Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know about CBD Beauty Products

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cbd beauty guide
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Last month, Savoir Flair reported that CBD beauty products are now finally legal in the UAE, which, despite being major news, prompts the question — how much do you know about CBD? While countless celebs sing its praises when it comes to their flawless faces and clear complexions (Kim K even threw a CBD-themed baby shower) and it’s the biggest buzzword in beauty right now, what does CBD mean for our skin?

Packed into everything from creams and oils to shampoos and mascaras, it’s safe to say that CBD isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, according to FNF Research, the “Global cannabis-infused beauty products market is expected to reach close to USD 20.5 billion by 2026 and is growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 17 percent from 2020 to 2026”. Why? Because, “the infusion of cannabinoids in beauty products enhances the effectiveness of the products. As per the research, CBD-infused oil is effective in treating acne.” Among many other things. You have our attention.

cbd beauty skin guide
Photo: Courtesy of Mathilde Langevin

Any time you’re introducing a new ingredient into your skincare routine, it’s always good to know exactly what you’re slathering on your face – and why. “If — as the research suggests — CBD oil can be used as a treatment for a range of skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis, then I welcome its use as a topical ingredient in the UAE skincare sector. But it’s important to choose a reputable brand (and of course one that has been deemed legal by the UAE government) and to follow the instructions to determine how often to use the product, how much to use, and how to apply it to ensure absolute safety,” advises Dr. Raafat Lakkis, Clinical Dermatologist at Dr. Kayle Aesthetic Clinic Dubai.

To help you navigate the wonderful (yet sometimes complicated) world of CBD, we’ve gone and answered all your CBD beauty questions. And we’ve thrown in some of our best CBD buys for good measure, too. You’re welcome.

What Is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 100 naturally occurring plant compounds found in the cannabis sativa plant. Unlike THC, which is a psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD is non-psychoactive and is believed to have a calming, anti-inflammatory effect on the skin without altering your state of mind. CBD is extracted from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the cannabis plant through one of three forms of extractions: CO2 extraction, alcohol extraction, or steam distillation.

When applied to skin, CBD delivers its benefits via receptors of the endocannabinoid system and TRP (transient receptor potential) channels in the skin. We have receptors in every layer of our skin, and they trigger when something’s wrong – be it pain or an itch. Topical CBD has numerous positive effects, from regulating serum to calming and soothing. But more on that in a moment…

Can It Alter Your Mind?

No! Because CBD contains no THC – the main psychoactive in marijuana – it does not and cannot alter the mind in any way. Hence why it’s insanely popular and now legal in the UAE. Other misconceptions? “I’ve been asked if it shows up in blood tests. The answer is no, as it’s topical. The weirdest question we’ve got is, ‘Will my skin turn green?’ Definitely no!”, says CBD pioneer and founder of Glow Destination, Jassim Al Nowais.

Are All CBD Products Created Equally?

Simply put, no. As Al Nowais explains:

“There are three different forms of CBD used in beauty:

CBD Isolate: Otherwise known as ‘pure CBD’, where no other substances are added.
Full Spectrum CBD: This contains all compounds found in the hemp plant, including traces of THC (less than 0.3 percent) and other cannabinoids and antioxidant compounds.
Broad Spectrum CBD: Contains a range of cannabinoids and hemp-derived compounds but, no THC detectable whatsoever.

Not all CBD products have the same strength, and it differs from one product to another. Some mention the amount of CBD they contain. For example, we have some products that contain anywhere between 100mg to 600mg of CBD. They don’t have to be equal. Usually, the amount of CBD in face creams is less than in body creams, and it differs between topical oil products and internal oil products too”.


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Is It Safe?

According to the WHO, CBD is totally safe and it’s not addictive – provided there’s no medical reason that means you shouldn’t use it, of course. That being said, research is limited. “Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a fairly new but highly promising skincare ingredient with significant antioxidant (think anti-aging), and anti-inflammatory (think acne, eczema, and psoriasis) properties.

Double-blinded randomized studies are in their early phases, so the jury is still out regarding long-term benefits and side effects,” agrees Dr. Lakkis. “CBD oil is one of a long list of skincare ingredients that are available. Very promising, yes. A panacea? No. Remember to always consult your dermatologist to choose the right product for your skin”.

Because it’s currently unregulated, there are also a lot of false claims and misleading products out there, especially because not all products that contain cannabis extracts actually contain CBD. In fact, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, over 60 percent of online CBD products are mislabeled. So, always check your product properly!

What Are the Benefits?

Where do we start? Early clinical studies suggest that CBD has promising benefits when it comes to combating pain, especially when it comes to arthritis and inflammatory conditions. This in turn means that it can help reduce the pain, swelling, and redness that come with inflammatory acne, and it helps regulate the hormones responsible for oil production, meaning less excess sebum and fewer breakouts.

It’s also said to work wonders on chronic skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis, and it helps calm rosacea flare-ups. Because it’s a powerful adaptogen, it can even balance hormonal conditions and offer relief from muscle and joint pain.

But the benefits don’t stop there. CBD is an amazing hydrator, helping keep dehydration and dryness at bay whilst loading skin with moisturizing properties. And we all know what hydrated skin leads to – glowing complexions and reduced signs of aging. Yes, please. Coupled with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD also helps protect the skin from oxidative (read: aging) stress.

Can Everyone Use It?

“Not everyone can use CBD products, and they’re usually not recommended for pregnant women or anyone below 18 years of age. However, many new studies and research are being conducted on the safe usage of CBD products,” explains Al Nowais. “I expect that soon they’ll make products that are safe to use for those below 18. Other than that, anyone can use CBD products, unless not recommended by a doctor. I have received many inquiries from parents asking about CBD products to treat their children’s eczema. Hopefully, those products will come out soon”.

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