Is CBD a Remedy for Your Acne?
Pimples, pustules, blackheads: Acne is a disturbing skin disease. Yet it is common but rare – around 85 percent of all Americans get acne at some point in their lives.
Cannabis as medicine could help: New research shows that the cannabis-derived CBD improves acne symptoms. CBD balances sebum production and has an anti-inflammatory effect. And non-psychotropic CBD is very well tolerated.
What is acne?
Pimples on the face, pimples on the back – and usually in puberty, when adolescents have enough other problems and the self-esteem is subject to great fluctuations anyway. Acne is the most common skin disease worldwide, yet many sufferers are ashamed of the pustules and blackheads on their skin.
“Acne is much more common than it was 20 years ago. About 85 percent of all adolescents develop at least a mild form, “says Professor Thomas Dirschka of the German Dermatologists Association.
In puberty, 80 to 90 percent of teenagers get acne. 60 percent of those affected, their skin disease is very mild, while 40 percent of acne patients, their symptoms are so pronounced that they should be treated with medical treatment. Especially between the ages of 15 and 18, skin problems occur. Boys are more likely to be affected than girls, and boys also have a greater risk of developing a severe form of development.
Acne is a collective term for various types of acne. Acne vulgaris is the most common form and is therefore also called “ordinary acne”. It occurs during puberty and ends at the age of 20 at the latest. But there are other, rarer forms of acne.
Examples of other forms:
- Acne inversa: It occurs under the armpits or in the groin area.
- Acne infantum: Occurs in newborns.
- Acne tarda: As adults, patients over 25 years (still) suffer from pimples.
- Acne medicamentosa: pimples and pustules caused by medication.
- At a glance: Acne vulgaris
- Occurrence: especially in adolescents, men are more frequently affected than women
- Symptoms: oily skin, blackheads, partially inflammatory nodules, especially pimples on the face and upper body
- Influencing factors: genetic stress, psychogenic influences (such as stress), hormones, nutrition
- Risk of infection: none
Acne vulgaris occurs during puberty due to increased sex hormones. Androgens (male sex hormones) influence a change in the skin and, consequently, increased production of sebum (hyperseborrhoea). Normally, the sebum enters the surface of the skin via the sebaceous gland canal. In acne, however, there is increased keratinization of the cells. The excess horn material eventually clogs the excretory duct of the pores, so that the increasingly formed sebum (follicular hyperkeratosis) no longer runs off.
This causes comedones (blackheads), which can be ignited by bacterial colonization by a particular bacterium (Propionibacterium acnes). As a result, it comes to the typical acne skin symptoms such as papules, pustules or knots. After all, pimples often lead to acne scars after healing.
Why does acne occur more frequently in men and boys than in girls and women? And why is the course of the disease often more severe in male acne patients? The reason is that production in the sebaceous glands is more stimulated by male sex hormones than by females.
- At a glance: acne causes
- Sebaceous glands overactive
- Cornification disorder in the sebaceous duct
- Colonization by bacteria
- inflammatory response
Pimples on the face and pimples on the back: The annoying acne vulgaris arises mainly where many sebaceous glands are – such as the face, neck, on the chest (neckline), on the back, on the upper arms, and on the shoulders. Acne symptoms include oily skin, blackheads, inflammatory papules, pustules with central pus formation, to large, painful lumps.
Depending on the severity of the disease, physicians distinguish between three forms of acne, which can be divided into different types of acne symptoms:
Acne comedonica: There are more closed and open comedones (blackheads) on the face, especially in the nose region. Slight acne.
Acne papulopustulosa: In this form of acne papules, pustules, nodules and pimples on the face, and more rarely on the neck, back or arms. The inflammation can cause acne scars.
Acne conglobata: This is the most severe form of acne and usually affects men. The patients develop large, highly inflammatory and painful nodules. After healing, severe scars remain.
- At a glance: acne symptoms
- greasy, shiny skin
- closed and open comedones (blackheads)
- Papules, inflammatory pustules with central pus
- partially large nodules, fistulas, and cysts
- often scars
Therapy: What helps against pimples?
Anyone who quickly buys a remedy for pimples the day before a date and hopes to get rid of his problems will be disappointed. Pure skin within a short time, as advertising often suggests, does not exist. According to the Association of US Dermatologists, therapy requires time and patience. Patients should expect a treatment duration of six to nine months.
About 40 percent of those affected would have a form of acne requiring treatment, says Professor Harald Gollnick, Director of the Department of Dermatology and Venereology at the University Hospital Magdeburg. However, many adolescents avoided going to the doctor or hearing from their environment, because you have to go through – sometimes with fatal consequences: “The later the therapy starts, the sooner the risk of scarring is greater. ”
Remedy for pimples – skin care
Experts advise that the areas affected by acne should only be cleaned with warm water or a pH-neutral and perfume-free washing lotion. Excessive washing with aggressive products destroys the skin’s environment – making acne worse.
Especially young people should be careful not to over-coat their skin with creams and other remedies for pimples. After washing, do not supply the skin with greasy creams, as fats and oils clog the pores. Usually, nothing has to be applied. If it is desired, then a water-based moisturizer. Make-up and sunscreen should also be fat-free for this reason.
For very mild acne, it may be sufficient to prevent pimples and Co. with proper skin care in self-therapy. In general, however, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist and give acne treatment in the hands of professionals. Physicians can – depending on the severity of skin disease – prescribe suitable drugs and give tips on appropriate care measures. Also, do not even hand on blackheads and pimples are laid. Instead, dermatologists recommend visiting a medical beautician or beautician.
