$100 billion. That’s how much analysts predict the ‘cannabeauty’ industry could be worth in the near future. Beauty products containing CBD have made their way onto the shelves of major retailers. Brands like Sephora, Barney’s and Neiman Marcus are working on launching – or have already launched – hemp-based beauty lines. Makeup companies like e.l.f Cosmetics, Estee Lauder and Ulta Beauty are also investing in CBD beauty. One could say that CBD beauty is part of a growing trend towards clean, botanical products, but it’s important that consumers invest in products that, while being naturally derived, also provide significant benefits. What can CBD in beauty products do for you? We spoke to experts and distinguished the real from the purely promotional.
What is topical CBD?
When we speak about CBD beauty, we’re mostly referring to topical CBD products. That is not to say that you can’t consume CBD drops or capsules for more radiant skin. However, those wouldn’t necessarily be classified as ‘beauty’ products. More like wellness supplements that have skincare benefits. When you ingest CBD, it enters the bloodstream and interacts with the endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS is a system that regulates – among other things – sebum production, hair growth, inflammation of the skin, etc. Because orally ingested CBD enters the bloodstream, it can affect the endocannabinoid system through the entire body.
When CBD is applied topically, it penetrates the skin to reach endocannabinoid receptors under the skin, which can affect localized sebum production, hair growth, inflammation, etc. Topical CBD doesn’t enter the bloodstream, which is why it only works on the area that you apply it to. Moreover, the skin is pretty impermeable, which presents its own set of challenges. To be able to cause significant effects, topical CBD needs to be highly potent.
Which CBD beauty products work?
CBD-based serums, body oils, lip balms, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, mascaras, brow tints, masks, face washes and more are among the various offerings in CBD beauty.
CBD for hair
Nate Masterson, certified health expert and head of natural product development for Maple Holistics says, “While CBD is particularly effective in treating inflammation and pain, there's still no conclusive evidence of its effects on hair.” One of the products that CBD seems to be arbitrarily added to is mascara. “Generally speaking, the ingredients in products should be there to help the consumer in some way, not just for publicity or marketing ploys. CBD in mascara is a legitimate vegan alternative for beeswax which helps the fibers attach to your lashes. That being said, there are other vegan options out there, and using CBD seems more like a statement than an obvious option to nourish your eyelashes.”
CBD soaps and washes
CBD based surfactants, which includes soaps, shampoos, bath bombs, and face washes are also gaining popularity. Although one applies these products directly to the skin/scalp, it’s unlikely that they spend enough time on the surface before one rinses them off. As mentioned earlier, permeability is one of the main challenges to topical CBD products. In order to deliver results, the CBD must penetrate the skin and interact with endocannabinoid receptors. This requires potency and a longer duration of time. We spoke to Katie Ziskind, a family therapist and founder of Wisdom Within Counseling, who said that CBD can provide legitimate therapeutic benefits when consumed, but “if you want to pay $20 for a shampoo with CBD, that is a luxury buy, in the “want” category, rather than need.”
Other CBD topicals
All things considered, the CBD beauty industry isn’t wholly based on marketing gimmicks. Products like CBD masks, serums and oils could very well provide benefits. The key difference here is the potency and delivery method. You need to really work CBD balms and massage oils into the skin to get relief. However, this is totally contingent on the amount of CBD in the product. It would be unreasonable to expect 100mg of CBD per ounce to do much good. Potent concentrations of 500mg per ounce and above could work. Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD from MedAlertHelp.org believes that CBD is particularly effective for muscle soreness “because it works through a different pain pathway compared to traditional pain-management agents. The way it works is by manipulating the endocannabinoid system to maintain homeostasis in your body, thus reducing muscle pain and improving recovery.”
However, most beauty products are not formulated for pain relief. So what impact could it have on the quality of your skin? Djordjevic says CBD can provide relief in inflammatory skin irritations and some kinds of inflammatory acne too. “The reason it’s so effective is that CBD oil is composed of at least 75% essential fatty acids, specifically omega-3 and omega-6. Also, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is about 3 to 1, which is the perfect ratio to promote the growth of new skin tissue.”
CBD in Food
CBD is also finding its way into several food and beverage products across the US. Among the CBD infused food products you may now be offered are CBD lattes, cookies, salads, ice creams, and even burgers. Whether or not these can provide any tangible benefits is debatable. Even if you aren’t hoping to gain anything from it, it’s imperative you insist on finding out what CBD brand is used, whether it’s been lab-tested and how much of it is in your product. CBD, when heated, may lose some of its potency. CBD, when ingested orally, must go through first-pass metabolism which renders a large portion of it inactive. If the CBD is safe, it’s unlikely that you will suffer negative effects from chomping down on a CBD infused burger. On the other hand, whether you feel any positive effects might also be a roll of the dice.
CBD is great, but not in everything, all the time
In conclusion, when purchasing a product, what’s most important is to choose ingredients that offer tangible benefits. Although CBD the skin tolerates CBD pretty well, choose formulations that are strong enough to work. Make sure the brand isn't just using CBD for its popularity. Nate Masterson adds, “In general, it doesn’t make sense to add any irrelevant, albeit safe, ingredients to products, and the same applies to CBD. Although a walk through the health and beauty section might make one think that CBD is a panacea, the reality is that CBD can't heal everything. Unless the use of CBD is specifically alleviating issues or nourishing your body, there’s no reason for companies to include it in their ingredients. The same way there's no reason to randomly include other ingredients in products, the same applies to the inclusion of CBD.” Remember, you can always choose oral formulations to nourish your skin with CBD from within!