How to Use CBD for Treating Skin Inflammation?

CBD for skin inflammation

There is no better way to start your day than with the confidence boost of clear, even, radiant skin. When there is  a healthy balance within the body, it seems to shine through from the inside out. 

That’s on the best skin days. But for most of us, our skin doesn’t always cooperate. Inflammation-related skin problems like acne and eczema/atopic dermatitis are extraordinarily common. 

Ongoing skin difficulties like this can be frustrating. They can be exacerbated by so many variables in your diet and environment, making it hard to know what to avoid.

Even for those of us without any skin conditions, no one”s skin is perfect all the time. With that being said, it is still nice to know how to heal the occasional blemish or wound.CBD has the potential to improve the skin’s condition in all of the above mentioned skin issues. Primarily due to its anti-inflammatory effects, CBD could have applications for common skin conditions, skin barrier health, dry or oily skin, and more. 

Still curious about why anti-inflammatory CBD is gaining more popularity for its potential skin benefits? Keep reading to learn more.

What can CBD Do for Your Skin?

CBD is one of many cannabinoids from the cannabis and hemp plants. Unlike the psychoactive THC in cannabis plants, called marijuana, CBD does not produce a high. CBD is similar to other cannabinoids from hemp like CBG, CBN, and CBC in its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial capabilities. 

Comparatively there is much more data on CBD, its effects, and its possible side effects. There are now two medically-approved CBD drugs in use internationally for treating seizures or pain from MS and cancer.

When CBD is introduced in the body, it activates the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and its cannabinoid receptors to help regulate the body’s systems. For example, the ECS plays a role in regulating skin cell proliferation. 

There are two main types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 receptors in the nervous system, and CB2 receptors in the immune system. Both of these receptors help the ECS maintain homeostasis. They exist throughout the body, and the skin is home to CB1 and CB2 receptors. This explains why CBD can have pronounced effects on the skin, especially inflammation.

THC-free CBD is relatively mild and well-tolerated. Therefore, topical use is considered a safe, effective, and non-invasive alternative anti-inflammatory treatment. Improving quality of life for people with a range of skin problems. 

Here are some of the skin problems that involve inflammation and may benefit from CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects:

  • Skin barrier issues
  • Pain
  • Acne
  • Eczema/atopic dermatitis (AD)/allergic contact dermatitis

CBD may also be able to mitigate skin aging from oxidative stress, hydrate dry skin and balance oily skin by regulating skin cells called sebocytes and their oil production.

CBD’s Potential Benefits for Skin Inflammation

Inflammatory skin diseases like acne, psoriasis, eczema, and AD can be stubborn because of ongoing inflammation generating free radicals and oxidative stress. The state of oxidative stress contributes to further chronic inflammation, perpetuating skin disorders and skin aging.

CBD can counteract this vicious cycle at multiple stages. It fights inflammatory immune cells, and it works as an antioxidant to neutralize oxidative stress from the resulting free radicals. 

Reduced inflammation and oxidative stress from CBD may lessen the severity of conditions like acne, and eczema/AD. Scarring or irregular pigmentation from these skin problems may be less likely, as well as premature skin aging.

Further aggravating the skin by itching can sometimes cause broken skin or wounds. CBD also appears to help regulate skin cell proliferation in the presence of wounds and inflammatory skin conditions. Proliferation is a step in the skin’s healing process that follows inflammation.  

A compromised skin barrier is another feature of inflammatory skin diseases like eczema/AD. The skin barrier protects from pollution, toxins, UV rays, irritation, and infection while helping the skin retain moisture. CBD might interact with the ECS in ways that help restore skin barrier health, which could also help keep the skin more hydrated.

How to Use CBD to Treat Skin Inflammation

Treating your skin inflammation with CBD is not as straightforward as applying any random CBD topical or oil onto the affected skin. 

It’s always best to speak with a doctor before using CBD. This is especially true if you have an inflammatory condition or if you currently take any medication. Even though CBD seems to have positive effects on the skin, other ingredients in some CBD products may aggravate your skin.

If you’re unsure about what ingredients you need to avoid for your unique skin challenges, consider clearing your ideal CBD product with your dermatologist before trying it.

