It is amazing just how many applications the Cannabis plant has. From being a great, economic source of strong fibre, through nutritious oils pressed from hemp seeds to modern-day hemp plastics, there are dozens of extremely useful ways to incorporate Cannabis into nearly every area of our everyday lives.
Apart from medicinal and recreational properties of marijuana, the therapeutical benefits of the non-psychoactive hemp compounds are perhaps the most discussed ones, mostly due to CBD (to learn more about the differences between marijuana and hemp, read our in-depth blog post). This non psychoactive compound naturally occurring in the hemp plant is believed to be the key ingredient responsible for the hemp oil’s countless therapeutical, and life-improving qualities.
But did you know that hemp, and CBD oils are not only great for internal use, but they can be also used in salves in topicals, creating a base for natural, CBD-infused cosmetics?
Read more to learn about how CBD can be used in skincare, and what benefits can the hemp beauty products bring for your skin and wellness.
CBD Explained – What is CBD?
If you are new to hemp and CBD, let’s start with explaining some basics about what exactly is CBD and how does it interact with your body.
First off, CBD – or cannabidiol – is one of more than one hundred cannabinoids – active ingredients that are naturally found throughout cannabis plants, including hemp. It’s cannabinoids that are largely responsible for the various natural effects that Cannabis has on the body.
Cannabinoids positively influence your body’s endocannabinoid system (or ECS), a regulatory network that is responsible for regulating a long list of body processes, including mood, immune system function, metabolism, anxiety, pain response, sleep, and more. They exert their effects by interacting with the endocannabinoid’s cannabinoid receptors, present on the surface of cells throughout your central nervous system, immune system, and more.
The effects of cannabinoids depend on the area of cannabinoid receptors that are involved. For example, interactions with receptors within the immune system may influence an anti-inflammatory response.
Why is CBD Good for your Skin?
Now you understand the basics of how CBD and other cannabinoids interact with our bodies, we are sure you can guess how exactly they can affect skin. Since the receptors of the endocannabinoid system are distributed throughout your whole body, it is no wonder that they can be found in the skin – after all, skin is your body’s largest organ!
But are the benefits of CBD for your skin real, or is it just another short-lived ‘hype’? Nowadays, so many major skincare cosmetic companies seem to be jumping on the CBD oil bandwagon, one can be excused for suspecting this whole CBD thing has been just blown out of proportion, right? Turns out, although far from being a wonder treatment, cannabidiol and other cannabinoid can indeed have some pretty cool benefits for your skin – if chosen and applied correctly. Before we proceed to how to choose the right CBD beauty product for your beauty routine, let’s quickly overview what are the benefits of CBD oil for your skin:
First off, while ingesting CBD supports the whole body, a CBD topical or skincare product allows you to target CBD right to where you need it! CBD salves and other skincare products are designed to be applied directly to your skin, and sometimes your hair.
When you apply CBD to your skin, the compound diffuses directly through the skin’s epidermis and pores. It then interacts with cannabinoid receptors near your skin’s surface. It’s this interaction between CBD and the cannabinoid receptors on the skin’s sensory nerve fibres and subcutaneous tissue that stimulates your endocannabinoid system.
This is why CBD skincare or CBD topical products are unique to other types of CBD products available. They are made for you to target the balance-promoting benefits of CBD to a specific area. Below you can find some common skin problems CBD can help you deal with:
- Dry skin
As you can see, there is a wide array of skin problems CBD and cannabinoids can help you with. This list can be expanded, but first it is important to understand the crucial mechanisms of how CBD – and other cannabinoids – can impact your skin.
First off, one of the most important, and best studied benefits of CBD are its anti-inflammatory ant antixoidant properties. It is thanks to them CBD-infused topicals can help in combatting inflammations, or psoriasis.
Second, cannabinoids also exhibit some antibacterial properties, which makes them a good, natural solution to prevent problems like acne. It is important to note that although CBD has been the most talked-about cannabinoid in the recent years, it is CBG – or cannabigerol – whose antibacterial properties far exceed those of its famous cousin. This is one more reason to choose hemp products based on whole-plant extracts rather than preparations infused with CBD isolate. To learn more about the properties of CBG, CBN, and other cannabinoids, read our introductory piece here.
Furthermore, it turns out that CBD and CBC (cannabichromene) also suppress excessive lipid production in the sebaceous glands. Combined with the above-mentioned anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, the diminished sebum production means that cannabinoids tackle all three major causes of acne.
But that’s more to it. Cannabinoids’ targeted anti-pain properties make the hemp oil-infused salves a perfect, natural way to alleviate the pain caused by eczemas, psoriasis, or cracked skin.
