Eczema is one of the most common inflammatory skin conditions in the UK.
Around one in five children and one in ten adults suffer from atopic eczema.
The scratch-itch cycle of eczema flare-ups can significantly impact a person’s life, but there is some hope that CBD oil could one day become a viable treatment option.
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CBD oil for eczema is not a recognised treatment, but the ingredient is growing in popularity with skincare companies. Even high street shops are carrying lotions, creams and balms enriched with this increasingly popular botanical ingredient.
Before you add CBD to your eczema skincare routine, we recommend consulting with your GP or dermatologist.
CBD could interact with other medications, so it’s important to rule out the risk of interactions.
It’s also important to source your CBD from a reputable source.
Low-quality ingredients or poor manufacturing standards could lead to contamination.
If you’re considering CBD oil for eczema, we’re put together this short guide to help you to understand your options and how to choose the right products for your needs.
What's in this Guide?
What is Eczema?
Eczema is sometimes referred to as atopic dermatitis. It is a non-contagious inflammatory skin condition.
It is more common in children, although adults can also suffer from eczema.
It’s possible to develop eczema at any stage in life, even if you didn’t have it as a child.
The exact cause of eczema is unknown. For some people, it may be triggered by irritants such as soap or washing powder. For others, it may be linked to stress and poor sleep.
Eczema can occur anywhere on the body, but it is most common on the hands, backs of the knees and the inner elbow. Children are more likely to have eczema on their face or scalp.
Eczema often starts with dry and itchy skin. Then, scratching may lead to redness and inflammation that triggers a cycle of more itching and scratching.
Broken skin is more prone to infection which can further aggravate the condition.
Diagnosing and Treating Eczema
Eczema may appear red on lighter skin and deep brown, purple or grey on darker skin. It is often harder to diagnose on darker skin as it is more difficult to see.
Your doctor or pharmacist can diagnose eczema just by examining your skin. There are no tests to confirm if you have eczema. Although, your doctor may refer you for specific allergy testing to confirm what triggers your flare-ups.
Treatment may include identifying and eliminating your triggers.
You may also need to change the products you use for cleansing, including your shampoo and shower gel.
You may need to apply thick and oily skin creams multiple times a day to help prevent dryness and repair the skin moisture barrier. Your doctor or dermatologist may also prescribe a steroid cream to help tackle flare-ups.
Broken skin can lead to infections that may need antibiotic treatment.
Keeping the skin clean and dry – without over-cleansing – is essential to help avoid infections.
How Does CBD Help with Eczema?
CBD is a chemically active molecule extracted from the cannabis plant. It is a cannabinoid that is capable of interacting with the human endocannabinoid system.
Although extracted from the same plant as THC, CBD is not psychoactive.
This means that it cannot get you high or alter your mental state.
Instead, CBD products are thought to support the endocannabinoid system to enhance your sense of wellbeing and overall health. In addition, CBD is thought to help reduce inflammation and offer antimicrobial protection.
The endocannabinoid system is present throughout the body and helps to maintain balance by sending messages between cells.
It’s involved with everything from sleep patterns to appetite control.
The skin also contains endocannabinoid receptors.
The skin has long been accepted as a passive barrier to infection, but newer research suggests that it has a much more active role than previously thought.
Is There Any Scientific Evidence to Support CBD Oil for Eczema?
This review from 2009 suggests that the skin is a neuro-immuno-endocrine organ and that the ECS is integral to its many functions.
Thus, dermatologists support the idea that CBD could one day be useful in treating skin conditions, including eczema.
At the moment, there are very few medical studies of topical CBD skincare for eczema. A large-scale study of 200 eczema sufferers is underway, but the results have not yet been released.
It’s important to remember that CBD products are not the same as medicine for eczema.
At the moment, researchers are exploring how CBD might be used alongside other treatment methods to tackle eczema.
Your doctor or dermatologist may recommend steroid cream to help tackle your eczema.
Steroid creams such as hydrocortisone and Fucibet are both medicines, but CBD is not.
Steroid cream is suitable for short-term use, but long-term use may lead to skin damage and thinning.
As a result, those living with eczema often look for natural methods to manage their symptoms.
Is CBD Oil Safe?
All evidence we have so far suggests that CBD is safe for most people.
However, in the case of an allergic reaction, it is more likely that the CBD is reacting to another medication you are taking.
The World Health Organisation published a report on CBD in 2018. This report concluded that CBD is “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”
By choosing reputable suppliers with transparent supply chains, you can reduce the risk of purchasing low-quality CBD products.
Can You Apply CBD Oil Directly To Your Skin?
A high-quality CBD oil can be applied directly to your skin or added to your favourite skin cream. Adding CBD oil to a rich and creamy emollient is an excellent way to give your skin a nourishing treat.
Emollient cream helps repair the skin moisture barrier, so it’s ideal for those living with eczema.
Since CBD is oil-based, it also makes sense to combine it with oil-based skincare.
Before applying CBD oil directly to your skin, check the ingredients for any potential allergens. CBD oil will typically contain a carrier oil (MCT oil and hemp seed oil are the most common) and may also contain flavourings.
Terpenes in CBD oil are also more likely to cause a reaction. To avoid this, choose CBD skin creams made with CBD isolate instead of applying CBD oil directly to your skin.
CBD brands could add other ingredients such as turmeric and valerian root to their products to offer additional benefits.
These ingredients might not be suitable for eczema treatment.
Our Advice For Choosing The Right CBD Oil For Eczema
CBD skincare is also growing in popularity. You can find skin oil, serums, masks, bath soaks, moisturisers and hair care products containing varying amounts of CBD.
When choosing products for your eczema, focus on quality and reputation. A good CBD supplier will offer transparency about the contents of their products and their origins.
Since you will be putting the CBD product directly on your skin, you need to prioritise organic ingredients.
Non-organic CBD products are at risk of being contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals and even high levels of THC.
The high price point of CBD products makes it a popular venture for those hoping to get rich quick. For every reputable CBD seller, there are many more just hoping to make a quick profit.
A reputable seller will always be open and transparent about what is contained in their products.
Even CBD lotions should include a strength indicator, either in mg per ml or shown as a percentage.
You should also look for a certificate of analysis, which includes the CBD strength and the THC strength.
This will help to confirm that you are not buying an illegal product.
If you suffer from inflamed skin, a CBD balm with cooling ingredients such as camphor or peppermint may help soothe the itch.
A CBD balm will use natural oils and waxes as a base.
Balms are thicker and will need to be applied less often. Although a balm will be more greasy than a cream or a lotion, this intense moisturising effect is required to help restore the moisture barrier.
For the best results, apply a CBD balm at night and then cover it with a thin cotton layer such as socks, nightwear or gloves.
This will help to keep the balm in place so it can repair and soften your skin while you sleep.
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