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All aboard the CBD train! In recent years, CBD goodies have taken the world by storm. We’re talking everything from gummies to deodorant. And now, CBD face creams are picking up speed. But do they actually work?
It depends. So, let’s dive into what CBD is, what it can and can’t do for your skin, and our picks for the best CBD face creams on the market.
New to CBD? Welcome to the team. Here’s a quick rundown.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 100 compounds found in the cannabis and hemp plants. It’s the nonpsychoactive cousin of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is another one of those many cannabinoids.
There are other types of compounds in the cannabis and hemp plants, too — like terpenes and flavonoids:
- Terpenes are found everywhere in nature and give many plants their distinct smell. Many of them also have their own therapeutic benefits (think: the calming smell of lavender).
- Flavonoids are also found in nature (like grapes, citrus fruits, and cocoa) and they have some pretty legit antioxidant properties.
Not every CBD product will have all of these compounds, though. Brands sometimes choose to keep them all together, while others pick and choose what to include. Because of that, you’ll usually see products labeled with one of the following:
- Full-spectrum CBD. Full-spectrum CBD products contain all the compounds naturally found in the plant — including THC (but federally legal CBD products will never contain more than .3 percent THC).
- Broad-spectrum CBD. It’s basically the same as full-spectrum, but all the THC has been removed.
- CBD isolate. That’s a pure CBD extract that’s been stripped of all THC and other cannabis compounds.
Research on CBD in general is still in its early stages, but the outlook so far is good. Based on what research we have, CBD looks like it can help treat epilepsy and improve certain types of pain, sleep, anxiety, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
CBD face creams typically have multiple ingredients. Here’s how each can help your skin:
Again, CBD is still being researched in the scientific world, so we have a lot to learn about what CBD can do for skin. But recent research suggests that most of CBD’s skin benefits are thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects.
Terpenes and flavonoids
There aren’t any high quality studies investigating if CBD can reduce signs of aging (yet) — but research on terpenes and flavonoids looks pretty dang good.
Both terpenes and flavonoids have stellar antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can benefit your health in a bunch of ways — but when applied to your skin, they help fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals (like sun exposure, cigarette smoke, or pollution). Less oxidative stress on your skin = reduced signs of premature aging. Hell YES.
Certain terpenes also have similar anti-inflammatory effects as CBD itself, so you’ll get a little boost from these guys if they’re in your CBD products.
Many CBD face cream products include other ingredients that are fab for hydration, reducing the signs of skin aging, and many other skin concerns.
Here are the benefits of some super common ingredients you might come across:
- Glycerin is basically the “it girl” moisturizer these days.
- Squalane is an excellent emollient (aka a skin soother and smoother).
- Hyaluronic acid is a lightweight, superstar moisturizer with big potential to reduce the signs of skin aging.
- Ceramides restore your skin’s barrier, which helps lock in hydration.
- Plant oils (like sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, or grape seed oil) are hella hydrating.
At this point, the FDA isn’t looking too hard at what CBD companies are up to, so finding a quality CBD product can be tough. And TBH, it’s even harder to find high quality CBD skin care products since regular skin care companies don’t always take all the right steps to ensure or prove the quality of their CBD products.
The products on our list met the following requirements:
- made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- made with U.S.-grown hemp
- contain no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
- get passing results for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA
We also considered stuff like:
- company certifications and manufacturing processes
- product potency
- overall ingredients
- indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
- customer reviews
- whether the company has been subject to an FDA warning letter
- whether the company makes any unsupported health claims
- $ = under $40
- $$ = $40–$80
- $$$ = over $80
Best CBD face cream for eczema
- Price: $$
- Size: 1.7 ounces (oz.)
- CBD type: full-spectrum
- Potency: 250 milligrams (mg)
- Other key ingredients: glycerin, squalane, hyaluronic acid, ceramides
- COA: available on batch reports page
Browse the reviews for the Lord Jones Acid Mantle Repair CBD Moisturizer and you’ll find people screaming that they’re “obsessed” and that they’ve found “the one.” And with such an impressive ingredient list, it’s easy to see why.
In addition to full-spectrum CBD (hi, entourage effect), this stuff contains four of the most sought-after moisturizing ingredients out there: glycerin, squalane, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides. It also has zero synthetic fragrance, essential oils, dyes, parabens, phthalates, or sulfates — so it’s also a good choice for peeps with sensitive skin and eczema.
It’s a bit pricey — but it’s got serious reviews to back it up, so it could be a great pick if you’re trying to ditch dry skin.
Best CBD face oil
- Price: $$$
- Size: 1 oz.
- CBD type: broad-spectrum
- Potency: 1000 mg
- Other ingredients: grape seed oil
- COA: available on batch reports page
This “two-ingredient beauty booster” is made with a whopping 1000 mg of broad-spectrum CBD and grape seed oil. Grape seed oil is hella rich in antioxidants, giving this simple formula a nice edge to reduce the signs of aging.
Lord Jones says you can use this like a highlighter and apply it to the high points of your face — or you can mix it with your favorite moisturizer or foundation. You can also just use it the same way you would use a serum and apply directly to your skin before finishing off with your daily/nighttime moisturizer or makeup.
