Does cbd oil work for contact dermatitis

Does CBD oil work for contact dermatitis?

CBD oil is not a one-cure-all substance, and there is insufficient evidence to prove that it can treat, heal, or cure contact dermatitis. However, early studies show that using CBD oil might reduce itching and inflammation of the skin. Here is everything about CBD oil for contact dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis is a common skin condition that affects people who are hypersensitive to certain substances, including cosmetics, soaps, and poison ivy. It causes itching and drying of the skin, and the affected area becomes sensitive to inflammation. Although it is often self-diagnosed and disappears in days or weeks, it is painful when it has not disappeared. Meanwhile, CBD oil is climbing up the popularity ladder, and it seems to be helpful in various situations. As such, one may wonder whether CBD oil could help with contact dermatitis and whether it should be used for the condition. Here is more information about it.

Understanding Contact Dermatitis

Have you ever used soap or cosmetic products on the skin and developed rashes later? It happens to many, and if it happens to you, then that is contact dermatitis. It is a skin problem that stems from exposing the skin to some substances, mostly poison ivy, soap, or cosmetics. The skin itches, reddens, and might have spots when the rashes disappear. However, the affected area also suffers inflammation, when scratched, the skin reddens more and more. People use OTC drugs to manage the pain from the rashes, and applying an ointment to the affected part may also help.

CBD Oil- What About It?

If you have not joined the CBD bandwagon, you likely know people who have made it part of their regimen. It is a chemical substance from cannabis plants and one of the many extracts from cannabis, collectively called cannabinoids. CND oil can come from marijuana or hemp plants, but most brands specialize in hemp-derived CBD oil with less than 0.3% THC, that’s federally legal as per the 2018 Farm Bill requirements. CBD oil takes many forms through which one can enjoy it, including topicals, edibles, vapes, capsules, or tinctures. Since CBD oil has become famous for helping almost everything, you might want to know if taking it can help with contact dermatitis.

Does CBD Oil Treat Contact Dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis results from hypersensitivity to some substances. As such, CBD oil cannot treat it unless it were a vaccine for hypersensitivity, which it‘s not. Although many people use the cannabinoid for contact dermatitis, CBD oil cannot prevent the skin from reacting to substances to which it is hypersensitive. However, CBD oil may help manage the symptoms of contact dermatitis, as covered in the next section.

CBD Oil for Inflammation

Most skin problems affect the body and cause inflammation, and contact dermatitis is no exception. Itching and inflammation are the two most obvious symptoms it shows on the skin. Besides, as one scratches the skin due to itching, the inflammation worsens and may prolong the condition. Does CBD oil have a thing to do with inflammation? Scheu et al. (2020) reported that CBD oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit the skin. If more studies confirm CBD oil to be anti-inflammatory and efficacious for contact dermatitis, it will make a good treatment option for the skin problem.

CBD Oil for Itching

If you have suffered from contact dermatitis, you likely will attest that the itching that comes from the condition is unbearable. Yet, when you respond to the itching by scratching the skin, it worsens. Can CBD oil help with itching skin? One study by Toth et al. (2019) reported that CBD oil could help with itching and drying of the skin. In some cases, the rashes caused by contact dermatitis might worsen, which is where CBD oil comes in handy.

CBD Oil for Fighting Inflammation

Most conditions that affect the skin and involve inflammation are an agent of pain. The itching, rashes, and inflammation make the situation worse, and scratching also causes pain. Yet, pain can rob you of sleep, reducing productivity. Because of the chain-like relationship, there is every need to manage pain from any source, including contact dermatitis. Baswan et al. (2020) showed that CBD oil might have pain-relieving effects that improve contact dermatitis. Most OTC drugs that people take for contact dermatitis and other skin conditions are meant to fight pain, and if CBD oil can help with pain, it could improve the symptoms of contact dermatitis.

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Contact dermatitis is not a fungal or bacterial infection, but such infections may worsen its symptoms. The itching, pain, and inflammation accompanying contact dermatitis are exacerbated by bacteria and fungi in the body, like many other skin problems. This suggests that anything that fights bacteria and fungi in the body may slow down the rashes and other symptoms of contact dermatitis. Does CBD have anything to do with fungal or bacterial infections? Andre et al. (2016) noted that CBD oil has antibacterial properties. If more advanced studies uphold this, it could mean that CBD oil can help manage contact dermatitis by slowing down bacterial and fungal infections and their progression.

Which CBD Oil Should You Use for Contact Dermatitis?

There are three formulations of CBD oil that you could explore for contact dermatitis, including;

  • Full-spectrum CBD oil; Features multiple cannabinoids other than CBD and includes THC. It also contains flavonoids and terpenes.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD oil; Is more like full-spectrum CBD oil but lacks THC.
  • Isolate-based CBD oil; Features pure CBD oil without any other compound from cannabis plants.

