Few ingredients have taken skin care by storm quite like CBD. And if you look carefully, it’s everywhere: in sunscreens, masks, lip balms, moisturizers, and more. The question is: Should you really be slathering this stuff on your skin?
First, let’s talk about what CBD is. Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient in the cannabis plant, according to Harvard Health Publishing. CBD can be derived from either medical marijuana or hemp. However, though marijuana contains CBD, CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects. (THC is the chemical that causes the high.) All that said, CBD won’t lead to any mild-altering effects.
The Proposed Benefits of Skin-Care Products With CBD
Experts attribute the popularity of CBD to its “do anything” reputation. In fact, many people turn to CBD in hopes of treating various ailments, including anxiety, insomnia, and pain conditions. And now — increasingly, it seems — addressing skin problems.
In general, manufacturers add CBD to their products to give them a boost. “CBD is a very cost-effective way to enhance products,” says Austin Katz, cofounder of Shea Brand in Brooklyn, New York. You’re finding CBD in a range of products — those that claim to treat acne, dry skin, and eczema — because of its versatility. “I think we’re living in an era where people want to feel empowered to address their needs on their own,” he says.
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Potentially Helps Inflammation, Eczema, and Psoriasis
One of the touted functions of CBD is controlling inflammation. “The body has two CBD receptors (that we know of): CB1 and CB2,” says Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, adjunct professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora. When applied to skin, CBD interacts with these receptors to turn down the inflammatory response. This happens by “decreasing the interleukins, which are chemicals that are like the immune system’s fire alarm that calls the fire department in an emergency. CBD may decrease the loudness of that fire alarm,” he explains.