Clear mind, clear skin: a complete guide to using CBD for acne

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By now, you have no doubt heard about CBD. It is bandied about like a common buzzword and articles and blogs abound shout its praise and aggressively promote it. Businesses such as spas, coffee shops, and health and wellness brands have begun to incorporate it into their product lines. More recently, evidence has shown that along with health-related benefits, CBD also has a variety of beauty and skincare benefits. Specifically, CBD has been shown to combat one of the most common and irksome skin conditions—acne. Below we’ve given you the lowdown on everything you need to know about CBD oil for acne and its acne-fighting abilities. 

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is the second most prominent cannabinoid found in the Cannabis plant. The compound can be found in edibles and oils and typically produces a mild calming sensation. Unlike THC, the most prominent and well known cannabinoid found in cannabis, CBD can be non-psychoactive—meaning it will not give you a “high” or “buzz”. CBD is non-psychoactive when it’s derived from hemp, due to the negligible THC content in hemp plants. CBD can be used for a multitude of health and wellness purposes. For instance, it has been shown to reduce anxiety, promote muscle recovery, and improve sleep, among other benefits. 

How does CBD work in the body

So now that we understand what CBD is, the next step is understanding how it interacts with our biology. The main role of CBD is to assist in the body’s continuous effort towards achieving homeostasis, which is essentially a balance between your body’s nervous systems and your external environment. When your body achieves homeostasis, it is better equipped to deal with physical and mental strains, like illness or stress. This system which is primarily concerned with the maintenance of homeostasis within your body is called the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS. 

The ECS is made up of three main components: endocannabinoids, enzymes, and receptors. Endocannabinoids are naturally produced molecules that bind to proteins and cannabinoid receptors throughout your central and peripheral nervous systems. Presently, experts are aware of two naturally produced endocannabinoids: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG). Endocannabinoids are tasked with ensuring that your bodily functions run smoothly. Once endocannabinoids bind to receptors, it signals to the body that it needs to take action against a physical or mental strain. The endocannabinoid then performs its function and is subsequently broken down by enzymes.

Why endocannabinoids are important

The importance of endocannabinoids is evident. Unfortunately, increased stress, an on-set illness, or a genetic deficiency, can call for necessary reinforcements—this is when CBD is its most useful. When introduced into the ECS, CBD acts as a defensive force against the breakdown of naturally produced endocannabinoids. CBD is a phytocannabinoid, which essentially works to mimic endocannabinoids, and can be sacrificed in order to maintain the endocannabinoid balance your system produces of its own accord. Though CBD can be broken down by enzymes, it does not bind to receptors in the same way that endocannabinoids do. This is also why it does not have a psychoactive effect—it cannot bind to cannabinoid receptors. 

Since CBD is a phytocannabinoid, it has an abundance of beauty and skincare benefits. For example, cannabidiol has strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which are incredibly important for maintaining healthy skin. Homeostasis isn’t just about your physical and mental health, it’s also about your body’s ability to interact with the outside environment. If your ECS is not receiving enough support, this may show up on your skin in the form of blemishes, irritation, and acne. 

CBD oil for acne

What is acne and what are the causes?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S. Although acne is not life-threatening, it can be quite painful when acute and can also impact how you feel about yourself. Not only can acne begin to leave physical scars over time, it can also have an effect on the individual’s self-esteem and overall mental health. 

Types of acne

While acne is commonly known to flare up on the face, it can also be found on the neck, back, chest, and shoulders. The types of spots can differ greatly. For instance, both white heads and blackheads are known as comedones. Open comedones are blackheads because of the skin’s melanin or surface pigment, while closed comedones are whiteheads because the follicle is completely blocked. Other types are inflammatory lesions, which are more likely to cause scarring. These include papules, which are small, red, and typically caused by infected or inflamed hair follicles; pustules, which are small, red pimples that have pus at the tips; nodules which feel solid, unlike the pus-filled pimples, and are found on the surface of the skin; and cysts which are the more painful of the bunch and are quite large, containing pus beneath the surface of the skin. While there are many factors that contribute to the development of acne, including hormonal imbalances, genetics, diet, stress levels, some medication etc., clogged pores is one of the leading causes. Thankfully, acne resulting from clogged pores can be combated the most easily of all the variations. 

CBD oil for acne

How do pores become clogged?

