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What is acne, and is CBD a cure?

When the hair follicles in the skin are clogged up with dead skin cells and oil at their base, spots and pimples form on the surface of the skin. This is what is referred to as acne, a chronic inflammatory skin condition. Individuals mostly deal with acne related issues during their pubescent years, however. While this is the most common period and age group, acne affects people of all ages. The common areas that are acne-prone are on the face, chest, neck, shoulders, back, and upper arms.

Acne is very normal and every once in a while, every individual gets a pimple or two. At least three in every group of four people between the age of 11 and 30 get acne. However, there are extreme cases of acne that scar the skin, cause emotional distress, and require medical attention. Depending on the severity and how persistent the breakouts are, there are effective treatments available to help deal with acne-related problems. Although there are treatments to help deal with acne-related issues, the breakouts can be very persistent. These pimples and spots heal very slowly, and almost immediately after one spot clears up, other pimples seem to pop up.

On the human skin, there are hair follicles that connect the oil glands under the skin to the pores on the skin. These oily glands produce a liquid referred to as sebum which transfers dead skin cells through the hair follicles onto the surface of the skin. When these follicles are clogged up and oils begin to sit under the skin, acne pimples and spots begin to form. The skin cells, sebum, and hair follicles clump up together forming a plug. Once this plug is infected by a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), the pimple begins swelling.


Hormones: Androgens are hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives also can affect sebum production. And low amounts of androgens circulating in the blood of women and can worsen acne.

Certain medications: Some types of medicines that include drugs containing corticosteroids, testosterone or lithium aggravate an individual’s skin and consequently results in persistent breakouts due to the inflammations.

Dietary options: Studies indicate that certain dietary factors, including skim milk and carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, bagels, and chips may worsen acne. Chocolate has also long been suspected of making acne worse. A small study of 14 men with acne showed that eating chocolate was related to a worsening of symptoms. Further study is needed to examine why this happens and whether people with acne would benefit from following specific dietary restrictions.

Stress: Stress might not outrightly cause acne, but it does trigger the production hormones that alter the hormonal balance in an individual’s system that worsens existing acne in people with acne-prone skin.

When it comes to the types of acne, they are often categorized into two main groups; non-inflammatory acne types and inflammatory acne types.

Non-inflammatory acne types

These forms of acne lesions are the least severe types of acne.

Whiteheads (Closed comedones):  Whiteheads are the slightly white or flesh-colored spots that appear on the skin in sort of a halo arrangement. On some occasions, hair might shoot out of the center of the whitehead or it’ll appear to be trapped within the small blemish. On top of that, the skin around the whitehead usually appears to be a little bit tight or wrinkled.

Blackheads (Open comedones): These are small dark spots that look like slightly raised bumps. While the skin around the lesions looks normal, the center of the blackhead is usually darker than all other surrounding areas.  This coloring comes as a result of being exposed to air, blackheads are just whiteheads that have opened up.

Inflammatory acne types

These types of acne are significantly more severe that non-inflammatory acne types. Inflammatory acne types are more likely to result in other acne complications like scarring.

Papules: These are solid, tender, and raised bumps found under the skin. More so, the skin surrounding the papule is usually swollen and slightly red. This type of acne comes to be when either blackheads or whiteheads cause a lot of irritation to the point of damaging the surrounding skin.

Pustules (Pimples):  Unlike papules, pustules are big, tender raised bumps with a defined circular shape. Typically, the center of these pimples is filled with some yellowish pus that is a result of an accumulation of immune cells and bacterial cells.  Appearance-wise, they resemble whiteheads, only that they are much larger and way more inflamed.

Nodules: These are much deeper and bigger than papules, except, they do not have a visible center. Nodules are painful inflamed lumps found on the deepest layer of the skin. This acne lesion is formed when tissues and cells deep under the skin are damaged by clogged pores. Nodules often cause some form of scarring.

Cysts: Filled with a lot of pus, cysts are large, soft, and excruciatingly painful lumps found deep in the skin. Cysts are formed deeper within the skin when compared to nodules, they are also the most severe form of acne.

Leading American Acne Specialists

Dr. Judith Hellman, founder of Hellman Dermatology in New York’s Central Park South attends to common skin, hair, and nail conditions like acne, hair loss, turkey neck, and wrinkles. Services also include treatment for skin cancer and allergic reactions, removal of dark circles and bags in the eye area, and repair of drooping brows. The clinic’s founder has been named NY Times Super Doctor for three consecutive years. She is known for personally administering treatments to all new and returning patients.

Dr. Jessica Wu, MD, has been a leading name in industry years and works with her celebrity (and non-celebrity!) clients with caring, hands-on intention and the goal to help pave her patients’ journey to healthy, beautiful skin. She earned her medical degree from Harvard University and went on to complete her residency at the USC Medical Center. Her specialties include Lasers, peels, injectables, skin, hair, and nail conditions (acne, rosacea, pigmentation, etc.); topical anti-aging treatments; skin cancer; and moles.

Study Proving the Use of CBD Cannabidiol to Treat Acne

 Research on CBD and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) offers promising results for the treatment of acne. First of all, the ECS has been shown to play a major role in hydrating the skin through the production of lipids. Anandamide, an endocannabinoid, appears to significantly enhance lipid production. A 2015 study led by the Department of Pharmacy at the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology in Pakistan tested the efficacy of a cream containing three percent cannabis seed extract for reducing sebum in human cheek skin.

Patients were given a base control cream without the extract and a base cream with the extract. The patients applied both creams on their cheeks twice a day for 12 weeks. Measurements for sebum production were recorded every two weeks.

The study reported that the cannabis seed extract significantly reduced sebum in the cheeks when compared with the control cream. Also, the cannabis seed extract was found to be well tolerated, and no side effects were noted in the study.


Whether you are suffering from mild, moderate or severe acne, there is an acne treatment out there that can help you. If not, CBD cannabidiol creams can always come to the rescue.

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