I Swapped My Entire Skin-Care Routine for CBD Products, and My Skin Is Better for It
W hen it comes to star skin-care ingredients, you can bet that I’m diligently slathering them on every single day. Retinol? Check. Hyaluronic acid? I’ve got two just in case. CBD skincare, though? Not quite in my regimen yet.
I have no good reason why it’s not: Cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant, has been infiltrating the wellness world due to its incredible anti-inflammatory prowess. And as skin issues stemming from inflammation rise, the study-backed powerful antidote (and antioxidant, I might add) is ready to take on acne, rosacea, dryness, and free radical damage all in equal measure. So, you could say it can hang with the OG MVPs of the skin-care world.
“CBD has been shown to have a soothing effect on the skin, and has been used in the treatment of acne and rosacea as well as eczema and dryness,” says Shirley Chi, MD, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist. With such a stacked resume, I collected CBD beauty products and made the decision to overhaul my current regimen with options that are decidedly more high-vibe. Here’s what happened to my skin.
Photo: Getty Images/ Tomas Rodriguez
My CBD skin-care life
I procured CBD beauty products in every category, and for the most part succeeded minus a cleanser (I can’t part with my fave). I decided this was enough to deduce the changes in my complexion if I swapped over to all CBD products. So for the couple of weeks during my CBD experiment, I retired my retinol, vitamin C serum, hyaluronic acid, and go-to face masks in lieu of those with the buzzy ingredient.
I opened the new Herbivore Emerald Glow Oil ($48), spiked with cannabis sativa seed oil and smothered it all over my face. It kind of smelled like weed, but absorbed nicely into my skin. Then for posterity’s sake I layered up with the Khus Khus Sen Face Serum ($80), which had less of a scent but definitely added some soothing moisture to my face. For my eyes, I slathered on Gold Q Nighttime Eye Cream ($48). And then I moisturized my entire body with Lord Jones High CBD Body Lotion ($60), and puckered up with a Veritas Farms Whole Hemp Oil Lip Balm ($4).
I repeated this regimen for two straight weeks, and incorporated the Hora Overnight Exfoliating Mask ($62) twice a week as I slept. And let me tell you something: The results have been impressive. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d notice much of a change (and TBH I was worried my skin would regress without my trusty retinol and HA serum), but I’ve been dealing with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and it’s now noticeably faded. My skin’s also been calm, even, and bright—no redness in sight. The CBD products have really kept things chill.
“The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can help decrease itching and puffiness of skin, and even treat soreness of the skin,” says Dr. Chi. It’s true that my eyes have been less puffy in the morning, which just adds to the long list of reasons CBD’s so amazing. And perhaps the best part of all? It’s good for all skin types. Just be mindful of what type of product it is: “If it’s an oil-based CBD product, stay away from it if you’re very oily-skinned,” notes Dr. Chi. Besides that, consider the cannabidiol to be a now permanent staple of my beauty shelf, in some form or another.
For more basic skin-care tips, here’s how hard to scrub your face, according to a derm. And this is why hard vs. soft water for your skin actually matters.
Using CBD for Rosacea: The Benefits and Uses of CBD for Rosacea
Rosacea affects the millions who live with it deeply, every day. I had a close friend who used to call and just say, “I can’t make it today,” and I would immediately know why. She couldn’t face the world when her face was so red and swollen. She felt like everyone was staring at her—and, you know, sometimes people were.
Taking CBD for Rosacea is pretty common, as there’s no real cure for this chronic illness. Luckily, CBD and skin care go hand in hand. In this post, we’ll cover the basics of defining rosacea and its causes, CBD as an anti-inflammatory and potential treatment for rosacea, CBD topicals vs taking oral CBD to reduce inflammation from rosacea, and our picks for best CBD products in both categories.
What Causes Rosacea
According to the National Rosacea Society (NRS), rosacea affects over 16 million Americans, yet this chronic disorder of the facial skin remains poorly understood. In fact, most patients with untreated rosacea report significant occupational, social, and psychological problems due to the acne-like, red-faced symptoms.
In NRS surveys of rosacea patients, over 90 percent reported that their condition lowered their self-esteem and self-confidence. 41 percent of patients reported canceling social engagements or avoiding public contact (just like that friend I mentioned). For rosacea patients with severe symptoms, 51 percent had missed work because of their illness, and 88 percent said rosacea had impacted their professional interactions negatively.
