The Best New Ways to Get the Benefits of CBD for Your Skin
Did you know that you can get the benefits of CBD– through your skin? It’s true. The skin is actually the largest organ of the human body, and it contains both CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are the cells that allow CBD and other cannabinoids to interact with the body’s own endocannabinoid system.
The skin can be a vehicle for CBD in two different ways – topically and transdermally.
What's the difference between topical and transdermal?
While the words “topical” and “transdermal” both refer to products that are applied to the skin, they are not the same.
A topical product is rubbed onto the surface of the skin and provides benefits and relief only to the area onto which it’s applied. It does not enter the bloodstream. Examples of topical products are balms, lotions, creams, and soaps.
A transdermal product is applied to the skin but is delivered via a mechanism that actually directs the active ingredient into the bloodstream. Medicinal patches are a type of transdermal product.
Is one better than the other? Well, it depends on what you need them for. If you are looking for systemic relief, a transdermal product might be right for you– although taking a product orally or sublingually works just as well.
However, if you want to target one specific area of your body, a topical product will do that for you. Another nice thing about topicals is that they provide instant relief to the targeted area. Also, you can apply them as much as you want throughout the day without worrying about them entering your bloodstream.
CBD is now available in many different topical formulations, including balms, lotions, creams, and soaps. Read on to learn the difference, and decide which one (or all?) might be right for you!
Topical CBD can be applied directly to specific areas of the body such as your neck, shoulder, elbow, lower back, hip, or knee.
A balm is a thick formulation of butters, oils, and/or waxes that starts as a solid but melts into a liquid when applied to the skin.
Balms contain no water, so they need no preservatives. Their lack of water also means that they do not evaporate off the skin as quickly as other products and can help lock in moisture.
How does CBD balm work?
Lotions are different from balms because they are largely made up of water, which makes the active ingredients easy to spread over a large area.
What can CBD lotion help with?
Because lotions are water-based and easy to spread over the entire body, they are a great CBD supplement option for your skin– from head to toe!
Multiple scientific studies have suggested that daily CBD application can be soothing for those with skin conditions. One recent study in particular followed 20 people with self-reported eczema who applied CBD to their skin daily for two weeks.
While the sample size was small, their findings were significant: “67% of subjects reported a decrease in itch and 50% perceived an improvement in their eczema by more than 60%.”<sup>3</sup>
CBD creams and lotions can be beneficial for your complexion.
A cream falls between a balm and a lotion on the spectrum of how much water they contain. Balms contain no water, creams contain some (less than 50%), and lotions contain a lot (more than 50%).
Because creams contain less water than lotions, they are more rich and emollient.
Is CBD good for wrinkles?
CBD has even made it into bar soap! Now you can start your day with a CBD power shower. CBD soap is a simple, sudsy way to add the benefits of CBD to your daily skin care routine.
CBD for sensitive skin
Sensitive skin and other skin conditions can cause painful itching and discomfort. But did you know that these uncomfortable symptoms are actually messages relayed to the brain by TRP (transient receptor potential) receptors?
Just like cannabinoid receptors, TRP receptors are abundant in the skin and are responsible for a host of healthy skin functions. And while CBD indirectly influences CB1 and CB2 receptors, it can bind directly to TRP receptors.
This means that the use of CBD can help lessen or block the burning, itchy feelings that can be caused by sensitive skin and other irritations like “sunburn, scrapes, bug bites, and similar small wounds.”<sup>5</sup>
- Eileen Konieczny, RN, Healing with CBD (Berkeley: Ulysses Press, 2018), 153
- Konieczny, 181
- Maghfour J, Rietcheck HR, Rundle CW, et al. An Observational Study of the Application of a Topical Cannabinoid Gel on Sensitive Dry Skin. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology : JDD. 2020 Dec;19(12):1204-1208. DOI: 10.36849/jdd.2020.5464.
- Manisha Singal, MD, The CBD Skincare Solution: The Power of Cannabidiol for Healthy Skin (Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2020), 147
- Singal, 115