Are CBD face masks beneficial for the skin, and if so, how? Are there risks in using CBD face masks?
- CBD face masks are a practical solution for individuals whose target area for CBD is only the skin on the face. The skin gets to absorb all the benefits of this phytocannabinoid without getting the users high.
- Research showed that CBD exerted complex anti-inflammatory actions, which indicated that CBD reduced excessive oil production, making it a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris or common acne(1).
- A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America concluded that CBD, as an antioxidant (anti-aging), was 30%- 50% more potent than both Vitamins C and E(2).
- CBD might also be useful in reducing itch and skin dryness, as shown in a 2017 review published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology(3).
- Meanwhile, a study published in the journal Clinical Therapeutics in 2019 examined individuals with either psoriasis, eczema, or scarring and found that CBD might help enhance skin elasticity and hydration(4).
- However, CBD may cause drug interactions or allergic reactions. Thus, consumers are advised to first consult with a dermatologist experienced in cannabis use before including CBD face masks in their skincare regimen.
Why Use CBD Face Masks?
CBD’s natural properties make it a popular ingredient in many beauty products. As a natural, alternative skincare solution, CBD appeals to individuals dismayed by the unfavorable side effects of many chemical-laden skincare products available on the market.
CBD face masks are a perfect way to help the skin absorb all the benefits of this phytocannabinoid without getting the users high.
The topical application of CBD through CBD-infused face masks is an excellent option for first-time CBD users.
CBD face masks are also a practical solution for individuals whose target area for CBD is only the skin on the face.
As the awareness for medical cannabis increased over the last decade, so has research into the different therapeutic applications of this plant, including topical cannabis for dermatologic treatment, says the American Academy of Dermatology Association in an article posted in 2018(5).
“This is something in which the public is extremely interested, and researchers have responded accordingly,” says Jeanette Jacknin, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Encinitas, California.
The author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin, Dr. Jacknin, is also a consultant with expertise in holistic dermatology, natural cosmeceuticals, and topical hemp and cannabinoids.
Jacknin understands the potential of using topical CBD for skincare, and many CBD manufacturers recognize the fact that there is a massive market for these products.
Thus, it is not surprising that the beauty industry is deluged with CBD-infused make-up, beauty essentials, and skincare products, like the CBD face masks.
CBD has been shown to be beneficial for the skin, and research demonstrates how its characteristics may help improve skin health or alleviate skin issues.
Research showed that CBD also exerted complex anti-inflammatory actions, which indicated that CBD reduced excessive oil production, making it a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris(6).
Acne vulgaris is the medical name for common acne. Acne is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, causing whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples, and usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders(7).
Packed with CBD’s anti-inflammatory property, a CBD face mask can help bring down the appearance of swelling and puffy eyes so that one looks rejuvenated and rested. With its potential to treat acne, CBD can help one achieve smooth and clear skin.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America concluded that CBD, as an antioxidant, was 30%- 50% more potent than both Vitamins C and E(8).
The antioxidants in CBD could help lessen the visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles and skin dullness. Thus, CBD-infused face masks could also be an excellent anti-aging beauty tool.
CBD might also be useful in reducing itch and skin dryness, as shown in a 2017 review published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology(9).
Additionally, a study published in the journal Clinical Therapeutics in 2019 examined individuals with either psoriasis, eczema, or scarring(10).
Researchers of the said study noted that a specific CBD ointment enhanced skin elasticity and hydration, which eventually improved the quality of life of the subjects.
The positive effects demonstrated by CBD could have been due to the fatty acids naturally found in hemp extracts.
Fatty-acids form a protective layer that plumps the skin and hydrates irritated skin.
However, the authors believe that the effects could also be due to CBD’s anti-inflammatory characteristics.
This calming effect makes CBD face masks an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin, although most CBD face masks can be used on different skin types.
There are no studies that have examined the specific impact of CBD-infused face masks on the skin.
Still, the studies mentioned above demonstrated CBD’s potential skin benefits.
Results suggested that the use of CBD-infused skincare products, such as CBD masks, can be a natural way of maintaining healthy skin or a practical solution to many skin problems.
How CBD Face Masks Work
A study published in the journal Trends in Pharmacological Sciences has suggested the existence of a functional endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the skin and implicated it in various biological processes(12).
In the said study, the authors noted that the primary physiological function of the ECS in the skin seemed to be the regulation of the well-balanced proliferation, survival, and tolerance of skin cells.
They said that the disruption of this delicate balance might facilitate the development of multiple skin problems, such as acne, seborrhea (red, itchy rash and white scales), allergic dermatitis, psoriasis (painful, dry, raised, and red skin lesions), and cancer.
The ECS, which is a network of cannabinoids and receptors, regulates most functions in the human body. The ECS also gathers and interprets signals from cannabinoids.
