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Recently, a few small studies suggested that cannabidiol (CBD) creams may help reduce eczema symptoms, such as dry and itchy skin.
This article explores whether CBD cream can treat eczema. It also discusses the benefits and risks, what products are available, and alternative options to CBD.
Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common skin care issue, affecting 15–20% of children and 1–3% of adults.
Symptoms involve skin becoming:
CBD is a chemical compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Unlike delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another chemical found in this plant, CBD does not have psychoactive properties. This means that products containing CBD do not trigger a “high” that people often associate with smoking or consuming cannabis products.
Learn more about CBD and THC here.
There is a complex system of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body, including the skin. CBD can bind to these receptors, which may provide some health benefits. This has led to the belief that the topical use of CBD may relieve certain skin conditions.
One study suggests introducing substances, such as CBD, that can bind to the cannabinoid receptors can decrease itching.
A cream is a topical product that usually contains:
CBD creams combine extracts of CBD, usually with ingredients such as
- shea butter
- coconut oil
If CBD cream is effective for a person’s eczema, they might not need prescription treatments, such as steroids or oral antihistamines.
However, people should always speak with their doctor before stopping or changing any medications.
Research suggests that CBD is antimicrobial and can kill Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that commonly leads to people contracting infections with eczema, causing flare-ups.
Cannabinoids also show many anti-inflammatory properties, including suppressing allergic skin reactions in mice by activating cannabinoid receptors.
With regard to itching, researchers studying endocannabinoid cream found it decreased the severity of itching by an average of 60% among human participants. In addition, around 33.6% no longer needed their topical steroid treatments to control eczema.
Cannabinoids may also help relieve pain, with one study indicating they are safe and can ease joint discomfort.
In addition, a study of 20 patients with various common skin conditions, including eczema, found that a topical CBD cream was safe and effective for treating inflammatory skin conditions. The product helped reduce itching, improved skin, and made sleeping easier.
However, further research is necessary to determine how effective CBD cream is for treating eczema.
Research suggests that CBD is safe for topical use. And while the substance has been shown to damage the liver, it is unlikely that applying it to the skin will cause this.
However, some CBD creams contain terpenes, which can cause increased itching. A person should choose a cream without this substance if they have concerns.
Individuals with tree or nut allergies should also exercise caution and carefully read the labels on creams to avoid ingredients that may trigger an allergic reaction.
Learn about the side effects of CBD oil here.
To use CBD creams for eczema, apply the cream as with any topical ointment:
- Rub a small amount on to the affected area until it absorbs.
- Reapply as needed.
- Do not apply to broken skin.
However, always read the label of a CBD product for specific instructions and warnings.
For first-time users of CBD products, start with a low dosage product. Patch testing a small amount on the skin can also help determine if a person may experience adverse reactions.
If individuals tolerate CBD cream well, they can gradually increase the dosage if needed.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
Read about shopping for CBD products here for more in-depth guidance.
Joy Organics CBD Salve
Joy Organics claim this organic salve can benefit skin while soothing aches and pains.
This product consists of:
- essential oils
- phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil
The company claim this salve has more than 80.7% CBD and is a broad-spectrum product, meaning it contains no THC.
Joy Organics provide their lab report online. All their products undergo testing with the company, in addition to third-party testing. This helps assure their products are safe for use and contain no contaminants.
Joy Organics CBD Salve is available for purchase online.
Lazarus Naturals Unscented CBD Lotion
Unscented lotions are suitable for people with eczema, as fragranced products can irritate sensitive skin.
This topical lotion contains:
- mango seed butter
- almond oil
- 50 milligrams (mg) of CBD per teaspoon
This is also a full-spectrum CBD product, meaning it contains THC, which may not be suitable for everyone.
Lazarus Naturals also send their products through third-party lab testing, which helps ensure they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and other unsafe contaminants.
Lazarus Naturals Unscented CBD Lotion is available for purchase online.
CBDistillery CBDol Topical Salve
This full-spectrum balm contains moisturizing ingredients, including:
- shea butter
- cocoa butter
CBDistillery advertise this as a relieving balm for sore muscles, although it may also soothe sore skin.
It is also third-party tested and contains 500 mg of CBD per 1 ounce tub.
The company source non-GMO hemp within the United States from suppliers using natural farming methods.
CBDistillery CBDol Topical Salve is available for purchase online.
As well as CBD, many creams and lotions can help with eczema, including:
Different types of products are available alongside creams, such as:
Learn about the best lotions for eczema here.
For mild eczema, some natural treatments may help. Home remedies include:
Learn about other home remedies for eczema here.
If a doctor believes a prescription is necessary, they may recommend:
- a topical steroid to reduce inflammation
- a topical calcineurin inhibitor to prevent redness, itching, and inflammation
- a topical PDE4 inhibitor that helps block the production of proteins involved in eczema
If a person’s eczema gets worse quickly, they should speak with a doctor. In addition, a person should see a dermatologist if they:
- experience itchiness or symptoms that interrupt sleep or daily activities most days of the week
- have new symptoms associated with eczema
- experience shorter time periods between flare-ups
- have eczema that spreads to new locations
- experience eczema does not respond to treatment in 1 week
- develop yellowish to light-brown crust or pus-filled blisters over patches of eczema
- develop small fluid-filled blisters
- are exposed to anyone with a viral skin condition, such as cold sores or genital herpes
Children commonly experience eczema. An appropriate routine of bathing and moisturizing can treat most cases. However, if it is persistent or painful, speak with a doctor.
Learn about creams to use for eczema in babies here.
Overall, CBD creams may benefit people with eczema. However, it is important to read the ingredients to check for potentially irritating terpenes or fragrances. People should also buy CBD cream from a reputable vendor.
If the CBD cream triggers adverse effects, stop using it. See a dermatologist if a person’s eczema becomes persistently worse.
In addition, do not replace or stop using prescription medication unless a doctor advises it is safe.
For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.