Is Topical CBD the Answer to Your Skin or Pain Concerns? Doctors and Experts Weigh In
There’s a lot to learn.
If it seems like the marketplace is awash with CBD, it’s due to the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the Farm Bill) that legalized hemp nationwide. But CBD is not new. In fact, it has been an integral part of many cultures for centuries. What is new, or newish, is the scientific realization that phytocannabinoids (which come from plants, including hemp) have real benefits.
The Nourishing Effects of CBD
CBD manufacturers cannot make claims as to benefits per the FDA, but anecdotal evidence suggests that individuals dealing with redness, eczema, acne, or other forms of irritation can benefit from using CBD topically. “CBD acts like a magnet,“ says Casey Georgeson, CEO and Founder of Saint Jane Beauty, the brand behind cult-favorite – Luxury Beauty Serum. “It [is drawn to your] deficiencies.” Georgeson discovered CBD in 2018 while suffering from atopic dermatitis. “CBD has had incredible effects on my skin,” she says. “Like so many others who have [dry, sensitive skin] I found a lot of quick fixes but nothing that would truly nourish and care for my skin long-term without having any harmful side effects.”
Why Certified Organic Matters
Much like the decision to eat cleaner, using CBD- or hemp-based skincare means doing your homework. Jessica Bates, a Certified Clinical Herbalist and Co-Owner of Moon Mother Hemp Co. explains that hemp is a bioaccumulator and draws up anything that is in the soil, including heavy metals and pesticides. Knowing where the plants are grown and what else has been grown on the same land is key, which is why the hemp used in their Glow Skin Serum is farmed on land that “historically produced strictly vegetables and herbs.” This ensures their products offer extremely high levels of antioxidants and break down environmental toxins that get into the skin.
The Calming Effects of Topical CBD
In a recent master class for the Beautytap Review Program, Myaderm Founder Eric Smart explained that intradermal delivery of CBD reduces both inflammation and redness upon contact. As someone who suffers from occasional age-related flushing, I haven’t had the best of luck finding redness-reducing products, but Myaderm’s Ultimate Calming Normalizing Cream has proven particularly effective at soothing tretinoin-induced irritation. After testing it out for myself, along with two other Myaderm products, I’m officially a fan, especially because my skin felt more balanced and hydrated compared to using non-CBD products.
CBD May Make Your Vitamin C Serum Easier to Tolerate
If you have sensitive skin or find that traditional vitamin C serums sting, a CBD-infused version may prove easier to tolerate. Georgeson created her “intensely potent” The C-Drops with Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract to quell redness and soothe irritation. This is one of the brand’s holy grail products, so she crafted a “meticulously clean serum that combined the skin-soothing, anti-inflammatory effects of CBD with the brightening benefits of vitamin C.” Saint Jane’s The C-Drops also contain 500 mg of CBD, one of the “highest doses currently available in skincare.”
CBD Options for Pain Relief
If you’re looking for pain relief, “Topical phytocannabinoids usually come in an oil or ointment base and are excellent to relieve pain and inflammation in a localized area,” says Dr. Susanne Bennett, Founder and Owner of Purigenex, a wellness skincare company. “For example, applying phytocannabinoids (CBD only, THC only, or a combination of both) on the knee [is effective] for acute pain and inflammation after a sprain/strain injury.” In this type of situation, relief can last “several hours” and begins “within 15 to 20 minutes,” she adds.
I’ve used Dragonfly’s 2000mg Muscle Gel as well as Naternal’s 2000mg Rescue CBD Muscle Cream, and both provide immediate, albeit temporary, relief. The common denominator here is the concentration of the CBD. Of course, long-term relief requires a different approach. “For severe or chronic pain relief, you need high levels of oral CBD, not topical,” says Dr. Bennett. “Anywhere from 20 to 200 mg, depending on the patient. Some patients find more relief by ingesting a combo formula of both CBD and THC…again the ratio and dosage must be customized for each patient.”
Wondering if topical CBD is right for you? Reach out to one of Beautytap’s Beauty Experts for guidance.