Reviewers love that this oil gives their skin a velvety feel without clogging their pores. A few complain about the price — and they’re not wrong — but many swear it’s the best they’ve ever used.
Best anti-aging CBD face cream
- Price: $$
- Size: 2 oz.
- CBD type: broad-spectrum
- Potency: 600 mg
- Other ingredients: glycerin, sacha inchi peptides, rosehip seed oil, algae extract
- COA: available online
This vegan, cruelty-free cream is THC-free and formulated for everyday use.
Glycerin enters the chat to hydrate, while rosehip seed oil reduces inflammation and minimizes the appearance of scars. Sacha inchi peptides and algae extract are there to reduce signs of premature aging — and they’re pretty good at it, too.
There aren’t a ton of reviews yet, but people who’ve tried it love the nongreasy feel and say it works well under makeup.
Best CBD face mask
- Price: $
- Size: 2 oz.
- CBD type: broad-spectrum
- Potency: 50 mg
- Other ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, lactic acid
- COA: available online
These fun face masks get rave reviews. People say they’re super relaxing and a treat to use.
You can choose between aloe, charcoal, cucumber, rose, and lavender — each are designed to achieve a diff goal. If you’re going for hydration, stick to aloe or cucumber. But any of the ~flavors~ are a good choice, since most of the main ingredients are the same.
They’re supposed to work well for all skin types, but heads up that the aloe and rose versions have natural fragrance, which might not work well for sensitive skin.
You can find a smorgasbord of CBD face creams online and in stores — some great, some not. Here’s how to find the CBD cream of your skin’s dreams:
CBD source and type
Look for products made from American-grown hemp (organic, whenever possible), since it’s subject to agricultural regulations.
When it comes to choosing whether to go the full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate route, it’s really your call.
Like we mentioned before, other compounds in the cannabis and hemp plants have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that might add a little bonus onto what CBD is already doing. If you want to see what terpenes and flavonoids could be all about, go for full- or broad-spectrum CBD.
If you know you want to avoid THC, def go with broad-spectrum or isolate.
Sorry to keep hitting this over your head, but there isn’t any solid evidence for what dosage or potency to use when it comes to CBD skin care products. In general, though, you can use higher doses on your skin than you would typically ingest (because it’s a loooong road from your skin to your bloodstream).
Look for a certificate of analysis (COA) from an accredited lab on the company’s website. Or, scan the QR code with your phone to compare the actual amount of CBD to the label’s claims.
The COA should also show that the product has passed tests for contaminants like solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, and molds.
No COA, old COA (more than a year old), inaccurate info, or missing contaminant testing? Boy, byeeeee.
Make sure that any added ingredients in the product you choose align with your skin care type and goals.
If you’re looking for all the moisture, go for glycerin, hyaluronic acid, squalane, ceramides, or plant oils. If you want a product that reduces the signs of aging, look for antioxidants like vitamin C.
It’s *always* a good idea to follow the directions on your product’s packaging. But in a nutshell, you can expect to use a CBD face cream the same way you would use any other facial skin care product.
Here are the basics:
- Wash your face with your fave cleanser (Option: Use a toner after cleansing)
- Apply any serums or oils by applying a few drops directly to your skin, using gentle tapping motions as you spread it evenly over your face and neck (Hint: This is also where you apply CBD serums or CBD oils).
- Apply your daily or nighttime CBD moisturizer, covering your entire face and neck in a thin layer.
- Apply sunscreen (at least SPF 30) ALL over, hunny.
And boom, you’re done!
CBD is generally considered safe and side effects from topical CBD products aren’t common, but they’re still possible, including:
CBD can also interact with your meds if you’re taking any. Talk with a healthcare professional to make sure there’s no risk of interactions before adding a daily CBD cream to your skin care lineup.
Is CBD cream good for the face?
Yes! CBD can help improve acne, eczema, psoriasis, and even skin cancer. It can also help strengthen your skin’s barrier.
But like any skin care ingredient, it might not work well with your specific skin type. That’s why it’s always important to patch test before rubbing a new-to-you product all over your face.
What happens if you put CBD cream on your face?
CBD isn’t magic (sadly), so expect to test it out the same way you would any other facial product.
While some benefits might happen pretty quickly (like eczema itch relief), expect it to take a few weeks for your acne to start clearing up.
Even then, it might not work for your specific acne or skin type, so don’t be afraid to abandon ship if you’re not seeing the results you want after six weeks.
What CBD is best for skin?
There isn’t any research that tells us exactly what type of CBD is best for skin care products.
But because they contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich terpenes and flavonoids, products with full- and broad-spectrum CBD likely have a leg up on products with CBD isolate.
Is CBD good for wrinkles?
Research on CBD’s potential for reducing the signs of aging is suuuper limited, so it’s hard to say for sure.
Some CBD products (like those with full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD) contain terpenes and flavonoids, which both have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are a huge part of reducing signs of premature aging like fine lines and wrinkles — so it’s totally possible that these kinds of CBD products are good for wrinkles.
Does CBD help acne?
Recent research suggests that CBD could be an effective treatment for acne, mostly thanks to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD-for-skin research has a long way to go. But it can’t hurt to give it a shot! Keep an eye out for ingredients that help you reach your #SkinGoals and always always always look for high quality, lab-tested products with plenty of good reviews from real customers.
Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.