Achieving a well-hydrated, youthful glow lies at the forefront of nearly all beauty consumers’ physical interests. However, for the one in three Americans suffering from skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, strolling skincare aisles in search of solutions can be a daunting task. After trial, error and misspent money, how does one decipher which buzzworthy ingredients are actually worth investing in?
Over the past few years, consumers seeking more balanced complexions have witnessed a rapidly growing commonality in the beauty sector: CBD-based skincare products. This time, the latest skin-savvy craze is a trend with substantial backing. In fact, new research shows disruptions to the endocannabinoid system, which cannabinoids within CBD help regulate, can be associated with irritating skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, acne, hyperpigmentation and more.
To get to the center of the cannabis-backed buzz, we sat down with Pharmacist and Natural Wellness Expert Gina Ruffa to learn the details behind the topical CBD hype and get a few tips on what we can all do for healthier, more luminous exteriors.
Farmulated: What are the common attributes of healthy skin?
Gina: Elasticity, firmness, collagen, hydration and skin tone come to mind. So many women, including myself, are concerned about losing elasticity and collagen as we age.
And what are some primary factors that impact skin health?
Well, too much sun exposure and dehydration are two important factors adversely affecting our skin. What we consume and the chemicals in our cosmetics and toiletries are also big things to pay attention to. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and essentially “eats” whatever is applied to it. Always review your ingredients and avoid things like phthalates, parabens and petrolatum-based ingredients.
Speaking of which, CBD has rapidly become one of the most popular ingredients in the cosmetics industry. Why do you think that is?
Yes, I recently read that the CBD-based skincare market is valued at over $700 million in the United States and is only expected to grow. It has taken over the whole cosmetics aisle! These products are becoming very popular in the beauty industry and are widely available in drugstores and salons everywhere. Topical CBD formulations like salves, rubs, roll-ons, ointments, gels and creams can help to alleviate joint and muscle pain.
As far as popularity goes, I personally categorize CBD’s success based on its three primary effects:
1. It’s an antioxidant, which means it’s anti-aging. It can help reduce visible signs of aging and counteract damage from free radicals, making wrinkles look less noticeable. CBD can also improve skin elasticity and smooth fine lines to improve overall skin quality and hydration.
2. It’s anti-inflammatory, which helps so many skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, rosacea, dry skin and itching. It can help soothe the skin and reduce irritation, swelling and redness.
3. It’s antimicrobial, which means it has huge potential for the acne world because it limits the production of sebum, which clogs our pores. It can also reduce the appearance of scars and, when combined with ingredients like neem oil or tea tree oil, can kill bacteria responsible for acne.
Another factor to note is that it’s a much safer alternative to topical steroids. But any time you’re trying a new topical product, always test a small patch of skin first. Any ingredient has the potential to cause a hypersensitivity reaction!
Today, many salves and ointments are marketed as occlusives, or barriers, for the skin. These occlusives lock in moisture while protecting the skin from harmful external elements. Is there any additional benefit of an antimicrobial barrier, such as a CBD-based salve, on the skin?
CBD contains essential fatty acids, terpenes, essential oils and powerful plant extracts. It’s antimicrobial and it has the perfect balance of nutrients. I call it a “superfood” for the skin because it has so much anti-aging potential. When you combine CBD with a moisturizing oil, it truly becomes the ultimate skincare purchase.
If we look at the elderly population, a nourishing, antimicrobial barrier has so much potential. There’s an elevated risk for microbial infections in the elderly, many of whom are bedridden, especially in hospitals and nursing homes. As we age, our skin thins, breaks down and becomes dehydrated, making it more susceptible to infection. A CBD-based lotion or salve could be incredibly beneficial!
Your skin, like your gut, has a microbiome. How do the two influence each other?
The gut is an important part of the whole immune system. In terms of the gut-skin connection, anything inflammatory will wreak havoc on both. The biggest offenders are dairy, sugar and gluten. How you eat is almost always tied to your complexion, and more and more studies are linking good skin to a healthy gut. Vegans, for instance, generally tend to have beautiful complexions.
Prebiotics, probiotics and fermented foods are beneficial for the gut and the skin. If we all ate healthier, there would be such a reduced need for topical skin medications and antibiotics.
So if skin inflammation is a warning sign of gut inflammation, are we better off consuming anti-inflammatory substances like CBD orally or applying them topically?
I would say both. With oral supplements, you’re addressing inflammation from the inside out. With topical CBD, it’s from the outside in. The relationship is synergistic in nature and, used together, you can achieve an additive effect.
Along with incorporating oral and topical CBD into our regimens, what are some of the easiest skin fixes we can all begin practicing TODAY?
Three simple steps: Number one, hydration; number two, a good sunscreen; number three, eat healthier.
Pay attention to the AGE (Advanced Glycation End Products) value of food, because the higher the AGE value, the more rapidly our organs, including our skin, deteriorate. Put simply, we need to eat more plant-based and less processed, inflammatory foods.
Great advice! Any final thoughts on the future of the CBD-based skincare industry?
I don’t think the CBD trend is going to die down anytime soon. It counteracts the damage of free radicals, delays aging and improves skin quality. It seems to revitalize the skin by nourishing, hydrating and firming it. I believe the younger generations are much more proactive and in tune with the ingredients they put on their skin. For older generations, there were limited resources and they just didn’t know the dangers of certain ingredients.
Because of this, CBD, in conjunction with the natural beauty industry, has a bright future ahead.
To learn more about Gina Ruffa, visit her website at what-supp.org
Click here to shop our ultra-nourishing, inflammation-fighting topical selection of CBD products.