Can CBD oils help with acne?

CBD and acne

If anyone still thinks that acne is only a problem for teenagers, they are mistaken. Skin lesions, which are commonly called pimples, also affect mature complexions. One can deal with all kinds of pimples, blackheads, papules or pustules in various ways. Sometimes pharmacology can help, but it is well known that this can be associated with side effects. More and more people are therefore relying on natural remedies in combination with a proper diet and skin care. 

Natural ways also include the use of hemp products, such as CBD oils. And although until recently little was known about the effects of cannabinoids on the skin, it turns out that there is a lot of potential. 

What is acne?

Acne is a chronic skin descent that manifests itself in the form of papules, pustules, seborrhoea and blackheads that appear on the face, back and décolleté. Commonly thought to be an affliction of youth that passes with the end of the hormonal buzz, often leaving traces behind. However, dermatologists leave no illusions. Today, acne affects up to 50% people over the age of 25. 

Acne occurs due to increased production of sebaceous gland secretions, accompanied by keratinisation of the epidermis. This means that the sebum produced in large amounts cannot escape and clogs the ducts that the sebaceous glands drain. The sebum becomes trapped in the epidermis and becomes a perfect base for anaerobic bacteria, which lead to inflammation. If acne is left to its own devices, pimples and papules will turn into infiltrates and nodules, which can eventually take the form of purulent cysts. And these, even when healed, leave unattractive scars on the body. 

There are many reasons why acne appears on the skin. It could be irregular hormones, it could be genetic factors, or it could be inadequate diet or skin care or lack thereof. And in mature people, the cause can also be prolonged stress or the use of medication, even antidepressants.

Cannabinoids and acne

During acne research, it was discovered that there are receptors for the endocannabinoid system in the sebaceous glands and hair follicles. This is a system that has the task of regulating the body's organs so that the human body is in balance. It does this by means of CB1 and CB2 receptors, which act as regulators.

This discovery prompted research into the use of phytocannabinoids, or plant cannabinoids, which are found in CBD oils, among others, in alleviating acne symptoms. 

But this is not the only property of CBD oil that can relieve symptoms. After all, acne is undoubtedly a localised inflammation of the skin, caused by various factors. However, studies have shown that among the properties of cannabidiol (CBD), it is the anti-inflammatory action that is one of the predominant ones. Therefore, lubricating the affected areas may have a therapeutic effect on acne pimples. Some studies have also mentioned that CBD can reduce sebum secretion. 

Research on CBD in relation to acne

Research has been carried out on the effects of cannabinoids on acne, focusing primarily on CBD, which is the most commonly found among them. This is because it predominates in cannabis seeds and is the most comprehensively studied. Its various health-promoting properties have already been confirmed by a number of scientific studies.

One of the first studies on the effects of CBD on acne-prone skin was conducted in 2009 by a team of Hungarian scientists. They specifically studied the effect of cannabidiol on human sebaceous gland function by administering it to cultured human sebaceous cells. This concluded that CBD is a highly effective sebostatic agent. But that's not all, cannabidiol also induced complex anti-inflammatory effects.

A summary of the research shows that CBD showed a combined lipostatic, antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory effect, which predestines it as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris. In simple terms, it stopped the overproduction of sebum and, on the other hand, acted as an anti-inflammatory, relieving inflammation in the areas of acne. 

Anti-acne properties of CBD oils

The conclusions of the 2020 study already go much further, and in the publication of the results it can be read that the use of cannabinoids has a biochemical purpose and therefore further research is warranted for use in the treatment of certain skin diseases. 

It cannot be stated unequivocally that CBD oil cures acne, because a lot depends on what the underlying cause is. On the other hand, it has great potential to relieve inflammation that forms on the skin. 

Which CBD oils for acne? Preferably those containing the full cannabinoid profile. This is because CBC (cannabichromene), CBDV (cannabidivarin) and THCV (terahydrocannabivarin) also exhibit anti-acne and anti-inflammatory properties, although they are far from the power of CBD (cannabidiol). Combined, however, they can show much greater positive effects on acne-prone skin. 

  1. "The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities"; Tamás Bíró, Balázs I. Tóth, György Haskó, Ralf Paus, Pál Pacher; (2009),
  2. "Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and anti-inflammatory effects on human sebocytes"; Attila Oláh, Balázs I. Tóth, István Borbíró et al; (2014),
  3. "Cannabinoid Signaling in the Skin: Therapeutic Potential of the "C(ut)annabinoid" System" by Kinga Fanni Tóth, Dorottya Ádám, Tamás Bíró and Attila Oláh1. (2019),
  4. "Cannabidiol induces antioxidant pathways in keratinocytes by targeting BACH1"; Laura Casares, Víctor García, Martín Garrido-Rodríguez et al (2020).


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