It has been ultimately accepted among the medical community and beauty gurus alike that acne is incurable - it can be managed, but not overcome. The only drug on the market that came close to an acne “cure” was Accutane - and with it came extreme risks and incidences of birth defects and severe depression, among other undesirable side effects - and it has since been taken from the market. The five main components known to affect acne are hormones, bacteria, inflammation, skin cell turnover, and oil production. Cannabis, specifically hemp-derived CBD, has been cropping up in the beauty industry and has been touted, and proven, to address these areas of concern. Let’s take a look.

CBD and Hormones

The hormones most responsible for acne in both males and females are androgens, made by our adrenal glands. These androgens are elevated by stress, which is why stress makes any acne matter worse. A study in 2010 showed that CBD regulates and balances your body’s production of hormones in response to stress.

CBD and Bacteria

The investigation of cannabinoids as antibiotic treatment and in the treatment of antibiotic resistance is a massive topic in and of itself. As far as acne is concerned, it has been proven that hemp seed extracts (CBD is derived from hemp) are able to fully inactivate the growth of the specific type of bacteria that causes acne.

CBD and Inflammation

Inflammation, both on the skin and in the body in general, is a main cause of acne. CBD has been shown to affect cytokine production, and cytokines are the main factors that initiate or stop inflammation in the body. Cannabinoids seem to work on inflammation like standard over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in that they diminish inflammation significantly - however, they are entirely free of the adverse side effects associated with NSAIDS.

CBD and Skin Cell Turnover

As it turns out, our skin and hair follicles are functioning at a level deeper than what meets the eye - in fact, skin has been proven to actually be more than just a protective barrier, but also a deeply intricate portion of our “neuro-immune-endocrine system”. This ties in, again, with our Endocannabinoid System - as CBD fine tunes our ECS - and the ECS has been proven to affect skin cell proliferation. The more “normal” our skin cell proliferation and life cycle is, the less acne we have.

CBD and Oil Production

CBD has been proven to have a “sebostatic” effect on skin - meaning, it reduces sebum or skin oils. The effects can be found both topically and internally. Having our skin producing just enough oil - not too much - is critical for acne control.

Part of the reason acne is so difficult to treat is because of the various factors that contribute to it - it’s a balancing act. Much like CBD supplements the endocannabinoid system of our bodies and promotes homeostasis, CBD or other cannabinoids could also be the lynchpin for homeostasis among the main causes of acne.