Have you ever wondered whether CBD oil can help cure acne? Wonder no more, here is everything you need to know about CBD oil for acne. As CBD oil-laced products continue to take over, we consulted three dermatologists to get the scoop on the benefits of CBD oil for acne. See inside.
Can CBD Oil Help Cure Acne?
CBD oil for acne is one of the most discussed topics. CBD oil is everywhere now, from seeing it on shelves on the high street to your favourite influencers giving it glowing reviews online, it might seem like it’s a miracle cure for all types of ailments. Now, that just isn’t true, but when used in skincare products people have noticed truly incredible results.
That’s led to lots of us wanting to know if CBD oil can help with our acne, but does it actually work? Let’s find out!
But first, let’s quickly cover the basics about CBD oil:
- CBD oil is legal. You can buy CBD oil freely on the high street and online.
- CBD oil will not get you high. There are no psychoactive properties in any of our products.
- CBD oil and marijuana are not the same things.
- CBD oil does not affect everyone in the same way. Your mileage may vary.
Can CBD oil really help with your acne?
Acne comes in all sizes and severity, it can even make its way from your face to your back, but the culprit of any of these breakouts is sebum. Thankfully CBD can help adjust the sebum levels in our bodies to reduce acne. It’s also great as an anti-inflammatory, so you can reduce the swelling that’s normally associated with acne.
Unless you’ve been suffering from acne for a while, or if you’re studying medicine, you’ve probably never heard of sebum. It’s an oily substance that our bodies naturally produce to keep our skin moisturised and protected, but when we produce too much it becomes a problem – a spotty problem.
All this extra oily skin mixes with dead skin cells to form a pore-clogging mixture which, you guessed it, causes acne. Board-certified dermatologist Michele Green thinks CBD can help. “ CBD oil is beneficial to these conditions due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It reduces sebum production and is also antimicrobial, so it works great for acne-prone skin.”
Lots of scientists and researchers have been investigating the benefits of CBD when it comes to acne, and they’ve discovered some pretty interesting results . One amazing group of scientists looked into whether or not CBD can actually prevent our bodies from creating too much sebum. Aaaand you guessed it – it can! CBD affects our sebocytes which are the cells that actually create the sebum.
But their discoveries didn’t end there. They also found that CBD prevents inflammatory cytokines from activating. Confused? Cytokines are responsible for swelling linked with acne and causing breakouts, so stopping these from activating is a big deal.
Bacteria plays a big part in prolonging acne breakouts. Dirty skin is never a good thing when it comes to skincare. A study in 2016 took a detailed look at the antibacterial and antifungal properties of cannabis and how it can reduce skin infections. These studies are ongoing and ever-evolving, so there are no concrete results just yet, and more tests on humans are needed.
What you need to know about CBD oil?
One of the biggest reasons that people try CBD is that it’s a natural alternative to some acne treatments that can use really harsh and invasive chemicals. It’s been great at:
- Reducing nasty inflammation
- Healing skin and calming breakouts
- Regulating oil production
- Reducing excess sebum production
- Soothing redness
All of these are useful for those of us that suffer from acne. But how exactly?
How does CBD oil help acne?
So what do we know so far? CBD oil can reduce inflammation and it also works as an antioxidant – great. And most importantly it can control sebum production. Let’s take a deep dive into the topic.
1. CBD oil’s anti-inflammatory properties
Anti-inflammatory means that it reduces swelling, something that’s so common when it comes to acne. Say goodbye to irritation, pain, and redness by soothing your skin with CBD oil. It’s even a great option for those of us with sensitive skin as it’s also really gentle to use.
2. Controls sebum/oil production
“The most exciting finding of CBD oil is that it’s sebostatic,” says Wexler Dermatology’s Kenneth Howe . While that mightn’t mean much to most people reading this, it’s a very big deal. It stops your skin from producing too much oil. CBD stops lipogenic actions and regulates how much sebum is produced.
He also believes that cannabinoids are active in our skin and can signal for specific activities to occur or not occur.
3. Acts as an antioxidant
CBD is jam-packed with antioxidants that protect our skin from the environment around us, things like pollution and free radicals can wreak havoc so it’s always a good idea to block these out. It even has the potential to improve skin tone too!
4. Manages breakouts
Breakouts are one of the worst parts of acne, while CBD oil can’t get rid of them completely, it can help manage these nasty outbreaks and make them milder by working on the root cause of acne – excess oil production.
But don’t take our word for it. Rachel Nazarian from the Schweiger Dermatology Group says, “Because it works as both an anti-inflammatory and can decrease oil production, it has the ability to multitask as an acne product. It may be considered a gentler option and a safe option for many different skin types.”
How to use CBD for acne?
