Have CBD supplements de-stressed my client’s skin?
For years one of my facial clients has suffered from two dry, crusty patches on either side of her nose. We have tried everything to get rid of them: polyhydroxy exfoliation, alpha hydroxy exfoliation, enzymes and various oils – nothing worked. Pha exfoliation repaired her skin barrier to a degree, but it didn’t reduce the crustiness at all.
So imagine my surprise when she turned up for her regular facial and the patches had completely disappeared! The reddened skin between her brows, which always looked tight and stretched, looked much calmer. The reason? She had started taking CBD supplements to deal with stress.
Julie’s irritable skin
Julie’s thin skin has always been prone to redness and eczema. This redness worsens with each change of season or whenever she gets hot or stressed. She is also allergic to dust, MSG colouring and some plants. A truly sensitive soul!
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What are these red, crusty areas on either side of her nose?
She couldn’t resist scratching these itchy patches. They then turned red and flaky, so she would exfoliate every night with a grainy scrub. I explained that, whilst initially satisfying, this wasn’t a long term solution.
We needed to find the cause. The patches didn’t respond to her steroid cream, which would normally clear up stress-related patches of eczema on her neck and eyelids.
Rich creams can inflame skin even more
Half the battle is convincing clients to ditch their beloved rich creams. A sensitive skin is not necessarily a dry skin. Julie loved her rich creams because they initially felt so soothing. Ironically, however, a rich cream only provides temporary respite and can exacerbate inflammation.We need to treat the inflammation, not just soothe it.
Her inflamed skin is actually dehydrated, not dry
The upper layers of Julie’s skin have become dehydrated, which is often a sign of micro-inflammation. Cells that were once plump and tightly packed start to shrivel up.
Water escapes between the gaps and irritants can get in, leaving skin more sensitive. So she needs water based ingredients to plump up those shrivelled skin cells, barrier repairing ingredients to lock it in and then calming ingredients to calm the inflammation.
Long-term stress had inflamed her skin
Long-term stress had wrecked her skin’s already vulnerable barrier. When we are facing stress, the adrenal glands release a surge of hormones. Too much of the hormone cortisol makes our blood vessels dilate, which makes the skin look blotchy and inflamed. Stress exacerbates inflammatory conditions such as eczema or rosacea.
Can CBD oil reduce stress?
There are several human clinical trials showing that supplements can help reduce stress and anxiety and therefore lead to better sleep. CBD oil contains cannabidiol which is naturally sourced from the flowers and buds of hemp plants, the non-marijuana strain of the cannabis plant. Don’t worry – the hemp plant only contains trace elements of THC which gets your stoned. Hemp derived CBD is legal in the US and most of Europe.
CBD oil is an anti-inflammatory
CBD is an anti-inflammatory so it can treat itchiness and soreness. It may also be able to inhibit certain triggers of inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. However I was surprised that an anti-inflammatory in a supplement could soothe a sensitive skin so dramatically.
Which CBD supplements are the most effective?
When buying supplements, remember that CBD oil is not the same as hemp oil or cannabis oil. Check on the ingredient list for: cannibidiol/cannabis sativa seed oil. Some CBD oil products are synthetic, but better to use an oil that is 100% natural. Start off gradually.
Don’t let stress age your skin prematurely
Julie’s stress had an obvious impact on her skin. But stress can be sneaky. It can lead to constant low level inflammation which can age your skin prematurely. We can’t see this damage because it happens at a cellular level so often goes undetected. The skin doesn’t have time to repair itself: eventually the immune system is overwhelmed and our skin barrier is damaged.
Find your own method of stress relief. I love walking to calm my mind – you might prefer kick boxing. But skincare can only do so much. Prevention is always better than cure.