Experts still don’t understand what causes rosacea and there is no cure. However, there are ways to control the signs and symptoms of rosacea before it becomes life-disruptive. Consider any one of the following symptoms a warning signs to see a healthcare provider for a diagnosis and the right treatment before anything gets worse:
- Redness on the cheeks, chin, nose, or forehead
- Facial bumps, pimples, or small but visible blood vessels
- Watery, irritated eyes
Persistent redness and thickening skin are the most telltale signs of rosacea—and both are also signs of inflammation.
Although the cause of rosacea remains unknown, scientists now know the major elements of the rosacea disease process. It appears that the redness in the face is caused by inflammation, the result of the innate immune system and neurovascular dysregulation. Other research finds connections between rosacea and increased risk for various systemic diseases such as gastrointestinal disease and some forms of cancer—a link that suggests that systemic inflammation causes rosacea.
Some research points to other possible causes or triggers—and potential treatments. The science has shown increased levels of mast cells in rosacea patients, as well as increased numbers of a normal, tiny skin mite called Demodex folliculorum. Researchers have also discovered a connection between rosacea and two variants of the human genome.
This all means that symptoms of rosacea vary from patient to patient, and treatment should also be tailored by a healthcare professional on a case by case basis. Various topical and oral medications may be used to treat the symptoms, such as oral and topical therapy to immediately bring the redness under control. Maintaining remission will often mean following intensive treatment with long-term use of some form of anti-inflammatory therapy.
Especially in more severe rosacea patients, healthcare professionals correct disfigurement of the nose or treat visible blood vessels with intense pulsed light sources, lasers, or other medical and surgical devices. Anti-inflammatory medications and other therapy can also treat ocular rosacea, with the help of an eye doctor.
The NRS also advises patients to engage in a skin-care routine that is compatible with their rosacea and to use only mild, non-abrasive, non-irritating skin-care products. Some patients may need special formulations for sensitive skin because rosacea patients should avoid anything that burns, stings, or causes flushing or additional redness.
Treatment includes understanding which environmental and lifestyle triggers make rosacea worse and avoiding them—although for most patients there is no silver bullet.
CBD For Rosacea
So, why might CBD help rosacea? The main reason is inflammation and system-wide stasis. Your goal, as explained above, has to be to minimize inflammation using a variety of methods while not harming your body.
But there’s no cure for rosacea, and it gets worse when you don’t treat it. This means you’re stuck with topicals and endless anti-inflammatory medications, and that can harm your renal system eventually.
Steroid topicals can help, but if you use them for a long time, they leave your skin overly thin, aged, extra wrinkly, and spotted. You may bruise more easily, too. Plus, the results are not always as good as you want, so no wonder many rosacea patients are looking for alternatives.
Right now, experts recommend a list of DIY best practices to manage rosacea:
- Identify and avoid triggers—but this isn’t always easy to do, especially if you need to avoid sun completely day to day.
- Protect your face specifically—wear sunscreen for sensitive skin.
- Use topicals to reduce redness and/or pimples. Usually these are prescription medications.
- Take oral antibiotics or oral acne drugs as needed. Again, these are typically by prescription only, for moderate to severe cases, and they target inflammation overall.
- Reduce stress. (Yes—that golden goal for everyone).
- Reduce inflammation with a diet high in omega 3 fatty acids. There’s no downside here; flaxseed, fish, and olive oil are all good sources of omega 3 fatty acids.
- Laser and other light-based therapies. These treatments can aid in reducing the redness of blood vessels that have become enlarged. Over time, these treatments may need to be repeated to maintain results.
But if after doing all of this you still have rosacea—and you probably will—you are left with more natural remedies for fighting inflammation and righting stasis in the body.
The symptoms from rosacea are all linked to an imbalanced inflammatory response. Research indicates that CBD has anti-inflammatory benefits which are enhanced by its antimicrobial/anti-acne and antipruritic qualities. These benefits can all help relieve both the primary and secondary symptoms of rosacea.
Human skin has its own endocannabinoid system. This network of receptors and the natural endocannabinoids the body produces to bind with them create a structure in the skin that may allow receptors to bind with phytocannabinoids as well.
When tissue in the body anywhere is damaged, inflammation is essentially the body’s first step in healing itself. At the time of an injury or the onset of an infection, inflammation is an immune system response—but it can, at times, be an overreaction that produces excessive inflammation.