CBD oil’s popularity has exploded in recent years, and rightly so. You can find CBD oil in so many different types of products, but for us acne sufferers it’s best if we take it topically (put it directly onto our skin).
Rachel has more advice on this too. “The evidence supporting the use of CBD in treating acne is purely topical at this point. The use of CBD was tested topically on skin cells and has shown promise. Oral supplementation or smoking of CBD formulations has not been evaluated in this manner and can not be recommended.”
Just like pretty much everything else that we buy, some are better than others and some CBD oils can actually contain ingredients that can irritate your skin. So be smart and always buy from a trustworthy source.
Don’t just go out and buy CBD oil and put it on your face, you’ll need to buy it mixed with a carrier oil to make it more effective and pocket friendly. Some of the best carrier oils are:
CBD products infused with CBD oil slip seamlessly into your skincare routine, just swap out your old facial oil, serum or moisturisers for ones with CBD and you’re good to go.
Our Poko Luxury Facial Oil is one of those products that once you use it you’ll be asking yourself why you didn’t buy it sooner.
How long does CBD oil take to work?
The therapeutic effects of CBD are instantly noticeable and it usually takes a few weeks to see any noticeable changes on your skin, this is pretty much the case for most treatments. Once it starts to kick in, you’ll have fewer outbreaks and will start to notice an improvement in your skin.
Before you jump right in, it’s a smart idea to patch test any new skincare product just to make 100% sure that you won’t react badly to it. The last thing we want to do is irritate our skin even more.
But can it work with body acne?
Acne isn’t just restricted to faces, it’s also really common for people to have it on their chest, back, shoulders and butt. Even though it’s on a different part of the body, it’s caused by the exact same reasons, so all the treatments we’ve mentioned here will work as well.
Are there any side effects?
There are side effects with every treatment, and while CBD is gentle and safe to use, it’s always good to be extra cautious when using a new product.
Industry experts have noticed some side effects when people take way more CBD oil than is required. People have noticed fatigue, changes in appetite and diarrhoea when they’ve taken too much orally.
If you take your CBD oil topically through a cream or moisturiser you can forget about side effects as there have been no reported side effects whatsoever. But always remember to keep an eye on the ingredients in CBD products and make sure that you aren’t allergic to anything.
Not all CBD oils are created equal, and you take a risk when you buy from a shop with a bad reputation, so do your homework on who you’re buying from, check out their reviews and look for their third-party laboratory tests.
For a sure-fire, guaranteed gold-standard product look for the award winners. Our champion products have been specially designed to suit all skin types and treat a whole host of issues.
Best CBD skincare products for acne
The Poko Soothing Serum is a gentle, lightweight formula that sinks into the skin almost immediately, leaving no residue. It smells incredibly fresh and leaves skin feeling soft and smooth without making your skin feel heavy like some other serums do.
The Soothing Serum is packed full of healthy ingredients your skin will love, like enriching vitamins, nourishing minerals, soothing CBD, and protein. It also contains other natural ingredients like root and flower extracts that help fight spot-causing bacteria, calm stressed-out skin, and has the potential to improve the appearance of acne scars.
It leaves skin gently moisturised, which prevents excess oil production, which can lead to acne. Only a tiny amount needs to be used at a time, so each bottle lasts a long time.
If you want glowing, healthy skin and fewer breakouts, treat yourself to a bottle of Poko Soothing Serum.
Regenerating Collagen Moisturiser
Poko Regenerating Collagen Moisturiser is a powerful product infused with CBD and aloe vera juice. It’s a delicious smelling moisturiser that keeps skin healthy and hydrated.
Made for combination and oily skin, the Regenerating Collagen Moisturiser helps calm skin while locking in moisture at the same time. The collagen in the moisturiser plumps up skin and fights signs of ageing, while the CBD prevents excess sebum from being produced. It is ideal for mature skin that still has breakouts.
So not only does the Regenerating Collagen Moisturiser help improve the appearance of ageing, but it also helps soothe and stop acne breakouts.
Luxury Facial Oil
If excess oil can cause acne, then why would we recommend adding even more oil to your skin? But you miss out on all the potential benefits by avoiding facial oil altogether.
While you may think adding more oil to your face is the last thing your skin needs, you are missing out on all the potential benefits by avoiding facial oil.
If you have oily skin, you probably wash it often to get rid of the oil on your face. But this can cause your skin to produce more sebum. Overwashing even causes the loss of moisture which in turn causes, you guessed it, more oil. And if you leave it untreated it can make your spots really painful.
A facial oil keeps your skin hydrated at all times. Poko’s Luxury Facial Oil is perfect for acne-prone skin as it contains skin-clearing ingredients like moringa oil, oleic acid, and CBD.
