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Updated October 28, 2020

CBD for Acne: Does it Work {& is it Good for Skin Overall?}

CBD oil next to skin care productsIt’s quickly becoming common to use CBD for acne, but many people are confused on exactly how to do so. In this article, we are going to discuss the best methods for treating acne using CBD, what type of CBD is best, what method of administration is best, and more. We will leave no questions with regard to CBD and acne unanswered.

What is acne and how can CBD help treat it?

Acne is an extremely common skin condition that occurs when the hair follicles under the skin actually become clogged. These hair follicles can become clogged with dead skin cells, oil, and dirt. When this happens, pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads can appear. This most commonly occurs on the face but can unfortunately occur just about anywhere on the body where hair follicles exist.

The good news is CBD (also known as cannabidiol) has tremendous potential with regard to acne treatment. Research has shown that CBD can actually prevent excess oil build up, which as we mentioned before, is the primary cause for acne. One very promising study showed that CBD can inhibit oil production and have anti-inflammatory effects on the glands responsible for producing oil.

In the results of this clinical study, they referred to CBD as a “promising therapeutic agent” with regard to treatment of acne. This is one of multiple studies that have shown promising results regarding CBD for acne treatment.

What does CBD do for skin in general?

The key to what CBD can do for skin lies in the anti-inflammatory effects it has on your oil-producing glands. Excess oil production is the primary cause for a plethora of skin conditions, including acne. A certain amount of oil production is normal and healthy, but when too much is produced, that’s when pores become clogged and acne results.

If CBD can prevent excessive amounts of oil from being produced (and the study referenced above shows that it can), then you can reasonably expect that your skin will no longer produce acne or other abnormalities as a result. This effect can also lead to hydration and cleansing benefits for your skin.

We’re not saying it’s the ultimate cure for all skin conditions, but the benefits that can result from inhibition of oil production should not be understated. Plus, cannabidiol naturally contains high concentrations of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E, all of which are known to promote healthy skin. Who would have thought this hemp derived cannabinoid could produce such a wide variety of benefits?

Which forms of acne can be treated with CBD?

It’s realistic for CBD to be capable of treating all forms of acne including blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples due to the effect it has on your skin. Think about the way it works. All types of acne essentially result from excess oil production, and CBD prevents this, so it should theoretically be able to treat all types of acne.

Hormonal acne

Believe it or not, hormonal imbalance can often cause acne. For example, too much testosterone in men can cause acne, just as high estrogen levels in women (usually common during periods) can cause acne. High levels of certain hormones causes your sebaceous glands to produce more oil, thereby leading to oily skin and acne.

There’s one very important effect CBD has on the body that allows it to reduce the risk of hormonal acne. It has been shown to function as a regulator of hormones due to the effect it has on your body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Its ability to help regulate hormones is the same reason why CBD has anti-anxiety benefits.

Cystic acne

CBD can help treat cystic acne through its anti-inflammatory effect. By reducing inflammation, CBD disallows sebum (an oily and waxy substance naturally found in the skin) to travel up to the surface of your skin, which would then cause an outbreak. If the sebum can not make it up to the surface to clog your pores, then it can not cause acne.

How to use CBD for acne

Some studies have shown that oral consumption of CBD can help lead to the anti-inflammatory benefits we talked about before, but it works best when directly applied to the skin. However, you can choose to consume CBD orally or topically, whichever you prefer. Here’s some info on your options…

Apply CBD oil to skin

The most common way to use CBD for acne is by directly applying CBD oil to your skin. Most CBD oil products contain a carrier oil such as MCT oil, which will allow the CBD to be properly distributed and absorbed. Using CBD oil on your skin is one of the best ways to ensure optimal results.

Apply CBD cream to skin

The second way to apply CBD directly to your skin is by using a CBD-infused topical cream or lotion. Many CBD cream products include ingredients such as Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, which can help produce additional benefits for your skin. Plus, CBD creams are typically either completely odorless or have a pleasant organic hemp smell to them.

Consume CBD oil drops

If you would prefer not to apply CBD directly to your skin, you can also consume it orally. Oral consumption of CBD oil is most common for people looking for anxiety relief. It can produce tremendous benefits for people who suffer from high stress and/or anxiety levels, but taking CBD orally can also produce anti-inflammatory benefits and reduce acne as a result.

