Eczema is the catch-all name for a group of skin conditions characterised by dry, itchy, irritated skin. It is quite common in the UK, with one in five children and one in twelve adults being affected. In total, it is thought that there are up to 15 million people in the UK living with the condition.
Side effects of eczema can vary, and while some people may only have a mild irritation and occasional flare ups, others can suffer with constant pain and discomfort. As such, the relationship between CBD oil and eczema is one that many are interested in, particularly if they have failed to see results with traditional treatments. Whether you suffer from the skin condition yourself, or know someone that is, this helpful guide will outline how CBD oil could have an impact on symptoms.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a non-contagious dry skin condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, and cracked. In more severe cases, there may be weeping, crusting and bleeding; and some sufferers scratch so constantly that their skin can sometimes split and bleed (which in turn opens it up to infections). It is most common in children, and often will develop while they’re still in infancy. However, it is also possible for adults to develop eczema, seemingly out of the blue.
The most common type of eczema is atopic eczema, or atopic dermatitis. Common symptoms for this condition include:
• Red, irritated patches of skin
• Dry skin, with moderate to severe itching that worsens at night
• Pain, especially in joints such as the elbows and knees
• Skin infections
As well as the discomfort that eczema causes, many sufferers also find that their skin condition makes them insecure about their appearance. They may not want to show the areas of their body affected, such as their arms, legs or even face.
Researchers are not exactly sure what actually causes eczema. In fact, it can be different for individual eczema sufferers and is likely to be due a combination of factors. Generally it is thought to be triggered by environmental factors, and our immune systems overreacting to an irritant. This irritant could be something somewhat unavoidable, such as pollen or smoke, or could be the result of a food intolerance. During treatment for eczema, people are often encouraged to try cutting out certain foods and food groups, but without knowing the root cause of the condition this can prove difficult.
Traditional Treatments for Eczema
As mentioned, many doctors will try to help their patients discover the root cause of their eczema. However, as it’s something that many sufferers will find themselves with for life, learning which treatments will make it manageable is also a top priority.
Traditional treatments for eczema focus on healing the damaged skin and alleviating the itchy, irritated symptoms. Topical creams are one of the most popular treatments, with corticosteroids being used to reduce inflammation and redness after a flare-up. Emollients are also commonly used everyday as a preventative measure, as keeping skin moisturised could help to prevent an irritation developing. Some sufferers also find antihistamines beneficial.
Many people find that these traditional methods work perfectly well at managing their eczema. However, an increasing number of sufferers are turning towards CBD oil as a more natural way to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the condition. So, how does this work?
The Endocannabinoid System and Eczema
The endocannabinoid system plays an influential role in almost every major bodily system, and there are endocannabinoid receptors almost everywhere in the body. One of the ECS’s main jobs is to bring ‘homeostasis’ to the body, or the natural ‘status quo’ of neutrality. It does this by acting as a mediator in many bodily functions, including the immune system.
When an eczema patient experiences a flare up, it is due to the immune system creating an inappropriate inflammatory response. This inflammation is what creates eczema’s itching, redness and irritation, and the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids are unable to regulate the inflammation.
How Could CBD Oil Help Treat Eczema?
This is where cannabidiol comes in. The National Eczema Association has stated that “There are receptors in the skin that interact with cannabinoids that could reduce the symptoms and appearance of atopic dermatitis”. This is because CBD works much like the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids when it’s inside our system.
If someone suffering from eczema uses CBD oil, they regulate the endocannabinoid system by binding to receptors found in the skin. Not only does this suppress the overactive immune system that goes haywire during an eczema flare-up, but it also resolves some of the accompanying side effects, namely the pain and itchiness. As CBD is also known to have antiinflammatory properties, it can also help to alleviate some of the inflammation that typically leads to the discomfort.
There is also some research to suggest that CBD could reduce the amount of certain bacteria on the skin, which are known for causing skin irritation and inflammation.
Anecdotal Support for CBD Oil
Research into the connection between CBD oil and eczema is still in the early stages, and the National Eczema Association has stated that more studies need to be conducted before it would recommend cannabidiol as a treatment. However, there have been several studies that have shown promising results. One human trial found that around eczema sufferers who used a cannabinoid cream had the severity of their itching reduced by approximately 60%. Of those who took part in the trial, over 33% felt that their symptoms had reduced enough that they could stop using their topical steroid creams.
There has been further anecdotal evidence of people who have found their condition much improved following the introduction of CBD oil. As reported in this recent news story, a young woman called Beth Cusack suffered so badly with her eczema that she rarely left the house. She claims that after just two days of taking CBD oil, her skin began to clear up and her previously chronic pain was relieved.
Using CBD Oil for Eczema
People who wish to try the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of CBD oil have several options when it comes to how to take it. At Greenlife, we offer CBD products including:
- Oil drops, which can be ingested daily
- E-liquids, which are designed to be inhaled with a vape
- Balms and massage oils, which can be applied directly to the skin for immediate relief
- Capsules, which can be taken alongside your vitamins and supplements daily
- Infused teas and coffees, which are ideal for either getting your day off to a great start or helping you to unwind before going to bed
All of the products in our shop are made from hemp, which is a safe, natural, non-toxic plant. This means that. There is no THC present (which is the compound found in cannabis associated with the ‘high’ effective), which means all of the products are perfectly legal in the UK. For more information on CBD oil in general, or for specific questions around eczema and cannabidiol, please feel free to get in touch.