An estimated 35 million Americans suffer from eczema. It’s unsightly, itchy, painful, and can seriously damage a person’s self-esteem. It can take form in a number of different ways, like blisters or extremely dry, flaky skin. Infection is common, because of how itchy it can get, and the constant scratching it takes to get any sort of relief.
Perhaps worst of all, no one treatment for it will work for everyone. There are hundreds of different ways to treat it, and a like number of eczema products on the market today. Sadly, for a lot of people these simply do not work. Steroids are often prescribed to try to control it, but these come with some dangerous long term side effects, and can’t be taken continuously for too long.
CBD oil has slowly started to emerge as a possible treatment for eczema, and if you know a little about the Endocannabinoid System it’s not hard to see why. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and contains a number of CB-1 and CB-2 receptors, which are what Cannabidiol(CBD), and Tetrahydrocannibinol(THC) bind to.
CBD has been shown to be a potent anti-inflammatory, has anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties, and Full Spectrum CBD oil comes loaded with a number of other really beneficial vitamins and nutrients that are great for the skin.
Before we get into how CBD oil can help you get a handle on your eczema, let’s take a look at what eczema really is.
What is Eczema?
This is a complicated question. Eczema isn’t just one size fits all, but rather a collection of different types of skin disorders. Some people are born with it, others develop it as children, and still others(like me), are affected much later in life.
Eczema is described as a condition where the skin becomes dry, red, and inflamed, most times with no obvious external cause. This isn’t always the case though, some eczema is experienced by contact with an irritant, such as laundry soap, some foods, and other environmental factors.
Some of the different types of eczema include:
This type of eczema causes skin to become red, dry, and itchy. It can be hereditary, and is a chronic condition that causes continual flare-ups. The itch associated with this type of eczema can be extremely severe, and can cause the skin to become inflamed from scratching. Red or gray patches, along with tiny raised bumps are common, which can break open and scab over when scratched. This is one that is heavily influenced by the environment, and a number of things can cause a flare, such as dander, pollen, humidity, soaps, dust mites, and more.
A red, itchy rash, this type occurs when coming into frequent contact with a common irritant. It can also happen as a reaction to something you’re allergic to. It’s commonly known as occupational skin disease, and the occupations most likely to be affected are nurses, construction workers, cleaners, chefs, hairdressers, and metal workers. Contact dermatitis mostly affects the hands and face.
Most often experienced on the scalp and face, this type of eczema can produce large, scaly patches which can be red, itchy, and irritated. The exact cause is not known, but thought to be the result of an overgrowth of yeast on the skin. In infants, it is known as cradle cap. This condition is a common cause of dandruff, and can spread to other parts of the body as well, though this is not the usual case.
As the name suggests, this takes form in disc shaped circles. Starting out as bumpy patches, they quickly begin to weep and ooze, and can be very itchy and become infected. Constant dry skin is thought to be one cause of it, but like many of the different forms that eczema takes, the exact cause is not known.
Also known as dyshidrotic eczema, this causes extremely itchy fluid filled blisters, and is generally found on the hands and feet. When the blisters pop the skin dries out and can become very scaly, and can take a long time to heal. Deep cracks and fissures in the skin can occur, and be very red and painful. People who have this form of eczema most often have a family history of atopic eczema.
Mostly affecting those 60 years or older, it’s thought that the loss of skin oils, over cleansing, constant exposure to very hot water, and vigorous friction(such as from a towel), can all attribute to this type. It appears as large areas of dry, itchy, cracked skin, looking a lot like scales. Other types of eczema and constant dry skin can also lead to this condition. Generally affecting the legs, in some cases it can spread to back or arms.
As you can see, having any form of eczema can be a nightmare to deal with. Because the cause for these conditions is not known, treatment options will vary widely.
Topical steroids are one of the treatments that is most often prescribed by doctors. They are powerful anti-inflammatories that are applied to the skin and usually work to fix the problem very quickly. Because steroids only treat the symptoms, and not the root cause, once the steroid treatment is stopped, the symptoms generally return.
Topical steroids can only be used for short periods of time, and can cause a number of problems if overused. They suppress the immune system, and if used too long or too often can thin the skin, cause stretch marks, enlarge blood vessels, make one more easily bruise, and cause forms of rosacea and psoriasis.
Oral steroids, such as Prednisone, are prescribed in some extreme cases of eczema. The side effects and risks of this kind of treatment for a longer period of time are not good, and can include bone loss, increased risk of heart disease, weight gain, “moon face”, growth retardation in children, glaucoma, and different mental health issues like depression, mood swings, insomnia, and psychotic episodes.
Your skin can become dependent on steroids. Topical Steroid Withdrawal(TSW) is a condition that can happen when one uses steroids too frequently, or for a long time. Upon stopping the steroid treatment one can experience an intensely itchy, red, inflamed rash, which can be dry or weepy, smooth or bumpy. This takes stronger and more frequent applications of steroids to control, and causes a vicious cycle within your skin.
