The Complete Guide on Using CBD Oil for Eczema
Eczema is an extremely common skin condition that causes dry skin, irritation, itching, and inflammation.
There are many different varieties of eczema, but the most prevalent by far is atopic eczema. This skin condition may affect as many as 30% of Americans and is most common in children or adolescents. Many young children grow out of eczema, but for some people, it can develop later in life and last for many years.
Although the symptoms of eczema are relatively easy to treat, the underlying causes often remain. This means that flare-ups are a genuine problem for people with eczema, who usually accept them as an inevitable aspect of the disease.
But what if there was a therapy that could help with eczema from the inside out? Could that therapy already be right under our noses, just waiting to be discovered? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Eczema?
Eczema, very simply put, is an inflammation of the skin. Inflammation is a healthy and natural response by the immune system when exposed to injury or infection. It occurs when the body is working hard to expel a foreign substance or pathogen. It offers a certain level of protection throughout the healing process.
However, sometimes the immune system overreacts and creates inflammation when it is not necessary. This inflammation can happen in any part of the body, but eczema is a possible result when it affects the skin.
Atopic eczema often occurs in combination with other inflammatory or allergic conditions such as asthma or rhinitis.
There are many different varieties of eczema, each of which has slightly different triggers and symptoms. However, in all cases, inflammation is their root cause. This inflammation causes the skin to become itchy, red, and sore. It is also common for people with eczema to have very dry skin, leading to cracking, bleeding, and the risk of infection.
Many people with eczema also suffer from sleep problems, as intense itching may keep them awake at night. Otherwise, they may have low self-confidence due to the cosmetic appearance of the condition.
Atopic eczema often occurs in combination with other inflammatory or allergic conditions such as asthma or rhinitis. It is unclear exactly what causes eczema, but it appears to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Many people find that their eczema gets worse when they eat certain foods, come into contact with chemicals, or are under a lot of stress.
Treatments for Eczema
If you have eczema, the most important thing you can do daily is keep your skin moisturized. This extra moisture will help to soothe symptoms such as itching and reduce the likelihood of flare-ups occurring. Choose a high-quality, unscented emollient and frequently apply it throughout the day. You could also consider adding moisturizing oils to your bathwater.
Doctors most often treat eczema flare-ups with corticosteroid creams. Corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone and betamethasone are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs. They can offer fast and effective relief from eczema symptoms when applied directly to the skin.
However, they can also cause some serious side effects. The most common of these is thinning of the skin, which leaves it more vulnerable to injury and infection. They can also cause the skin to change color or cause other skin problems such as acne.
Because of these side effects, patients should only use corticosteroids for short periods at a time. Unfortunately, many people with eczema find that their symptoms quickly return as soon as they stop using their steroid cream.
There are currently not many other options available to eczema sufferers, especially when it comes to long-term management of their disease. However, cannabidiol (CBD) has become well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Could this novel product offer some relief from the symptoms of eczema? Initial research suggests that it may well help.
How to Choose the Best CBD for Eczema
Those who are dissatisfied with regular eczema treatment options may want to find an alternative. A growing number of people with the condition claim that CBD works. However, we must inform you that the FDA does not approve the cannabinoid for eczema. Indeed, the agency has only approved a product called Epidiolex, which contains CBD, for a handful of rare conditions.
Otherwise, you’re forced to check out CBD for eczema in a crowded marketplace with minimal regulation. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and introduced testing measures. However, this piece of legislation did nothing to legalize CBD or provide a regulatory framework.
While the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp cultivation, it did not make CBD legal .
Certain states have laws in place which demand a level of CBD testing. However, more often than not, you’re shopping in a wide-open marketplace where the quality of products varies widely.
When looking for CBD, make sure you only consider brands that provide third-party testing with every product. Also, avoid any brand that makes dubious health claims about their products. CBD is not approved to ‘treat,’ ‘cure,’ ‘heal,’ or ‘diagnose’ any medical condition. While CBD is potentially useful for many issues, including eczema, it is NOT a cure-all.
CBD Cream for Eczema
When it comes to CBD products, it is important to choose carefully. This is especially the case when looking for something to help your skin. Apart from third-party reports, the best CBD products for eczema tend to contain various natural ingredients designed to nourish and moisturize your skin.
