CBD oil for Acne

CBD Oil for Acne

Does CBD work for acne? Anyone who has suffered from severe acne knows that treating it can be a challenge, even with medical products. So the prospect of CBD oil to treat acne may come as a welcome alternative. Although acne is most often associated with teenagers, it can be a persistent nuisance into adulthood and leave those who suffer from it with lasting scars. Some research claims CBD can be applied topically for breakout control and skin rejuvenation, and oral administration may even help prevent this skin condition in the long term.

We will be taking a look at how CBD may be a good alternative treatment for this pesky skin condition.

What is acne and what causes it?

Acne usually occurs when oil and dead skin cells clog up hair follicles causing a breakout. Bacteria and a certain type of hormones known as androgens can also be to blame. Depending on the root cause, acne can manifest itself in a variety of different ways. Before we can look into why people use CBD oil for acne, we need to understand the different causes of acne.

Common examples of acne are blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. Painful under the skin solid lumps (nodules) and puss-filled lumps (cystic lesions) are also attributed to acne. Acne can be caused by excess sebum production, the secretion of oils used by the body to keep skin moisturized and protected from the outside world. However, sebum can become mixed with dead skin cells, dirt, and other foreign pollutants which clog up the pores in your skin, leading to acne.

In addition, certain factors may aggravate and worsen acne such as stress, diet (more research is needed but carbohydrates and dairy have been suggested to worsen acne), hormones (the aforementioned androgens increase in the body during puberty, causing an increased production of sebum, and thus explaining why teenage acne is so common), and even some types of medications that contain corticosteroids, testosterone or lithium.

What is CBD and CBD oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound sourced from the cannabis plant. It has been lauded as of late for its multiplicity of uses towards positive health benefits such as relieving pain, stress, and anxiety, the ability to stop certain kinds of epilepsy, effectiveness in treating Parkinson’s disease symptoms, and much more. CBD is often mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut or hemp seed oil to produce CBD oil that is easy to consume. There is quite a variety of CBD products available now, so please feel free to find out more in our other relevant HealthyTokyo CBD articles.

CBD oil for Acne: Sebum reduction and Anti-inflammation

CBD oil may be able to help to treat acne due to its ability to adjust sebum production. In addition, CBD oil is well-known for its anti-inflammatory effects. You can apply it topically to the affected area to affect sebum production directly or take it sublingually (under the tongue) for its anti-inflammatory effects on under-the-skin acne.

Current research on CBD and cannabis for acne has revealed promising results. A study in 2014 focused on CBD’s effect on the cells that create sebum (sebocytes). Results showed that CBD inhibited sebocytes from overproducing sebum, lowering the chances of an acne breakout. Furthermore, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties were shown when it was seen to stop cytokine activation, signaling proteins whose properties can trigger acne flare-ups. In a study conducted in 2016, research showed that the antifungal effects of cannabis may be helpful in treating acne, the premise being that it may reduce or prevent pollutants from affecting the skin. However, as human subjects were not used in this specific research, it is difficult to claim it’s real world application, further research regarding CBD for acne is needed.

CBD oil for Acne Scarring?

Anyone who has suffered from bad acne knows that it can leave scarring, caused by picking at the skin or overly large pimples. These scars can make you feel self-conscious, affecting confidence, but research suggests that CBD oil may be able to help here as well.

In a recent 2019 study conducted in Italy, 20 patients with scarring caused by skin disorders such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis were treated with CBD-enriched ointment twice per day over a three-month period. Upon the closure of the study, skin evaluation, photographic data, and a clinical questionnaire revealed significant improvements to the skin in terms of hydration and elasticity, resulting in an increased quality of life for the patients. While this study was not conducted with severe acne in mind, the results suggest that CBD oil may be beneficial if applied to acne scars as well.

There is not quite enough research to outright claim that CBD oil is the answer to treating acne. However, the current research available regarding its topical applications and anti-inflammatory properties suggests that it may be able to help. If you have any questions about CBD oil and its various health benefits, please feel free to contact us through the site chat feature on the bottom right of the screen.


Before you go, just remember:

  • Acne is predominantly caused from a build-up of excess sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells that clog pores
  • CBD oil has been shown to reduce sebum when applied topically to the skin
  • CBD oil’s anti-inflammatory properties may also help combat acne breakouts 
  • CBD oil may even help in healing and rejuvenating acne scarred skin

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