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The truth about skin care products with CBD

Skin care products with CBD

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is added to added to soaps, serums, creams, and other skin care products for its purported health benefits.

It’s said that skin care products infused with cannabidiol (CBD) can do everything from clear acne to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Before you spend your hard-earned money on one of these products, here’s what you should know.

Misleading health claims appear on CBD-infused skin care products

None of the claims that CBD can treat conditions such as acne, rosacea, or psoriasis have been proven. Research on using CBD is still in the early stages.

Until there is enough research to support these health claims, making such claims is considered misleading. In the United States, such claims are also illegal. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent warning letters to companies making such claims.

This may seem like a hard stance for the FDA to take. It’s doing this to protect people’s health. More research is needed to know whether CBD can treat these conditions. More research is needed to know whether CBD is safe.

People often mistakenly believe that CBD is harmless

CBD-containing skin care products may seem harmless. These products are widely available. You don’t need a prescription. You may even pick up a product and notice that it says it can treat acne or another skin problem.

The FDA warns that CBD comes with possible health risks. On its website, the FDA says, “CBD has the potential to harm you, and harm can happen even before you become aware of it.”

Woman who are pregnant or breastfeeding

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use any product that contains CBD, the FDA warns.

Research shows that taking CBD oil can damage your liver. This finding comes from clinical trials.

These clinical trials were run to find out whether taking CBD oil can reduce seizures in children who have rare forms of epilepsy. It can. To date, nothing else has been found to reduce or prevent these seizures. For this reason, the FDA approved a medication that contains CBD oil in 2018.

Doctors watch patients taking this medication, Epidiolex®, carefully. Patients get their blood tested often because only a blood test can find early signs of liver damage.

You cannot feel early signs of liver damage. Without blood tests, the damage can build up and cause end-stage liver disease. The only cure for end-stage liver disease is a liver transplant.

While it’s unlikely that applying a product containing CBD to your skin will damage your liver, the fact is it’s too early to tell.

We do know that some people who use CBD skin care products develop a rash. What we don’t know is whether the CBD or another ingredient in the product that causes the rash.

And that’s the point. More research is needed.

Findings suggests CBD holds promise for treating some skin conditions

Small studies have looked at CBD as a possible treatment for skin conditions, such as acne, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis. Findings from these small studies suggest CBD may be an effective treatment for some skin conditions.

Before CBD becomes a treatment option for any condition, dermatologists say it’s essential to answer many questions, including:

What is the proper dosage of CBD for treating each condition?

How does CBD interact with other medications that a patient may be taking?

What are the possible side effects of applying CBD to the skin?

CBD products can be mislabeled

Findings from CBD studies indicate that some products may not actually contain the amount of CBD listed on the package.

In one study, researchers bought 84 products containing CBD from 31 different online companies. When they analyzed the amount of CBD in each product, they discovered that only 26 of the 84 products contained the amount of CBD stated on the package.

Even more concerning, some products contained a good amount of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that causes people to get high.

While you cannot get high from applying a lotion or lip balm, this finding suggests it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re getting when you buy a product that contains CBD.

It also suggests that manufacturers may be mixing up their plants. CBD comes from the hemp plant, which contain very little THC. You get THC from marijuana plants.

How do you feel about using CBD?

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) would like to know how you feel about using CBD-infused skin care products.

Images
Getty Images

References
Baumann LS, “Dermatologic research on cannabinoids well underway.” Dermatol News. 2019;50(6):1+.

Eagleston LRM, Kalani NK, et al. “Cannabinoids in dermatology: a scoping review.” Dermatol Online J. 2018 Jun 15;24(6).

Herbst J, Musgrave G. “Respiratory depression following an accidental overdose of a CBD-labeled product: A pediatric case report.” J Am Pharm Assoc. 2020;60(1):248-52.

Mounessa JS, Siegel JA, et al. “Commentary: The role of cannabinoids in dermatology.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017;2017;77(1):188-90.

Palmer WJ. “CBD penetrates skincare: Patient interest high despite need for more data.” Dermatol Times. 2020;41(1):1+.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

Wesley NO, Talakoub L. “CBD in beauty products.” Dermatol News. 2019;50(10):44.

You’ll find plenty of skin care products that contain CBD. Before you try one, here’s what you should know.

CBD Oil (The Legal Kind) and Skin Cancer

The state where I live, Indiana, isn’t known for being particularly progressive. CBD oil was a hot topic in legislation for a long time before our governor signed a bill in March 2018 making it legal to possess CBD oil, as long as it contained 0.3 percent THC or less. For some people, this law was extremely overdue to be passed.