CBC and other cannabinoids effectively treat inflammation, both as a symptom of an underlying injury or disease and as a condition itself. CBD interacts with macrophages, microglial cells, and other white blood cells, reducing inflammation. It also alleviates the chronic pain that goes hand in hand with inflammation by activating glycine receptors.
The bottom line is that even when inflammation is severe, CBD can help mitigate its effects.
Antimicrobial/Anti-acne Characteristics of Cannabinoids
Doctors often prescribe antibiotics for patients with rosacea to cope with the acne caused by the disease. CBD can help manage pathogens on the skin, including Staphylococcus aureus, and is well-known for its antimicrobial properties. CBD research also shows that the cannabinoid controls sebum on the face and helps normalize skin cell growth.
Cannabinoids help the body and skin achieve homeostasis, or overall balanced good health. Poor skin health acts as a catalyst for many problems like psoriasis. Along with balancing and anti-inflammatory benefits, topical CBD can soothe irritated skin and help reduce a period of irritation. CBD and other cannabinoids inhibit itching and pain signals and soothe the skin by activating CB2 receptors on the peripheral sensory nerve fibers.
Best CBD Topical for Rosacea
What is CBD lotion and how can it help rosacea? We have two CBD topicals that we love for rosacea. These two we tested and found to be safe for sensitive skin, especially on the face and neck. They are not irritating, and help reduce acne, irritation, and redness. Our winners:
CBDfx Calming CBD Balm 750mg
Shop CBDfx Calming CBD Balm 750mg
Check out CBDfx Calming CBD Balm and the rest of its line of CBD skin products.
Among the best CBD companies in the United States, CBDfx has been leading with quality since 2012 when it was founded. Known for a diverse and interesting line of products which includes CBD edibles, CBD oils, CBD vape products, CBD drinks, and even CBD pet products, CBDfx is also known for its CBD topicals.
CBDfx starts with Holland-grown hemp and then uses the gold standard supercritical CO2 extraction method to achieve pure results. You can find the details from third party testing of CBDfx products right on the website.
The CBDfx hemp-based calming CBD balm is perfect if you’re coping with rosacea. At $39.99 for the 60mL tin, it is a fairly typical formulation and a nice concentration for normal use.
(We put it that way, “normal use,” because we love both this one and the Endoca option which is a lot stronger. The best one for you depends on the level of potency you’re looking for. Both have 750mg of CBD, but this CBDfx version is 60mL, twice as much balm, so it’s less potent—although still really a powerful balm!)
We like CBDfx calming balm because it is specifically formulated to soothe sensitive, uncomfortable skin. Of course, CBD itself can do this thanks to its anti-inflammatory qualities, but this balm also adds chamomile, lavender, and tea tree oil to the mix. This is an ideal blend for sensitive skin types that will not irritate skin conditions like rosacea or eczema.
CBDfx uses shea butter as the base of the CBD calming balm, which gives it a silky feel and offers real protection to your skin and long term moisturizing benefits. The balm also contains nourishing avocado oil.
Pros and Cons
Pros for the CBDfx calming balm for rosacea:
- Effective for everyday use
- Not greasy
- Smells really good
- No triggering ingredients
Cons for the CBDfx calming balm for rosacea:
Overall, we loved the gentle, herbal smell and the calming effects of this balm. It wasn’t greasy, and it’s safe for people with sensitive skin. Win!
Endoca Hemp Salve 750mg
Shop Endoca Hemp Salve 750mg
Check out Endoca Hemp Salve 750mg and the rest of its line of CBD skin products.
We chose both of these CBD topicals for rosacea because they are honestly so different in formulation. Endoca Hemp Salve also contains 750mg of CBD, but it’s only 30mL of salve specially formulated for the skin of the face and eyes. In other words, it is twice as potent as the CBDfx version for more targeted use.
In fact, at least one of our testers argues that these topicals are great together. She likes the CBDfx for everyday use just to soothe her skin (which is basically always irritated by something) and the Endoca for around her eyes and on her face or anywhere she feels like needs anti-aging benefits.
The Endoca in particular is very soothing, with 100% natural food-grade Vitamin E along with full spectrum hemp salve and CBD. You can see why those antioxidants would provide instant dryness relief, soothing, and calming of the skin.
Endoca is also an emollient, made from beeswax, cannabis sativa seed oil, and coconut oil. Therefore, it makes a perfect barrier cream for people with highly sensitive skin—trapping out irritants and keeping moisture in.
