Do CBD beauty products warrant a place in your beauty bag? Gotlhokwang Angoma investigates.
The skincare industry thrives on newness. From trends like K-beauty and J-beauty (Korea and Japan) influencing routines to Kombucha products that incorporates probiotics to balance harmful bacteria and restore barrier function to your skin and now Cannabidiol (CBD) beauty… Yes, cannabis is the hot, new ingredient to add to your Must Try list.
Sure, it’s been hyped as a sleep aid and assistant for pain relief but now this illicit drug turned alternative medicine has gone mainstream. Beauty companies have elevated this superstar ingredient to industry MVP status; launching new skincare offerings on the strength of CBD content – an ingredient that it meant to provide myriad benefits to your skin.
The claims? Clear, younger, soft, non-pigmented skin. If you’re a skincare pedant or simply curious, and questioning the direction beauty is going, this might genuinely revolutionise your view.
Is it hemp seed oil? Or hemp oil? And what about CBD oil? The acronyms, terms and vocab one needs to navigate is baffling and sometimes misleading. Of course, when an ingredient has amassed a following, it’s fair to say business is ablaze. Still, it’s important for CBD users to educate themselves on all of the intricacies of CBD terms.
So, let’s start with the biology bit. CBD is a chemical extracted from the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant has three main species, of which the one to concern ourselves with is the Cannabis Sativa from which we get marijuana and hemp. Both marijuana and hemp have CBD content, although hemp has way more CBD. Marijuana contains more of the well-known chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is what can get you high. But CBD itself won’t leave you with the munchies and paranoid – read: stoned.
The really, really good CBD you want to get your hands on lives in hemp oil. This is made from the hemp plant, but in order to contain CBD, it must be extracted from the flowers, leaves and stalk of the plant. Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, comes from the seeds of the plant. It contains no CBD. Don’t be fooled, when it says “hemp seed oil” know that it doesn’t have that magical CBD ingredient.
What’s fair game when reading labels? Words like: Hemp oil, hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD, CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD – these all indicate you’re getting The Real McCoy. It’s also good to know that if you’re shopping for a CBD oil, the product will likely include a carrier oil like coconut, sweet almond, grapeseed or argan oil to preserve and stabilise the CBD.
Now that everything checks out, what’s so special about this CBD?
The benefits of CBD are said to be many. “Cannabinoids represent an exciting prospect for the future,” explains dermatologist Dr Nomphelo Gantsho, adding that they exhibit measurable antipruritic [anti-itch], antinociceptive [anti-pain], and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also known to be a potent antioxidant.
“A recent study found that CBD may affect the sebum glands in people with chronic acne, leading to reduced sebum production and potentially helping clear or prevent acne breakouts”, explains Dr Gantsho. Other benefits include calming inflammation and irritation on the skin, reducing atopic dermatitis conditions like psoriasis and eczema and helping lessen visible signs of aging. “There are receptors in the skin that interact with cannabinoids that could reduce the symptoms and appearance of skin conditions, however,’ the doctor adds, ‘more clinical trials are needed to understand the risks and benefits of cannabinoids in dermatology.”
She does warn consumers that the pace at which consumers have accepted over-the-counter topical cannabinoids as the solution to a range of dermatology disorders, far outpaces the scientific investigation into their safety and efficacy. “The problem is that adequate research on CBD lags behind consumer use. However, a number of clinical trials are now underway, and this nascent research should soon fill the gap between the science and what people ought to know.”
With this in mind, her recommendation is to ensure the products you’re buying are genuine and safe. “My advice is to pay special attention to the ingredients list and make sure that products are tested by a third-party laboratory instead of the manufacturer themselves”.
Not one to ignore what the good doctor was telling me, I decided to first investigate the KisKanu Face Oil that KushKush asked me to write about.
I was impressed to see that there is a full Certificate of Analysis (available on request) confirming that the product contains hemp-derived CBD grown in compliance with the USA 2018 Farm Bill.
Secondly, it’s been lab-tested. Friendly warning, in the world of CBD, if it hasn’t been through rigorous laboratory testing, avoid it at all costs.
Lastly, this is a cold-pressed CBD oil (not hemp seed oil) so I know I’m getting the good stuff.
When the courier arrived with my package, I immediately opened it and was excited by the packaging (yes, I do most times judge a product by its cover!) It’s pretty and minimalistic – basically totally Instagram-worthy.
I’m a sucker for a face oil. I use them as treatments for my skin. In my former life as a magazine beauty editor, one thing I learned was that oil is a good carrier of active ingredients. It’s a tip that stayed with me and improved how I deal with my skin and the products I choose to use. So when I got to test this CBD oil, I was chuffed because the CBD in the oil is an incredible active ingredient due to all the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatories benefits.
Luckily I don’t suffer from psoriasis or eczema, but I’m 36 and well, while black don’t crack, I do get adult acne flare-ups. So I checked the ingredients list to see what else I could get out of this bottle to help with my blemish-prone skin.
Cold-pressed virgin organic oils – the good stuff: Jojoba oil, a lightweight and breathable oil that breaks down and dissolves sebum and is great at controlling shine. Argan oil, which is high in vitamin E - an antioxidant that helps prevent skin damage and dark spots. Sunflower seed oil which has anti-inflammatory properties. And coconut oil that fights dehydration.
Two pumps later, I was left with an earthy, fragrant scent of rose geranium and lavender in my palm. The consistency of this oil is like water, which means it absorbs quickly, as a light layer, into your skin.
Full disclosure: it was love on first application. My skin felt soft and happy, with no greasy, sticky or shiny residue. And after a week of daily use, the early stages of an angry blemish breakout slowly started to subside. Was this because of the anti-inflammatory properties of the CBD oil? <insert who knows emoji>
For now, my verdict is that this CBD Face Oil can, and will, nourish your skin and give you a beautiful, healthy glow.