CBD oil comes in various deliverable methods, including tinctures, edibles, topicals, capsules, and vapes. There are no studies on the best deliverable method for contact dermatitis, but topicals like serums and creams could be better.


CBD oil cannot stop the skin from being sensitive to some substances and developing contact dermatitis. However, early research shows that it can help manage the symptoms of this condition. It promises to fight inflammation, exhibits antibacterial properties, and fight pain from contact dermatitis. This way, it seems to be good for managing the symptoms of contact dermatitis.


Baswan, S. M., Klosner, A. E., Glynn, K., Rajgopal, A., Malik, K., Yim, S., & Stern, N. (2020). Therapeutic Potential Of Cannabidiol (CBD) For Skin Health And Disorders. Clinical, Cosmetic And Investigational Dermatology, 13, 927.

Does CBD for Eczema Really Work?

Lindsay Curtis is a health writer with over 20 years of experience in writing health, science & wellness-focused articles.

Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Emily Dashiell, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor who has worked in group and private practice settings over the last 15 years. She is in private practice in Santa Monica, California.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant that can be prepared as oils, creams, and other products for use as a therapeutic remedy for many common ailments and health conditions. Some people use CBD oil for eczema.

Eczema (dermatitis) is a skin condition that causes patches of irritated, itchy, dry, inflamed skin. There are many types of eczema. While the exact cause is unknown, genetics, environmental factors, and the immune system are believed to be potential causes and triggers.

There is no cure for eczema, but there are ways to manage symptoms, including over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription treatments. For people who prefer using natural remedies, CBD oil may help soothe and reduce their eczema symptoms.

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What Is CBD Oil?

Cannabis plants contain unique chemicals called cannabinoids. The two major cannabinoids are:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): Has psychoactive properties that can make a person feel “high”
  • Cannabidiol (CBD): Has no psychoactive effects but may provide therapeutic benefits

Both CBD and THC interact with a communication system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex biological system that plays a role in appetite, mood, memory, and sleep.

Research has suggested that the ECS contributes to the function and reproduction of skin cells. A dysregulated ECS is associated with dermatological disorders, including eczema and atopic dermatitis.

When applied topically to the skin, CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the top layer of the skin (epidermis) and may offer therapeutic benefits including moisturizing the skin, reducing itchiness and inflammation, and promoting wound healing.

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CBD oil comes in many forms, including creams, salves, balms, lotions, and oils.

Hemp Seed Oil vs. CBD

In your search for plant-based remedies for treating eczema, you may have come across different options that derive from cannabis and hemp plants, including hemp seed oil, hemp oil, and CBD oil.

Understanding the differences can help you know what to look for when you’re shopping for whole hemp plant products for eczema.

    : Created by pressing the seeds of hemp plants (Cannabis sativa L.). This oil is rich in fatty acids and other nutrients, and research shows it can be helpful in treating skin conditions, including eczema and dermatitis. Hemp seed oil does not contain cannabinoids—the chemical compounds in the hemp plant that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. : Made using the flower of the hemp plant, rather than the seed. Hemp oil contains a full spectrum of cannabinoids. CBD is just one of the cannabinoids in hemp oil. : Extracted from the entire hemp plant, including the stalks, flowers, and leaves. CBD oil does not come from the seeds of the cannabis plant (the seeds do not contain cannabinoids).

CBD for Eczema Symptoms

There are many types of eczema, and they can show up in different parts of the body. Eczema of all types can cause itchy, dry, flaky patches of skin. In some cases, it may cause painful sores and blisters, which can leave the skin more susceptible to infection.

Types of eczema that may benefit from topical CBD include:

  • Atopic dermatitis (AD): This is the most common type of eczema. It is associated with dryness and itching. The exact cause is unknown, but it is believed to be triggered by an overactive immune system. People with asthma and/or hay fever are more likely to develop AD. : This type of eczema is caused by an allergic reaction from contact with irritants such as fragrances, dyes, metal, some medications, and poison ivy/oak. Symptoms include intense itching, and burning or blistering of the skin. : This type of eczema is triggered by stress, seasonal allergies, and change in humidity. It causes itchy, irritating blisters on the bottom of the feet and palms of the hands. : This type of eczema is associated with pink or brown circular (sometimes oozing) spots on the skin. It is often triggered by dry, sensitive skin, insect bites, injuries to the skin, or chemical burns. : This type of eczema is commonly caused by cold, dry weather, genetics, and stress. It produces scaly, dry patches of skin on the scalp or body which tend to form where the skin is most oily, including around the eyebrows, mid-chest, upper back, and groin area.

