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What Is CBD?

CBD or cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid that comes from hemp. It interacts with our endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for maintaining a number of important functions necessary for our overall wellbeing.

CBD grows naturally in cannabis. It is legal throughout the U.S. as long as it is sourced from hemp with less than .3% THC. It became legal after the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. This legislation removed hemp from the controlled substances list and paved the way for it to be legally cultivated and sold.

Now you can get all kinds of products with CBD in them. This cannabinoid continues to grow in its popularity thanks to the benefits many people experience when taking it.

Also, more and more scientific studies are coming out showing that that CBD does offer some pretty great benefits. Some of the most well-researched situations CBD seems to offer support in are medication-resistant seizures, help managing stress and anxiety (including PTSD), and help with falling and staying asleep.

Can CBD Be Used on Skin?

There are a variety of ways to take CBD. All of them deliver CBD to your body in a way that may help to provide you with support. But some methods are better than others for certain desired outcomes. For example, you can inhale CBD or eat it in the edible form if you want to feel whole-body effects. Or you can rub it into your skin for a localized effect.

When it comes to supporting your skin, topical or transdermal applications are the best way to experience the benefits of CBD. To try it topically you just need to apply CBD oil to the area you want to feel the effects and rub it in.

How Does CBD Work Through Skin?

There are two ways CBD can get to your endocannabinoid system through your skin. It can be absorbed either topically or transdermally.

Topical CBD Products

CBD topicals include products like creams, balms, and lotions. Often, they are made with ingredients like capsicum or cayenne pepper to provide extra heating action or menthol for on-the-spot cooling action.

When you try CBD oil on your skin through a topical, it doesn’t penetrate deeply enough to reach your bloodstream like it does when taken via other methods, such as eating a gummy, for example. Instead, it gets absorbed through the pores and works with the CB2 receptors inside the skin. This is how it provides a localized effect.

Once absorbed, the CBD can help boost soothing on the spot. But none of the active ingredients will make it to the lower layers of your skin or be absorbed by your bloodstream.

Transdermal CBD Products

Transdermal products are designed to be able to permeate the skin and enter the body.

A transdermal product passes through the outer layer of skin to let its active ingredients work in the layers beneath the epidermis. In this case, once the CBD reaches the bloodstream, it can have whole-body effects instead of just localized ones.

This is why some people may experience calming or comfortable effects from transdermal products along with skin support.

What Are The Benefits Of CBD Oil On The Skin?

Although research is still in the early stages, it shows that there are many potential benefits to using CBD oil on the skin. Studies have shown that CBD can do things like reduce inflammation and help with hydration, so there is good reason to believe it can offer these benefits to our skin as well.

Right now the way conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and other similar skin conditions are treated is with topical corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory agents. But using topical steroids comes with a number of unwanted side effects. Many patients end up with issues in areas of sensitive skin, like the eyes, armpits, and groin areas.

Scientists are looking into the potential of CBD to offer the same type of anti-inflammatory effects to the skin without causing these types of unpleasant side effects.

And there are even more ways researchers think CBD may be able to help. Here are some of the findings from other studies:


Many people search for relief from acne in all age groups.

Acne can commonly be caused by skin that produces too much sebum. This is an oily, waxy substance that helps protect our skin.

But too much of it can cause issues like pimples. Sebocytes are the cells that create sebum. A 2014 study found that CBD may be able to interact with these cells and prevent them from going into overdrive.

Another issue that can lead to unwanted acne is an infection on the skin. A 2016 review showed there is potential for CBD to help with this as it has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties.

And one more study conducted in 2019 suggests that CBD may be able to help with the appearance of acne scars as well – possibly by helping to improve skin hydration. Although more studies need to be done to fully understand the way CBD helps with this it is clear it had a positive impact on the skin of the study participants.

Dry, Itchy Skin

Another skin problem that affects many is dryness and itching. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may be able to offer support in this area as well.

CBD oil is commonly used to help soothe skin and reduce the appearance of irritation in sensitive skin. A 2019 study shows that it may be able to help reduce the potential of things like eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis.

Maintaining Youthful-Looking Skin

Another area where CBD oil on the skin may offer some benefits is soothing and moisturizing. A study completed in 2017 takes a look at the antioxidant properties of CBD.

These properties can counteract oxidative stress, which can speed up the aging process. This has researchers pondering the possibility of if CBD can help with slowing down the appearance of aging skin.

Additional Benefits

Additional compounds that come in full-spectrum CBD oils may also offer more benefits than you get with CBD isolate. The fatty acids that come from hemp, for example, help with encouraging new cell growth and help keep skin fresh and nourished.