Then, the neurotransmitters in the brain provide instructions for the body’s immune system and signal it when to activate its line of defense, where to engage it, and how strongly to involve it.
The interaction between CBD and the cannabinoid receptors is what activates CBD’s therapeutic properties.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid, and it is only one of more than 100 phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids naturally present in plants).
CBD can be extracted from either a marijuana or a hemp plant, and several strains of both plants are now bred and explicitly cultivated for CBD production.
Unlike the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is not psychoactive, which means it does not induce a euphoric high in the users.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Face Masks
|CBD is safe.||CBD may cause interactions with other pharmaceuticals.|
|CBD is non-intoxicating and non-addictive.||There could be allergic reactions to the other ingredients in the face mask.|
|CBD possesses characteristics that may help improve skin health or alleviate skin issues.||CBD face masks can be too expensive to include in a regular skincare routine.|
|The skin absorbs all the benefits of CBD without getting the users high.|
|Topical application is an excellent option for first-time CBD users.|
|CBD users can specifically target the skin on the face.|
- CBD is safe. According to a 2017 World Health Organization (WHO) report, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential… To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”(13)
- CBD is non-intoxicating and non-addictive. CBD derived from extracted from hemp is legal under U.S. federal law(14).
- CBD has been shown to be beneficial for the skin, and research (as discussed previously) demonstrates how its characteristics may help improve skin health or alleviate skin issues.
- CBD face masks are a perfect way to help the skin absorb all the benefits of this phytocannabinoid without getting the users high.
- The topical application of CBD through CBD-infused face masks is an excellent option for first-time CBD users.
- CBD face masks are also a practical solution for individuals whose target area for CBD is only the skin on the face.
- The CBD content in the face mask may cause interactions with other pharmaceuticals currently taken by those using the CBD face mask. For safety, consult with a doctor before using a CBD face mask.
- Those using the CBD face mask may have allergic reactions to the other ingredients in the face mask. To ensure safety, consult with a doctor.
- The cost of CBD face masks can be prohibitive. Single sheet masks can cost from $7 to $15, while mousses, gels, and cream masks can cost between $20 to $30 for a 2-3 oz bottle. Prices may also increase when CBD is combined with high-end ingredients.
How CBD Face Masks Compare to Alternative Facial Skin Care
Honey, coconut oil, cucumber, and coffee each possess specific properties that make them useful as natural alternatives to skincare topicals(15).
Studies suggest that these substances can be practical solutions for those who want to avoid the side effects of harsh chemicals contained in most conventional skincare products.
CBD is also a natural product, as it is derived from plants. Studies (discussed previously) have also indicated that CBD might be a potent agent that could help promote skin health and even address specific skin problems.
However, as in the case of many alternative skincare tools, more longitudinal studies are needed to substantiate claims of CBD’s numerous potential benefits.
How To Choose The Right CBD Face Mask
The following factors are essential to ensure the safety and reliability of CBD skincare products purchased:
- Research on the exact legal stipulations applicable to CBD in the area where it would be purchased and used.
- Purchase only high-quality CBD products from legitimate and reliable brands. The majority of companies that manufacture the best CBD oil products grow their hemp from their own farm, or they purchase from licensed hemp producers who practice ethical and sustainable farming methods.
- Research product reviews before buying from an online store. When buying from a physical store or dispensary, check whether the store is authorized by the government to sell CBD.
- Compare prices. Most CBD oil sheet masks cost around $10 per sheet and are suitable for one-time use only. Cream and lotion masks cost almost double the price of sheet masks but are suitable for multiple uses.
- Read product labels and know the ingredients to avoid any adverse reactions, such as allergies or skin irritation. Given that CBD oil is a natural supplement, some face masks may have additional ingredients like essential oils, vitamins, herbs, and other elements.
- One important thing to look for in skincare products (tincture, cream, or face mask) is certification codes. Several certification authorities approve certain products only after some thorough screening tests.
- Compare company claims about their products’ potency with that of the third-party lab reports. Reputable CBD companies practice transparency and provide consumers with a copy of the certificate of analysis (COA) of the purchased product.
- Consulting with a trusted medical professional who is experienced in CBD use is ideal before one decides to include CBD face masks in his or her skincare regimen.
How to Use CBD Face Masks
There are two types of CBD face masks available on the market.
The first type is a sheet mask that lays over the face and remains there, as the skin absorbs the CBD content and other ingredients. Then, the mask is peeled off, and the skin is washed.
Other CBD masks come in the form of lotion, cream, or gel, and the same method applies. These masks typically come in a glass or plastic container or squeezable tube.
Whatever the type of CBD face mask one uses, usage instructions must be followed as indicated on the product label.
Many CBD face mask brands list the total cannabidiol content in milligrams, which is a good indication that the CBD product is legitimate.
