Is that an itchy, red patch on your baby's cheeks, chin, or chest?
What about that scaly red patch on your elbow or behind your knees?
It itches. It burns. Nothing soothes it and it won't heal. Sound familiar?
More than 30 million Americans have some form of eczema. Call it atopic dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, seborrheic dermatitis or any of a dozen names, it all equals one thing. Red, inflamed, itchy skin.
Treatment consists of avoiding the triggers that can cause a break-out, a daily cleansing and moisturizer application, and soothing medication as necessary.
Cannabis has been used since ancient times to dress skin wounds and sores. A CBD topical relieves itching and promotes fast healing. It's perfect to keep on hand for this common malady.
Read on to learn more.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is an inflammation of the skin, also known as dermatitis. It is red and itchy. Some patches will weep, blister or peel.
There are several types of eczema. Although eczema is unsightly, it is not contagious. Typical symptoms include:
- Dry, sensitive skin
- Red, inflamed skin
- Very bad itching
- Dark colored patches of skin
- Rough, leathery or scaly patches of skin
- Oozing or crusting
- Areas of swelling
The symptoms can be mild to severe. Often sufferers scratch their skin, which irritates it further. Different people have different triggers.
Common Triggers to Avoid
Eczema is not contagious. Scientists think it is a partially genetic and partially environmental immune system expression. To avoid the itch, try to eliminate the irritating triggers from your environment.
- Scented soaps, detergents, shampoos, disinfectants
- Juices from fresh fruits, meats, or vegetables.
- Dust, pet dander, pollens
- Mold, staph, viruses, and fungi.
- Temperature or humidity extremes
- Dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, soy products, wheat
It may take some trial and error to find your particular eczema flare-up triggers.
Moisturize and Soothe Rough Patches
Salves, ointments, and creams help prevent infections and keep the skin moisturized. Prescription steroids or simply soothing, you want to make sure to use these remedies AFTER gently cleaning the inflamed patches.
Known home remedies for eczema include aloe vera, tea, and colloidal oatmeal. Aloe vera is cooling, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and soothing. It is one of the best-known remedies for minor skin irritations.
Tepid tea is soothing when gently sponged onto the roughened skin, but it can also be astringent and irritating on blistered or weeping patches. Another simple remedy is oatmeal. Oatmeal is naturally healing and softening and can be helpful to the healing skin, as it attracts moisture.
Preparations with healing properties from coconut oil or evening primrose are often part of home remedies. Gamma-linolenic acid and linoleic acid are essential fatty acids necessary for healthy skin.
How Can CBD Help Eczema?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of the five major cannabinoids present in marijuana and hemp. It does not get you "high". The other four major compounds are:
- cannabichromene (CBC)
- cannabigerol (CBG)
- delta (9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- cannabinol (CBN)
These are of interest to researchers for their anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-itch properties. Topical preparations take advantage of skin endocannabinoid receptors with minimal bloodstream absorption.
CBD topicals contain gamma-linolenic and linoleic acids as well as terpenes linalool and caryophyllene. Linalool and caryophyllene have healing and painkilling properties.
CBD Topicals- Soothing and Softening
CBD oil and whole cannabis topical preparations contain properties from the rich oil found in hemp plus natural cannabinoids. Depending on the preparation, coconut oil, lanolin, beeswax or other moisturizers are blended with whole plant preparations or refined CBD oil.
Watch out for scented products or creams containing potential triggers. Some people might find certain nut oils problematic. Look at product descriptions for products tested by an independent lab.
Consistent potency and purity are always a top concern. Always buy the freshest preparation available to help ensure top quality and safety. Apply your CBD topical creams liberally. Skin has a low absorption rate.
Ointment, Lotion or Cream?
An ointment is oil-based (80% oil and 20% water.) It is the thickest formulation and provides an emollient barrier on the skin to prevent moisture loss. Some people find the greasy texture unpleasant.
The thicker and greasier the ointment the better it is for the hard, cracked plaques. Ointments are also good for sensitive skin, rough skin and for non-absorbent skin like elbows and heels. People recommend overnight covering to improve efficacy. For example, if you have cracked and painful heels, apply the ointment and put on socks overnight.
Less greasy are creams. They are formulated 50% oil and 50% water. They generally disappear when rubbed in. Creams are typically more discreet than a CBD ointment.
Cannabis cream is useful for situations where it is not cosmetically appealing to use an ointment, such as on the face or near clothing. Creams are not waterproof however and need reapplication often.
Creams may contain irritating preservatives or alcohol due to the water content. Lighter still and containing the least amount of oil are lotions. Lotions absorb into the skin quickly.
Lotions are fast evaporating and do not form an occlusive barrier to retain moisture. They deliver the benefits of cannabis to the skin and quickly disappear. People who object to the feel of greasy ointments often prefer lotion formulations.
So, which form is right for you? It depends on the condition of the skin. A general rule is to choose the thickest formula you can tolerate.
Learn More About the Role of Cannabinoids in Dermatology
There is limited research available on the healing properties of cannabis for skin, but there are multiple ancient references to its use. Many people are researching cannabinoids for their unique painkilling and healing properties, not just for skin complaints.
Cannabis cream can possibly make plaques less itchy and painful and allow healing to begin. Why not take advantage of the full benefit of plant-based topical preparations? CBD topicals are fully customizable without the side effects of steroid creams.