What’s the deal with CBD skincare? We tested several products and provide our hands-on review. Read on for more about the benefits CBD may have for your skin.

Healthline has sole editorial control over this article. Potential uses for the products listed here are not health claims made by the manufacturers. The information in this article is intended to be general in nature. It’s not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a healthcare professional. Healthline encourages you to make any treatment decisions with your healthcare professional.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is everywhere these days: oils, gummies, capsules, and just about any kind of skin care product you can imagine.

But what exactly is a cannabis compound doing in your cleanser, moisturizer, or bathwater? What’s the benefit for your skin? What makes it worth the premium price tag? Read on for more.

According to Danielle Frey, owner and licensed aesthetician at Bloom Skincare Mendocino, the two leading causes of skin aging and common skin issues like acne and hyperpigmentation are:

“The endocannabinoid system is a complex matrix of cell receptors responsible for balancing many key functions of the skin, such as oil production, melanocyte production (also known as pigmentation), and much more,” says Frey.

She adds, “CBD is an incredibly effective ingredient in skin care due to it being a powerful antioxidant and providing anti-inflammatory benefits.”

While research into CBD is ongoing, what we do know so far seems to back this up. Here’s how the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD affect the body’s largest organ:

  • Regulates oil production. The overproduction of sebum is thought to be a contributing factor of acne. According to a 2014 study, CBD may have an anti-inflammatory effect on sebocytes, the skin cells that produce sebum.
  • Helps reduce inflammation. As an anti-inflammatory, CBD may be able to help reduce swelling, pain, and redness from existing breakouts, or irritation from skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
  • Hydrates dry skin. Research from 2009 suggests that CBD may be effective for dry, dehydrated skin.

While we’re still scratching the surface of CBD, “It really is incredibly fascinating and promising in terms of the many benefits phytocannabinoids provide for the skin,” says Frey. “I think we will only see more and more use of these type of phytocannabinoids in skin care and wellness formulations in the years to come.”

CBD skin care products are, obviously, applied to the skin. But application depends on the specific product. If you’re using a serum, spray, cleanser, mask, or moisturizer, you’ll use them in the same order as regular skin care. Follow the directions on the label, and you should be all set.

Best balm

707 Balm – Moisture Repair by 707 Flora

  • Price: $
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 25 milligrams (mg) CBD per 15-millilter (mL) tube
  • COA: available online with batch number or scan product QR code

707 Flora’s balm is intended for multiple uses: as a lip balm, for irritated skin, and for dry patches. It includes 25 mg CBD per tube.

Healthline editor Christy Snyder tested this balm in Philadelphia’s early 2022 wintertime. She used it as a lip balm. Christy noticed having to reapply less the more I used it — the balm thoroughly moisturized my lips. She’s returned to it throughout the year as needed (and in 2024, she’s still a fan!)

Christy didn’t notice any physical sensations when using the balm. 707 Flora’s site claims that the full-spectrum CBD is present to recondition the skin.

Best eye cream

Revitalizing Eye Cream – Age Defying Complex by 707 Flora

  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 25 mg CBD per 15-mL tube
  • COA: available online with batch number or scan product QR codes

707 Flora’s eye cream includes 25 mg CBD per tube. It contains a natural microalgae blend to help protect the skin against environmental aggressors, according to the brand.

Christy stores 707 Flora’s eye cream in her fridge because she likes to apply a cooling eye cream to my under-eye area in the morning to reduce puffiness. She noticed that the cream is not too thick nor too thin (both extremes are not ideal when it comes to eye cream, in her experience). This eye cream layers nicely beneath sunscreen or moisturizer.

There’s a whole wide world of CBD skin care products out there, and some claims are hard to believe. Still, research and personal experience have me convinced that there are real benefits to CBD as an ingredient in skin care — with the important caveat of shopping wisely. The addition of CBD alone doesn’t mean much if the other ingredients aren’t benefiting your skin.

So, before you dive in, arm yourself with a few notes.

  • Check the label for true CBD. “If the ingredient list simply says ‘hemp seed oil,’ this is not CBD,” cautions Frey. “There is a lot of greenwashing happening in the skin care world and very little regulation, so it will be up to you to ensure you are actually getting what you are paying for. Hemp seed oil provides great moisturizing properties but is not CBD.”
  • Check testing results. “Most leading CBD skin care companies will provide lab results for their CBD extract to ensure you know exactly what you are putting on your skin,” says Frey. “You want to be sure that the hemp plants used to extract the CBD were farmed without pesticides and other harmful properties. [These] would defeat the purpose of using the healing compounds.”
  • Check the directions and follow them. “Like most topical [treatments], in order for the skin to absorb the product and its healing properties, it must stay on the skin for a while,” says Frey. “I suggest looking for a CBD-infused product such as a serum, oil, or mask that has time to penetrate the tough outer layers of the epidermis and make changes on a cellular level.”

Keep in mind that much of the CBD experience is highly personal, so a little trial and error may be in order.

Is CBD legal? The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC legal at the federal level. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them illegal at the federal level. Some states have legalized CBD, so be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.