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Acne is a skin condition that primarily affects teenagers and young adults. It appears as spotty, oily skin on the face, chest and back. In more extreme cases, acne can spread to large areas of skin, becoming warm and painful if it goes without the correct treatment.

Problems that affect your skin can be difficult to treat and finding a treatment that doesn’t worsen your symptoms can sometimes be challenging. In recent years, it has been suggested that CBD oil could provide a suitable remedy to ease symptoms, but is there any truth behind this theory?

How do you get acne?

Individual hairs grow from hair follicles. These can be found across your body, but when they become blocked, the sebaceous glands that lubricate the hair can attempt to overcompensate, leading to an excessive amount of oil, known as sebum, appearing on the skin. If the skin isn’t thoroughly cleaned, a mixture of sebum and dead skin cells can make the blockage in hair follicles even worse. These blockages can become contaminated by bacteria, where cysts, papules, nodules and pustules can form.

While this is the typical reason why acne occurs, there are other circumstances that may increase the chance of it starting. It’s a condition that notably affects teenagers and young adults, so testosterone and puberty are seen as being a likely cause, especially as the sebaceous glands are affected by hormones. Acne can also be hereditary and it can be more common in women due to changes in hormones caused by pregnancy, periods and polycystic ovary syndrome.

How long does acne last?

Without an effective treatment, acne can last as long as between four and five years before going away by itself. Mild acne, which is likely to appear on your forehead during teenage years, will typically take less time to go.

However, in severe cases of acne, failing to find an appropriate treatment can have a more permanent effect, leading to scarring in the form of ice pick scars, rolling scars and boxcar scars.

How to reduce acne

Unfortunately, there is no cure to completely eradicate acne and its symptoms, but there are treatments that could reduce the appearance of acne.

Deciding the type of treatment could depend on the cause and severity of acne. For example, if it was caused by hormones, orally-ingested contraceptive tablets could be a suitable solution, but topical creams or laser treatment is likely to directly target the affected area. Other tablets that could reduce acne include prescribed antibiotics or isotretinoin.

Can CBD treat acne?

The anti-inflammatory properties in CBD products could alter the way the body produces and moderates sebum. A study was published in the July 2014 edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. In this study, CBD was tested on sebocyte cells. These are the cells that produce sebum, and the results suggested that CBD could be capable of preventing them from creating excessive sebum when a blockage in the hair follicles occurs.

Additionally, an article in the February 2016 edition of Frontiers in Plant Science titled ‘Cannabis Sativa: The Plant of the Thousand and One Molecules’ suggested that, although there were no human trials, some doctors would recommend CBD oil as part of a skincare routine to prevent acne, as it possessed antibacterials and antifungal elements.

From this research, it was suggested that while more studies around how acne sufferers could benefit from the use of CBD products may be required in the future, the results from preliminary tests have been positive. As it could be effective in reducing sebum and moderating the condition of skin, it’s understandable that doctors may feel inclined to recommend it to people who have struggled to find a treatment for acne.