CBD creams and cosmetics

Do CBD creams actually work?

CBD is a substance found in the cannabis plant which is said to offer numerous health benefits. People are using CBD for general wellness, much like vitamins, or for more serious conditions. For example, anxiety, depression and epilepsy.

The hype surrounding CBD continues to grow and is now well and truly moving into cosmetics, and in particular topical CBD products. More and more shops and online stores are selling creams with CBD as an active ingredient. As well as CBD lotions, ointments, CBD salves and face masks.

These creams are said to be used for an array of complaints from chronic pain to acne to general skin care.

But do they really work? Below we will explain the potential advantages of using CBD creams and have a look at some interesting study results.

CBD creams and cosmetics

Advantages of CBD cream

Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects

Can be directly applied to the affected area for pain relief, this is particularly good for joint pain

Can help with skin disorders and scarring from skin issues

Although commonly used for pain relief and skin issues, it has been said that CBD cream can also be used for headaches, cramping and migraines. It can be particularly soothing rubbed on the area where a headache is most intense

Many contain only natural products, and can often contain other substances, such as terpenes and natural essential oils which offer further benefits. For example, peppermint oil or tea tree oil

Has the latent function of moisturising and reducing wrinkles

Can be used for non-skin related condition, such as anxiety

If you are particularly sensitive to CBD and suffer gastrointestinal related side effects, cream is said to be a good option due to the lack of oils used. It is the oils in CBD infused products which are said to sometimes cause symptoms such as stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting

Are offered in a wide range of concentrations. CBD creams are available as low as 300 mg potency and as high as 2400 mg

Can be a lot cheaper than some other CBD products

If you find the taste of CBD oil too intense, CBD cream may be a good alternative for you

Disadvantages of CBD cream

The relief provided by CBD creams can be somewhat slower compared to, for example, CBD oil. CBD cream is not directly absorbed into the bloodstream, but enters through the skin. This can be problematic if you require instant effects.

Many creams available are derived from hemp, rather than CBD. Hemp contains much lower amounts of the active ingredient you need for the cream to be as effective as other CBD products. Creams using cannabis plant resin, can contain up to 20% CBD, whereas those made from hemp tend to have less than 4%. It can be tricky to tell the difference, as companies can actively produce packaging intended to make the consumer believe it is a CBD product.

Could potentially cause irritation for those with sensitive skin. Even the most natural ingredients can cause discomfort if you are prone to reactions.

As with all CBD products, side effects are a possibilty, although as discussed are particularly low risk with topical application. In any case, the side effects are minor and often not experienced at all. The general feeling is that the benefits of CBD far outweigh any side effects felt.

CBD and cream... in a nutshell

  • CBD creams can have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
  • The creams can be used for many different conditions such as acne and psoriasis. You can also use a cooling CBD cream for burns or insect bites. Another benefit of the cream is that it ha be applied directly to a painful area.
  • Studies with CBD creams and ointments have found CBD to have promising effects on skin disorders, as well as any subsequent scarring. Researchers are particularly excited about the fact that CBD applied topically does not appear to cause side effects. Whereas some prescription medication for skin disorders can have very significant effects, such as depression and psychosis.
  • A cream should not be confused with an ointment. We'll explain the difference below.

What is CBD?

CBD is the short form for cannabidiol. It is a cannabinoid, which is an active ingredient of the cannabis sativa plant. The said plant contains hundreds of different cannabinoids.

The wonderful cannabis plant is such a diverse gift of nature, nearly all of it can be used. The flowers, the leaves, the stalks and hemp seeds.

The leaves and flowers of the hemp plant give us CBD oil. The efficient and very precise CO2 extraction method is particularly popular with manufacturers in producing the highest quality CBD.

Hemp oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. This does offer nutritional benefits but it does not contain cannabinoids, so it doesn't offer the same health benefits as CBD.

In addition to this, as many companies actively produce packaging intended to make the consumer believe it is a CBD product. It can be tricky at first glance to tell the difference.

Because CBD is still a completely new topic for many, CBD is often confused or associated with the better-known cannabis active ingredient THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.

This often leads to misunderstandings, because CBD doesn't have the same effects as THC, and is not illegal like THC. The latter is known for its intoxicating effect and for the "high" associated with cannabis generally.

This is not the case with CBD. Cannabidiol is said to have relaxing, anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant effects. But does not affect motor or cognitive functions.

People are turning to CBD as an alternative treatment to conventional medicines, given it's lack of side effects which strong medication can often cause. But people are also using CBD alongside their medication.

CBD is considered safe by the WHO, but it does interact with certain drugs. For example, if you are warned against consuming grapefruit while taking certain medications - then definitely don't take CBD with it. Always consult a doctor if unsure.

Creams are fantastic for skin care, and have been reported to be beneficial in the treatment of acne and other skin conditions.

