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CBD’s anti-acne effects

Acne affects over 600 million people globally [1]. Dark-skinned individuals are more prone to hyperpigmentation (tan, purple or brown marks on the face) after their acne has healed [2]. Research shows that people with acne may develop anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem [3]. 

Cannabidiol (CBD), through its anti-inflammatory effects, may help manage acne and prevent it from worsening. 

Causes of acne

The skin contains sebaceous glands, which open into hair follicles and secrete an oily substance called sebum. The role of sebum is to hydrate the skin but too much of it leads to acne, whiteheads, and blackheads. This is due to sebum mixing with dirt, dead skin cells and pollutants, and clogging the skin’s pores. 

Moreover, inflammation can damage the sebum and reduce its oxygen content. The bacteria that cause acne multiple quickly in a low oxygen environment. They attack hair follicles, and both infection and secondary inflammation develop, resulting in red, inflamed pimples on the skin. 

CBD may help with acne

Endocannabinoids are present in sebaceous glands. CBD interacts with endocannabinoids and controls sebum production. 

A study of CBD compounds on human skin samples and sebaceous glands found that CBD reduced oil production, and had an anti-inflammatory effect on sebocytes, the cells that make up a major part of the sebaceous gland [4]. 

Researchers from Italy’s Modena University applied a CBD ointment to skin scarred from chronic skin disease twice every day for three months and observed a marked improvement. They concluded CBD was a ‘safe and effective non-invasive alternative’ for inflammatory skin disorders [5]. 

How to use CBD for acne 

You can apply CBD oil directly to your skin. Before application, mix it with olive oil, shea butter, or any other carrier that works best for your skin type. 

Taking CBD oil under the tongue (sublingually) is the pharmaceutically preferred method, absorbing directly into the bloodstream and making it available quickly at target sites. However, for acne, CBD oil is meant to be applied directly to the affected areas of the skin.