Moringa oil is such a good source of Vitamin E and other natural ingredients. The Vitamin E in the facial oil helps reduce acne scars, and the oleic acid gives your skin a natural moisture barrier. This works as a barrier to keep you protected from acne-causing free radicals. Combine all this with the CBD infused in the oil it helps soothe stressed skin and prevent the overproduction of sebum.
The oil smells fantastic and will last you a long time as a little goes a long way. Revitalise your skin and protect it with this decadent oil.
You are beautiful as you are, acne and all, but you don’t have to put up with the unpleasant symptoms and blow to your self-esteem caused by acne.
We’ve covered a lot in this article, and while there’s a lot more research needed there’s evidence that shows CBD can help reduce the production of sebum and reduce swelling. With a CBD skincare product in your bathroom, you’ll soon be rid of your acne. Try it for yourself and see why so many people love Poko CBD skin care products.
If you’ve enjoyed our blog and want to know more about acne, read our main blog on: What is Acne?
CBD Oil For Acne: Everything You Need to Know
Bryan is a contributing writer for Byrdie covering all things beauty and grooming. He has over 16 years of experience in beauty editorial and has been with Byrdie since 2020.
Rachel is a board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor at Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Dermatology. She has contributed to Byrdie, as well as Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire, Allure, Vogue, and the New York Times, and more
Madeline has been with Byrdie and Brides since 2021. Most recently, she lead social media at Glamour magazine where she covered pop culture, beauty, and fashion.
Liz DeSousa for Byrdie
In This Article
CBD oil is seeping into virtually every beauty product category nowadays—even in deodorant and toothpaste. With its anti-stress, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory claims, it’s no wonder this so-called “wonder ingredient” is pushing its way into our self-care routines. Even more, according to the latest studies, CBD oil may be exactly what your breakout-prone, irritated skin needs to get back into shape.
Although there’s still a great deal of required research ahead to determine how best to use CBD to treat acne, we talked to a panel of experts, including cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson of BeautyStat, Michele Green, board-certified dermatologist, Kenneth Howe of Wexler Dermatology, and Rachel Nazarian of the Schweiger Dermatology Group to get the facts as well as the potential of using CBD oil for acne.
Keep reading to determine if CBD’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and oil-regulating properties actually work wonders for acne.
Meet the Expert
- Ron Robinson is a cosmetic chemist at BeautyStat. is a board-certified dermatologist based in Manhattan.
- Kenneth Howe is a board-certified dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology.
- Rachel Nazarian is a New York City-based dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group.
Type of Ingredient: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, sebum-regulating.
Main Benefits: Reduces inflammation, healing and calming, regulates oil production, neutralizes free radicals.
Who Should Use It: It is recommended for those looking to treat mild to moderate inflammatory acne lesions at home. It’s also great for sensitive or those allergic to typical anti-acne ingredients, such as benzoyl peroxide or retinol.
How Often Can You Use It: Products containing CBD oil can be used twice per day as part of your usual anti-acne skincare routine.
Works Well With: Ingredients designed to calm skin and decrease inflammation, including arnica, hyaluronic acid and ceramides.
Don’t Use With: Ingredients that can counteract the anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD, such as alcohol. Also, be aware that CBD is still an unregulated ingredient, and ongoing research is still exploring CBD’s pathways and other ingredients it may or may not work well with.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD—which stands for Cannabidiol—oil is a compound derived from both hemp (cannabis sativa) and marijuana (cannabis sativa indica) plants, both of which are part of the cannabis family. When it comes to acne’s root causes—a combination of bacteria, oil, and dry skin cells getting trapped in your pores—CBD oil seems to have all bases covered. “CBD oil is beneficial to these conditions due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It reduces sebum production and is also antimicrobial, so it works great for acne-prone skin,” says Green. She also cited a 2007 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science that showed CBD oil applied to the skin may inhibit the overproduction of keratinocytes (skin cells), thus eliminating yet another acne-causing culprit.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Acne
- Reduces inflammation: CBD oil helps soothe irritation caused by acne, noticeably reducing overall redness and making breakouts appear smaller and less painful. This is especially helpful for acne-prone skin sensitivity, as CBD oil works without the dryness, redness, or irritation of conventional ingredients.
- Controls oil production: “The most exciting finding of CBD oil is that it’s ‘sebostatic’—it cuts down on oil production in the skin,” says Howe. “Current evidence suggests the skin has its own endocannabinoid system, which is to say cannabinoids are active in the skin, binding to their receptors, and signaling for certain activities to occur or not occur.” How does that relate to oil production? Green explained that “the increase in sebum production is a result of endogenous cannabinoids (anandamide and 2AG) which are produced in the sebaceous glands. These endogenous cannabinoids act on CB2 receptors inhibiting the lipogenic action, therefore regulating sebum production.”
