This Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory Ingredient Might Just Revolutionize Skin Care

mbg Health Contributor By Gretchen Lidicker, M.S.
mbg Health Contributor
Gretchen Lidicker earned her master’s degree in physiology with a focus on alternative medicine from Georgetown University. She is the author of “CBD Oil Everyday Secrets” and “Magnesium Everyday Secrets.”
This Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory Ingredient Might Just Revolutionize Skin Care

Photo by @mapodile

Face oils, bath salts, lotions, creams, and balms infused with cannabis, CBD, or hemp extract are quickly taking over the beauty and self-care scene. But why? As it turns out, there is a lot of reason to believe that products derived from cannabis—which include both hemp and marijuana—might be just what our skincare routine has been waiting for. Here are a few reasons to consider adding hemp oil to your beauty cabinet.

1. It has antioxidant properties.

One of the main reasons for hemp oil's healing properties is its cannabinoid content. Cannabinoids are a group of chemically similar compounds found naturally in the cannabis plant and inside our bodies, and the two well-known ones are CBD and THC. Generally, there are negligible amounts of THC in hemp oil, but other cannabinoids like CBD and CBN—as well as essential-oil-like compounds called terpenes—are present. These ingredients have some pretty diverse healing properties, but one of the most important ones is their ability to act as antioxidants.

If we rewind to high school chemistry for a second, antioxidants are well-known beneficial chemicals that help fight free radical production in the body. Some free radical production is a normal part of life, but things like aging, chronic stress, exposure to toxins, and tobacco or alcohol can cause us to produce too many free radicals and lead to cellular damage, which is not good for our health and has been linked to illnesses like cancer. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and protect your health (and the health and elasticity of your skin) in the long-term. Cannabinoids like CBD have demonstrated strong antioxidant properties and can help promote skin health and texture, especially when it comes to aging.

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2. It could help regulate oil production in the body (which is bad news for acne).

Acne is a complex condition, with any number of causes and triggers, and a lot of people suffer from it. One of the major factors in acne is excess oil production in the sebaceous glands. Interestingly, the endocannabinoid system (ECS)—which is the larger system of receptors and enzymes that cannabinoids interact with in our body—plays a role in the skin's oil balance. This makes a lot of sense when you learn that the ECS has been described as a "master regulatory system" that helps maintain our body's homeostasis. Research has also shown that certain cannabinoids can decrease oil production directly.

3. It could help promote a healthy immune response.

Many doctors, researchers, and cannabis experts are excited about hemp oil's implications for autoimmune and inflammatory skin conditions. Because, while cannabinoid receptors are located all over the body, CB2 receptors are found largely in the immune system, and researchers think they might play a big role in immune regulation and the inflammatory response, which could be important when it comes to conditions like atopic dermatitis and eczema—which have inflammation at their core.

When inflammation on the skin is chronic, it could mean an autoimmune skin disease like psoriasis, which is characterized by rough, scaly skin that can be painful and itchy and often requires prescription medication that can have undesirable side effects. There's reason to believe that topical CBD and hemp oil could treat psoriasis, and this is likely for a few reasons. For starters, it's helpful for reducing pain and itch, but it also targets the root cause of the issue: inflammation and immune system balance. In fact, some experts have even predicted that cannabis-based treatments might become a whole new line of therapy for all types of inflammation.

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How to start taking hemp oil for skin.

The jury is still out on whether applying hemp oil of cannabis-based skin products topically is more effective than taking an oral tincture or supplement capsule, but the good news is that hemp oil is both completely natural and generally considered very safe (although we do always recommend telling your doctor when you try a new supplement), so there's not a lot of downside to trying both delivery methods and observing the benefits.

The research on hemp oil and skin health is mostly still in the initial phases, but it's progressing quickly, and we should know a lot more in the near future about how it might benefit specific conditions. From acne to general skin care to autoimmune conditions, we'll stay tuned for how we can use this versatile ingredient as a tool to achieve optimal health.

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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