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It’s an important day, one you’ve been waiting for excitedly. You roll out of bed, make your way to your bathroom, look in your mirror, and there it is: a giant pimple you can’t even hope to hide. We’ve all been there. A first date, job interview, or the day you meet your boyfriend’s family—and your acne is going to make the first impression for you. So what can you do when you feel like you’ve already tried every cream, scrub, and astringent on the market? Many people are turning to CBD in hopes of fewer breakouts and healthier skin. But what does the science say? Can CBD really be the acne cure you’ve been searching for?

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a cannabinoid from the cannabis sativa plant. Over the past couple of years, it’s been gaining popularity quickly in the health and beauty fields. Topical CBD—the type that you can put directly onto your skin—may bring benefits directly to where you need them the most. Early research suggests that CBD may help to treat or prevent breakouts thanks to a few unique therapeutic properties. Here’s why:

1. CBD Reduces Inflammation

You’ve probably noticed that the worst breakouts are red, swollen, and painful. This is a result of inflammation. Inflammation is how your immune system fights off infection and heals injuries. Unfortunately, too much inflammation is a bad thing, especially for your skin’s health and appearance. Because CBD is an anti-inflammatory compound, it may help to reduce the severity of breakouts by reducing the painful redness and swelling that often accompanies them. 

2. CBD Fights Oxidative Damage

Oxidative damage occurs when cells are harmed by molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals are a result of normal metabolism in the body and from external sources, such as pollution and cigarette smoke. Excess damage from free radicals has recently been implicated in acne. Antioxidants are compounds that combat oxidative damage, protecting our cells. CBD has been found to be a more powerful antioxidant than vitamins C and E. This antioxidant potential may help to treat or prevent acne

3. CBD Regulates Sebum Production

Sebum is an oily substance secreted by glands in the skin. Overproduction of sebum can result in acne. Early research has found CBD to help prevent overproduction of sebum, which could help to stop acne before it starts. 

4. CBD Kills off Bacteria

There are certain types of bacteria that can cause acne. Because CBD has antibacterial properties, it may help to fight some of the bad bacteria that contribute to blemishes. 

Preliminary CBD research offers promise for those who struggle with acne. If you’re ready to see if CBD could work for you, the next step is finding a high-quality product. Try to find a topical CBD product formulated for skin. This will allow the CBD to be applied directly to problem areas, and avoid ingredients that could aggravate your skin.