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Show Your Skin Some Love: Expert Tips on Acne, Eczema, and CBD Treatments

Treating Common Skin Conditions With CBD & Cannabis

One of the things people visiting town always mention is that nobody in Miami wears any clothes. Yes, we barely wear any clothes here…because it's hot! You’re going to have to show some skin here just as a means of survival. Unfortunately for some people, showing skin is the last thing they'd want to do. Skin conditions are incredibly common, affecting people of all ages, genders, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. People go through great lengths to find treatments for their skin conditions. More recently as the cannabis industry has become more mainstream so has interest in cannabis and CBD as potential treatments for a variety of skin conditions. Let's take a look at some common skin conditions and how (if) cannabis/CBD may be able to help.   

Acne

Acne is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects the pilosebaceous units (hair follicles and their accompanying sebaceous glands). According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, acne affects up to 50 million Americans annually.

Demographics: Acne is most common among adolescents and young adults, affecting up to 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24. However, it can occur at any age and affects individuals of all races and ethnicities.

Traditional Treatments: Topical retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and antibiotics are commonly prescribed for acne. While effective, they can cause side effects like dryness, irritation, and antibiotic resistance.

Holistic Treatments: Dietary changes, herbal remedies, and stress management are potential holistic approaches to managing acne.

Cannabis/CBD: Cannabinoids like CBD have shown promise in reducing inflammation and sebum production associated with acne. Topical application, oral ingestion, and vaping are potential routes of administration.

Pearls: 

  • Acne is not solely a teenage issue; adult acne affects up to 15% of women. Stress and hormonal fluctuations can trigger or worsen acne flare-ups. 

  • Hemp seed oil, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, has been shown to improve acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

  • The annual cost related to acne treatment and lost productivity was over $1.2 billion in 2013.


Eczema

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. According to the National Eczema Association, it affects over 31 million Americans.

Demographics: Eczema can occur at any age, but it is most common in children, affecting up to 25% of kids before their first birthday. It appears to be more prevalent in urban areas and among certain racial and ethnic groups.

Traditional Treatments: Topical corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and phototherapy are common treatments for eczema, but they can have side effects and may not be suitable for long-term use.

Holistic Treatments: Dietary modifications, stress management, use of natural skin products like oatmeal baths, and stress reduction techniques. These treatments focus on reducing triggers but may not be sufficient for severe cases.

Cannabis/CBD: Cannabinoids like CBD have shown promise in managing eczema symptoms due to their anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. Topical application, oral ingestion, and vaping are potential routes.

Pearls:

  • Eczema is not contagious, but it can be hereditary – if one parent has it, their child has a 50% chance of developing it.

  • Bathing too frequently can strip the skin's natural oils and worsen eczema symptoms. Lukewarm baths with gentle cleansers are recommended.

  • Studies indicate that cannabinoid receptors in the skin play a role in reducing inflammation and pain associated with eczema.


Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes the rapid buildup of rough, dry, red patches covered with silvery scales on the skin's surface. The National Psoriasis Foundation estimates that over 8 million Americans have psoriasis.

Demographics: Psoriasis can begin at any age, but most diagnoses occur in adulthood between the ages of 15 and 35. Men and women are equally affected. It appears more common in Caucasians than other ethnic groups.

Traditional Treatments: Topical treatments, phototherapy, and systemic medications like biologics are used to manage psoriasis, but can have adverse effects.

Holistic Treatments: Dietary modifications, stress reduction, and herbal remedies may help manage symptoms.

Cannabis/CBD: Studies suggest cannabinoids could help reduce psoriasis symptoms through their anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. Topical, oral, and inhaled routes are options.

Pearls:

  •  Psoriasis is not just a skin condition – it's an autoimmune disease that can increase the risk of other conditions like heart disease and diabetes. 

  • Stress is a major psoriasis trigger, so managing stress through relaxation techniques can help prevent flare-ups.


Sunburn

Sunburn is an inflammatory reaction caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun (like on Miami Beach 🌞) or artificial sources like tanning beds. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a single blistering sunburn doubles your lifetime risk of developing melanoma.

Demographics: People with lighter skin tones (less melanin) are at higher risk for sunburn compared to those with melanin filled darker skin. However, one study found that even among African Americans, freckling and sunburn in childhood increased melanoma risk by 50%.

Traditional Treatments: For mild sunburns, over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams, aloe vera gels, and taking cool baths can provide relief. For severe cases, oral steroids or prescription creams may be needed.

Holistic Treatments: Staying hydrated, applying cool compresses, using gentle, fragrance-free moisturizers, and taking oral anti-inflammatory supplements like turmeric may help soothe sunburn.

Cannabis/CBD: Topical CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation, pain, and promote healing in skin conditions like burns and wounds, making it a potential sunburn treatment. Oral and inhaled CBD could also help manage pain and inflammation.

Pearls: 

  • Sunburn doesn't just cause redness – it can lead to premature skin aging, eye damage, and a weakened immune system in addition to skin cancer risks.

  • Your risk for sunburn doesn't just depend on skin tone – factors like time of day, altitude, and reflective surfaces like water also increase UV exposure.


Wrapping It All Up!

Skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis are incredibly common and can have a significant impact on quality of life. While traditional treatments are available, they often come with side effects and drawbacks. Holistic approaches and novel treatments like cannabis/CBD show promise in managing these conditions more safely and effectively.

When considering cannabis/CBD, it's important to discuss all options with a qualified healthcare provider and only use high-quality, tested products from reputable sources. Different routes of administration like topical, oral, and inhaled can provide targeted or systemic effects. You can even apply pure CBD oil directly on your skin or mix it with your favorite product for an additional therapeutic boost!

Moving forward, further research is needed to fully understand the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for skin conditions. But the existing evidence suggests they could be valuable tools in an integrated, holistic approach to managing these persistent and often challenging conditions.


*Bonus Pearl*

  • Skin health is deeply connected to overall health – factors like diet, stress, and lifestyle can significantly influence skin conditions.