Not since K-Beauty and sheet masks hit the shores (and faces) on this side of the world, beauty has been so head over heels for something like it is now for CBD oil. There have been so many CBD product launches that we run out of puns and product names for smoking. CBD oil, or cannabidiol, has quickly gained a reputation for beauty – and health in general – thanks to its multiple uses.
CBD oil supposedly helps with everything from anxiety to heart disease to inflammation. In terms of beauty, it has been hyped for fighting acne, its moisturizing abilities, and fighting free radicals. Given the calming effects of CBD oil, it’s also advertised as a calming option for sensitive skin. We are investigating whether CBD oil is good for reactive skin or whether the claims are just hot air.
What is CBD Oil?
Let’s start with the basics: CBD oil is one of the most important cannabinoids (chemical compounds) found in the Cannabis sativa L. plant, says Leilah Mundt, founder of Crème Collective. (It’s one of over 100 types of cannabinoids.) To answer the question everyone is asking, using CBD on your skin isn’t going to get you high. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive, says Mundt.
Why CBD oil is trending in skin care
We find that CBD oil has a variety of health benefits, including antioxidant and antimicrobial properties when it comes to skin care, says Linnea Robertson, spa director at Balboa Bay Resort. CBD is rich in vitamin A, which stimulates cells to keep the skin firm and healthy. It also has vitamin C, which can increase collagen production, and vitamin E, which can fight free radicals and help with the signs of aging. As mentioned earlier, CBD is believed to be beneficial for acne prone skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Basically, the CBD claims cover almost all skin care problems.
CBD oil for sensitive skin
Sensitive skin is usually associated with inflammation, allergies or very dry skin due to a lack of natural sebum production, says Sylvia Wehrle, CEO and founder of June.CBD Apothecary. The internal anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are believed to hold true even when applied topically, says Heather Wilson, licensed esthetician and director of branding at InstaNatural. The ingredient is believed to reduce redness and irritation. According to Wehrle, CBD can help reduce inflammation on the surface and just below it. It can also help regulate sebum production.
Board certified dermatologist and prominent beauty expert Dr. Anna Guanche says that while CBD oil is very popular, it hasn’t been used as a topical for very long compared to other skin care ingredients studied. This must be taken into account when weighing the information provided about it. We haven’t seen any detailed reports of irritating or allergic reactions to CBD active ingredients. According to Guanche, the allergenicity of CBD seems to be low so far. She points out that there can be allergies to anything, especially when it comes to herbal ingredients like CBD oil.
Leya Nicolait, spa director at The Sebastian Vail, says tests to date show that CBD oil may be useful for acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
What should you look for in a CBD skin care product?
Prominent esthetician Kát Rudu, who developed a CBD Sanctuary Glow Serum for almost two years, says a clean version of CBD oil is key. There are companies that use CBD oils, which can contain high levels of chemicals due to the use of pesticides, Rudu says. In addition, there are CBD oils that have not been tested microbiologically, terpene analysis or residual solvents. The resulting products may be offered at a lower price, but they may have irritants or other properties that make the skin sensitive. “The CBD oils on the market are very different, so it is important for sensitive and highly reactive skin to know about the product and its process,” says Rudu. An important guideline is price. Rudu says that excellent quality pure versions of CBD oil come at a high price.
Other calming options for sensitive skin
If you have sensitive skin and want to stay away from CBD, there are other proven options for soothing the skin. Wilson says look for products with soothing and moisturizing ingredients. Plant extracts like green tea, Centella asiatica (also known as tiger grass / gotu kola) and chamomile go well with oats, niacinamide, vitamin E and oils like argan and jojoba. In addition, Rudu suggests aloe vera, botanical hyaluronic acid, witch hazel, almond oil, primrose oil and raspberry oil.
Mundt says the simpler the formula, the better is a good rule for sensitive skin.
Ingredients to avoid for sensitive skin
Individual sensitivities can vary. In general, people with sensitive skin should avoid anything that contains fragrances, including synthetic and natural options, Wilson says. Essential oils should be used with caution as they can irritate the skin if they are of poor quality or if the concentration is too high.
Look out for strong ingredients like retinol and certain acids like glycol, especially in higher concentrations. They can be too harsh for sensitive skin. It’s worth noting again that harsh preservatives, sulfates, and parabens are best avoided per Wehrle.
If you are unsure about an ingredient or product, Vail recommends checking the Environmental Working Group’s database. Their consumer guides rate over 76,000 products for allergies and toxicities.
As with the other claims made by CBD oil, not enough research has been done to fully understand how the ingredient can benefit sensitive skin. If you want to give it a try, take precautions like you would with new ingredients. Choose high quality CBD oil products from brands that offer transparency. Then pay attention to how the ingredient reacts with the skin. If you notice any reaction, stop using the product as soon as possible.
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