The benefits that might come from applying CBD oil to the skin will differ from person to person. They may also differ between products.

Some of the ingredients that are commonly added to CBD oil to increase the positive impacts on the skin are coconut oil, lavender extracts, and other popular skincare ingredients, like aloe.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is very much what it sounds like. It is an oil that is infused with CBD extract. There are a few ways in which this can be done. First, the CBD extract must be separated out from the hemp plant through an extraction process.Then it can be further refined or mixed with a carrier oil.

There are three different CBD oil extract types, depending on how much material is left in the extract. They are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate extracts.

Full Spectrum Oil

Full-spectrum oil is a great option because it keeps the CBD in its most natural environment, right alongside other cannabinoids like THC. But the THC is limited in line with federal law. CBD oil with THC content under .3% is legal at the federal level in the U.S. As long as it stays under this limit then, it is ready to be mixed with a carrier oil and bottled.

This is a popular extract type because many people report getting the strongest support from full-spectrum products. Research suggests this is thanks to a process called the entourage effect. The idea is that CBD is able to work better along with the other compounds in hemp. So when you leave them in the oil, they combine for a stronger effect.

Broad Spectrum Oil

The main thing to note about broad-spectrum oil is that it is free of THC. But besides that, it also keeps the other compounds naturally found in hemp.

This is a great option for those who might feel uncomfortable with the idea of consuming a trace amount of THC in full-spectrum CBD. But the entourage effect is thought to be less efficient than with full-spectrum products.

CBD Isolate

When CBD oil is refined until everything is gone but the CBD compound, then all that is left is an isolate.

This is great for states that still don’t allow any legal forms of THC consumption. But there is no benefit from the entourage effect with this extract type.

Hemp Seed Oil

Let’s take a second here to note that CBD oil is not the same thing as hemp seed oil. Although these two labels are often used interchangeably, they are different products.

Hemp seed oil is another great ingredient for skin, but it only contains trace amounts of CBD, if any at all.

Be wary of products that use alternative names on ingredient lists like “CBD-enriched”. Opt for a product that clearly states “cannabidiol” or “full-spectrum CBD”.

Can You Use Oral CBD Oil On Skin?

Lots of CBD oils are sold for sublingual use. That means you drop some under your tongue and let your body absorb it for a moment before swallowing the rest. They are not intended to be used as a topical on the skin, but some people use then that way.  If you are interested in trying it, make sure the CBD oil contains only ingredients that are safe for – and will not irritate – the skin.

Another option is that you may also be able to mix CBD oil with other skin products to make a more supportive version of what you already apply to your skin at home. Again, make sure to use a CBD oil that does not have any other ingredients that might cause irritation to skin.

In this case, experts recommend blending the two products while you are applying them. You can take your skin cream or whatever you are trying to enhance and rub it together with some CBD oil in your palms before applying it to your skin. Don’t mix your whole bottle of CBD oil into a cream or lotion all at once. It works best to mix before each application.

Never apply products to open wounds. Start with a small amount to make sure you don’t have any unexpected reactions.

If you do experience any skin irritation when trying out any kind of skin product, you should stop use immediately and gently wash the product off your skin. If you can, speak with a dermatologist to find the best way to add CBD into your skincare routine.

Also, keep in mind that not all CBD products can be tried in various ways like this. For example, some brands make topical CBD oils that should not be ingested. Make sure you always read the label to find out what the active ingredients are and follow the directions for use.

Potential Side Effects

CBD is widely accepted as safe to take and has a long track record of being well-tolerated. Still, there is the potential for some side effects.

An area of concern is the possibility that CBD can interact with other medications. If you are taking any prescription medications, you should always check with your doctor to find a safe way to incorporate CBD into your day.

Otherwise, some of the most common side effects you may experience are dry mouth, fatigue, drowsiness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite.

To minimize the chance of side effects follow the instructions on the label. Start with the lowest dosage and allow yourself time to see how you respond. Over a week or two gradually increase the dosage as you see fit.

Find The Best CBD Oil For Your Skin

Do your homework before buying a new CBD product. Full-spectrum oils have the most immersive effects.

If you are considering an oil check to see that there are full panel third-party lab tests completed for the product and read the results. This is the best way to know that you are getting what is on the label. They should be available to you on the company’s website. If you cannot find a recent Certificate of Analysis then don’t buy the product.

If you still have questions then check out our buyer’s guide and learn how you can find CBD products you trust