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While you may be familiar with cannabidiol (CBD) oils, gummies, and even salves and balms, CBD beauty products are a little newer to the scene.
But do products like night creams really benefit from being infused with CBD oil? And is CBD gentle enough for the delicate skin on your face?
Keep reading to find out more about CBD face creams and our top CBD face cream picks.
When it comes to CBD for skin care, the research is still ongoing. But what’s known so far is somewhat promising.
Here’s what the research says about CBD’s effects on the skin:
It may have anti-inflammatory effects
According to one 2014 study, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may play a role in controlling sebum, or oil, production. Bye-bye, oily T-zone!
A recent research review from 2020 suggests that CBD may help protect against oxidative stress, which causes cell damage. But the conclusion is based only on in vitro (aka test tube) studies and not clinical trials with actual people.
It may help treat several skin conditions
One 2018 research review concludes that CBD may help treat skin conditions including:
However, the review authors recommend additional high-quality randomized, controlled trials to further look into the effects of CBD on the skin.
Another review from 2019 suggests that CBD may also help with wound healing. Again, there’s a need for further study since most of the data included in the review is based on in vitro and animal studies.
Some clinical studies suggest that topical CBD can provide pain relief, which may be helpful for people with sensitive, easily irritated skin or chronic facial wounds. But again, more high-quality studies are needed to validate this.
According to a 2019 study that followed 20 participants with irritating skin conditions, applying THC-free CBD to the area significantly improved skin health without causing side effects.
We chose these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:
- is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- is made with U.S.-grown hemp
- contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
- passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA
As a part of our selection process, we also considered:
- the company’s certifications and manufacturing processes
- product potency
- overall ingredients
- indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
- customer reviews
- whether the company has been subject to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning letter
- whether the company makes any unsupported health claims
Where available, we’ve included special discount codes for our readers.
- $ = under $35
- $$ = $35–$50
- $$$ = over $50
Best CBD face cream for eczema
Medterra CBD+ Manuka Honey Healing Cream
- Price: $–$$
- CBD type: isolate
- CBD potency: 125 milligram (mg) per 1-oz. container or 250 mg per 2-oz. container
- COA: available online
Manuka honey is a particular type of honey that may have antibacterial properties. It may help alleviate the symptoms of eczema, a painful skin condition that causes severely dry, itchy skin.
In addition to manuka honey and CBD isolate, this cream also includes more than 20 botanicals to help soothe the skin. Reviews for the cream are generally positive. People say it helps not just with eczema but many skin conditions.
In addition to offering assistance programs for veterans and people on long-term disability, Medterra is also U.S. Hemp Authority Certified.
Best CBD face cream for acne-prone skin
cbdMD Clearskin Moisture Lightweight Facial Moisturizer
- Price: $$
- CBD type: broad-spectrum
- CBD potency: 500 mg per 4-oz. container
- COA: available via product page
If you have acne-prone skin, you might avoid using moisturizer for fear of clogging your pores. But even if you have overactive oil glands, your skin benefits from hydration regardless.
Thanks to ingredients like turmeric, vitamin C, and willow bark, this gentle moisturizer hydrates and soothes the skin without suffocating it.
Customers say the moisturizer is lightweight and helps clear the skin. Just be careful not to put it too close to your eyes, because it can burn.
And if it doesn’t agree with your skin, cbdMD has a no-risk 60-day satisfaction guarantee.
Best CBD night cream
cbdMD Night Cream Renewal
- Price: $$
- CBD type: broad-spectrum
- CBD potency: 500 mg per 3.4-oz. container
- COA: available via product page
The formula contains both moisturizers and antioxidants, including coconut, avocado, and argan oils. Reviewers agree that the formula is ultra-hydrating and affordable. They also say it goes on smooth and doesn’t seem to cause breakouts.
The company is part of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable and Hemp Industries Association. It has assistance programs for people in the military and people with disabilities.
Best calming CBD face cream
BOTA De-Stressing Nightly Face Cream + Lavender
- Price: $
- CBD type: full-spectrum
- CBD potency: 150 mg per 1.7-oz. container
- COA: available on product page (see image slideshow)
This soothing cream is a good choice for calming irritated skin. Aside from CBD, the cream also contains rose water, cocoa butter, and various plant oils, including jojoba, avocado, and honeysuckle.
The U.S. Hemp Authority certified company recommends applying it at night after toning. The brand is also a member of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable and National Hemp Association. Additionally, the company uses hemp farmed using natural farming practices.
Customers say they like the melty, nongreasy feel of the cream and its pleasant lavender scent.
Because there are so many companies selling CBD — and some of them are not so great — you need to be able to sort the good from the bad.
And when it comes to products intended to go on your face, you also need to look for stuff that’s compatible with your skin type and concerns.
Here’s what to consider.
First off, consider potency. Because the skin doesn’t absorb topical CBD products that easily, it’s important to choose potent products for optimal results. Look for creams that contain at least 3 mg of CBD per mL of product.
You’ll find products with one of three types of CBD:
While full-spectrum CBD contains some THC, isolate and broad-spectrum don’t. Additionally, both full- and broad-spectrum CBD contain additional therapeutic compounds like terpenes.
Also look for products that have been third-party tested. There’s no regulatory body that guarantees the safety of over-the-counter (OTC) CBD products. But a reputable CBD company will get its products tested by a third-party lab and have COAs readily available for customers to view.
Be sure the COA lists the CBD and THC potency, as well as the level of contaminants, like heavy metals and pesticides.
Hemp source and other ingredients
Finally, companies should be transparent about where they source their hemp. Ideally, go with a product made from all-natural, U.S.-grown hemp.
And if it’s for your face, make sure other ingredients won’t irritate sensitive skin.
Using topicals like CBD face cream is pretty self-explanatory. Rub them onto the skin and massage the area until the cream gets absorbed, just like you would any non-CBD cream.
CBD creams vary in potency, but generally, it’s OK to use the same amount as you would of regular, non-CBD face cream.
Topically are generally safe to use over and over again, but make sure to do a patch test before applying to your entire face — especially if you have reactive skin.
Because topically applied CBD isn’t absorbed into your bloodstream quite like ingested CBD, creams are unlikely to cause side effects or interact with medication.
However, talk with your doctor before using a CBD face cream, just in case.
Does CBD face cream do anything for your skin?
CBD may have anti-inflammatory effects and help treat certain skin conditions. But there’s still a lot we don’t know about CBD for skin care, so it’s difficult to say for certain.
Does CBD face cream work for eczema?
Initial research suggests that CBD creams may help soothe dry, itchy skin that occurs because of eczema. But most of the research has been on human or animal skin samples, not actual people.
Anecdotally, people report that it helps with this skin condition.
Does CBD face cream have anti-aging properties?
Because CBD has antioxidant properties, it may help reduce fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin texture. But more research is needed to fully understand the potential anti-aging effects of CBD creams.
Just like it may help with sleep issues and chronic pain, CBD may also be helpful for the skin.
When shopping for CBD face creams, carefully scan the ingredients list and look for anything that might not agree with your skin. Be sure to choose a product from a reputable brand that conducts third-party testing.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.