Consume CBD-infused gummies

CBD oil is the most popular, but you can also consume CBD orally via edibles. CBD gummies are extremely popular. Plus, they are very effective, delicious, and fast-acting if you choose a high quality product. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like the feeling of putting oily products on your tongue, CBD gummies can be a great alternative.

Which are the best CBD acne products?

Now that we have covered the different ways to use CBD, let’s talk about some specific products we recommend. It’s our opinion that the best way to use CBD for acne specifically is to either apply CBD oil directly onto your skin or apply CBD cream directly onto your skin. We believe topical application is superior to oral consumption.

Transcend Labs CBD Oil

Transcend Labs CBD Oil tincture

Transcend Labs makes an exceptionally potent CBD oil product, which is the primary reason we recommend it. It is 32% more potent than the average CBD oil, providing 33 milligrams of CBD in every serving.

Additionally, it has received numerous awards for its efficacy, perhaps the most notable of which was the LA Weekly award for 2021’s best CBD oil. Their CBD is 100% organic, full spectrum, non-GMO, and third party lab tested.

Lab testing has shown that their CBD oil contains less than the legal amount of .3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which means it is completely non-psychoactive.

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Transcend Labs CBD Cream

Transcend labs CBD cream jar

If you would prefer to use CBD cream, Transcend Labs also has an excellent CBD cream that is highly potent and effective. Each jar contains 500 milligrams of full spectrum CBD, and the cream can be applied directly to the skin. All you do is apply a small finger dab to your skin, and gently rub it in.

Their CBD cream also contains Aloe Vera, which can help hydrate and heal affected skin. If you’re going the topical route, this product is your best option. It is organic, cruelty free, natural, vegan, and non-GMO.

It also comes in a pretty small jar that you can easily fit into a purse or even in your pocket, which makes it very convenient.

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CBD oil for acne scars: Does it also work for this?

CBD oil is not necessarily designed to treat acne scars specifically, but it can help prevent them through its anti-inflammatory benefits. If you currently have acne scars, CBD oil might help, but it’s most likely not going to get rid of them. However, if you are worried about getting acne scars in the future, CBD oil can help since it has been shown to help treat and prevent breakouts via its anti-inflammatory properties. If you want to use it specifically for acne scars, consult your dermatologist first!

Medical research on CBD for acne

Many clinical studies have been conducted to find out whether or not CBD can truly help treat acne, and the results of these studies have been very positive across the board. The most important one is perhaps this study, which deemed CBD a “promising therapeutic agent” as we mentioned before.

Another study that was done on cannabinoid signaling in the skin referred to the Endocannabinoid System (the system in the body that CBD directly effects) as having “untapped potential.” They state that more research needs to be done, but it appears very promising.

Last but not least, a third study stated that “cannabinoids are regarded with growing interest as eligible drugs in the treatment of skin inflammatory conditions.” As you can see, researchers are very excited about the potential of cannabidiol with regard to skincare.

Conclusion/Final Points/key takeaways

CBD appears to be an effective skincare supplement, and clinical studies have already been conducted that show the positive effects it has on oil production and inflammation. Therefore, there is not much doubt left as to whether or not it works. The final really important detail you need to pay attention to is which CBD product you choose.

Many CBD brands are untrustworthy since the industry is so new. We strongly recommend reading some of our CBD oil reviews to learn about the top, most trusted brands in the space. CBD is one of the most overlooked skin care products mostly because people don’t know where to buy it from.

You can view our top recommendations here: Best CBD Oils Comparison.

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Joe Costello
Nutrition & Wellness Consultant
Joe Costello is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, certified by the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA), author, and internet blogger. Joe has more than 9 years of experience in the sports nutrition industry and over 3 years of experience as a supplement and nutrition blogger. As a certified NWC who specializes in dietary supplements, Joe strives to deliver accurate, comprehensive, and research-backed information to his readers.

You can find more of Joe’s work including his E-Books about fitness and nutrition at his official website joecostellonwc.com, or connect with him on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, or YouTube. Joe Costello is one of the founders of TheSupplementReviews.org and years after the creation of the site, partnered with TEK Naturals, a nutritional supplement company.