CBD is one of the over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and is the most studied cannabinoid alongside THC. THC is the cannabinoid that is responsible for the “high” that you experience upon ingesting it. CBD is not psychoactive, and has none of those mind altering effects.
The hemp plant, which is where the majority of the world’s CBD oil comes from, is very high in CBD, while being extremely low in THC. This makes it ideal for medical use, unlike the marijuana plant, which is much, much higher in THC content.
Both of these cannabinoids work within our Endocannabinoid System, which is located all throughout the body. They bind to CB-1 and CB-2 receptors that are located within the system. You can learn more about the Endocannabinoid System here.
While there aren’t a lot of studies that are backing the use of CBD oil for eczema, there are more and more reports of people using it with great success.
CBD has a great number of things in it that can help to treat the symptoms of eczema, and is regarded as generally safe for everyone to take. It does have some interactions with certain medications, however, and if you are currently taking any it is best to talk to your doctor before starting CBD.
Let’s look at the different ways that CBD can help:
Potent anti-inflammatory – CBD is widely known for its ability to reduce inflammation. All the different types of eczema listed above can cause the skin to become inflamed, and treating it with CBD oil can have a great effect on the appearance and condition of your skin.
Can help to reduce itching and pain – CBD receptors are located all throughout the nervous system, and have properties that can help to reduce the itch and pain associated with eczema
Anti-microbial – CBD has a number of anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, so if you’re suffering from a type of eczema that is weepy, or becomes infected easily, it can help to reduce the bacteria that is causing the reaction.
Moisturizing – Most forms of eczema cause the skin to become very dry, and it can be hard to keep moisture in. Full Spectrum CBD oil comes loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, some of which are crucial to your skin health. When used regularly it can help keep skin moisturized, which is one of the biggest challenges when dealing with eczema.
The answer is both! Using CBD oil either orally or topically each has its own set of benefits attached to it. By combining the two methods, you are treating eczema inside and out.
There are a number of ways that you can take CBD, this post goes over some of the different delivery methods available.
The most common method to use is a sublingual oil. This type will come in a bottle with a dropper attached to the lid, and you use it by placing the oil under your tongue. It bypasses the digestive system this way, and gets absorbed by the blood vessels and sublingual glands that are located there. You hold the oil under the tongue for 30-60 seconds and then swallow.
There are a number of CBD topicals available as well, and several companies have come out with specific CBD skin care lines. This company offers topicals that includes CBD shampoo and conditioner, so if you’re suffering from eczema that is affecting your scalp(seborrheoic), this can be one way of treating it externally.
CBD topicals can come in many different forms, such as balms, salves, creams or lotions, ointments, and much more. You can choose one that will suit your needs, or alternatively you can add a sublingual oil into any lotion that you are currently using. This is a method that is highly effective, and one that I used myself, and can save a lot of money as it can be used orally as well.
If you’re planning on mixing a CBD oil into your lotion, it’s important to remember to get one that is completely unflavored. Many companies offer oils that are flavored to mask the taste, which can be off-putting to some. Any of these flavors can irritate the skin further, and should be avoided.
So Which CBD Oil Is Right For Me?
Before you can choose a CBD oil, you need to know about the different kinds:
Full Spectrum – This contains every possible beneficial element of the hemp plant, including trace amounts of THC. While the amount of THC is extremely low, it can in some cases cause a fail on a drug test. While this is not the norm, and usually requires an intake of 1000mg or more CBD oil per day(extremely high!), it is something you need to aware of, and can happen at lower intakes as well. THC has its own benefits attached to it, and you can read about those here. All the terpenes and vitamins are left intact, and this is the best option for anyone to take, regardless of what you are taking it for.
Broad Spectrum – This is Full Spectrum oil that has had the THC removed, and leaves mostly everything else intact. Some companies remove some of the terpenes, waxes, and other things as well. All the components within the plant work to provide an “Entourage Effect”, where the different parts work together, and boost each other to provide more relief than just any one part alone. Full Spectrum is your best option for this, and Broad Spectrum is your next best option.
CBD Isolate – This is form of CBD that is just that, CBD and nothing more. It is completely THC free, but also doesn’t contain any of the other benefits that Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum have. Some companies may add in terpenes and other things to their final product, depending on what condition they are specifically targeting.
Always make sure the company you choose is 100% organic and has third party testing available on their site, ideally batch by batch testing. You can look over the full list of guidelines to follow when choosing an oil here.
When first starting out with CBD, it’s important to start at a low dose, and slowly increase. Each person is different in terms of what dosage is going to work best for them, and you need to find the right dose that is going to work for you personally.
Ready to get started? All the companies on this list have been chosen for the quality and effectiveness of their products, and their dedication to providing their customers with only the best possible CBD products.