoyl peroxide or erythromycin.
When Is CBD Most Effective for Acne
While some people do find that their skin clears up when they take CBD internally, we think it's best as a topical acne treatment. Its anti-inflammatory action makes it a remarkable spot treatment, particularly for inflamed pimples.
If your main concern is clogged pores without inflammation, CBD is not going to be as helpful, and gentle exfoliation would be the better choice of treatment.
The problem when choosing CBD products for acne is that a lot of CBD skincare isn't formulated with acne-prone skin in mind. There are a lot of CBD creams, serums, and oils that are made with botanical oils and plant butters that can clog the pores, so while they might be great for most people, they just don't work for those dealing with breakouts.
It's worth noting that hemp seed oil is considered non-comedogenic, so it's usually pretty safe for acne sufferers! MCT oil (often listed as caprylic/capric triglyceride or advertised as fractionated coconut oil), which is another emollient often used in CBD tinctures, is also considered safe.
The most fantastic thing about topical CBD is that it's very mild on the skin, and it doesn't have negative interactions with other topical products. This means that you can add it to a routine that already includes strong acne-fighters like salicylic acid, tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide, adapalene, or tretinoin.
Best CBD Products for Acne
Veritas Farms Full Spectrum Mattifying Blemish Cream
This gorgeous mattifying cream is made with full-spectrum hemp extract, so the skin can benefit from CBD as well as other bioactive cannabinoids. In the daytime, it has a silky texture under makeup, while at night this formula can act as a spot treatment. In addition to 200 mg of CBD, it also includes renewing vitamin A and pore-tightening zinc sulfate.
You can get it directly from Veritas Farms.
SPOTLESS Blemishes & Oily Skin Soothing CBD Sheet
If you only deal with the occasional breakout, you might prefer this set of CBD masks. They allow you to calm down breakouts as they occur and to otherwise stick to your usual skincare routine. In addition to CBD, each mask also includes the cannabinoids CBG and CBN, as well as other natural skin-soothers like centella asiatica and manuka honey. Niacinamide, tea tree oil, and helichrysum oil round out the ingredient list with additional acne-fighting properties.
Order it directly from Mask Skincare.
Truly Hemp Acne Patches
Hydrocolloid patches have been one of the internet's favorite hacks for dealing with inflamed pimples. They work by creating a protective seal over each blemish, allowing them to heal more quickly. These hydrocolloid patches take it up a notch, since each one delivers 5mg of CBD directly to your angriest pimple, along with fast relief. The only drawback to these patches is that the leaf-shape, though cute, isn't necessarily convenient for covering circular pimples.
You can find them at Ulta.
LORD JONES Acid Mantle Repair Moisturizer With 250mg CBD and Ceramides
This moisturizer is a little on the rich and creamy side, but it's loaded with 250 mg of CBD, along with many skin-supporting ingredients. It's a great choice if your skin is acne-prone but also a little dry or if you've been using strong anti-acne medications that have dried out your skin. Though it's not oil-free, this cream only includes oils that are considered non-comedogenic, like sunflower oil and hemp oil. The CBD's anti-inflammatory effects are boosted by the presence of ginger extract, which is also extremely soothing, while a collection of ceramides supports the skin's natural barrier functions.
It's available at Sephora.