CBD For Rosacea: Possible Effects Of CBD On Rosacea
Cannabidiol (CBD) can be a viable option for treating rosacea, a chronic skin disease characterised by inflammation of the skin in the central areas of the face 1 Rosacea showing up as red blotches, bumps and rashes, and causing various sociopsychological problems in sufferers. There are many traditional treatments available for this condition, but there is no cure. However, interventions involving CBD and rosacea provide an alternative that has shown to offer a range of medical benefits. In this article we’ll explore these benefits, examine the best ways to take CBD and look at what the future holds for this natural cannabinoid.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes facial flushing, a distinct redness that can affect central portions of the face 2 . If left untreated, the blood vessels in the skin can become further enlarged, exacerbating this redness and, in some cases, causing small, inflamed bumps to appear on the face, as well as watery eyes and itchy, dry skin. As the face is the most visible part of the body, sufferers of this condition have been known to experience – alongside physical discomfort – anxiety and self-esteem issues, which can lead to a reduced quality of life and social stigma.
Those who suffer from rosacea are often found in the 30 – 50 age range and, while men are more likely to experience a severe case of this condition, a greater number of women are affected. The direct causes of this condition are still being investigated, although experts say that the immune system may be partly to blame, while environmental factors such as stress, drugs, sun exposure and the weather have also been highlighted as contributing factors 3 .
Interestingly, rosacea appears to run in the family in roughly one-third of cases, suggesting that there may be a genetic susceptibility to this condition.
Conventional treatments for rosacea typically target the symptoms, but few attempt to tackle the underlying causes. The most common intervention is prescribed antibiotics – usually metronidazole – applied to the skin with a topical cream or taken orally. Steroid creams are also sometimes given to patients with this skin condition, but in both cases there may be adverse effects, including nausea, inflammation and hives. A more extreme intervention is the use of lasers to reduce the size of the blood vessels and, therefore, the redness of the skin.
Why CBD can be an effective treatment for Rosacea
CBD, a non-psychotropic chemical compound commonly derived from hemp, a type of cannabis plant, is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties in humans. The reason CBD is able to produce these effects in the body is because we all have an in-built endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors throughout our physiology that respond to the presence of CBD, modulating the body’s internal systems in the process. If there is an imbalance in one of our systems – elevated stress hormone levels, for instance – then CBD will redress the balance and relieve the associated symptoms by inhibiting or enhancing the endocannabinoid receptors.
Interestingly, anxiety is one of the suspected triggers of rosacea, so the calming effects of CBD oil and rosacea may offer a way to temper these stress levels and reduce rosacea symptoms. Likewise, the immune system is suspected of playing a part in causing this skin condition as well. It is thought that microscopic mites found on the surface of the skin, and a type of bacteria in the gut known as helicobacter pylori, trigger the immune system to expand blood vessels and cause swelling and redness beneath the surface of the skin. The well-documented anti-inflammatory effects of CBD will help to combat these symptoms, as well as reduce the associated pain 4 . As previously mentioned, CBD also has anti-oxidant properties. Anti-oxidants protect our skin from the sun’s rays, which are known to exacerbate the presence of rosacea.
How To Use CBD for Rosacea
CBD oil can be taken in a variety of ways to treat an outbreak of rosacea:
I Swapped My Entire Skin-Care Routine for CBD Products, and My Skin Is Better for It
W hen it comes to star skin-care ingredients, you can bet that I’m diligently slathering them on every single day. Retinol? Check. Hyaluronic acid? I’ve got two just in case. CBD skincare, though? Not quite in my regimen yet.
I have no good reason why it’s not: Cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant, has been infiltrating the wellness world due to its incredible anti-inflammatory prowess. And as skin issues stemming from inflammation rise, the study-backed powerful antidote (and antioxidant, I might add) is ready to take on acne, rosacea, dryness, and free radical damage all in equal measure. So, you could say it can hang with the OG MVPs of the skin-care world.
“CBD has been shown to have a soothing effect on the skin, and has been used in the treatment of acne and rosacea as well as eczema and dryness,” says Shirley Chi, MD, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist. With such a stacked resume, I collected CBD beauty products and made the decision to overhaul my current regimen with options that are decidedly more high-vibe. Here’s what happened to my skin.
Photo: Getty Images/ Tomas Rodriguez
My CBD skin-care life
I procured CBD beauty products in every category, and for the most part succeeded minus a cleanser (I can’t part with my fave). I decided this was enough to deduce the changes in my complexion if I swapped over to all CBD products. So for the couple of weeks during my CBD experiment, I retired my retinol, vitamin C serum, hyaluronic acid, and go-to face masks in lieu of those with the buzzy ingredient.
I opened the new Herbivore Emerald Glow Oil ($48), spiked with cannabis sativa seed oil and smothered it all over my face. It kind of smelled like weed, but absorbed nicely into my skin. Then for posterity’s sake I layered up with the Khus Khus Sen Face Serum ($80), which had less of a scent but definitely added some soothing moisture to my face. For my eyes, I slathered on Gold Q Nighttime Eye Cream ($48). And then I moisturized my entire body with Lord Jones High CBD Body Lotion ($60), and puckered up with a Veritas Farms Whole Hemp Oil Lip Balm ($4).
I repeated this regimen for two straight weeks, and incorporated the Hora Overnight Exfoliating Mask ($62) twice a week as I slept. And let me tell you something: The results have been impressive. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d notice much of a change (and TBH I was worried my skin would regress without my trusty retinol and HA serum), but I’ve been dealing with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and it’s now noticeably faded. My skin’s also been calm, even, and bright—no redness in sight. The CBD products have really kept things chill.
“The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can help decrease itching and puffiness of skin, and even treat soreness of the skin,” says Dr. Chi. It’s true that my eyes have been less puffy in the morning, which just adds to the long list of reasons CBD’s so amazing. And perhaps the best part of all? It’s good for all skin types. Just be mindful of what type of product it is: “If it’s an oil-based CBD product, stay away from it if you’re very oily-skinned,” notes Dr. Chi. Besides that, consider the cannabidiol to be a now permanent staple of my beauty shelf, in some form or another.
For more basic skin-care tips, here’s how hard to scrub your face, according to a derm. And this is why hard vs. soft water for your skin actually matters.