What exactly is a CBD cream?

A CBD cream is much like any normal cosmetic cream, except CBD is added to the cream.

It is therefore possible that the user of a CBD cream can benefits from the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabidiol.

The cream has a natural effect and has a direct influence on the nervous system due to the special active ingredient.

CBD for topical application can actually be divided into three categories. There are lotions and creams that can moisturise and care for the skin. And there are ointments that mainly soothe the skin and can relieve pain caused by burns, insect bites or the like.

It’s worth noting that not every cream is the same and there are some variations.

Most products are fairly inexpensive and can also be bought in different CBD concentrations. So, as a consumer, you have a lot of leeway with CBD creams.

Generally, it is a good idea to start with a lower CBD concentration in order to slowly get used to the active ingredient.

Ingredients of a CBD cream

A CBD cream’s ingredient, rather unsurprisingly, depend on the the respective manufacturer and can vary from product to product.

In addition to CBD, the creams very often contain a variety of natural ingredients and substances that could all be of therapeutic benefit.

These usually include substances that are also known from other creams. For example, shea butter, beeswax, almond oil, sandalwood cattle, aloe vera or eucalyptus oil.

The combination of CBD with almond oil and shea butter is particularly interesting, because the latter two substances are also known to provide the body with vitamin E and to help reduce wrinkles.

In some cases, antioxidant oils or omega 3, 6, 7 and 9 fatty acids are added to the creams. Among other things, they ensure cell stability. Some of the ingredients in CBD creams also include other cannabinoids such as CBC, CBG or CBN.

In the UK, CBD creams (and all products) are legally required to contain no detectable THC, although in many countries the limit is 0.2% THC.

The exact list of ingredients can, of course, be found on the respective manufacturer's website or on the packaging of the CBD cream.

Ultimately, it also depends on the purpose of the cream. For example, it could be intended to heal wounds or provide moisture, or perhaps it should have a specific scent. Each of these, and other, purposes would lead to different ingredients.

As always with any topical creams, you should check whether you are allergic to any of the ingredients.

It is possible that the user of a CBD cream could benefits from the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabidiol.

Effect of the CBD cream

The CBD interacts with our body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). This creates a connection with the nervous system.

The ECS can participate in many different body processes and also regulate and control them. For example, it is possible that CBD has an influence on cell renewal and regulation of the moisture balance, or that the antioxidant properties of the substance can be used to strengthen the immune system.

Therefore, CBD creams can be anti-inflammatory and relaxing, but also potentially relieve pain. Nevertheless, there are important differences in the way CBD creams work, which should be carefully considered.

Topical and transdermal creams

A distinction is made between topical and transdermal creams. Transdermal relates to the application of medicines or drugs through the skin. In this way, the CBD soaks through the skin and into the body. Topical creams will not reach the body, it will only affect the skin.

The outermost layer of skin (epidermis) normally protects the other layers of skin (dermis and hypodermis) from pathogens, UV rays or even toxins.

With a transdermal cream, however, entry is enabled, which means that the active ingredients can also reach the lower layers of the skin.

Creams have to be produced in a certain way to be able to be absorbed to different skin levels.

Once CBD has been absorbed through the skin, the cannabinoid can have its effects all over the body and thus also help with depression, anxiety or sleep disorders. With these conditions, a CBD salt bath could also be useful.

Topical creams, on the other hand, are to be used if you want to treat a specific area on the skin. For example, an inflammation, an irritation, or a rash.

Topical creams are primarily used to protect, repair, care for or reduce pain on the skin (e.g. due to inflammation or itching).

They are also ideal for skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis (psoriasis) and eczema. As you can see, a topical cream is more likely to be used to treat the surface.

A topical CBD cream would never reach the lower layers of the skin and the active ingredients would not be absorbed into the body.

With a topical CBD cream, the cannabidiol does not get directly into the body, as would be the case with, for example, CBD oil or CBD gummy bears.

Nevertheless, CBD’s active ingredient interacts with the endocannabinoid system. Because the receptors of that system are also in the skin. This way the skin can be moisturized and pain caused by burns or stings can be reduced.

What can CBD cream help with?

10 ways CBD cream could help!

1. Psoriasis.

2. Dry skin

3. Eczema

4. Acne

5. Scarring

6. Skin irritation

7. Skin inflammation

8. Wrinkles.

9. Arthritis

10. Pain

CBD is particularly suitable for psoriasis. People with dry skin can benefit from a CBD cream that moisturizes the skin.

What side effects can occur?

Despite the many positive properties of CBD, side effects can also occur when ingested. However, these are usually only very small and rather weak compared to other substances. It’s worth remembering that CBD is considered safe by the World Health Organisation.