Premium Jane and PureKana are two of the most reputable and trusted CBD brands in the United States. They have produced an array of CBD products including:
(Premium Jane) (Premium Jane) (PureKana) (PureKana)
Are These Suitable CBD Products for Eczema?
What every product above has in common is thorough testing to ensure there are no chemical fertilizers, heavy metals, or pesticides. There is certainly a possibility that the above CBD products could prove useful for eczema.
However, everyone’s skin is different, and there is no way of knowing how yours will react to any CBD product. Some people living with eczema find that the condition flares up even when they use natural ingredients.
Therefore, whenever possible, test any topical CBD product you buy on a small patch of skin first to see if there is a reaction. If there isn’t, you can then consider using it on a larger section. If using a tincture or an edible, consume a tiny amount to see what happens. No matter what, proceed carefully and wait to see the outcome of using CBD for eczema.
Skin Health: CBD for Eczema
There is not much research available specifically regarding CBD for eczema. However, there is plenty of research that documents the beneficial effects of CBD on the skin.
The skin is the largest organ in the body and forms a protective barrier between your vital organs and the outside world. It is continuously exposed to environmental irritants and toxins, not to mention ever-changing weather conditions. This means it is potentially very prone to inflammation, especially in individuals with a genetic tendency towards eczema.
Your skin also helps to regulate your body temperature. It does this by raising or lowering your body hair and allowing you to sweat.
Scientists have recently discovered that skin contains cannabinoid receptors. These are receptors that bind with endogenous cannabinoids that the body produces and phytocannabinoids from the cannabis plant.
CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that could help with dry skin; while also reducing eczema symptoms like pain and itching .
These receptors are an essential element of the endocannabinoid system, a system we now know is directly involved in allergic inflammation. Studies on mice have shown that animals lacking these cannabinoid receptors have a greater allergic response than controls.
This finding is supported by a further study that found dogs with atopic dermatitis had greater immune reactivity at cannabinoid receptors compared to their healthy counterparts.
Experts have suggested that exposing the endocannabinoid system to cannabinoids such as CBD could help skin conditions like eczema. This is possible because CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties could help relieve dry skin. Because cannabinoid receptors are also present in the nervous system, CBD can also help soothe eczema symptoms such as itching and pain.
Cannabinoids such as CBD also have antimicrobial properties, which could help prevent secondary infections.
How to Use CBD for Eczema
CBD is naturally found in cannabis plants. However, it is often used medicinally in the form of extracts, oils, or topical creams.
Taking CBD oil by mouth is one of the best ways to maximize its effects. You can take CBD oil as it is or mix it into food or beverages. CBD capsules and gummies are also available and offer a more convenient way of dosing.
When you take CBD oil for the first time, it is always advisable to start with the lowest dose possible and gradually increase it over time. CBD is unlikely to cause any side effects, but it is best to err on the side of caution and take it slow. This practice also means that you can find the lowest dose that works for you, potentially saving you money in the long run.
Topical CBD creams are another great way to relieve inflammation and discomfort. You can apply them directly to where you need them most. Look for products with natural ingredients to avoid causing further irritation. Some products also contain other skin-soothing ingredients such as coconut or lavender oil. Test on a small patch of skin first, and avoid using these products on broken skin.
Is CBD Safe for Children with Eczema?
If your child has eczema and you are wondering whether CBD oil is safe for your child, it’s best to consult your pediatrician. If giving CBD to children, avoid any products that contain the intoxicating compound in cannabis, THC.
THC can be harmful to children as their brains and nervous systems are still developing. The good news is that most high-quality CBD products contain negligible amounts of THC.
Some marijuana breeders have even developed low THC strains, such as Charlotte’s Web, named after the famous case of Charlotte Figi. Charlotte Figi suffered from a rare type of epilepsy and had multiple seizures every day. CBD oil helped reduce her symptoms dramatically, and many similar cases are reported worldwide.
These low THC products do appear safe for children, although the long-term effects are still unknown. Talk to your physician to learn more.
CBD for Eczema: Final Thoughts
Eczema is an extremely common and distressing skin condition. It can be challenging to treat effectively, as conventional therapies may cause side effects and only offer short-term relief.
There is no doubt that more research is required. However, it seems that CBD could provide a natural solution for eczema by reducing inflammation, itching, and pain.
