People all over the world are starting to see CBD on the shelves of shops in more and more products, incorporated into everything from dog chews to bath bombs, toothpaste and artificial sweeteners.
And as the trend continues through to skincare and cosmetics, discussions like this one on Breaking Beauty are happening amongst people and professionals wondering how and why they should be incorporating cannabinoids into their daily self care routines.
Many are quick to dismiss these kinds of products as just part of the craze, but the truth is that CBD is an incredible compound with real benefits for skin - for both aesthetic purposes and as a treatment for chronic skin conditions.
And while ingesting CBD drops regularly is a great way to attain good skin health from the inside out, CBD is also being incorporated into ointments and salves to treat localised areas and issues.
But how does it work? Well, CBD is absorbed by your body in a different way when applied topically than when it is consumed as an oil, but still interacts within your body’s endocannabinoid system, (otherwise known as the ECS). The ECS compromises of a complex system of endocannabinoid molecules, receptors and enzymes that work together to keep your body healthy.
Your skin produces and releases these molecules naturally, and they bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors found in your central and peripheral nervous systems to signal the ECS to perform various physiological actions. The enzymes then work to break down the molecules once they have served their purpose.
In the skin, the activation of these receptors serves to regulate its normal functions as a barrier for the health of the rest of your body. As Dr Cheryl Bugailiskis, MD, a board-certified paediatrician and cannabis specialist with HelloMD, explains:
"The skin is the largest organ and our body’s first line of defense against unwanted organisms. As such, this protective layer has the highest amount and concentration of what are called cannabinoid receptors."
"Cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body as a part of our endocannabinoid — a checks-and-balance matrix, which regulates a number of critical bodily functions and responses such as stress, pain, appetite, inflammation, sleep, immunity and even processes like how much or how little oil our skin produces."
Effectively what the cannabinoids in these newly emerging ranges of CBD skincare products are doing is serving to increase the activity of the skin’s endocannabinoid system.
This in turn makes the ECS more effective at treating immune-related and inflammatory issues, including conditions like allergic reactions and acne, psoriasis, dermatitis and rosacea. Conversely, if the ECS is dysfunctional it is likely to contribute to diminished skin health.
According to research studies, this ECS's modulatory effect also helps to regulates the production of sebum - an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands.
Sebum helps to maintain moisture and flexibility in the skin, and acts as a barrier from harmful matter like bacterial and fungal infections. However, if present in excess, a build up of sebum can cause oily skin, blocking pores and resulting in acne.
By regulating sebum production, CBD prevents this from happening and can be a powerful and effective treatment against skin breakouts and chronic acne.
Moreover, CBD isn’t just helpful for sufferers of special skin conditions - it’s also great for anyone simply wanting to nourish and look after their skin. Omega-3 acids are a significant component of healthy skin, helping to lock in moisture by “sealing” it and keeping contaminants out.
And the Omega3-Omega6 ratio in cannabis sativa seed oil, as used in our Herb Essntls skincare range, perfectly mirrors the natural lipids already present in your skin, keeping it supple and hydrated.
So while goods like CBD mascara or CBD-infused pillowcases may just be hopefully hitching their star to the cannabidiol bandwagon with no real results, there are true benefits to be had when using skincare products containing CBD.
Just ensure that the products you're buying uses pure, full or broad spectrum and not just hemp seed oil, which contains no active ingredients or compounds.