The most common side effects include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Tremble
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea

However, if these side effects were to occur, it would only be if the CBD gets into the body and into the bloodstream, which, as explained above, is not the case with topical creams.

It’s worth noting that you should avoid applying CBD creams, ointments or pastes to an open cut or open wound, as this could lead to infection or other unintended reactions. When using for the first time, it always makes sense to consult a doctor or pharmacist beforehand.

In our article on side effects of CBD, you will learn more about possible side effects and interactions with other medications.

The correct application of a CBD cream

The use of a CBD cream is fairly simple and essentially does not differ from conventional creams. You simply have to apply the CBD extract to the appropriate place.

In contrast to other CBD products, a precise dosage cannot be specified for a cream. With oils or crystals, it is easier to say how much CBD content in mg should be taken per treatment.

However, this is much more difficult with a cream so we suggest you use common sense with CBD cream application.

It is helpful to put a certain routine into practice. You could use the cream twice a day (for example in the morning and in the evening).

Of course, it also depends on what the CBD cream is used for. If you use the cream against psoriasis, then you should probably set a certain procedure. However, if it is to relieve pain or inflammation, then the cream should be applied depending on the situation.

If you are not sure how much CBD to use or how to apply the cream, contact a doctor or pharmacist.

CBD cream experience

Most customers find the large selection of CBD creams particularly beneficial. So you can search for a product specifically for your problem. The different compositions of the creams also offer a wide variety of options.

At the end of the day, it is down to each person’s own experience with CBD creams.

There have been online testimonials from people who have used CBD creams to good effect for psoriasis. The itching was alleviated and the skin felt much better overall.

Other people have reported positive experiences with acne or herpes. Here the swellings are said to have decreased significantly faster and the pain has subsided.

Before using CBD creams, or any CBD products, its also worth obtaining further information and in this regard, people’s online testimonials (often in forums or communities) are useful. It is also essential that you look at the product’s test results.

If you want to use the cream against dry skin, for example, then the cream should definitely be able to moisturise. A cooling effect can be helpful for pain or burns. A topical cream could be helpful for acne or eczema.

Where can you buy such creams in the UK?

You can buy CBD creams in many online shops in the UK, or direct from the manufacturer. With the large number of products, it is not surprising that there are more and more manufacturers who are trying out the CBD market.

One well-known manufacturer of CBD creams is NordicOil. They are very popular among users and have sold many products.

Their product range is not limited the cream. You can get all sorts of other products that contain the cannabinoid CBD.

In the UK you can order almost every CBD product online from home.

People have reported positive experiences with acne or herpes. Here the swellings are said to have decreased significantly faster and the pain has subsided.

CBD cream and CBD ointment - how do the products differ?

The distinction between cream and ointment is very important. In order to avoid misunderstandings, it’s worth knowing the differing properties of creams and ointments.

So... what's the difference between creams and ointments?

The basis of a cream consists of oil and water. Water-based creams are called oil-in-water creams or O / W creams, while fat-based creams are called water-in-oil or W / O creams. While the O / W cream is characterized by its cooling effect, this is not the case with the W / O cream.

In comparison, the ointments according to the pharmaceutical definition contain no or very little water. However, depending on the composition, you can absorb water. Ointments therefore provide the skin with fat and protect it in the process.

How is a CBD cream made?

A CBD cream can basically be made like a normal cream, but with the addition of cannabidiol (CBD).

We offer a more complete explanation of the process in which CBD is extracted from hemp on a dedicated page. It is usually the CBD crystals from this extraction process that is used for CBD creams.

These CBD crystals exist as a crystalline powder, which is processed into the cream with other ingredients, taking care to adhere to the CBD proportion the cream should contain.

This process can produce many different types of CBD creams, e.g. hand creams, face creams or body lotions.

What's the best CBD cream?

Choosing the best CBD product can be tricky waters to navigate. So to help you decide what's right for you, we've compiled a list of what to look for:

4 tips when buying a CBD cream

1. Buy from reputable manufacturers

There are quite a few providers in the CBD market, and the number is continually growing. That is why it is particularly important to only buy from reputable manufacturers that offer high quality.

Always choose a company that freely offers it's third party lab results. Sometimes referred to as a certificate of analysis (COA). Make sure it does not include pesticides, heavy metals, and molds.

2. Check the ingredients

Always check the ingredients carefully. It is important to ensure the product actually has CBD in it. This can be confusing as some companies will list CBD as hemp extract, as a result of frequently changing regulations. Avoid products that list hemp seeds, hempseed oil, or Cannabis sativa seed oil. These do not contain CBD. It is worth noting that these may be listed in addition to CBD, they may be listed as a main ingredient due to its much needed function as a carrier oil. Coconut oil and grapeseed oil are also common carrier oils used.