However, currently, there is no consensus on how much CBD the skin needs per application.
Is CBD oil the same as hemp seed oil?
CBD oil is not the same as hemp seed oil, although the two terms are often used interchangeably on product labels.
Cannabidiol is predominant in CBD oil, whereas hemp seed oil contains only trace amounts of cannabidiol, if there is any at all.
Hemp seed oil (also called Cannabis Sativa oil and hemp oil) contains no cannabinoids because they are not naturally present in the seeds of the hemp plant.
Meanwhile, CBD is extracted from the flower and leaves of the hemp plant, where there is a high concentration of cannabinoids.
When buying a CBD product, like a CBD face mask, look for these words in the ingredients list: CBD, hemp CBD, full-spectrum hemp extract, broad-spectrum CBD, phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil, and hemp extract oil. Those words indicate that CBD is one of the active ingredients in the formula.
Hemp seed oil is an excellent moisturizer, and it helps in hydrating the skin, as shown in a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment(16). However, it does not contain the therapeutic benefits that CBD has been known to provide.
Why Choose Full-Spectrum?
CBD is not the only cannabinoid that can benefit the skin. Hence, when choosing a CBD face mask, select one that contains full-spectrum CBD oil.
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all phytonutrients from hemp, including trace amounts of THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils. These compounds work together to intensify the therapeutic benefits of each cannabinoid, resulting in the “entourage effect”.
Those with allergies to THC may opt to use broad-spectrum CBD oil, which is like full-spectrum CBD but without the THC that makes the user high.
However, regardless of the form of CBD product of choice, careful consideration must still be employed in selecting the best CBD oil to help with facial skin issues.
Is CBD legal?
CBD is readily obtainable in many parts of the United States, although its exact legal status continually changes.
In December 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) eased the regulatory stipulations to allow researchers to conduct CBD investigations and trials. Currently, many people can get CBD online without a medical cannabis license (17).
CBD face masks may be best used in conjunction with existing skincare regimens. Although CBD oil has been shown to provide numerous skin health benefits, there have been no studies that specifically examined the impact of CBD contained in CBD face masks.
Like any product in the skincare industry, CBD is not to be regarded as an instant miracle cure to all skin problems.
More importantly, consumers are advised to first consult with a dermatologist experienced in cannabis use before including CBD face masks in their skincare regimen.
Oláh A, Tóth BI, Borbíró I, et al. Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes. J Clin Invest. 2014;124(9):3713–3724. doi:10.1172/JCI64628.
Hampson AJ, Grimaldi M, Axelrod J, Wink D. Cannabidiol and (-)Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998;95(14):8268–8273. doi:10.1073/pnas.95.14.8268.
Mounessa J et al. The role of cannabinoids in dermatology. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 77, Issue 3, September 2017, Pages e87-e88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2017.02.056.
Palmieri B, Laurino C, Vadalà M. A therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. Clin Ter. 2019 Mar-Apr;170(2):e93-e99. doi: 10.7417/CT.2019.2116. DOI: 10.7417/CT.2019.2116.
American Academy of Dermatology Association. (2018, Feb16). Public, researchers demonstrate growing interest in cannabis treatment. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/news/topical-cannabis.
Oláh A, Tóth BI, Borbíró I, et al. op. cit.
Mayo Clinic. (2020, Feb 18). Acne. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/symptoms-causes/syc-20368047.
Hampson AJ et al. op. cit.
Mounessa J et al. op. cit.
Palmieri B et al. op. cit.
Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825–836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1; Russo EB. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(1):245–259. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s1928.
.Bíró T, Tóth BI, Haskó G, Paus R, Pacher P. The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2009;30(8):411–420. doi:10.1016/j.tips.2009.05.004.
Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. (2017, Nov 6-10). CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Pre-Review Report. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf.
(US FDA. (2020, Feb 13). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd.
Burlando B and Cornara L. Honey in dermatology and skin care: a review. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2013 Dec;12(4):306-13. DOI: 10.1111/jocd.12058; Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. Published 2017 Dec 27. doi:10.3390/ijms19010070; Akhtar et al. Exploring cucumber extract for skin rejuvenation. ChemistryPublished 2011. DOI:10.5897/AJB10.1072. Retrieved from https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Exploring-cucumber-extract-for-skin-rejuvenation-Akhtar-Mehmood/9b056bf4dc6c1ac93dbf2a64321cc4a12895b24a; Herman A, Herman A, P: Caffeine’s Mechanisms of Action and Its Cosmetic Use. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2013;26:8-14. doi: 10.1159/000343174.
Callaway J et al. (2005). Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis, Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 16:2, 87-94, DOI: 10.1080/09546630510035832.
Grinspoon, P. (2019, Aug 27). Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476.