Can Cannabinoids Help Your Skincare Regimen? Here's What Know, Plus 4 Products to Try

Skin-soothing benefits make these natural wonders worth incorporating into your routine. 

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What are they?

Phytocannabinoids are compounds produced by the cannabis plant; more than 110 different types of cannabinoids have been identified. You may have heard of ones like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which has psychoactive effects—a.k.a. the "high" associated with marijuana— or CBD (cannabidiol), its nonpsychoactive counterpart that may help relieve pain and inflammation. But there are many more that are starting to be studied. Some of these compounds may have health and wellness benefits, and others may prove to be powerful in skin care, cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN) among them.

How do they work in skin care?

While each cannabinoid brings particular benefits, companies are now offering products with combos of them. "The intention of combining cannabinoids is to provide each of their benefits in a synergistic manner," says Julius Few, MD, a plastic surgeon in Chicago and founder of Aforé Beauty. This even has a name: the entourage effect—the enhanced advantages that come from two or more of the plant's compounds working together.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

It's often tapped for potential anti-inflammatory benefits and its potent blend of antioxidants, which are responsible for fighting free radicals. And because cannabinoids have nourishing/ soothing properties, CBD can also help in repairing the skin barrier (if the barrier is impaired, the result could be irritation, a full-on breakout, or an eczema flare-up).

Cannabigerol (CBG)

"In the industry, it's known as the 'stem cell of cannabinoids,' " says Sarah Mirsini, founder of cannabinoid-infused skin-care brand Māsk, "because it's the very first compound that is created in the plant, even before THC." She notes that there are fewer studies on it, but early research suggests antibacterial and moisture-retention properties.

Cannabinol (CBN)

As with CBD, CBN apparently binds to receptors that calm inflammation. Ava Shamban, MD, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills, explains, "It may also reduce blemishes, balance sebum production, and assist with cell turnover." Mirsini adds that CBN is gaining traction in psoriasis treatments, too.

Products to try

This article originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

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