CBD skincare is all the rage lately, and for good reason: Ever since 9 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, it’s been popping up in everything from anti-pain to anti-anxiety over-the-counter drugs, to appetite-stimulant and anti-acne pills.
But the science isn’t quite there yet. The studies that do exist are quite limited: There was one study in 2014 that said CBD can help reduce oil production, indicating that it might help with acne and oily skin. Another study, from 2017, addressed the fact that CBD may be anti-inflammatory and help to relieve itching in the skin, but it didn’t go into anti-aging effects (which is why I know most FutureDerm readers are here in the first place)!
One factor going against CBD skincare is that a 2016 study found that smoking cannabinoids regularly resulted in prematurely advanced signs of aging. The most frequent dermatologic complaints were periorbital darkening (i.e., dark circles around the eyes), hollowed-out cheeks, hair loss and gray hair, and breakouts. Now, granted, there are many things that affect your skin differently once orally-consumed versus when topically applied — tomatoes, for instance, are great for your skin when ingested, but may be detrimental to the skin when topically applied — but I am not sure CBD is beneficial for your skin when topically applied.
With that said, when people ask me about anti-aging ingredients, I always recommend mainstays with a lot of scientific research backing, like retinoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, kojic acid, amino acids, niacinamide, and sunscreen. Insofar as new ingredients go, I would suggest trying items like growth factors or even plant stem cells before CBD oil for the skin, because I just don’t personally see the benefit there, at least not until more research is done.