CBD Research  -  How CBD Works for Skin
How does CBD work for skin



It's our biggest organ after all.


Our skin has to weather the sun, wind, chemicals, poisons, bacteria, viruses...


And the occasional 20 stitches from a bad friday night.


Wait what?


Anyway...we ask a lot of our skin.


Nothing shows your inner health quicker than your skin.


Nothing shows your age as well!


There's tantalizing research on CBD and your skin which we have to look at.


But be careful!


Skincare is a veritable swamp of snake oil sales and trumped up claims.

Billions of dollars are spent chasing healthy and youthful appearing skin.


We're not saying don't believe what you read on CBD online BUT...


Let's use research on CBD to get rid of the false claims.


What can CBD really do for the skin?


Superficially, how about reduce:


  • puffiness
  • swelling
  • redness
  • pain
  • itching


That's a good start and we'll get into that later.


More long term:


  • Remove toxins
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Help manage skin creation and destruction


More acute and serious:



Lots to cover.


You want to jump right to the list of CBD for skin products, go here:


Buy CBD online

Otherwise, let's get into it by jumping to any topic



If you're itching to get started (or just itching), let's dig in!


How Does CBD Work In The Skin

A quick refresher in case you have haven't read the How CBD Works or Beginner's Guide to CBD.


Our body has a entire system call the endocannabinoid system.

It spans almost every tissue from brain to blood to....skin!


There are CB1 and CB2 receptors scattered throughout by which this system operates.


It's thought to balance out other key systems in our body including:


  • Nervous system
  • Endocrine (hormones)
  • Immune


Those are pretty big!


The actors that work within this are called cannabinoids.


We have our own natural endocannabinoids (endo meaning found within) such as Anandamide but the cannabis plant also over 100 cannabinoids that can interact with our own internal system.

Here's a quick picture:


how does CBD work

The cannabinoid receptors are spread throughout the skin tissue (more on that later).


This system is showing a range of jobs it has to carry out to keep skin healthy.

We'll get into the whole "aging" question later on but it's pretty remarkable!


So...what exactly are the receptors doing in the skin?


As always, let's look at research to avoid all the hype!


CBD And Skin Research

Keep in mind that over 150 studies are going on at any given time on CBD.


It's showing so much promise that there's a rush to learn what it can do.

There's so much to cover...where to begin?


First, some broad strokes...


Do we really know that CBD receptors are in the skin at all?


Let's start there.


For all our science types, scroll down to the "Cannabinoids in the Skin" section of this article:



Okay...so they're all over skin tissue from nerves to mast cells (immune reponse) to follicles and even the cells in skin in charge of making new tissue!

Let's look at an overview of skin issues and the effects of CBD.


There's a nice summary of cannabinoids' influence in skin across a wide range of functions:



It shows positive effects from psoriasis to skin tumors to itch and inflammation.

More confirmation with broad strokes here across a range of skin issues from simple itching to major inflammatory issues


In all these summaries you'll see data on CBD and varioius pathways in the skin:


  • Inflammatory (itchy, swelling)
  • Tumorogenic (cancer)
  • Cell proliferation management (psoriasis)
  • Stress response to toxins


You just outlined the different ways skin can go wrong!


Research shows that CBD positively affects all of these.


It's fascinating that one system and one actor in that system can affect such seemingly different and distinct bodily systems.


My wife jokes that it must have been send down from aliens!


I mean...look at this..


Recent studies have intriguingly suggested the existence of a functional ECS in the skin and implicated it in various biological processes (e.g. proliferation, growth, differentiation, apoptosis and cytokine, mediator or hormone production of various cell types of the skin and appendages, such as the hair follicle and sebaceous gland)


If you needed further confirmation that the endocannabinoid system is INTEGRAL to skin health..


Just to be that obnoxious person who won't stop...


The disruption of this delicate balance might facilitate the development of multiple pathological conditions and diseases of the skin (e.g. acne, seborrhea, allergic dermatitis, itch and pain, psoriasis, hair growth disorders, systemic sclerosis and cancer).


Okay...uncle. We get it.


Let's dig around into specific studies that further round out the skin landscape.


We'll dive into discreet skin illnesses afterwards.


Is CBD Good For The Skin

Based on the research above...overwhelmingly.


It's more that the endocannabinoid system helps govern a great deal of what needs to go right for healthy skin.

A quick look at this system before we get into it.


Here's the amazing thing about this system which you have naturally in your body!