Sebum is a waxy, oily substance that the skin produces as a protectant. When secreted, it coats the skin and shields it from any external harm from pollutants and other atmospheric toxins. This shield then blocks bacteria from penetrating the skin and causing infection. Although sebum is necessary in maintaining the health of your skin, it can mix with dirt, dead skin cells, or other external pollutants, which can seep into your pores and cause clogging. Your skin may also overproduce sebum, making it even more likely that this process will occur and cause pores to become clogged more frequently. 

There are many hygienic skincare habits that will help in acne prevention that should be adhered to. For example, it is important to wash at least daily and especially after sweating. This is because perspiration can make acne worse. Another tip is making sure that you are gentle with your skin. This means using your fingertips to apply a light and nonabrasive cleanser, using alcohol-free products, and staying away from products that can irritate your skin, such as toners, exfoliants, and astringents. Also, while it is tempting to touch your skin, doing so can lead to flare ups; if there is bacteria on your hands, touching your face will inevitably transfer that bacteria onto your skin. 

However, while you may have hygienic skincare habits, it’s still possible to suffer from acne. Some people may turn to medication, laser, and chemical treatments in their attempts to combat it. However, these procedures and drugs often possess seriously harmful side effects. For instance, Accutane, which is a Vitamin-A based medication used to treat severe nodular acne, has a gargantuan list of possible side effects ranging from dry skin and itching, to joint pain, inflammation of the whites of your eyes, and changes in your fingernails and toenails. If you are wary about the substances that you introduce into your body, are concerned about side effects of the more drastic medications and treatments, or  generally prefer more natural alternatives, CBD may be your solution to acne-free skin. 

CBD oil for acne

CBD oil for acne is an effective treatment thanks to its ability to adjust how the body creates sebum. A study published in 2014 found that sebocytes—the cells that are tasked with sebum production—were able to be regulated by using CBD. In other words, the use of CBD prevented sebocytes from producing too much sebum. In another 2016 study, scientists found that CBD contains antibacterial and antifungal properties that help reduce the probability of infection from dirt and other toxins. 

CBD oil for acne

Choose full spectrum CBD oil

In order to know which CBD product and dosage is right for you, it’s helpful to begin with a quick guide about the CBD spectrum scale. All products infused with cannabidiol contain either full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate. The difference between these three types of extracts is the presence of other cannabinoids and compounds found within each. For instance, Full spectrum CBD oil contains all of the compounds found in the cannabis or hemp plant, including a range of cannabinoids, flavonoids (plant chemicals found in fruits), and terpenes (aromatic oils), as well as a minimal amount of THC. Broad spectrum CBD oil also contains a range of cannabinoids, however it is slightly more processed as the THC being stripped out. . CBD isolate, on the other hand, is the purest form of CBD, however it does not contain any of the other substances found in cannabis or hemp. Learn more about why full spectrum CBD oil is preferable here. 


Ingesting CBD for acne

While you can use CBD oil for acne in a variety of forms, for skincare, it is most often ingested or applied topically. In determining the amount of CBD to use, it is best to start with a lighter dosage and then work up if need be. If you are unsure, take our 3-step quiz for a personalized recommendation. Because skin is much more sensitive and can react to much less product, a lower dosage should yield results when ingesting CBD oil for its acne fighting abilities.

CBD oil for acne

Applying CBD topically for acne

If you would prefer to apply CBD topically, begin by mixing your CBD oil with a carrier oil so as to dilute it. It’s wise to first test this on a small portion of your skin that’s less visible or sensitive to ensure your skin does not react negatively to it. resolveCBD’s Natural CBD oil can be mixed in with your other skincare products like moisturizer or toner. However, please note that our CBD oil contains MCT, which is a comedogenic oil and may clog pores. This is why we recommend ingesting resolveCBD oils for acne. 

CBD oil can be an excellent, natural alternative to traditional medications to relieve symptoms of acne. If currently on medication for acne or if symptoms are severe, we always advise that you seek the advice of a specialist to ensure that the treatment plan is right for you.

DISCLAIMER: Information and products presented by resolveCBD are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment, nor is it intended to be a substitute or alternative for professional medical advice. Always consult with a licensed professional regarding medical treatment or possible interactions with prescribed drugs. Products are intended to be used as directed, by individuals who are 19 years of age or older.