Once you feel prepared to use CBD for skin inflammation without worsening the problem, here are some helpful pointers:

Choose the Right Product

It doesn’t hurt to try CBD capsules or gummies or administer CBD tincture oils sublingually. CBD is such a powerful anti-inflammatory, you may notice external effects for your skin without applying it directly to your skin. 

If you prefer to apply CBD topically, the right CBD product for you depends on your  allergies, what kind of skin you have, how sensitive it is, and whether it tends to be too dry or too oily. 

For example, many CBD oil tinctures have ingredients like fragrances, menthol, peppermint, and orange essential oils. People with dry or sensitive skin may find these ingredients irritating. 

You’ll also find a lot of CBD oils contain coconut oil. If your skin overproduces oil, ingredients like coconut oil may exacerbate that and clog pores.

It’s also wise to be selective about any product you intend to apply to areas with extra sensitive skin such as the face.


Before using any new product on your skin, it’s imperative to conduct a patch test first. Especially if you suffer from a skin condition. Put a minuscule amount of product on the same small test spot twice daily for 7-10 days. If you have an adverse reaction like itching, swelling, or redness, wash the product off right away and discontinue use.

In some cases, you can apply CBD oil directly to the skin for anti-inflammatory effects. But, the best route is to find the right CBD topical .  Look for ones that are specially formulated to help the CBD absorb into the skin. With added ingredients providing hydration and relief from inflammation and irritation.

CBD can aid in wound healing, but most CBD products are not appropriate for applying directly to broken skin or mucous membranes. Avoid contact with your eyes.

For topicals applied by hand, start with a pea-sized amount and massage it into the skin thoroughly. For roll-on CBD products, simply roll on a moderate amount. With any CBD topical, try to apply just enough that it rubs in evenly and easily settles into the skin without excess sitting on top.


Start by using as little topical CBD as possible. Gradually increase your dose until you achieve the desired results for your skin inflammation. 

Topical CBD is less bioavailable than sublingual CBD oil. So you may need more product than you think to get noticeable inflammation relief. Just be patient when working your way up to the dose that works best for you.

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It’s fine to use your favorite CBD product once or twice daily at first, then increase to three times per day if your skin continues to respond well. For the best results, use CBD daily for at least two to four weeks (after patch testing).

Now that you know how to use CBD for skin inflammation safely, we’ll go into more detail about the conditions that could benefit from CBD’s therapeutic potential.

Other Skin Conditions that CBD can Potentially Treat

We already mentioned the inflammatory skin conditions CBD might improve. Here, we add a few more skin issues, explaining everything in detail and how CBD could possibly help.

Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis

Eczema refers to a group of conditions that cause skin inflammation and irritation, affecting 3% of adults and children in the U.S. Symptoms include itchy, red, dry, cracked, scaly, and/or leathery skin. Eczema rashes tend to affect the face, wrists, hands, feet, and the backs of the knees. Here are some types of eczema:

  • Atopic Dermatitis (AD)- Often used interchangeably with ‘eczema,’ AD is the most common form of eczema, found in over 7% of American adults. There are links between AD and other allergic disorders like asthma.
  • Contact Dermatitis- When the skin comes into contact with irritants or allergens, it may develop a rash.
  • Nummular Eczema- This is a coin-shaped skin reaction to injuries like insect bites or burns.
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis- When located at the scalp, it’s called dandruff. But this can happen to other areas of the body with many oil glands.

CBD may trigger several functions in the skin, stopping oxidative stress, inflammation, and cell death, potentially treating eczema and atopic dermatitis, and reducing itch. Additionally, CBD has exhibited anti-inflammatory effects in a model of allergic contact dermatitis. 

As a result of microbiome imbalance, Staphylococcus aureus bacteria can contribute to dermatitis severity. CBD has shown to have impressive antimicrobial abilities, strong enough to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Hemp essential oil has shown to significantly decrease S. aureus biofilm, suggesting it could help prevent atopic dermatitis.

Oily Skin and Acne

Most people are familiar with the idea that individuals’ skin can range from dry to oily, or even exhibit a combination of both. CBD might help with all of the above.

