14 Nov 2019
CBD skincare

CBD Skincare; The Relationship of CBD for Skincare

CBD skincare. What is it and why is it beneficial?

Beauty and skincare products infused with CBD are popping up in the market but how does CBD work with the body to promote healthy skin? Hannah Hatcher, Licensed Esthetician, takes a deep dive into skin and CBD to demonstrate the positive effects CBD can have on inflammation, aging, and acne.

Inflammation in the Body

How is it that this one word can be associated with so much within our body?  Everything from skin disorders to the common cold to more serious illness such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer; inflammation is the common thread amongst it all.  Inflammation is a direct response in your body against infection, irritation and injury. When any of these situations arise in our body, we automatically create an inflammatory cascade to help repair, as well as clean up around the area removing any unwanted microorganisms within our body. 

Sounds good, right? It is!

This process keeps us healthy and safe; however, chronic inflammation is what we need to be on the lookout for. When we have ongoing inflammation, the results are disastrous. When our body is in a constant state of inflammation, we are in a constant state of fight, all the way down to a cellular level.  Understanding how inflammation can affect the skin, as well as where CBD can help this fight in skincare, will get you on the right track to safe skin health.

Inflammation and Skincare

Our skin is beyond complex, we have about 1.6 trillion cells making up our skin alone!  Each cell will have a nucleus, what is inside the nucleus is what is so important, our DNA.  Our DNA is what makes us well, us! We need to protect our DNA at all costs, this is why it lives in the very center of our cells and protected by the cell membrane.  Our cell membranes will be our first line of defense in keeping the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. These membranes will contain specific antioxidant based vitamins, such as vitamin E.  We also find ascorbic acid, aka vitamin C, within our cells as well. These powerful antioxidants are vital in skin health against inflammation.

Antioxidants and Free Radicals

Antioxidants help fight against free radicals.  Free radicals are a byproduct of inflammation. Free radicals are uncharged molecules, meaning they have an uneven number of electrons. When free radicals enter the skin, they are a bit like a bull in a china shop.  They bang around, thus causing damage to the innocent nearby cells. Luckily, our cell membranes contain antioxidant vitamin E and can lend and electron to the free radical, which will then correct itself and stop the damage. 

The easiest way to understand how free radicals and antioxidants interact is to think about when you cut open an apple. After being cut open and left out, the flesh of the apple with start to oxidize and turn brown, due to free radicals.  To stop the apple from turning brown, you can squeeze anything citrus based on top (lemon or orange); these fruits packed with antioxidant vitamin C will stop the free radical damage (in this case the browning of the apple). When vitamin C and E come together, they work better together! Free radicals are disarmed by the vitamin E, and then recycled by the vitamin C. This all sounds fabulous, except for one thing; we only have a limited amount of antioxidant support naturally within our body.  

You see, almost everything causes free radical stress which will in turn cause inflammation.  When energy is created in the cell, free radicals will be generated. Take a deep breath; guess what? The simple act of breathing causes free radical stress in the body.  When you eat a meal, the cellular energy digestion causes free radical stress within the body. Speaking of eating, the foods you eat are a direct link to inflammation. Alcohol, deep-fried foods, BBQ foods, dairy, sugar, red meat, the list goes on and on.  Not to mention all of our external factors, such as UV sun damage, pollution and do not even get me started on smoking. At least 10,000 hits of free radical damage with every puff of a cigarette!

So what does this all mean?

The antioxidants that we naturally have in our body are fantastic at fighting the free radicals that occur just by keeping us alive, breathing and digesting.  However, with all of free radical triggers we experience as humans living in the 21st century, what we have is simply not enough.  When there are not enough antioxidants to go around, those free radicals will try to steal an electron from your DNA, which can result in cell mutation and serious illness. 

CBD as an Antioxidant

Enter the amazing world of antioxidant super hero, CBD. It is a powerful antioxidant, more powerful that vitamins A, C and E. The government has even issued a patent on the neuroprotective and antioxidant properties of cannabinoids.  The fact that we know that CBD is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and a super strong antioxidant is truly changing the way that professionals and consumers look at skincare.


We are all trying to fight it, but we all are doing it right now. Can we stop it? No, but we can slow it down and create age management through our skincare and treatments.

I am sure we all know someone (or maybe it is you!) who has the idea that “if it’s burning it means it’s working!” when it comes to their home skincare regimen.  This could not be further from the truth. What we do know is that the longer the skin is inflamed, the faster it ages, welcome the term inflamaging. When the skin is inflamed it produces free radicals, but it also produces enzymes that breakdown collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid (which is all structural support). 

Not only will your poor skin cells try to defend itself through its own natural antioxidant artillery, your structural support becomes compromised as well. I am sure we are asking ourselves “What about exfoliation? Chemical peels? People who burn their faces off with crazy lasers? Don’t these all cause inflammation?”  The answer is technically yes; however, when done properly it is in a controlled environment it is very safe. This is why it is so important to adhere to instructions on exfoliants, as well as have a knowledgeable skincare therapist or dermatologist to help guide you in the right direction. When we receive a professional treatment, laser or chemical peel, it is a controlled trauma to the skin.

Healing Controlled Trauma to the Skin with CBD

Essentially, we are forcing the skin into rapid wound healing, which in turn will kick start structural support synthesis (basically helps the body create more collagen.) CBD can be an ideal ingredient to look for when we are in the healing phase. Through research, we have found that our bodies CB1 receptor activates during the course of wound healing. By introducing topical CBD, we can deliver potent antioxidants as well as powerful anti-inflammatory actions directly to the skin to promote healthy skin healing.  Remember, if we can calm the inflammation we can stop the free radical damage, which in turn will slow down the breakdown of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. CBD can help us protect these valuable structural elements to our skin, thus being an integral anti-aging ingredient.