What does CBD oil do?

Why the interest in getting a law passed making it legal to possess CBD oil? CBD oil has been claimed as being beneficial in helping with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, anxiety and depression, schizophrenia, and skin cancer. Yes, skin cancer!

CBD oil studies have shown that it can encourage abnormal cell death. It can also slow the growth and spread of cancer. Would it help me? I’ve had skin cancer for over 20 years. I know the apprehension of discovering a new, suspicious area on my skin. I know the frustration of yet another skin check at the dermatologist’s office where I have an area that has to be biopsied. So when it became legal to have non-THC CBD oil, I thought I would give it a try.

Experimenting with CBD oil

The first thing I learned is that there is a difference in CBD oils. My first purchase was from a healthy foods store. The store worker told me what she would recommend for me, and suggested that I should take it once a day. The label on the bottle indicated it was flavorless, but I have to tell you that I really struggled with ingesting that CBD oil. It wasn’t exactly flavorless; it tasted like I was drinking dirt. And it was thick.

After four weeks of once-daily ingestion, I couldn’t really tell a difference in how I felt from before I took it, but I noticed that my skin was looking clearer. However, trying to take the CBD oil was still causing difficulties, and I was ready to give up. It was that disgusting. I decided to instead put it directly on a couple of small areas of actinic keratosis on my face. I applied it at night before bed and covered with a bandage. Four nights later, I noticed that the areas were shrinking! This was encouraging.

Finding better quality CBD

Around that time, a CBD oil store opened near my home. I stopped by one day after work and asked if all CBD oils were as icky as the one I was taking. The salesperson told me what they sold was completely different. It was available in flavors, and I chose peppermint.

When I got home and tried it, I was amazed at the difference. What I purchased in the CBD oil store was completely clear, slightly flavored with peppermint (although no flavoring was necessary for me to be able to take it without gagging), and it didn’t have the consistency of motor oil. (You can see the difference in the photo below.) Lesson learned – buy good quality CBD oil, which makes it much easier to take.

Skin check time!

When it was time for my next dermatologist’s appointment for a skin check, I had been taking CBD oil for a little over two months. I told my dermatologist that I was taking it, and she said that it is an anti-inflammatory so it definitely couldn’t hurt to take it. And for the first time in many appointments, I had nothing that needed biopsied or was causing concern.

Coincidence? Possibly. CBD oil use? Possibly. It’s still early on, and even some of the information I read stated that more studies are needed on the use of CBD oil for skin cancer treatment, but so far it sounds promising!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SkinCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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View Comments (8)

Do you still use the CBD for your skin cancer? Still say it’s helpful? Do u apply it externally to? I’d like to buy some off the THM website but don’t know which to buy to help with that? Any suggestions?

@annad Yes, CBD salves or serums.
Judy, SkinCancer.net Moderator

Hi, Anna! Thanks for your questions. I ran out of the CBD oil I was taking quite some time ago and for whatever reason haven’t yet been back to the store to get more. Oddly enough, though, once I stopped taking it I saw an increase in areas that needed treated or biopsied, so I’m planning on starting it again. I was taking 500 mg tincture orally, half a dropper twice a day. You may also want to look for a salve or serum to use on your skin. I’ve used the salve, which I found did help to shrink areas. If you’re ordering online, be sure to check the reviews because there can be a big difference in quality between brands. Where I live (Indiana), CBD oil products must be THC-free, so that is what is sold around here. Maybe the site you’re looking at has an option to chat with them or email them questions, and they could then suggest products that may work better for you. Hope this helps! Judy, SkinCancer.net Moderator

Thank you for your response! As far as the salve! You referring to a CBD Salve?

Hi Judy! Thank you for sharing your experience with CBD use. How many milligrams did you take take daily? Are you still? I am taking 10 mg a day and wondering if that is enough. I am waiting for decision dx results, but I suspect being proactive at keeping a recurrence away is best.

Hi, MaryRose! The kind I took (I’ve run out and need to get more) is 500 mg of CBD oil. I took a half dropper full twice a day (morning and night). I’ve derinitely seen a decline in the number of new skin cancer areas since I’ve started taking it!
Judy

Hi Judy.
Ok. That seems to be the standard amount. Thanks for taking the time to get back to me.

Is it possible to use CBD oil for skin cancer treatment? An advocate shares her experience trying out different CBD oils to improve her actinic keratosis.