If your own natural cannabinoid runs low, it can use the CBD to fill in the gaps.


If it has enough, the CBD doesn't appear to build up.


That's why the safety profile is so strong (see is CBD Safe article).


There is not one reported overdose of CBD

In itself, that's a strange attribute.


Studies have tested up to 1500mg doses with good safety results.


There appears to be a self-regulating system to take up cannabinoids if needed.


Let's look at as skin specifically which has this system integrated.


It seems that the main physiological function of the cutaneous ECS is to constitutively control the proper and well-balanced proliferation, differentiation and survival, as well as immune competence and/or tolerance, of skin cells.

That sounds important.


Cutaneous means skins in case it's been a while since bio class.


If you read the above sentence, it's a relative grab-bag of important skin functions.


So yes, the endocannabinoid and it's back up overtime worker, CBD are important for skin.


Are There CBD Receptors In The Skin

We have CBD receptors throughout the skin:


  • Nerve fibers
  • Mast cells (allergic response)
  • Macrofages (immune actors)
  • Karatinocytes (creates barrier in outer layer of skin against environment)
  • Hair follicles
  • Sebocytes (pores)
  • Sweat glands



These are the areas where CBD receptors have been specifically isolated.


It's likely that they are spread throughout the skin.


Can CBD Be Absorbed Through The Skin



There are many studies where CBD is applied either with a cream, balm, or patch and the results are measured for a given requirement.


CBD is not psychoactive whether used topically or ingested (tincture, edibles, etc).

Since we have CB2 receptors throughout our skin, CBD is able to be absorbed and used in such a fashion.


In fact, for skin specific issues, it can be the preferred choice:


  • Acne
  • Psoriasis
  • Sun Burn
  • Pruritus (itching)
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Puffiness
  • Sun damage
  • Wound and healing (it's both antibacterial and antifungal!)


Can CBD Be Used Topically

The companies have different topical product including:


  • Creams
  • Balms
  • Topical Oils
  • Patches


The balms are usually the most popular.


The creams rarely have enough CBD to truly be effective and the patches can be expensive other than for one-off situations.

The patches are really to by-pass the digestive system if the tincture or CBD oils are causing issues there.


If you're having stomach issues, make sure to go with the CBD isolate instead of full spectrum or hemp oil.


Most of the products are full spectrum which may cause the related stomach issues.


Otherwise, for topical, look for for clean CBD, levels of CBD, and the the other ingredients included.


That makes a big deal.


Most of the bases are coconut oil, MCT oil (an extract from coconut oil), or other bases.


Coconut oil has its own benefits for skin and is generally the preferred base.


Full Spectrum Versus Isolate For Skin

Check out the full spectrum versus Isolate article here.


Topical application of CBD throws a new wrench in this calculation.


If you have a histamine issue (allergies, asthma, stomach irritability from food, skin sensitivity to chemicals and botanicals), full spectrum might not be great.

For skin specifically, there are beneficial substances in the hemp plant which are great for skin!


Omega fats. Vitamin E in boatloads.


A host of terpines, flavanoids, and other benefits substances found naturally in hemp oil.


Our recommendation..


Try the isolate balm first for one month. Then try the full spectrum to see how your both reacts!


We hate to see the roughly 40% of the population not get the RESEARCHED benefit of CBD because reactions to other tag-along chemicals in hemp.

You can check out the CBD topicals from top brands here:


Buy CBD online

CBD For Acne

CBD is very exciting for acne


. Finally!


There are systemic effects CBD has on the body in terms of acne


  • It's anti-inflammatory
  • It supports your natural endo-cannabinoid system which stabilizes hormones!
  • It calms the body's response to stress


Specifically in the skin, it shows it's impact as well.


For example, research shows that is stabilizes the sebocytes which control sebum or skin oil.


Over-production of this leads to blocked pores under which, bacteria can wreak havoc.


CBD normalizes "pro-acne agent" induced excessive lipid synthesis of human sebocytes.


They go on to further find that CBD reduces the specific type of inflammation that acne needs to flourish.


CBD exerts universal anti-inflammatory actions.


If you're a big fan of Star Trek and really want to go down the rabbit hole...


sebostatic action of CBD is mediated by TRPV4-dependent interference with the ERK1/2 MAPK pathway and downregulation of nuclear receptor interacting protein-1.

This just digs deeper to find what lever CBD is pulling to do it's magic (and it does appear to be magic for acne).


