Beyond CBD: Phytocannabinoids Redefine Skincare | Little Bird
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Beyond CBD: Phytocannabinoids Redefine Skincare

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The Skincare Ingredient We Should All Be Talking About

Greetings, fellow skincare enthusiasts! If you've tried every skincare solution under the sun and still find yourself battling persistent skin conditions with no respite in sight, I hear you. I spent most of my life struggling with overproduction of oil, breakouts, and sensitive skin while always being let down by the products I tried. Which is why I want to tell you about my game-changing ingredient for skincare. It's something that has truly transformed my own skin, and I'm so passionate about it that I created an entire skincare brand centered around it!

In this article, I will share why I think phytocannabinoids, derived from hemp, might be the answer you've been searching for when it comes to restoring balance and vitality to your skin.

Phytocannabinoids (such as CBD, THC, and CBG) possess the potential to promote healthier and more resilient skin due to their unique interaction with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays a crucial role in maintaining skin homeostasis, regulating functions like cell proliferation, inflammation, and oil production, which ultimately improve skin barrier function, hydration, and overall skin health.

In this article, I'll illustrate the relationship between the ECS and our skin, examine the benefits of phytocannabinoids, and provide you with valuable resources to expand your understanding.


The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and Our Skin

To better grasp the significance of phytocannabinoids for skin health, let's first begin with a comprehensive overview of a system within our bodies called the endocannabinoid system (ECS): a complex network of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids that help regulate various functions within our body, including our skin- the largest organ we possess. It is equipped with a robust ECS, working tirelessly to maintain optimal skin health.

There are special cells in our skin called keratinocytes that produce endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are molecules similar to the phytocannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. The two most well-known endocannabinoids are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). These endocannabinoids act as messengers or signaling molecules within our skin.

When our skin is exposed to certain stimuli or experiences imbalances, such as inflammation or injury, the production of endocannabinoids is triggered. These endocannabinoids then bind to specific receptors in our skin called cannabinoid receptors, which initiates a series of effects in response to the initial stimuli or imbalance.

There are two superstar receptors called CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors hang out mainly on nerve fibers and play a crucial role in regulating our sensation of pain. On the other hand, CB2 receptors are found in immune cells, hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and other skin cells. These CB2 receptors are like the conductors of the inflammation and immune response orchestra in our skin.

If you're a visual learner like me, you're in for a treat! One of my favorite resources for understanding the ECS and its connection to our skin is this remarkable slideshow/graphic created by the good folks at Phytecs. Prepare to be amazed by the intricate connections between our ECS and the health of our skin. A big shout out to the creators for their fantastic work on this visually appealing resource!

In a nutshell, they illustrate how endocannabinoids play a vital role in maintaining a healthy and balanced complexion by regulating the following:
  • Immune Function and Inflammation Regulation: Did you know that our skin has its own immune system? It's true! Endocannabinoids help manage inflammation in the skin, acting as messengers between immune cells and nerve cells. This mechanism is crucial for maintaining a balanced inflammatory response, preventing excessive inflammation and associated skin conditions.


  • Sebum Secretion: Ah, oil—the elixir of our skin's health. Sebaceous glands in the skin are responsible for producing sebum, an oily substance that helps protect and moisturize the skin. Our skin's ability to determine how much sebum to produce is vital for maintaining its barrier function. When this delicate balance is compromised, everything else seems to crumble.


  • Pain and Itch Relief: Endocannabinoids also play a role in regulating and dampening our sensory perception of pain and itch, offering relief and comfort.


  • Skin Cell Proliferation: Endocannabinoids influence the proliferation and differentiation of skin cells. They play a role in the renewal and maintenance of healthy skin, ensuring a constant turnover of cells and aiding in wound healing.

Embracing the Power of Phytocannabinoids for Healthy Skin

Our skin communicates with us when our natural endocannabinoids become dysregulated or dysfunctional. It manifests through various unpleasant signs such as dryness, overproduction of oil, acne, inflammation, redness, irritation, and sensitive skin– just to name a few. When we apply phytocannabinoids topically, they are recognized immediately and begin interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our skin, thus helping to nourish and restore our endocannabinoid tone.

In cases where our skin is injured and the endocannabinoid system struggles to produce sufficient endocannabinoids for healing, phytocannabinoids can step in and expedite the recovery process while reducing pain. This natural support enhances our skin's innate ability to heal itself.

Now, let's get into the effects of phytocannabinoids that contribute to maintaining a healthy complexion:

One of the common culprits behind various skin issues, including redness, acne, and wrinkles, is inflammation. Phytocannabinoids, including CBD, possess significant anti-inflammatory properties. By binding to CB2 receptors, they lend a helping hand in reducing inflammation in our skin.

Our sebaceous glands produce sebum, an oily substance that moisturizes and protects our skin. However, excessive sebum production can lead to oily skin and clogged pores, paving the way for acne. Fortunately, certain phytocannabinoids help regulate sebum production, promoting a more balanced oil level for our skin. The ECS is closely involved in this process, and compounds like CBD have been specifically studied for their role in sebum regulation.

Our skin can suffer from oxidative stress, which occurs when there's an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species and our body's antioxidant defenses. This oxidative stress can harm our skin cells and speed up the aging process. Phytocannabinoids have antioxidant properties. They swoop in, neutralize those pesky free radicals, and reduce oxidative stress, promoting longevity for our skin.

The CB1 receptors present on nerve fibers in our skin are responsible for sensing pain. Phytocannabinoids can interact with these receptors and provide much-needed relief. They possess analgesic properties, alleviating discomfort caused by conditions like dermatitis, sunburn, or general skin irritations. In essence, they act as a soothing balm for our skin. 

More Resources to Explore

For those seeking more valuable information about CBD and everything hemp, I highly recommend visiting Project CBD. They are a trusted education resource on cannabis, and their website offers a treasure trove of knowledge. Start with this article, which provides a wonderful overview of how CBD can benefit your complexion. Use their search tool to explore the site for more skin-related articles.

If you're into podcasts, I have a fantastic recommendation for you. Two PhD cannabis scientists, Riley and Miyabe, host an enthralling podcast series called "Smoke N' Science." Head over to Spotify and listen to their episode on topicals. Trust me, it's worth your time! Their podcast episodes provide valuable insights into our ECS and the biology of cannabis, helping you better understand the intricacies of this fascinating field.

If you want to nerd out on the technical stuff, you can read this article from the National Library of Medicine. It provides an in-depth educational section on the ECS and its relationship with our skin, perfect for those who want to dive deeper into the scientific realm. Additionally, it highlights the latest research on CBD and its effects on the skin.

Elevate Your Skincare

Working with skincare ingredients that directly engage with our body's specific receptor sites is an incredibly rewarding experience. Incorporating phytocannabinoids into your skincare routine means harnessing the power of a unique ingredient that our bodies have specific receptor sites for. This level of synergy and effectiveness is unparalleled in comparison to other cosmetic ingredients. Imagine the possibilities when phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds come together— genuine results await!

So, if you've tried countless skincare products that have left you disappointed, it's time to embark on a new journey—one where the power of phytocannabinoids meets your unique skincare needs. I hope this exploration into the world of phytocannabinoids and our ECS has sparked your curiosity and ignited a sense of excitement within you. Stay tuned as we continue to explore new findings and discoveries to elevate your skincare experience. Remember, you deserve to look and feel your best!

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