- It’s an antioxidant: CBD oil is packed with potent antioxidants that help protect skin from free radicals resulting from environmental damage and improve texture and tone over time. While none of the dermatologists could vouch for CBD oil’s ability to fade post-acne marks, it could provide an extra measure of antioxidant protection into your anti-acne routine.
- Acne multi-tasker: Rather than act as a spot treatment, acne-targeting products containing CBD oil may help manage the overall issues that contribute to acne formation. Nazarian says, “Because it works as both an anti-inflammatory and can decrease oil production, it has the ability to multitask as an acne product. It may be considered a gentler option and a safe option for many different skin types.”
Other Skin Benefits
One thing worth pointing out about incorporating CBD oil into your skincare routine is how kind it is to skin. “It’s gentle, and that’s what makes it stand out from other options,” said Nazarian. “Additionally, there are many skin types that are either too sensitive to use ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or retinol on, or they have allergies to these ingredients. Having an additional tool in the ‘acne toolkit’ will always be useful in the fight for healthy skin.”
Side Effects of CBD Oil
Though rare, the known side effects of using CBD oil for acne include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. CBD oil is also known to interact with certain medications such as blood thinners. While there are no known interactions with other topical products, you should start with a patch test if you’re concerned about a reaction. If you experience irritation, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re sensitive to CBD oil, and you should stop using it.
How to Use It
When it comes to actually using CBD oil to treat acne, you may find yourself wondering: supplement or product? Nazarian says, “The evidence supporting use of CBD in treating acne is purely topical at this point. Use of CBD was tested topically on skin cells and has shown promise. Oral supplementation or smoking of CBD formulations has not been evaluated in this manner and can not be recommended.”
The good news is, there’s no shortage of CBD-laced products. One of the most popular routes is face oil. Oils are still having their moment in skincare, as they’re ideal for virtually every skin type (depending on the formulation) and act as an excellent carrier for a variety of potent compounds—like CBD. Oils are also easy to incorporate into a multiple-step skincare regimen, so if you’re looking to up your anti-acne game with an extra product that has very little likelihood to interact with your existing products, a face oil containing CBD oil might be the perfect fit. There are also various cleansers, creams, lotions, and oils for the face and body, but it’s important to steer clear of any that might contain potential comedogenic ingredients.
While the doctors we spoke to were happy to recommend products, they were also quick to remind us that CBD is still an unregulated ingredient, making it difficult to gauge a product’s efficacy. There’s no way to specify the purity or optimal percentage of active ingredients required for the product to be effective.
The Best Products with CBD Oil for Acne
“This product packs a 100mg hemp oil lightweight formulation which also contains adaptogens” (plant-based roots and herbs that help calm our body’s reaction to stress), says Green.
This anti-blemish cream combines 200mg of CBD hemp extract with 1% salicylic acid to calm and soothe active breakouts and clear up blemishes, blackheads, and whiteheads while keeping skin smooth and hydrated.
These concentrated patches will help you forget everything you knew about spot treatments that dry zits into painful oblivion. It is packed with the ideal ratio of salicylic acid and hemp to reduce inflammation and speed healing, while hydrocolloid action stops the infection in its tracks.
Each scoop of these luxe bath salts contains approximately 20mg of CBD oil and a host of other de-stressing and body-boosting ingredients, including pink Himalayan salt, arnica, Epsom salts, and calendula. Plus, they get two thumbs up from Nazarian, who praises their ability to decrease inflammation and encourage relaxation. Great for a bacne-busting soak—make sure the water isn’t too hot.
When cleansing broken-out skin, it’s important to be thorough while still respecting the skin’s moisture barrier. While this refreshing gel cleanser doesn’t contain actual CBD oil, it’s stacked with Cannabis Sativa seed and green oregano oils.
The skin around the eye area is the thinnest and most delicate on the face, so while an eye cream isn’t exactly first on the list of anti-acne products, one containing CBD could tick off two essential boxes of your skincare regimen: eye care and soothing anti-acne action.
Rather than applied topically, a few drops of this ultra-pure, ultra-potent CBD oil taken each day orally may help balance out the stress levels and reduce inflammation.
CBD oil is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation, controls oil production, and manages the overall issues that contribute to acne formation.
Yes, it’s especially beneficial for acne-prone skin. “It’s gentle, and that’s what makes it stand out from other options,” said Nazarian. “Additionally, there are many skin types that are either too sensitive to use ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or retinol on, or they have allergies to these ingredients. Having an additional tool in the ‘acne toolkit’ will always be useful in the fight for healthy skin.”
Nazarian says, “The evidence supporting use of CBD in treating acne is purely topical at this point. Use of CBD was tested topically on skin cells and has shown promise. Oral supplementation or smoking of CBD formulations has not been evaluated in this manner and can not be recommended.”
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