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CBD, short for cannabidiol, products are all the rage these days, especially among millennials who are looking for the next big trend in beauty. But this one has developed a large following very quickly, thanks to it bridging that tiny little gap between self-care and self-indulgence. And with queen Kim Kardashian throwing a CBD-themed baby shower, the trend has gone viral now.

Combating stress and anxiety at its core, this magical oil comes with its own baggage because of the misconceptions around about CBD. So here’s a lowdown on the newest ingredient in the beauty business and what makes it tick.

CBD Oil

First of all, one needs to understand that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that gives you that high, is not enough in CBD products to give you that feeling. In fact, most products don’t even contain any THC. CBD in the skincare context is two things – marijuana and hemp, two different species that belong to the cannabis family. Cannabis in itself is of two types: Indica and Sativa. Marijuana can fall into both categories, whereas hemp strictly falls into the Sativa category.

Both marijuana and hemp have different amounts of CBD in them – while marijuana contains 15 to 40 percent THC, hemp contains 0.3 percent or less, which means they are fully legal.

This big skincare trend is known to be a powerful and effective antioxidant, can treat anxiety, and is anti-inflammatory too. Hemp seed oil, or Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil, in particular is known to be a good emollient and comes with moisturizing benefits. It is also pain-relieving and anxiety-reducing.

“CBD oil is said to be beneficial for people with acne, rosacea, for anti ageing, to relieve dryness and itching in eczema, dry skin etc. It also helps relieve pain anywhere on the body, like a tennis elbow and painful feet,” explains Dr Shuba Dharmana, dermatologist, Lejeune Medspa Bangalore. “Whilst the feedback from users is good, there is no actual clinical evidence to say that it is definitely beneficial. It is not harmful and has shown good results in laboratory studies, but scientific evidence for its effects on people is not documented yet. Possession of the plant posses legal issues but the concentration at which it is used in skincare and the compound that is used does not have anything to get you on a high. It simply relieves stress, inflammation and soothes and calms.”

Dr Rinky Kapoor, cosmetic dermatologist and dermato-surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics adds that CBD oil has been found to be anti-inflammatory and can reduce sebum production in the skin and thus reduce acne. “It also has soothing properties, great for irritable skin. Since it does not contain THC, it has no nervous system altering effects unlike marijuana.”

Its cosmetic benefits certainly cannot be ignored. “A study made by the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 claims that this is a more powerful antioxidant when compared to Vitamin C and E,” says Dr Batul Patel, medical director and dermatologist, The Bombay Skin Clinic. “Antioxidants limit the production of free radicals, which can damage the skin and hence protect the skin while reducing the signs of aging. The seeds of this plant are also known to contain Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which help in healthy cell production and healthy skin. In India each state has its own laws on the production and consumption of this ingredient. I would advise to use any products containing CBD only under the supervision of a registered medical doctor.”

We picked out six CBD-infused skincare products that will add a slice of calm to your hectic life through beauty.

Latha Sunadh
Deputy Editor
When she's not trying on a new serum, researching on yet another classic fragrance and sharing lip balms with her 5-year old daughter, Latha Sunadh keeps it reined in with a nice song and a good book. Special skills include obsessing over handmade, home-made and handcrafted luxuries.