A common question amongst those curious about topical CBD is whether it can be absorbed through the skin. The short answer is? Yes, it can.
When CBD is topically applied, it permeates the skin to access cells and tissue beneath. This enables it to interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, which are spread throughout the body (including your skin, itself).
CBD receptors come in two types: CBD1 and CBD2. Together they allow CBD to affect pretty much every other system in the body, including the immune system, the digestive system, and the nerve system. Topical CBD products (creams, ointments, and serums) utilize these receptors to deliver pain relief, anti-inflammatory properties, and other wellness benefits. Topical CBD can even enrich the skin in which it's absorbed by locking in moisture, balancing oil production, and more.
So now that you know that topical CBD is absorbed by the skin, the next natural question would be in what ways it interacts with your body. To find out more, keep reading!
Using Topically-Absorbed CBD to Provide Targeted Pain Relief
Topically applied CBD absorbs through the skin to focus on relaxing tense muscles or overworked joints (compared to ingested alternatives which distribute the benefits throughout the full body). As a result, the area of application receives the majority of the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving advantages, mitigating swelling and aiding in recovery.
Topical CBD absorbed through the skin is a much safer alternative to oral pain relievers and painkillers. While the dangers of opioids are obvious to all, even NSAIDs like aspirin can negatively impact the body (especially if taken regularly); as this study documents, they increase the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, myocardial infarctions, and strokes.
Comparatively, CBD has minimal side effects. What’s more, high-end brands like Botanika Life provide topically absorbed CBD pain products that exclusively use plant-based ingredients grown free from pesticides and GMOs. Examples include:
CBD Pain Relief Roller With Lidocaine: This topical pain relief roller has 1000mg of full spectrum CBD oil, lidocaine, menthol, and arnica that your skin swiftly absorbs to provide near-instant results. Together these ingredients (all known for anti-inflammation and analgesic properties) work to provide both quick relief and lasting pain reduction.
- Ultra-Relief Muscle Pain Rub: This muscle rub is a concentrated CBD pain relief formula with 1500mg of full spectrum CBD oil, lidocaine, menthol, and arnica, combined into a cream-like consistency. The act of massaging the CBD solution into the skin and muscles allows for deep penetration.
- Super Soothing Pain Serum Cream: This serum has 500mg of full spectrum CBD and lidocaine in a lotion-like formula. Like the other two solutions above, the skin quickly absorbs the CBD to harness its anti-inflammatory and pain-combatting abilities. This topical product is particularly well-suited for usage alongside a cryo massage ball roller.
These products are helpful for almost anyone with specific aches, from athletes with sore muscles to individuals battling arthritis. However, topical CBD absorbed through the skin can also provide full-body relaxation and relief, even if you aren't in pain. For example, look no further than infused bath bombs designed to rejuvenate tired limbs, nourish your skin, and lift your mood. To learn more, read CBD Bath Bombs: How They Work, Benefits & FAQ.
Alternatively, check out the CBD bath bomb variety pack, perfect for testing out our most popular types: lavender, sandalwood, eucalyptus, and rose. Your skin will absorb 100mg of full-spectrum CBD paired with other healthy oils from natural sources to deliver anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties.
How CBD Can Be Absorbed Through Skin to Help Your Complexion
CBD is an antioxidant-rich ingredient, so its anti-aging purposes are far-reaching. It can help smooth, hydrate, and moisturize, as well as treat fine lines and wrinkles. CBD ramps up the body’s production of essential elements like elastin and collagen, which are important for reducing and smoothing stretch marks and cellulite.
The same anti-inflammation properties of CBD that relieve pain in the muscles and joints are also useful in reducing skin conditions like psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, acne, hyperpigmentation, and other problems common with sensitive skin. Better still, CBD even has antifungal and antibiotic properties too!
Because your skin absorbs the CBD in your products, it’s important to choose a brand with all-natural ingredients backed by transparency. Rest easy knowing that Botanika Life only uses plant-based elements that are organically grown in the USA and backed by third-party lab testing. Some of our most popular CBD-based skincare solutions for your next facial include:
Vitamin C & CBD Skin Elixir - This elixir is great for reinvigorating your skin. The absorbed combination of full spectrum CBD oil, Vitamin C, and squalane reduces signs of aging, brightens your complexion, and even mitigates UV damage to the skin. Squalane is also non-comedogenic, which means it can be used with sensitive skin types.
Plant Stem Cell Skin Elixir - The Plant Stem Cell elixir incorporates full spectrum CBD oil with marula oil and apple plant stem cells. The plant stem cells help restore the body’s own skin cells, and the marula oil is incredibly moisturizing and nourishing.
Unblemished: CBD Acne Treatment - Unblemished comes with 120mg full spectrum CBD oil, salicylic acid, and tea tree oil, making it the perfect product to prevent and fight acne. It can even be used as a cleanser on the whole face and neck.
Elite Elixir: It contains 1500mg of full-spectrum CBD oil and an organic hemp seed oil, and that’s it! You can use the exlir on its own or as the base layer within a multi-product skincare routine, letting the CBD absorb directly into the skin to receive the diverse advantages. You can even add the Elite Elixir to food or drink, or apply it directly under your tongue.
The Difference Between Topical Absorption and Ingested CBD
There are two general ways to use CBD. We’ve discussed the myriad benefits of topical CBD, but you may be wondering: what about oral or ingestible CBD?
The CBD that you consume (whether through an infused drink or gummies) has to go through the same digestive process as beverages and food for the body to perform metabolization. Most people understand this to include the stomach and intestines, but it also includes the liver. So, when the CBD has to go through this process, the liver filters out contaminants, but it also reduces the efficacy of the CBD and takes longer for those effects to be felt.
CBD oil that is administered sublingually, is part of the oral or ingestible family, but it’s a little different because, like topicals, it also accesses the endocannabinoid system directly through receptors in the mouth, and on the tongue. In this way, it bypasses digestion but still takes longer than topicals for you to feel their effect. Sublingual CBD also has something called bioavailability, in that it enters the bloodstream. In fact, it has the highest bioavailability of the other ways to use CBD.
Topicals are absorbed by the skin and, resultantly do not have bioavailability. It also lets you concentrate the CBD’s effects towards where it is needed most. Because of these two points, they are an excellent place to start your CBD journey.
FAQ About Topically-Absorbed CBD
Do I have to worry about CBD oil clogging pores and worsening skin?
For individuals with oily skin or those who are prone to acne, it's natural to be concerned that topically applying more oil to your face could do more harm than good. However, CBD is non-comedogenic, which means it won't clog pores. In fact, its inherent sebum-balancing and anti-bacterial benefits can lead to clearer skin.
Do I have to worry about topical CBD products generating side-effects or an allergic reaction?
As with all topically-absorbed products, there is a possibility of minor skin irritation (although the risk is low). Similarly, as we explore in Do CBD Pain Creams Have Side-Effects, drowsiness can be induced in extremely rare cases in which an excess amount is applied. Therefore, when trying any new topically absorbed product, we recommend first applying a small amount to a quarter-sized patch of skin. drowsiness can be induced in rare cases where an excessive amount is applied. Therefore, when trying any new topically-absorbed product, we recommend first applying a small amount to a patch of skin no larger than a quarter. Once the topical CBD is fully absorbed and you experience no irritation, you can confidently apply the product in larger amounts. Always follow any directions provided by the manufacturer.