Our skin naturally produces oil thanks to the sebaceous glands. Composed of skin cells called sebocytes, sebaceous glands make sebum This is a waxy or oily substance meant to moisturize and protect the skin and hair. When these glands are overactive and produce excess sebum, the skin can feel greasy. Sometimes developing clogged follicles/pores and acne. 

Acne affects almost everyone at some point in their life. It can present as small bumps or comedones, red swollen spots, or, in severe cases like cystic acne, larger nodules. This happens because sebum/oil overproduction clogs the hair follicles’ openings and bacteria grows.

CBD may help with oily skin and acne by keeping bacteria, inflammation, sebum production, and sebocyte proliferation under control. The cannabinoid’s potent antimicrobial activity can also make it a good candidate for fighting skin infections.

Dry Skin and Pruritus

On the other end of the spectrum we have dry skin. Aside from skin conditions like eczema/AD and psoriasis, the skin can also dry out in low-humidity climates and spaces. Alternately, harsh soaps, excessive bathing or scrubbing can strip oil away from your skin so it can’t retain moisture. Most people also notice their skin produces less oil as they age. 

Some clinical trials have shown CBD can help hydrate dry skin by promoting water retention. By moisturizing dry skin, CBD may also be able to help relieve the itchy sensation (pruritus) that often accompanies dry skin.


It’s common for inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema/AD, acne, and psoriasis to leave scars. Leaving a spot on the skin that’s discolored/darker (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation) than the rest.

While there are limited clinical trials on CBD for hyper/hypopigmentation. One clinical study has investigated topical CBD ointment for scars from inflammatory skin diseases. Researchers observed positive effects from CBD for scars from acne, psoriasis, AD, and other conditions. The CBD ointment managed to improve the quality of life in skin disorder patients with no adverse reactions.

Though it normally takes a higher dose to get relief from topical CBD compared to sublingual oil, you still must be cautious not to take too much CBD or use it too often. Using too much CBD increases the risk of adverseside effects.

Tips for Treating Skin Inflammation with CBD Oil

Before you dive into using CBD oil for skin inflammation, here are some tips to remember.

Consult your doctor

Talk to your doctor before trying CBD. It’s not safe for everyone, and it can cause drug interactions if you already take medication. If you have a skin condition, your dermatologist can guide you through finding an appropriate CBD product to use.

Buy from a trusted brand

Not all CBD brands are trustworthy. Don’t risk buying something with mislabeled contents or undisclosed THC that could be made with questionable ingredients or in questionable facilities. Buy your CBD from a certified, FDA-compliant source that accurately and transparently labels all products.

Check lab results

Trustworthy CBD brands use third-party lab testing to verify the contents of all their products. They also make their lab analysis certificates easily accessible to you so you know what you’re buying.

Frequently Asked Questions About CBD for Skin Inflammation

Does CBD oil eliminate inflammation?

Maybe. CBD may not completely eliminate inflammation, but it is known to be an effective anti-inflammatory.

Does CBD help with psoriasis?

Maybe. So far, the evidence for CBD helping psoriasis is conflicting and inconclusive.

Does CBD cream help itchy skin?

Yes, CBD may relieve itchy skin due to dryness and eczema/AD.

Which is better for inflammation, hemp oil or CBD?

Hemp oil and CBD both relieve inflammation, but combining cannabis plant compounds (e.g. hemp oil) may be more effective than CBD alone.

Does CBD help with shingles?

Possibly. CBD may help alleviate shingles inflammation and pain, but so far most claims about CBD for shingles seem to be purely anecdotal, and not from clinical studies.

Could CBD ease your skin inflammation?

Inflammatory skin conditions like acne and eczema/AD are far from rare, so there’s a good chance you could benefit from CBD’s therapeutic potential. Maybe you just get dry or oily skin from time to time. Or perhaps you want overall younger, healthier-looking skin. CBD’s antioxidant effects with more balanced oil production, hydration, and a robust skin barrier could help you achieve just that. 

Run the idea by your doctor at your next visit, and know the best place to buy CBD for inflammation online.

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