Pros and Cons
Pros for the Endoca hemp salve for rosacea:
- Effective for targeted use on specific areas
- Extra potency
- Premium anti-aging effects
- No triggering ingredients
Cons for the Endoca hemp salve for rosacea:
- Not something you can just slather on large areas of skin
Either way, you are safe with these two CBD topicals, even if you’ve got very sensitive skin.
Best CBD Tincture for Rosacea: SabaiDee Pure Good Vibes
Shop SabaiDee Pure Good Vibes Tincture
Check out SaibaiDee Pure Good Vibes Tincture and the rest of its line of CBD skin products.
For rosacea (and plenty of other things!) we love Pure Good Vibes by SabaiDee. As a brand, Sabaidee is earning major loyalty by sharing an inspiring vision and product and pursuing both with vigor. The company’s mission is improving the environment through planting trees, using environmentally-friendly packaging for their products, and helping people be happier. For every product a customer buys they donate to have a tree planted in North America—who doesn’t want to support that?
Sabaidee educates its consumers about how to use their CBD products and environmental impact. Their website is an educational resource, fighting all of the misinformation about CBD and bad products that are out there today.
Another thing we love about SabaiDee is their transparency, which is at the top level in the industry, based on our collective years of review. 100 percent Colorado-grown organic hemp is the basis for all SabaiDee CBD oil products, and all products are tested by a third-party lab independently. They also test all their products in-house, so either way you can be doubly certain your products are free of any contamination by harmful additives, molds, chemicals, heavy metals, toxins, or anything else that shouldn’t be in your CBD products. You can find results from testing right on the site.
SabaiDee ensures quality stays consistent, producing a natural product year after year by using cloned seeds from high-grade hemp brands. You will get whole plant benefits and the entourage effect from SabaiDee CBD products because they are all full-spectrum—but you will not experience any high because, although they may contain as much as 18 percent CBD, they are less than 0.3 percent THC in accordance with the law.
With SabaiDee, customer service is truly exceptional. If you’re not happy with products, you can return them, and their process is quick and effective. Anything unopened and unused can be sent back within 30 days for a full refund.
But where SabaiDee really stands out is for partially used products—which most companies won’t take back. If you try it but it just isn’t for you, you can still get part of your money back. Just request a partial refund and return the portion you didn’t use within 30 days, and, depending on how much was used and the cost of the product, you will get part of your money back.
They also ship quickly and across the United States.
Each version of flavored SabaiDee CBD oil, all for sublingual use, has the same basic ingredients except for Pure Good Vibes. The basic varieties are broad-spectrum hemp extract in a coconut oil carrier with peppermint oil and stevia, along with various phytocannabinoids, omega fatty acids, terpenes, and vitamins.
SabaiDee Good Vibes’ CBD oil is their lower-potency selection, at 250mg in a 30 mL bottle. Super Good Vibes CBD oil is four times more potent: 1,000mg in a 30 mL. Finally, Mega Good Vibes’ delivers 2,500mg of CBD in a 30 mL bottle. However, these all have the flavoring.
Although it’s basic—and delicious!—for rosacea patients, we like Pure Good Vibes even more.
Pure Good Vibes CBD oil by SabaiDee has all of the potency as Super Good Vibes, but no flavoring at all. It has 1,000mg of crystal clean CBD in a 30 mL, that’s 0.12/mg, without any potentially triggering ingredients.
At $0.12/mg, SabaiDee’s Pure Good Vibes CBD oil is the best you can do, in our opinion, in terms of purity, quality, and value. And the “pure” part is real; you don’t have any of that nasty, bitter CBD taste. It really is plain.
SabaiDee tells users that it can take about 30 minutes before the effects from Pure Good Vibes are obvious; although you can experience a faster onset, and it was a lot faster for all of us. Our testers felt the effects from Pure Good Vibes for four to six hours.
Pros and Cons
Pros for the SabaiDee Pure Good Vibes CBD oil for rosacea:
- Effective for mood, relaxation, not just inflammation
- Truly flavorless
- Cost-effective, good value
- No triggering ingredients
Cons for the SabaiDee Pure Good Vibes CBD oil for rosacea:
Rosacea is an incurable disease that causes chronic, serious issues for millions. CBD is a natural product that targets inflammation in the body and skin. It’s a natural fit and a great strategy to try.
If you’re ready to give this a shot, remember to speak with your dermatologist or other healthcare professional first. And if you find more great CBD products for rosacea, let us know in the comments!