Finally, there the moisturizing and nutritional effects of CBD skincare products that make hemp cosmetics such as hemp salves or lip balms a good choice to protect and rejuvenate your sensitive skin during periods of harsh, cold weather. This said, it is worth noting that the nourishment depends on the type of oil used as a carrier (base) for CBD: if the hemp seed oil has been used, then the benefits for your skin will be even bigger as the seeds are a rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
How to Choose the right CBD & CBG Beauty & Skincare Products
This all sounds fantastic, right? So, does it make any CBD oil-infused skincare product a wonder product? By no means no! To make sure your hemp cosmetics are of the best quality and will truly bring all the natural benefits of the Cannabis plant for your skin, you need to make sure you are buying CBD cosmetic products from a trusted source.
But with so many companies offering CBD cosmetic and wellness products and with a significant issue of false claims and mislabelled product, how exactly can you ensure that? Well, here are some identifiers of a premium quality CBD cosmetics:
- Full- or broad-spectrum oil
Cannabinoids are known to exhibit ‘entourage effect’, that is they work best in presence of other hemp-derived compounds, such as other cannabinoids, but also naturally occurring terpenes and terpenoids. Choosing a skincare product that uses broad- or full-spectrum whole-plant hemp extracts rather than CBD isolate you make sure you won’t be missing on skin-protecting properties of cannabinoids like CBG, or CBC or the nourishing benefits of terpenes. On this note, it is also a good sign if the company provides the exact content of the key cannabinoids on the label;
- Closely monitored THC content
Although this point technically and logically belongs to the paragraph above, there is one very important reason we single out tetrahydrocannabinol. Although the THC level allowed by law is 0,2% in most of the European countries (which, by the way, is far below any psychoactive threshold), there are some (like France or Russia) whose law state clearly that ANY amount of THC automatically classifies any hemp product as a drug. Now, it obviously would not make any sense to have a high-THC skincare product (as the skin absorption is not the most efficient way to take psychoactive drugs), we are just pointing out to this cannabinoid in case you find yourself in a country that treats even trace amounts of THC very seriously;
- Extraction method
The right extraction method not only preserves the valuable compounds of the hemp plant, but also keeps the potentially detrimental ones – such as heavy metals or pesticides – away from the final product;
Although not always all boxes of the above list can be checked, there is one indicator that usually tells you that you’re on the right track: testing. If the company puts in place their own set of rigorous, multi-step lab tests (like Kannaway’s Triple Lab Testing ™ shares their results (ideally for every batch of the product), and is not squeamish about using external labs to test their extracts, then you’re probably dealing with a good-quality CBD.
Finally, if the company has been approved by big federal or international agencies like the FDA in the U.S., that’s an additional big bonus and a huge indicator you should trust their skincare products.
What type of CBD cosmetic products are available?
As you probably know, cannabidiol can be now found in a wide variety of beauty & skincare and new products are coming to market constantly. From soaps to lipsticks, and from CBD essential oils to exfoliation scrubs, almost all skincare products can be infused with CBD and share some of its beneficial properties.
But just because there is CBD in the products does not mean the rest of the ingredients will be the best for your skin. In addition to the factors discussed above, there are some categories of skincare products that simply allow the hemp plant’s cannabinoids to reach their full potential. For instance, thick, oily salves or creams make better carriers for CBD and other cannabinoids than, say, body sprays, or shampoos you wash away in few seconds.
[Kannaway’s skincare product line Cannabis Beauty is a prime example of a comprehensive skincare range allowing you to benefit from natural cannabinoids at all stages of your daily beauty routine: from Cleanser and Exfoliator, through Mask and Serum, up to Moisturizer.
In addition to that, Kannaway products tick all the boxes of a premium CBD product checklist: they pass rigorous Triple Lab Testing ™ process, they are FDA approved, and are made with the whole-plant broad-spectrum hemp extracts.]
Are CBD skincare products legal?
Legality of CBD and hemp products has always been a hot topic, especially in Europe. In short – CBD products are not considered a drug by EU regulation – therefore should be legal in EU countries. In the US, growing hemp and manufacturing hemp products has been made legal with the introduction of hemp bill in 2020, although some states still regulate CBD as such.
Although some European countries are trying to impose an outright ban on marketing CBD products, by no means does it halt importing hemp-derived products from abroad. If a cannabinoids’ legal status in one country appeared to be unclear it would create a striking contradiction with both the EU court ruling that CBD is NOT a narcotic as well as one of EU’s key values: the free movement of goods, including hemp-derived CBD products.
In general, most European countries do allow the sale of CBD products as long as their THC level does not exceed 0,2%. However, there are some where this bar has been lowered to 0%, and others, where the line is drawn between CBD-infused edibles and other products, like cosmetics. As each government have their own laws & legislation in place it can be confusing. We advise you to read our articles on the legal status of your country for further info.
This said, it is clear that CBD beauty product constitute the ‘safest’ group of hemp products: by no means can they be considered food or dietary supplements (which would impede their sales in Austria, for example), the 0% THC requirement should also be fairly easy to meet… provided you are buying from a trusted source. But that’s something we’d advocate regardless of any possible legal issues.
We believe hemp is a human right and aim to move the conversation forward about hemp.