Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD, is settling into the beauty community quite well, having infiltrated everything from body care to makeup. Olivia Wilde and Mandy Moore swear by it for muscle and eczema relief. Others prefer to use it in the form of tinctures to reduce anxiety. And some say it’s the best conditioning lash secret out there. But did you ever guess it could heal and prevent breakouts?

A study conducted in 2014 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows evidence of CBD containing properties that regulate the oil production by your sebaceous glands, thus effectively controlling potential breakouts. This is would make your life a little easier if you’re not looking to get a prescription from your doctor. Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, says that the only readily available drugs with similar abilities are oral isotretinoin (a.k.a. Accutane), hormonal treatments (birth control pills), and spironolactone.

But when will you actually find yourself in Sephora, debating whether you should get this CBD spot treatment versus that one? It may not be as soon as you’d hope. Just because CBD has been shown to control oil production in a lab doesn’t mean every skin-care brand will embrace the benefits just yet.

“There is a big difference between activity in the lab and real-world effectiveness of a drug,” Dr. Zeichner says. “A topical product needs to be formulated in a way that allows the active drug to be stable and to penetrate through the skin to reach its target. Many drugs that showed great potential actually have ended up failing in clinical trials because they ended up not working in actual patients despite promising pre-clinical data.”

Still, if you’re in the market to manage hormonal breakouts, there’s a possibility that CBD in its other forms could help. Dr. Zeichner confirms that although we don’t have a lot of strong data to support the idea that stress reduction is a valid acne treatment, taking whatever methods necessary to keep stress levels low can’t hurt.

But before you search for the trendiest CBD skin care online, dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD, says to pause, do your research, and then ask your physician or derm before self-medicating.

Originally published:  Refinery 29 – SAMANTHA SASSO

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