Do you suffer from acne?
If so, you may be wondering if CBD skin products like creams can help relieve your pimples, cysts, or other blemishes.
Well, they can.
Read on for a detailed look at acne, what it is, and how CBD can help reduce its symptoms.
What is Acne?
Acne is a skin disorder caused by blocked pores.
These pores work like an opening in your skin, allowing oil from glands beneath the skin to pass out onto the surface.
The oil from these glands, known as sebum, runs along a passage known as a follicle and is designed to keep our skin and hair lubricated.
Sebum also collects dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria and carries them up through the follicle and out through the pores in your skin.
Sometimes, however, a combination of sebum, dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells can clog the follicle or pore.
Over time, the bacteria and dirt clogging the pore can cause inflammation and swelling.
As your body fights the inflammation and starts to break down the plug causing the blockage, blemishes may form.
These blemishes and clogged pores create a great environment for bacteria to grow, which can only aggravate the inflammation of the follicle and pore.
Some Different Types of Acne Blemishes Include:
- Pimples (or postules): Inflamed follicles clogged with pus.
- Whiteheads: Clogged, inflamed follicles that have been closed off from the air.
- Blackheads: Clogged follicles that turn a darker color from exposure to the air.
- Cysts: Like pimples, cysts are inflamed and filled with pus. However, cysts tend to reach deep under the skin and can be very tender and painful.
Acne can affect anyone, but it is particularly common in teenagers and young adults, especially during puberty.
That’s because our bodies undergo stark hormonal changes (such as rises in testosterone) during puberty that can increase our body’s production of sebum and increase the chances of acne forming.
Other factors that can increase your chance of developing acne include genetics, bacteria, and poor skin hygiene.
Some medications can also affect sebum production and cause acne.
These include steroids, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, sedatives, and birth control.
Stress is another big factor that can affect acne which I’ll explore in more detail later on in this post.
Certain bacteria, such as Cutibacterium acnes, which live on the surface and deep inside the skin, can also play a part in acne.
Hyperactive sebaceous glands also produce more sebum, allowing these bacteria to grow faster and possibly cause further infection and inflammation.
Differentiating Normal and Severe Acne
Let’s face it:
We all get blocked pores and skin blemishes sometimes.
Some people, however, suffer from really severe acne that can lead to permanent skin scarring.
- Severe acne differs from regular skin blemishes in the following ways:
- Severe acne is persistent and tends to cause acute “breakouts.”
- Severe acne is often accompanied by serious inflammation that can reach deep into the skin.
- Severe acne causes deep, red, and painful cysts or nodules that can affect big patches of skin and cause serious scarring.
- Severe acne can be caused by immune problems, such as an overactive or hypersensitive immune response to blocked pores/follicles.
Normal cases of acne can usually be managed with good skin hygiene and the use of regular over-the-counter medications.
OTC acne medications usually work by killing bacteria on the skin, drying out excess oil, and removing dead skin cells to help unclog pores and follicles.
Medications like salicylic acid, for example, work by slowing the loss of skin cells and prevent clogged pores.
Alpha hydroxy acids, on the other hand, can also help fight inflammation and stimulate the growth of new skin to prevent scarring.
Sulfur-based acne medications work by removing dead skin cells and dries out excess oil.
People with severe acne, however, may not get adequate relief from these medications and instead require specialized treatments from a dermatologist.
For moderate cases of acne, doctors may prescribe:
- Vitamin A.
- Topical antibiotics.
- Medications combining multiple active drugs, such as antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide.
For severe cases of acne, dermatologists may prescribe stronger treatments including:
- Oral antibiotics.
- Isotretinoin, used for severe cases of cystic acne.
- Doctors may prescribe estrogen pills to women with severe acne to minimize the effects of testosterone.
- For extremely painful patches of acne, doctors may use local corticosteroid injections to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
How Stress Affects Acne:
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you notice your skin get visibly worse as you approach an important deadline, meeting, exam, or other kinds of stressful situations.
Well, you’re not alone:
Many people with acne or other skin problems notice their skin flare up when they’re stressed.
I work a really intense job that comes with a lot of responsibility.
Hence, I often have to take part in big meetings with potential clients and investors, as well as prepare presentations and ideas for my superiors.
And while I love what I do, my job causes me a lot of stress and anxiety that takes a big toll on my skin health (as well as other aspects of my life).
I often suffer from acne breakouts, for example, as I approach big work deadlines or important meetings.
These breakouts often make me even more stressed, which only makes matters worse.
Today, research is starting to show that there are real connections with stress and skin health.
Studies have shown, for example, that college students often experience acne flare-ups and skin blemishes in the weeks approaching exams.
When we’re stressed, our bodies produce a variety of hormones that trigger all kinds of different responses around the body.
Research shows that certain skin cells have receptors for these stress hormones and mediate our skin’s response to stress.
This shows that there is an obvious connection between stress and our skin, and may explain why so many people see their acne get worse when they’re stressed.
For more details on stress and its effects on our skin, make sure to check out some of the following articles:
- Stress And Acne – Katherine Kam, WebMD
- Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation, and Aging (Inflammation & Allergy Drug Targets, 2014)
Natural Acne Treatments and Remedies
All of the drugs I’ve mentioned above contain strong chemicals.
For some people, these medications may cause further skin irritation, blemishes, or even rashes.
I’ve definitely found that with some of the medications I listed above.
In fact, I’ve also had issues with regular skin creams and cleansers that only ended up aggravating my acne and making matters worse.
If like me, you find little relief from your acne symptoms using regular medications and skin products, you may want to look into some natural alternatives.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar contains a variety of acids that can kill bacteria like Cutibacterium acnes as well as help fight inflammation.