Take note of additional ingredients, tailor your choice to what you want to use the cream for. For example, if you are using cream for pain, creams that include arnica, camphor, or menthol could be good choices for you. If you want to use the cream against dry skin, for example, then the cream should definitely be able to moisturise. A cooling effect can be helpful for pain or burns. A topical cream could be helpful for acne or eczema.

In the UK there should be no detectable THC, although many countries allow a THC content below 0.2%.

It is also important that you can rule out possible allergic reactions based on your own past experience of using creams.

3. Know your CBD!

Be aware of the three different types of CBD so you can choose what's right for you. Full-spectrum CBD, Broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate.

What does full spectrum mean?
There are three types of CBD, full spectrum, broad spectrum and CBD isolate.
Full Spectrum means the product includes multiple cannabinoids - including low amounts of THC.
Broad spectrum is also a mix of cannabinoids, but with no THC
CBD isolate is pure CBD. No other cannabinoids.

4. Do your research

Talk to people who have used the product before, look at customer reviews or utilise CBD forums. CBD success stories is a good example. Two things to remember here though, a) be wary that companies can and do use fake reviews for their products, and b) your experience of CBD may well be different to someone elses, what works well for some, may not work well for others.


Both studies and user reports suggest that CBD cream is a safe and effective way of treating a variety of ailments.

It would appear that it is more useful for the treatment of skin and pain, rather than conditions such as depression and anxiety. Having said that, some have reported using CBD cream successfully for the latter. We have been unable to find concrete evidence for this.

CBD cream is particularly beneficial if you are prone to gastrointestinal relation side effects. This is because it is applied topically and goes not go into the digestive tract, like with CBD edibles and oil.

There have been some particularly promising studies that suggest CBD can significantly improve skin conditions (including cutaneous scarring) and can offer pain relief and reduction inflammation.

Researchers have been particularly impressed with then lack of side effects. This is because there are some prescribed skin disorder treatments that can cause significant side effects, such as depressiona and psychosis. CBD creams could be a real alternative to conventional medicines like these.

All in all, CBD cream seems like a winner! We haven't been able to find any horror stories in relation to its usage. Quite the contrary. Whilst CBD cream may not be as strong as some other CBD products, it appears to offer genuine benefits for skin and pain. In addition to this, it's relatively inexpensive in comparison to some other products and therefore a little more accessible to just 'give it a go'. Just remember to follow our tips when choosing your product!

If you have a CBD cream story, good or bad, we'd love to hear from you! Please don't hesitate to get in touch at greenandsimple@mail.com - and don't worry if you don't feel comfortable using your real name, some medical conditions are personal! We can always anonymise you.

Studies on the effects of CBD cream

  • Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours

    This study was conducted to examine the effects of transdermal CBD for the purpose of reducing inflammation and pain. Researchers also focused on whether any unwanted side effects took place.

    54 rats were used in the experiment, 21 were used as a control group and 23 were subjected to 'chronic immune-mediated joint inflammation'. I.e. they were given arthritis.

    CBD gels of varying concentrations were applied for 4 consecutive days. The CBD gel was rubbed into the skin of the back for 30 seconds.

    Joint inflammation and physiological and behavioural responses were assessed starting 4 hours after the gel was applied to the rats. 

    Researchers found that the CBD gel significantly reduced joint swelling. And regardless of the amount of CBD used, no negative changes, i.e. side effects, were observed during the experients.

    The results indicate that topical CBD has potential for the relief of arthritis and the reduction of inflammation without causing side-effects. It was also noted that the effects of CBD were long lasting. 

    The researchers concluded that transdermal CBD was a good candidate for developing therapies for those suffering with arthritis. In addition to this, the application of CBD via a cream offers a further benefit in that it avoids gastrointestinal tract, preventing side effects such as stomach irritation,  heartburn and diarrhoea

  • Therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars

    This study looked at the effect of CBD ointment used for severe skin chronic diseases and if scarring had occured, whether CBD had any effect on this. 

    This was a retrospective study using 20 patients. 5 of these patients had psoriasis and 5 had atopic dermatitis, which are the two most common skin disorders. 10 of these patients had scars as a result of their skin conditions. 

    The participants used topical CBD ointment to the affected areas twice a day for three months.

    The researchers looked at skin evaluations, questionnaire results as well as data and photos from the original clincial assessment.

    The findings were very positive, and showed that there was significant improvement to the affected areas, and to symptoms of the skin disorders.  

    None of the participants experienced any side effects. 

    The researchers concluded that the topical administration of THC-free CBD ointment was a safe and effective treatment for people with skin disorders. In particular, those with an inflammatory element. The researchers also observed anti-proliferative and anti-nflammatory effects in relation to the scars caused by skin disorders. 

    The researchers relayed that this was particularly promising, because some acne treatments currently prescribed by doctors are known to cause significant side effects, including depression and psychosis.


  • Sources

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