With acne, topical application might be best (oil tinctures or edibles). If a balm, we want a very "dry" base so as not to exacerbate overactive glands.


Learn all about how CBD works with Acne here.


We want a very high level of CBD!


There's a lot of CBD out there that is in name only.


For a balm, we want at least 500mgs of CBD per 1 oz/30ml.

For a tincture, at least 1000mgs.


You can see the CBDmg breakout for the big brands here:


Buy CBD online

CBD For Rosacea

1 in 20 Americans suffer from rosacea.


That's 5% of the population that now has a safe and effective option to try with CBD.


CBD's list of researched benefits is a veritable description of rosacea's symptoms:


  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Puffiness
  • Related acne


You read up on How CBD Works and the research above, you'll see all of these issues addressed IN the skin!


At its core, rosacea is an inflammatory disease.


CBD and and the endocannabinoid system is responsible for balancing the immune (inflammatory) response throughout the body.


Including the skin.


Please...send us before and after pictures (of the just the test area of skin) so other people can benefit.


You can submit them here and we'll add them shortly.


This is a truly remarkable result of CBD.


You can try the balm or the topical oils depending on your skin sensitivity.


CBD For Psoriasis

This is probably the most studied and exciting research on CBD and skin ailments.


There's lots of research here!


And it's very very positive for CBD.


Just some highlights.


First, Psoriasis is an auto-immune disease.


The immune system is attacking our own tissue.


The endocannabinoid system that CBD supports balances our immune response.


That's why it's showing such great results in research for the full family of diseases.


Including Psoriasis.


Let's put something behind those words.


Psoriasis plays out as a proliferation of tissue in the skin.

The body is making too much Keratin which is our protection from the outside environment in the skin.


CBD has been shown to calm this proliferation:


The cannabinoids tested all inhibited keratinocyte proliferation in a concentration-dependent manner.


And here...



This impacts all skin disorders that involve hyper proliferation including cancers!

Basically, CBD and the the endocannabinoid system help govern cell creation and destruction in the body.


Not too little (wound healing) and not too much (psoriasis).


Psoriasis is ideal for topical.


Make sure it's high levels of CBD...at least 500mg SPECIFIED CBD per 1oz/30ml of balm.

Learn all about CBD for Psoriasis here.


There's a lot of junk out there.


CBD For Eczema

The most common type of eczema is called atopic dermatitis which is (wait for it) autoimmune.


That's good news for CBD which we discussed above in its ability to balance the immune system.


Here's some specific research on eczema and dermatitis:


These results demonstrate a protective role of the endocannabinoid system in contact allergy in the skin and suggest a target for therapeutic intervention.


Exzema and dermatitis are right in CBD's wheelhouse.


Again, topical works well here and and oil addresses issues at a systemic level.


You can check out the best values here:


Buy CBD online

CBD And Skin Cancer

We've written an entire article on CBD and Cancer here.


There a broad summary of different results including for skin cancers such as melanoma here:



Specifically, CBD looks to address cell death (apopsis) which is critical with cancer:


cannabidiol (CBD)) to mice bearing BRAFwild-type melanoma xenografts substantially inhibited melanoma viability, proliferation, and tumor growth


Interestingly, it appears to inhibit the melanoma cells but not the melanocytes:


Cannabinoids inhibit the growth of melanoma cells but not of normal melanocytes


For nonmelanoma skin cancers, it targets the same cell growth pathways, inflammation but research is showing additional abilities to stop blood supply growth which is critical for cancer:



It actually addresses the range of pathways needed for cancer to progress:


Furthermore, CB1 and CB2 receptor activation in mouse melanoma and melanoma cell lines decreased the proliferation, angiogenesis, and metastasis of melanoma


There's lot of specific research on skin cancer itself.


We mentioned above in the psoriasis section that the excessive proliferation of cells is helped by CBD which affects cancer as well:



ECS could become a useful adjunct treatment strategy for hyperproliferative human dermatoses such as psoriasis or KC-derived skin tumors.


Of course, CBD has been used for the symptoms related to cancer treatment, but it's clearly showing as an anti-tumorigenic and tissue balancing agent.


CBD For Skin Inflammation And Itching

At it's core, CBD is an anti-inflammatory.


This really affects many issues in skin including itching.


There's specific research on this.


The average reduction in itch was 86.4%. The therapy was well-tolerated by all patients; neither burning burn nor contact dermatitis was observed.


86% reduction is pretty good!!


This could apply for bug bites, poison ivy, sun burn, wound healing, etc.