Using CBD for Acne

Another avenue where we are seeing CBD work harmoniously with skincare is in the world of acne.  Acne is a tricky and very personal skin disorder that affects more than 45 million people in the US alone.  Once we understand how acne works, we can have a much better idea on how CBD works into its treatment.

When acne is present, there are four underlying conditions going on. 

  1. First, we see something called retention hyperkeratosis. This is a big fancy phrase for holding on to too many skin cells. This is why exfoliation is so important. However, as we discussed above too much exfoliation can lead to inflammation, which in turn can turn premature aging. 
  2. The next issue we see with acne is oil. Sebum, or oil, tends to get a bad reputation. Sebum is necessary, it helps hydrate our skin, and it helps protect our skin against bad bacteria! Without sebum, we would be a walking petri dish. Too much oil, or a change in oil consistency is a different story, and this is what we see in an acneic skin.  The sebum becomes thick and sticky and is overproduced. This mixed with the skin cells that can’t let go will create a plug in your follicle, also known as a blackhead or a whitehead. Not only are these types of breakouts pesky and annoying, they also stop the flow of oxygen into the follicle.
  3. When oxygen is not present, a certain bacteria will thrive, Propionibacterium acnes, let’s call them P. acnes for short.  They are tricky buggers, they become hyperactive when oxygen isn’t around and they love to eat sebum! Therefore, an acneic follicle with that plug is a perfect environment for them to grow and multiply. When this follicle begins to fill to capacity with p. acne bacteria, plus the oil that keeps being produced as well as the dead skin cells which will continue to turn over; it begins to swell which in turn causes inflammation.  Right away, we already know that CBD is a wonderful anti-inflammatory, which will definitely help take down a lot of the redness that is associated with acneic breakouts. But, what about the rest of the contributing factors with acne? Based on a study conducted back in 2014, researchers found that CBD effected these certain cells in our skin called sebocytes. Sebocytes are the cells that make up the sebaceous gland, and produce sebum (oil).  What researchers found was that when CBD interact with sebocytes it helped suppress the production of oil, amazing news for the folks who suffer from oily congested skin!
  4. Another interesting fact about your oil gland is that it loves to communicate with hormones. We all have hormones flowing through our body. They are responsible for almost every bodily response. When hormones are in balance, all is well. However, what happens when they become unbalanced?
    1. Women will know all too well, that around that time of the month we get cranky, bloated and breakouts like to pop up all around our nose and mouth area. This is due to a surge of estrogen being released during your cycle, and is known as estrogen dominance. That huge surge of estrogen will then communicate with your sebaceous gland and kick it into overdrive, which in turn will pump out a ton of thick and sticky oil, which leads to those super attractive breakouts around the nose and mouth area.  You can typically tell what side you are menstruating on, by noticing what side of your skin has the most breakouts. What is going on inside our bodies definitely shows up outside!
    2. Testosterone is another tricky hormone, men and women both have testosterone flowing through the body. However, when we look at true acneic skins, they have just a bit too much testosterone. This will convert into something called dihydrotestosterone (or DHT). The DHT loves to communicate with your oil gland, and again kick starts it into overdrive.  The result is breakouts all over the skin on the face and body. So why all this hormone talk? Well aside from being a contributing factor in the world of acne, CBD has shown to have positive impacts on hormones. CBD can help maintain hormonal balance by interacting with neurotransmitters directly linked to hormone regulation and production.  

Hormones and Acne

We already know that hormones are super bossy, telling our bodies what to do all the time, a direct link to hormones are these little lipid compounds known as prostaglandins. They are bossy just like hormones, but live inside of every cell and tissue within the body, and are not secreted from a gland.  Prostaglandins are hormones created during a chemical reaction, typically where injury or trauma is occurring. There are three different types, or series, if you will.

  • Series 3 prostaglandins help to slow down inflammation in the body.
  • Series 2 actually stimulates inflammation, and hits the body hard and fast. 
  • Series 1 can actually help slow down series 2 prostaglandin activity.

How CBD Works with Hormones and Acne

How this all correlates into the world of CBD is the fact that hemp based CBD is packed full of omega-6 fatty acids and GLA, these are known series 1 supporters! This means that CBD can help slam the breaks on hard and fast inflammation in the body and on the skin.  Even more interesting, when we see certain skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, they are typically lacking GLA in their bodies. CBD being rich in GLA may be an ideal treatment for these specific skin disorders. I digress, back to hormones and CBD for skincare. CBD being rich in in quality omega 6 helps slow down the intensity of prostaglandin series 1, this helps prevent your hormones from kick starting into overdrive.  Meaning assisting in evening our estrogen, testosterone and even insulin. Creating hormone balance will not only assist people suffering from acne, but can also assist numerous other skin and overall health issues.

CBD for Skincare

CBD is changing the way we look at everything in the world of skin care.  From topical to consumable, the potential health benefits for the skin are continually being tested and pushed for the positive.  Consider introducing one or two new CBD products into your skincare routine to see just how effective it can be. Dark Matter, CBD Antiseptic Soap is a wonderful cleanser, especially for those suffering from acne and overall inflammation.  Add a few drops of Afterglow, CBD Healing Oil to your skin morning and night and notice the change in your skin in just a matter of days! If you are a hooked on your current regime, have no fear, I enjoy applying a few drops of my CBD Dropper right into my day and night time moisturizer to give myself those healing and quality benefits of CBD to my normal skin routine. For those with oily skin, add a few drops of NANO CBD Enhancer to any skincare product to infuse it with CBD. The options are endless, and your skin will thank you for it!

Hannah Hatcher

Licensed Esthetician

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