It’s summertime and the sun is at its peak. We all know that means more time in the sun, but that can be dangerous if you’re not careful.
Even when we make sure to use sunscreen or wear clothes that cover the skin when possible, sometimes even our best efforts fail us. What happens when you end up with a sunburn? Well, for one, it hurts, and it can cause pain and inflammation. But it can also permanently damage the skin, which is why it’s so important to treat it seriously.
CBD has become a popular option for treating inflammation and other symptoms of sunburn because some find it helpful in reducing swelling and other associated symptoms. But how does it work?
Read on to learn how CBD may work to provide relief for your sunburn!
Sunburn and Melanin Production
Skin cells produce pigments known as melanins, which are responsible for our natural skin color. Melanin production varies according to skin type, but when we’re exposed to too much sun, our skin reacts by creating more melanin. The more melanin cells our skin produces, the darker it becomes–it’s a protective measure to prevent against future sun damage.
Although some of us welcome a bronzed look, the downside is that this new melanin may create uneven pigment, and some of this resulting hyperpigmentation even may be permanent. This may fade over time naturally, but many of us find that the first sun exposure of the summer brings back the hyperpigmentation pretty quickly.
Protecting Skin from UV Damage
It’s important to note that CBD does not protect against sunburn caused by ultraviolet radiation exposure, so before going outdoors, be sure you’re wearing sunblock, a hat, and protective clothing.
Be sure to use a broad-spectrum UV protectant when you venture outdoors. A sunblock is preferred over a sunscreen. Sunscreen and sunblock both protect your skin from UV rays, but the difference is how they work to protect you.
Sunblock does exactly what it says: it blocks the sun’s rays from penetrating the skin by reflecting them. However, sunscreen absorbs UV rays, and some of these rays may eventually absorb into the skin once they penetrate the sunscreen’s chemicals.
Here are some best practices for using sunblock:
- Use SPF 30 or higher
- Apply it every hour that you’re outdoors
- Use a broad-spectrum formula
- Apply it thickly, and massage it into the skin until absorbed
- Even if you’re not in the water, water-based formula lasts longer, especially if you’re sweating
- You CAN get a sunburn in the winter, so be sure to put on sunblock any time you’re going to be outdoors for awhile
How Sunburns Work
Sunburns happen when your skin is exposed to too much ultraviolet radiation. The cells in the top layer of our skin are damaged by that exposure, and an inflammatory response kicks off a chain reaction that can cause more damage.
The symptoms of a sunburn can include redness, tender skin, and even fever. This is often accompanied by a burning sensation in the area affected, which can make even the lightest clothing feel painful.
The longer you are exposed to UV radiation without protection or sunblock, the more damage your cells will undergo.
Some of the more severe sunburn symptoms can include blisters, peeling skin, and permanent discoloration. Sun damages the outer layers of the skin, and can result in first- and second-degree burns.
It is the body’s natural protection to react to sunburn; thus, when your skin begins to peel it is a sign that your body is trying to get rid of its damaged skin cells. Another mechanism of sunburn is the release of inflammatory cells to repair the skin.
Down the road, an accumulation of damaging sun exposure can lead to pre-cancerous and cancerous cells to form. Be sure to have your healthcare provider or a dermatologist check for signs of skin cancer annually. They can see areas of your body that you can’t, and are trained to spot possibly dangerous cells.
CBD’s Anti-Inflammatory Properties
One way CBD oil can help with sunburn lies within its reported analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests that CBD modulates the body’s inflammatory response by binding to endocannabinoid receptors, making it a popular tool for relieving soreness after exercise, for example.
CBD may also help reduce the swelling that is a natural response to sunburn. It works with your skin’s endocannabinoid receptors to return the affected cells to homeostasis.
For a one-two punch, users may decide to use a CBD tincture to work on the cells inside the body, and also apply a topical cream to work on the cells closer to the skin’s surface.
CBD and Pain Relief
CBD also has properties that may help to reduce pain, making it a great choice for those who want a plant-based skincare option. CBD could be helpful in treating nerve-related and inflammatory types of discomfort.
Manufacturers often add CBD to oils such as hemp seed oil so that they can be used as an ingredient in skin creams and lotions. Research suggests that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate symptoms of skin conditions such as psoriasis and rosacea.
CBD Has Anti-Oxidant Properties
CBD also has antioxidants that may help to alleviate skin damage. CBD can stabilize the lipid peroxidation process, which is a type of oxidation where enzymes and oxygen create unstable molecules called free radicals.
Free radicals are known for causing wrinkles and other signs of aging on the surface of your skin, but cannabis may help to mitigate this process.
Avoid Irritating Ingredients
CBD is an emerging trend in the skincare market, but not all products are created equal. Where some manufacturers focus on purity in their ingredients, others introduce harsh, irritating chemicals the are counterproductive to CBD’s efficacy.
Before you use any product, it’s so important that you research the ingredients to ensure that they’re high quality, and that they don’t have irritating properties.
Always check the label to determine how much CBD is in the product. Some manufacturers add it as a “vanity” ingredient, but there are only small amounts in the product.
And while it may be tempting to trust a product that uses all-natural ingredients, in reality, there are some plant-based ingredients and oils that can be irritating to the skin as well! Citrus, tea tree, lavender, and jasmine may be irritating to some, for example, but they are commonly used in skincare products.
The fewer ingredients, the better. Shop for products that come from manufacturers who use USDA organic CBD, and be sure to check their third-party lab testing reports. Using products from a CBD company may also ensure that the CBD is of the highest quality possible.
CBD is Federally Legal
We mentioned above that CBD produced from industrial hemp is federally legal. This means that it must contain less that 0.3% THC.
If you prefer a cannabidiol product that does not have THC, search for broad-spectrum CBD products. Full-spectrum products contain all the cannabinoids that come with the plant, and could contain trace amounts of THC.
This is another reason why third-party testing by an ISO-certified lab is so crucial. Until the FDA regulates cannabis, manufacturers must rely on third-party lab testing to ensure quality.
Unfortunately, there are companies out there that don’t do this, so their products may contain harmful pesticides, fungi, and other toxins. Or they may contain much more THC than is legal. And they may not contain any CBD at all!
If you spend too much time out in the sun this summer, CBD may be a way to help relieve your symptoms. You may apply it right to the area of irritation, and even combine it with oral doses.
Be sure to favor quality over price, and complement it with aloe and drinking plenty of water. And finally, it’s always best to prevent sunburns with a 30 SPF or higher sunblock!