What Research Shows

There are limited studies on the effectiveness of topical CBD for people with eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. However, some of the research suggests that CBD oil may have therapeutic potential for treating eczema, healing skin wounds, and soothing skin symptoms.

A study published in 2019 found that CBD ointment helped reduce itchiness, soothed redness and inflammation, and enhanced sleep in people with eczema.

A 2014 study found that hemp seed oil was useful for treating eczema and other skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis. The study also showed that hemp seed oil strengthens skin and makes it more resistant to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.

What Causes Eczema Flares?

Though eczema affects everyone differently, a number of common triggers can cause a flare-up of symptoms.

Common causes of eczema flares include:

  • Dry skin: Brittle, rough, and tight skin can worsen eczema symptoms.
  • Chemical irritants: Fragrances, chemicals found in shampoos and lotions, cigarette smoke, and environmental toxins can worsen or trigger eczema symptoms.
  • Stress: Emotional stress can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms. Anecdotally, many people use CBD to help manage stress. Early research has shown that it might be effective at relieving stress, anxiety, and sleeping problems.

Is CBD for Eczema Safe?

CBD is generally considered to be safe for use in treating eczema and other skin conditions. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD oil might help reduce irritation, pain, swelling, and redness from skin conditions like eczema.

As with any topical treatment, it’s best to test CBD oil on a small patch of unaffected skin before applying it to larger areas where you have eczema.

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To do a patch test, apply CBD oil to a small area and watch for 24 hours to check for any side effects (e.g., itching, redness, swelling).

Talk to your primary care physician or dermatologist before you try CBD, as they will want to discuss the potential side effects of using CBD products, as well as make sure that it will not interact with any other medications, supplements, or treatments that you are using.

Best CBD for Eczema Flare-Ups

Topical CBD comes in many forms, including creams, lotions, serums, balms, and salves.

One of the best defenses against eczema is keeping your skin well hydrated. Thicker topicals that contain ingredients for both skin protection and moisturization can be especially helpful.

CBD products also come in different preparations. The availability of these products (especially those that contain THC) will vary from state to state.

  • Isolate: CBD is the only cannabinoid contained in the product. : Contains multiple naturally occurring cannabis plant extracts, including terpenes and other cannabinoids, including up to 0.3% THC.
  • Broad: Contains CBD and other components/cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but does not contain any THC.

How to Buy CBD

With many CBD and hemp oil options for eczema, it can be challenging to know what products to choose. Here are some key points to consider when you’re picking a product:

  • Hemp source: CBD is derived from hemp plants. The quality and cultivation of the plants are important considerations. Look for products that come from organic hemp plants when possible.
  • Certificate of Analysis (CoA): Responsible, reputable manufacturers should offer a CoA that details the quantities of a product’s cannabinoids. CoAs are conducted by an independent, accredited lab.
  • Read the label: Read the full list of ingredients for CBD topicals. Make sure that any product you are considering does not contain fragrances or other potential irritants that could worsen eczema.
  • Type of CBD: To get the best results, look for full-spectrum or broad CBD products, which may offer an “entourage effect” (combining multiple cannabis compounds that work in synergy to offer the most benefits).

A Word From Verywell

While there are many OTC and prescription treatments for eczema, if you are looking for a natural way to manage your symptoms, CBD products might be an option.

Research on how effective CBD is for treating skin conditions like eczema is limited, but has shown that products that contain CBD might help reduce the dry skin, itchiness, and inflammation that is associated with eczema.

It’s important that you talk to your doctor before you try a CBD product, as it can have side effects and might interact with other treatments that you use for eczema.

Before you use CBD on your skin, do a spot test on a place that does not have eczema on it to make sure that you do not have a sensitivity or reaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does CBD help with itchy skin from eczema?

CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce irritating eczema symptoms such as itching, pain, and dry skin.

How does the ECS work?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps regulate many physiological processes, including sleep, immune function, and pain.

Research has shown that the endocannabinoid system also plays a role in skin health. A dysregulated ECS is associated with dermatological disorders such as eczema and atopic dermatitis.

When applied topically, CBD’s anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, and pain-reducing properties interact with the ECS, which might make it an effective treatment for many skin conditions.

Is CBD good for skin conditions?

Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is commonly used to treat skin conditions and soothe symptoms—especially the dryness, itching, and pain often associated with eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis.

Is CBD for eczema safe?

CBD is generally considered to be a safe alternative treatment for eczema. However, as with any skincare product, you’ll want to do a patch test first to make sure that you do not have a sensitivity or allergy.

Apply CBD to a small patch of unaffected skin and wait for 24 hours, watching for symptoms of irritation such as itching, redness, and pain. If no symptoms develop, you can safely apply the product liberally to any eczema patches.