We’ve all been there: after spending too much time in the pool, our skin has become red and inflamed. It turns out that hemp might offer a solution! Read on to find out what research suggests about CBD and sunburn.
Sunburn is a common ailment that can affect everyone, regardless of age or skin tone. Considering how easy it is to overdo it with sun exposure, it’s wise to have natural remedies available, especially when symptoms can range from mild skin redness, to nausea and blisters.
Before we dive into the world of CBD, its effect on the skin and how it could help alleviate the symptoms of sunburn, let’s quickly look at how sunburn works and what it does to the skin.
How sunburn works
A sunburn is the skin’s reaction to ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the sun, and is different from burns caused by coming into contact with something hot.
Both UVA and UVB rays cause damage to the skin, activating the body’s inflammatory response. UVA rays have a longer wavelength and penetrate the skin more deeply, while UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and only penetrate the skin superficially. UVB rays cause sunburn, while UVA rays contribute to skin aging and the risk of cancer.
Fortunately, our skin can cope with mild sunburns by correcting mutations and repairing damaged cells. However, excessive sun exposure causes more damage than the body can withstand, eventually killing skin cells.
What sunburns do to the skin
Doctors classify burns as first-, second- or third-degree. Sunburns, by themselves, do not cause third-degree burns. However, many of the symptoms described below fall into the first- or second-degree burn category because of damage to the outer layer (epidermis) and the lower layer of the skin (dermis).
When our immune system tries to repair the damage caused by UV rays, it triggers several warning signs. The first sign is redness of the skin, which usually appears 12-24 hours after exposure; you can spend several hours in the sun and feel nothing until you get home, so be careful.
Can CBD lotions help with sunburn?
If you have spent too much time in the sun, could a CBD lotion alleviate sunburn? Currently, some preclinical studies are investigating the effects of cannabinoids such as CBD on inflammatory dermatological conditions. After all, the delicate ecosystem of our skin is partially regulated by the endocannabinoid system, an extensive regulatory network that reacts to cannabinoids.
Since cannabinoid receptors are present throughout the skin, CBD may have a unique mechanism of action that other compounds cannot achieve. For example, CBD is being investigated in relation to our skin’s immune response, while demonstrating antibacterial properties (an important factor, considering that the skin is our first line of defense against foreign bodies).
How to use CBD on the skin for sunburns
Topical CBD products (creams, lotions…) are excellent for localized effects. Most CBD creams are applied directly on sunburns, and take a few hours to take full effect. If you have never used topical CBD products, it is advisable to apply a small amount to an unaffected area of skin to see how it reacts.
If the physical symptoms of sunburn are already under control, but you want to alleviate its psychological impact, you will need to try other CBD products (such as tinctures, oil, capsules or CBD for vaping) as these methods of consumption allow CBD to enter the bloodstream. In addition, vaping takes effect within minutes, offering almost instant results when you need it most.
CBD’s lack of toxicity also means that you can try various methods to see which works best for you. For example, it’s perfectly possible to apply a CBD cream directly to sunburned skin and take several drops of CBD oil by placing them under your tongue.
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