As for the Redditor’s evening routine, not only is hemp oil anti-inflammatory, but it’s also deeply moisturizing , can regulate the skin’s level of oil production, and is non-comedogenic (read: won’t clog your pores.) Rich in GLA-Gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid), it can even help you achieve younger-looking skin by improving inner health, Dr. Jaliman notes. Even better news? It’s safe for all skin types.
At the start of December 2017, her skin was the worst it had ever been—covered with painful cystic pimples, pustules, and what felt like a million closed comedones—and she couldn’t pinpoint why. She tried using AHAs and BHAs (acids like glycolic acid and salicylic acid), signed up for Curology, and at one point even treated her breakouts as if they were fungal. Everything seemed to make her face worse.
One potential problem with oil cleansing is that if you do not follow up with a traditional cleanser, you could leave oil residue on your skin, and this film won’t allow skin-healthy ingredients to penetrate afterwards, Dr. Nazarian warns. You may want to consider using a gentle, hydrating cleanser—like this dermatologist-approved option from CeraVe ($14; amazon.com)—as a second cleanser.
We wish we had known about this routine back in our hormonal, pimply teenage years.
Someone who has really irritated and inflamed, flaky skin—like DdoesKeto describes—is probably dealing with underlying rosacea, says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York-based dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. To treat conditions that cause severe dryness, like rosacea and eczema, you want to repair the skin barrier and improve hydration with emollients and humectants, which will also help calm skin, she adds.
Reddit user DdoesKeto knew this struggle all too well—until she was able to get rid of her adult acne through the use of a few simple products. The Redditor posted a viral before-and-after photo of her acne treatment, and the difference in her skin is night and day. Her incredible results have us dying to know exactly what products she used to clear up her breakouts—and surprisingly, it’s all thanks to a very pared down routine, without the help of prescription medications or acne-targeting products. Seriously!
At night, she oil cleanses using natural Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Oil ($11; amazon.com). When she first started using hemp oil, she would massage it for a few minutes and get “grits.” Now she massages it around her face once, uses a warm baby washcloth (we suggest trying this hypoallergenic option by Bamboo Organics, $13; amazon.com) to wipe away all of the dirt and oil, and repeats until she feels her skin is clean. Afterward, she rinses her face with warm water, and follows up with Stratia Liquid Gold, her vitamin E and rose hip seed oil mixture, and CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. On extra dry days, as a final step, she’ll smooth on a thin layer of Aquaphor Healing Ointment ($13; amazon.com) to ensure that she wakes up with hydrated, glowy skin.
Who Should Use It: It is recommended for those looking to treat mild to moderate inflammatory acne lesions at home. It’s also great for sensitive or those allergic to typical anti-acne ingredients, such as benzoyl peroxide or retinol.
Don’t Use With: Ingredients that can counteract the anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD, such as alcohol. Also, be aware that CBD is still an unregulated ingredient, and ongoing research is still exploring CBD’s pathways and other ingredients it may or may not work well with.
CBD—which stands for Cannabidiol—oil is a compound derived from both hemp (cannabis sativa) and marijuana (cannabis sativa indica) plants, both of which are part of the cannabis family. When it comes to acne’s root causes—a combination of bacteria, oil, and dry skin cells getting trapped in your pores—CBD oil seems to have all bases covered. “CBD oil is beneficial to these conditions due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It reduces sebum production and is also antimicrobial, so it works great for acne-prone skin,” says Green. She also cited a 2007 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science that showed CBD oil applied to the skin may inhibit the overproduction of keratinocytes (skin cells), thus eliminating yet another acne-causing culprit.
Other Skin Benefits
How Often Can You Use It: Products containing CBD oil can be used twice per day as part of your usual anti-acne skincare routine.
Main Benefits: Reduces inflammation, healing and calming, regulates oil production, neutralizes free radicals.
Liz DeSousa for Byrdie
Works Well With: Ingredients designed to calm skin and decrease inflammation, including arnica, hyaluronic acid and ceramides.
"Treating both inflammation and oil production, CBD targets the two biggest culprits in cases of active acne," Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD of Modern Dermatology in Connecticut says. "Additionally, CBD packs vitamins A, D, and E, and essential fatty acids, which all promote healthy skin. Acne is an inflammatory skin condition, so soothing products that lower inflammation will improve outbreaks." The ingredient also assists in regulating skin hydration and oil production on the sebaceous glans. "By reducing inflammation, it may allow sebum produced to travel to the surface without becoming clogged and trapped below the skin’s surface," Robinson says.
However, there’s still research to be done on the buzzy ingredient. "CBD does have anti-inflammatory properties so for that reason it may have some benefit, but clinical studies on a final formulation is always necessary to determine if a specific product is actually beneficial in the skin," Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, MD, Idaho-based clinical dermatologist says.
I was admittedly a bit pessimistic about the trendy ingredient. Not because I don’t believe in the benefits of CBD, but because it’s showing up in basically every aspect of beauty, without much science to back it up. However, when I came across a chic sheet mask from MASK promising to sooth acne-prone skin, I decided to give it a try. Knowing that my monthly cycle was near, I applied it one night before bed, and saved the excess serum of CBD, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, and manuka honey extract in the fridge. But I knew that a one-time try wouldn’t be enough. So for two months, I’d use the excess serum on my chin and jawline area right before my period began (and before the cystic bumps sprouted up). Like magic, the bumps didn’t appear at all, giving me one less thing to be emotional about.
There are few things that make me feel more helpless than my cystic acne. Unlike pimples or blackheads, extractions won’t work on them (unless I want to ruin my skin), as the build-up is beneath the skin rather than above. I just have to power through it, applying topicals and hoping it goes away after a week. However, those pesky bumps often take their time, staying glued to my face for up to a week. And while I’ve come across some great spot treatments for when they’re already on the surface, I hadn’t really found anything that outright prevented the appearance. That is until I gave into the CBD for acne trend.
To reap the greatest benefits of CBD, Dr. Robinson suggests applying your CBD skincare first, preferably at night. "I would suggest you think of CBD as a vitamin or supplement – a concentrated ingredient that will be most effective when it is applied to clean skin," Dr. Robinson says insisting that the active ingredient can be used with other ingredients that follow. "Also CBD and hemp are not the same thing, so don’t expect the same results!"