There's also data for itching as a result of an allergic response.


These results demonstrate a protective role of the endocannabinoid system in contact allergy in the skin and suggest a target for therapeutic intervention.


Topical CBD balm would definitely be the approach here for itching, redness, and allergic skin reactions.


You can quote the best value for CBD skin balms here:


Buy CBD online

CBD And Skin Wound Healing

We're seeing evidence of CBD helping bones to heal faster and stronger!


Skin is no different.


The key "armor" the body uses is called keratin.


  • Bones have the most of it.
  • Skin has much less.
  • Ligaments and cartilage (like in nose or ear) are in between.


The amount of keratin goes to the "hardness" of the issue.


The endocannabinoid system helps to govern both keratin production and cell differentiation.

Both are critical in would healing!


cannabidiol and cannabigerol are transcriptional repressors that can control cell proliferation and differentiation.



The fact that it's antibacterial and antifungal just seems to be an added bonus.


Most importantly, it doesn't appear to interfere with the rebuilding process like NSAIDs like Ibuprofen.


CBD For Sunburn

This is one of those great examples for CBD.


You can put it on and see RIGHT away what it's capable of.


There are videos with CBD applied to sunburn with pretty fantastic results.

CBD has these crucial benefits for sunburn:


  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain reliever
  • Anti-itch
  • Anti-redness


These are the hallmarks of sunburn!


It also increases the protective mechanism in the skin which we'll get into for the next sections.


CBD For Wrinkles And Skin Aging

This almost requires it's own article (which it will have).


CBD impacts the aging of skin (and the body in generally) in a few ways.


The study of why we age is progressing very quickly.


In terms of skin, roughly 80-90% of the aging factors are external.

The rest our in our genes.


The external is what we can do something about.


That could be the result of:


  • Sun exposure
  • Chemical exposure
  • Sleep quality
  • Diet and Exercise
  • Alcohol and drug use


The usual culprits!


CBD helps with the protection from the external (in contact with skin) forces.


Here, there's evidence of how CBD helps the skin to manage the inflammatory response to outside toxins:


CB1 receptors are functionally expressed by KCs in vivo and help to limit the secretion of proinflammatory chemokines that regulate T cell-dependent inflammation in the effector phase of CHS.


Too much inflammation wrecks havoc on our skin.


But it goes further.


CBD actually helps to create more of the protection we need to address bad actors on our skin:


We found that cannabidiol increased both melanin content and tyrosinase activity.


Here's the part of that article that really matter to aging:


Melanogenesis plays a critical role in the protection of skin against external stresses such as ultraviolet irradiation and oxidative stressors.

Many of the current skin products rely on Vitamin A and E extracts as antioxidants.


Too much oxidation can be bad for skin and the body in general (don't get us started on the brain!)

How does CBD stack up against A and E?


Cannabidiol was more protective against glutamate neurotoxicity than either ascorbate or α-tocopherol, indicating it to be a potent antioxidant.



Stronger than both!


Another factor to wrinkles and skin health is oil production.


CBD helps to manage this lipid production (not too much and more importantly for this article...not too little!)


That's the outside...what about internally?


Keep in mind for aging, that the day to day workload of the cell is overwhelming.


Lots has to be done and our nutrient absorption decreases as we get older.


Hormone production is incredibly important for skin health.


Ask any woman in menopause!


CBD supports the endocannabinoid system which helps to balance the endocrine system (hormones).


Some additional helpers for skin:


  • NAD+
  • Coconut oil
  • Zinc only sunblock (Badge has a nice clear one)
  • Bio-identical estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone (NO sythetics)
  • B-complex with methylated Folate, B9, and B12


Like we said, it requires an entire article but this is a good start.


Review Of CBD And Skin

We've covered a lot.


If you've made this far, the one thing that's obvious from the sheer array of skin issues affected by CBD is this...


It's operating at a fundamental level to our health.

Most chemicals we use for skin issues just hit one or two "symptoms".


Itching and redness.




Nothing great for wound healing


Since these medications are "hammers" for a specific symptom, they frequently come with side effects.


Some side effects are horrific!


Skin really is the lens into our internal health.


You can see when someone is run down or sick or aging by their skin!


It reflects what's happening inside.


That's why we're so excited about CBD.


It addresses key systems that touch almost every aspect of the entire body.


The skin is part of that body.


The biggest organ by the way!


Shop and Compare CBD Balms and Oils for Skin here from brand with 3rd party testing