- Zinc: Studies show that oral zinc supplements can help reduce acne. Studies also show that people with acne tend to have lower levels of zinc in their blood.
- Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is great at fighting bacterial infections and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Witch Hazel: Like tea tree oil, witch hazel has powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce acne.
- CBD: Cannabidiol, or CBD, is found in hemp and cannabis plants. The health and beauty industry is booming with CBD products designed to help reduce inflammation and help reduce symptoms like acne, rashes, eczema, and more.
CBD: My Top Recommendation for Treating Acne and Other Skin Issues
I’ve dealt with skin problems like acne ever since I was a teenager.
Unfortunately, a lot of the medications I got from my dermatologist did little to reduce my symptoms.
And the few options that did work often irritated my skin further.
But that all changed recently when I discovered CBD.
Thanks to its ability to fight inflammation, regulate the immune system, relieve pain, and reduce anxiety, CBD can offer really comprehensive relief from acne as well as other skin conditions.
Below is a quick overview of some of the different ways CBD can fight acne and promote clearer, healthier skin:
CBD Can Fight Inflammation, Redness, and Swelling
CBD is a really powerful anti-inflammatory, which is good news for people with acne.
As I mentioned earlier, acne is caused by swelling and infection of blocked follicles and pores.
CBD can help relieve that inflammation by activating the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which studies show plays a very active role in maintaining skin health.
In 2009, for example, the journal Trends In Pharmacological Science published a study which explored the role of the endocannabinoid system in the skin.
The study showed that the ECS played an important role in regulating the growth of new skin cells, as well as mediating hormone production.
Also, CBD creams have been shown to topically treat a variety of different types of inflammation, including internal inflammation of the joints caused by arthritis as well as the topical inflammation caused by eczema or allergic reactions.
Studies show that CBD can have the same anti-inflammatory effects on sebocytes, the cells that produce sebum.
Thanks to those anti-inflammatory properties, various studies suggest that CBD can help relieve the kind of inflammation caused by acne, including redness, swelling, and tenderness around pimples or other types of blemishes.
I can definitely vouch for CBD as a potential acne treatment.
As I mentioned earlier, I never got a lot of relief from the standard acne treatments my doctor and dermatologist prescribed.
CBD, on the other hand, reduced my acne really quickly, helping to not only reduce my breakouts but also visibly reduce the swelling and inflammation around my acne blemishes.
Today, CBD creams and topicals are my go-to solution for treating pimples, whiteheads, and other kinds of acne imperfections.
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD have also helped me manage rashes, eczema, and other similar breakouts.
CBD May Help Reduce Sebum Production
Apart from its anti-inflammatory benefits, CBD has also been shown to reduce sebum production.
In 2015, for example, researchers from Pakistan published a paper examining the effects of cannabis seed extract on sebum production on a group of male volunteers.
The study used a 3% cannabis seed extract as well as a placebo.
The volunteers used the cannabis extract cream on one cheek and the placebo on the other twice daily over a total of 12 weeks.
The researchers then tested each cheek for sebum production every 2 weeks.
The study was single-blinded, meaning only the researchers knew which cream was applied to which cheek.
The researchers found that sebum production was significantly lower in the group of volunteers using the cannabis-based extract.
The cannabis also helped reduce skin redness.
The study also noted that the cannabis cream was well-tolerated and safe, making it a promising potential treatment for acne.
And while I haven’t actually tested my skin for sebum production, I definitely noticed that my skin was noticeably less oily once I started using CBD creams.
So, if you suffer from oily skin and breakouts, I’d definitely recommend trying CBD.
CBD Can Help Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Worry
In fact, studies show that CBD works like a lot of prescription anxiety medications:
First and foremost, it can increase serotonin levels in the brain, which can temporarily improve your mood and reduce stress.
Secondly, CBD can also increase the levels of anandamide in the brain, another chemical with mood-boosting effects.
Finally, CBD has been shown to promote brain cell growth in parts of the brain that control our emotions and stress response.
If you notice your acne gets worse when you’re stressed or anxious, this is great news.
By reducing your feelings of stress and anxiety, CBD products might help reduce your stress-induced breakouts.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not stranger to stress and anxiety.
Luckily, since I started using CBD creams and supplements, I’ve noticed I’m a lot less stressed from work.
I’m far from stress-free, but I’ve definitely noticed that CBD has helped me manage stress in a healthy, productive way.
My husband, Tyler, has also noticed the benefits of CBD for stress and anxiety.
As an amateur athlete, he often used to get nervous or anxious before a big event.
With CBD, however, he is also able to deal with that stress and pressure in a natural, healthy way and go into the competition with a clear head.
I’ll write about the benefits of CBD for stress and anxiety in more details in a future article.
For anxiety and stress, I recommend trying CBD oils and gummies. CBD topicals don’t reach the bloodstream, making them far less effective for treating symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Beat Acne Today With the Best CBD Creams
CBD can help treat acne in 3 main ways:
By driving down inflammation in blocked pores and follicles, by reducing the protection of sebum, and by reducing stress and anxiety.
If you’re looking for a safe, natural way to relieve your acne symptoms and blemishes, I highly recommend trying CBD skin products like creams and lotions.
If your acne gets noticeably worse when you’re stressed, I also recommend looking into CBD oils and gummies.
These products are noticeably better for stress and anxiety because topical products like creams don’t actually deliver CBD into the bloodstream.
To find the right CBD product for you, makes sure to check out the reviews on my homepage.
And, for more informative articles on the uses and benefits of CBD creams, make sure to keep reading my blog.