Have you tried using CBD for eczema? Help others with this irritating condition by sharing your experiences in the comments below!
Does CBD for Eczema Really Work?
Lindsay Curtis is a health writer with over 20 years of experience in writing health, science & wellness-focused articles.
Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Emily Dashiell, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor who has worked in group and private practice settings over the last 15 years. She is in private practice in Santa Monica, California.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant that can be prepared as oils, creams, and other products for use as a therapeutic remedy for many common ailments and health conditions. Some people use CBD oil for eczema.
Eczema (dermatitis) is a skin condition that causes patches of irritated, itchy, dry, inflamed skin. There are many types of eczema. While the exact cause is unknown, genetics, environmental factors, and the immune system are believed to be potential causes and triggers.
There is no cure for eczema, but there are ways to manage symptoms, including over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription treatments. For people who prefer using natural remedies, CBD oil may help soothe and reduce their eczema symptoms.
Photoboyko / Getty Images
What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabis plants contain unique chemicals called cannabinoids. The two major cannabinoids are:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): Has psychoactive properties that can make a person feel “high”
- Cannabidiol (CBD): Has no psychoactive effects but may provide therapeutic benefits
Both CBD and THC interact with a communication system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex biological system that plays a role in appetite, mood, memory, and sleep.
Research has suggested that the ECS contributes to the function and reproduction of skin cells. A dysregulated ECS is associated with dermatological disorders, including eczema and atopic dermatitis.
When applied topically to the skin, CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the top layer of the skin (epidermis) and may offer therapeutic benefits including moisturizing the skin, reducing itchiness and inflammation, and promoting wound healing.
CBD oil comes in many forms, including creams, salves, balms, lotions, and oils.
Hemp Seed Oil vs. CBD
In your search for plant-based remedies for treating eczema, you may have come across different options that derive from cannabis and hemp plants, including hemp seed oil, hemp oil, and CBD oil.
Understanding the differences can help you know what to look for when you’re shopping for whole hemp plant products for eczema.
: Created by pressing the seeds of hemp plants (Cannabis sativa L.). This oil is rich in fatty acids and other nutrients, and research shows it can be helpful in treating skin conditions, including eczema and dermatitis. Hemp seed oil does not contain cannabinoids—the chemical compounds in the hemp plant that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. : Made using the flower of the hemp plant, rather than the seed. Hemp oil contains a full spectrum of cannabinoids. CBD is just one of the cannabinoids in hemp oil. : Extracted from the entire hemp plant, including the stalks, flowers, and leaves. CBD oil does not come from the seeds of the cannabis plant (the seeds do not contain cannabinoids).
CBD for Eczema Symptoms
There are many types of eczema, and they can show up in different parts of the body. Eczema of all types can cause itchy, dry, flaky patches of skin. In some cases, it may cause painful sores and blisters, which can leave the skin more susceptible to infection.
Types of eczema that may benefit from topical CBD include:
- Atopic dermatitis (AD): This is the most common type of eczema. It is associated with dryness and itching. The exact cause is unknown, but it is believed to be triggered by an overactive immune system. People with asthma and/or hay fever are more likely to develop AD. : This type of eczema is caused by an allergic reaction from contact with irritants such as fragrances, dyes, metal, some medications, and poison ivy/oak. Symptoms include intense itching, and burning or blistering of the skin. : This type of eczema is triggered by stress, seasonal allergies, and change in humidity. It causes itchy, irritating blisters on the bottom of the feet and palms of the hands. : This type of eczema is associated with pink or brown circular (sometimes oozing) spots on the skin. It is often triggered by dry, sensitive skin, insect bites, injuries to the skin, or chemical burns. : This type of eczema is commonly caused by cold, dry weather, genetics, and stress. It produces scaly, dry patches of skin on the scalp or body which tend to form where the skin is most oily, including around the eyebrows, mid-chest, upper back, and groin area.
What Research Shows
There are limited studies on the effectiveness of topical CBD for people with eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. However, some of the research suggests that CBD oil may have therapeutic potential for treating eczema, healing skin wounds, and soothing skin symptoms.
A study published in 2019 found that CBD ointment helped reduce itchiness, soothed redness and inflammation, and enhanced sleep in people with eczema.