What helps against pimples – creams and lotions
Depending on the severity of the acne – and whether the increased production of sebum or the inflammation outweighs – the attending physician selects the appropriate therapy. Dermatologists prescribe for mild acne creams, gels or ointments for external (topical) use. These are applied to the skin and are intended to prevent the further spread of the skin.
The following active ingredients are used in acne creams and Co.:
Retinoids work in all forms of acne. They ensure that skin particles are better repelled and thus the sebum can drain better. So they reduce the formation of blackheads. In addition, they inhibit inflammation and are often combined with benzoyl peroxide. Retinoids are also used for maintenance therapy – in other words, to ensure treatment success and to prevent relapse. Retinoids are prescription and have some side effects. Newer retinoid supplements are made from vitamin A acid.
Azelaic acid reduces the keratinization of the sebaceous glands, has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Alpha hydroxy acids belong to the natural fruit acids. They open the pores of the excretory ducts.
Benzoyl peroxide primarily kills bacteria and does not lead to resistance. Acne creams with benzoyl peroxide are used against inflammatory forms of acne.
Antibiotic acne creams counteract the growth of bacteria.
Remedy for pimple – medication
In severe forms of acne, systemic therapy may be necessary – that is, the oral intake of drugs in the form of tablets. However, systemic therapy is not without controversy: critics complain that the possible side effects are out of balance with the benefits.
Acne therapy medications:
Antibiotics fight the inflammation. They are always prescribed in combination with external agents and should not be used for more than two to three months. Antibiotics are prescription.
Hormone supplements such as birth control pills can relieve or reduce the symptoms of girls and women. However, the prerequisite is that a dermatologist recommends this form of treatment and a gynecologist or a gynecologist prescribes the preparation. It takes at least six months for hormone preparations to take effect. They must always be combined with local remedies for pimples.
Retinoids (isotretinoin) are the most effective remedy for severe acne (acne conglobata). The active substance can cause severe side effects: Among other things, it can harm the unborn child, which is why in women who use retinoids, pregnancy must be excluded.
Studies have shown that cannabis drug CBD could be a new cure for acne. So far, CBD is not used in medical acne treatment – but this could change in the future. A big advantage of CBD is its good compatibility.
What helps against pimples? CBD and acne therapy
A Hungarian study published in “The Journal of Clinical Investigation” investigated the effect of cannabidiol (CBD) on the sebaceous gland function of the skin – and showed surprisingly positive results:
CBD can regulate the overproduction of sebum, which leads to pimples and Co. CBD is thus a “highly effective sebostatic agent”. In addition, the cannabis drug in the study showed “complex anti-inflammatory” (anti-inflammatory) effects.
Today there are already various different remedies for pimples, which are used in acne treatment. However, the authors of the Hungarian study point out that so far medical products for acne are missing, “which target several pathogenetic steps of acne (sebum overproduction, unwanted sebocyte proliferation, inflammation) and also have favorable side effects profiles.”
This means that until now an acne treatment is missing, which combats the different causes of skin disease and nevertheless does not cause any strong side effects.
CBD and its effect on the skin
When cannabis ointments and creams, known as cannabis topicals, are applied locally, the body absorbs the active ingredients through the skin. It has long been known that the skin has numerous cannabinoid receptors to which cannabinoids dock and thus exert their effect. Therefore, the Hungarian scientists regarded the endocannabinoid system of the skin as a promising option to look for new therapeutic options against skin diseases such as acne vulgaris.
“In fact, we have previously shown that the ECS (endocannabinoid system) of the skin regulates the growth and differentiation of skin cells and that it has anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, we have shown that ECS plays a key role in the regulation of sebum production, “said Attila Oláh in The Journal of Clinic.
The authors of the study concluded that cannabidiol (CBD) is a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris due to its sebum-reducing and anti-inflammatory effects. ”
CBD inhibits the lipid production of skin cells. It does not work against the physiology of the skin, does not dry it out, but normalizes the production of fat. These are positive results that can establish CBD as an effective remedy for pimples. It remains to be seen whether there will be a medical acne therapy with cannabidiol in the future. Since CBD is not psychotropic, it is not subject to the Narcotics Act in Germany. Products with pure CBD or a THC value of less than 0.2 percent can be purchased legally – for example in the form of drops or as a topical (CBD cream).
THC and acne
Incidentally, the positive results of CBD in terms of pure skin are not shown in the cannabis drug THC. Quite the opposite: It is well known that THC increases the fat content of the skin and that cannabis consumption, for example in the form of a joint, can increase acne. In addition, smoking can aggravate diseases of the throat: “The smoke contains many toxins, blood circulation is slowed down, healing processes are delayed and inflammation is promoted,” explains Professor Harald Gollnick.
Conclusion: acne treatment and cannabis
Acne is a common disease that kills most people at some point in their lives – mostly in their teenage years. This so-called acne vulgaris, which begins at puberty, is the most common form. But there are also other forms that are caused for example by drugs or arise only in adulthood. For the treatment, different drugs are available that dermatologists use depending on the severity and severity of the acne.
Scientists have studied the effect of cannabidiol on the skin. The result: The non-psychotropic cannabis drug CBD combats the causes of acne at the roots and causes no side effects. CBD positively affects the sebum production of the skin. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect. Thus, scientists come to the conclusion that CBD can be a promising drug in acne therapy. So far, there are no medical acne remedies that contain CBD. That could change soon.