A 2014 study found that hemp seed oil was useful for treating eczema and other skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis. The study also showed that hemp seed oil strengthens skin and makes it more resistant to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
What Causes Eczema Flares?
Though eczema affects everyone differently, a number of common triggers can cause a flare-up of symptoms.
Common causes of eczema flares include:
- Dry skin: Brittle, rough, and tight skin can worsen eczema symptoms.
- Chemical irritants: Fragrances, chemicals found in shampoos and lotions, cigarette smoke, and environmental toxins can worsen or trigger eczema symptoms.
- Stress: Emotional stress can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms. Anecdotally, many people use CBD to help manage stress. Early research has shown that it might be effective at relieving stress, anxiety, and sleeping problems.
Is CBD for Eczema Safe?
CBD is generally considered to be safe for use in treating eczema and other skin conditions. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD oil might help reduce irritation, pain, swelling, and redness from skin conditions like eczema.
As with any topical treatment, it’s best to test CBD oil on a small patch of unaffected skin before applying it to larger areas where you have eczema.
To do a patch test, apply CBD oil to a small area and watch for 24 hours to check for any side effects (e.g., itching, redness, swelling).
Talk to your primary care physician or dermatologist before you try CBD, as they will want to discuss the potential side effects of using CBD products, as well as make sure that it will not interact with any other medications, supplements, or treatments that you are using.
Best CBD for Eczema Flare-Ups
Topical CBD comes in many forms, including creams, lotions, serums, balms, and salves.
One of the best defenses against eczema is keeping your skin well hydrated. Thicker topicals that contain ingredients for both skin protection and moisturization can be especially helpful.
CBD products also come in different preparations. The availability of these products (especially those that contain THC) will vary from state to state.
- Isolate: CBD is the only cannabinoid contained in the product. : Contains multiple naturally occurring cannabis plant extracts, including terpenes and other cannabinoids, including up to 0.3% THC.
- Broad: Contains CBD and other components/cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but does not contain any THC.
How to Buy CBD
With many CBD and hemp oil options for eczema, it can be challenging to know what products to choose. Here are some key points to consider when you’re picking a product:
- Hemp source: CBD is derived from hemp plants. The quality and cultivation of the plants are important considerations. Look for products that come from organic hemp plants when possible.
- Certificate of Analysis (CoA): Responsible, reputable manufacturers should offer a CoA that details the quantities of a product’s cannabinoids. CoAs are conducted by an independent, accredited lab.
- Read the label: Read the full list of ingredients for CBD topicals. Make sure that any product you are considering does not contain fragrances or other potential irritants that could worsen eczema.
- Type of CBD: To get the best results, look for full-spectrum or broad CBD products, which may offer an “entourage effect” (combining multiple cannabis compounds that work in synergy to offer the most benefits).
A Word From Verywell
While there are many OTC and prescription treatments for eczema, if you are looking for a natural way to manage your symptoms, CBD products might be an option.
Research on how effective CBD is for treating skin conditions like eczema is limited, but has shown that products that contain CBD might help reduce the dry skin, itchiness, and inflammation that is associated with eczema.
It’s important that you talk to your doctor before you try a CBD product, as it can have side effects and might interact with other treatments that you use for eczema.
Before you use CBD on your skin, do a spot test on a place that does not have eczema on it to make sure that you do not have a sensitivity or reaction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does CBD help with itchy skin from eczema?
CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce irritating eczema symptoms such as itching, pain, and dry skin.
How does the ECS work?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps regulate many physiological processes, including sleep, immune function, and pain.
Research has shown that the endocannabinoid system also plays a role in skin health. A dysregulated ECS is associated with dermatological disorders such as eczema and atopic dermatitis.
When applied topically, CBD’s anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, and pain-reducing properties interact with the ECS, which might make it an effective treatment for many skin conditions.
Is CBD good for skin conditions?
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is commonly used to treat skin conditions and soothe symptoms—especially the dryness, itching, and pain often associated with eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis.
Is CBD for eczema safe?
CBD is generally considered to be a safe alternative treatment for eczema. However, as with any skincare product, you’ll want to do a patch test first to make sure that you do not have a sensitivity or allergy.
Apply CBD to a small patch of unaffected skin and wait for 24 hours, watching for symptoms of irritation such as itching, redness, and pain. If no symptoms develop, you can safely apply the product liberally to any eczema patches.