Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a condition that affects about 15 million Americans, making it the most prevalent dermatological condition throughout the country. Defined by its red, scaly patches of skin, this condition is both unpleasant due to its discomfort, and embarrassing, as it affects someone’s appearance, potentially making them self-conscious about how they look. [Source]
We will be taking a close look at eczema in order to understand how it develops, what its symptoms are and how it’s usually treated. Then, discuss how it might be useful to try a CBD topical regimen for treating eczema, based on various clinical studies about the properties found within CBD, and the unique nature of applying this compound topically to the skin.
What is Atopic Dermatitis?
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a dermatological condition, meaning that it’s a condition of the skin. It is in fact an inflammatory skin condition, meaning that its symptoms are directly caused by inflammation of the skin. Sometimes, eczema can be a symptom of a deeper underlying condition affecting the immune system, such as an allergic reaction or a digestive disorder. In these instances, symptoms accompanying the eczema may be more widespread throughout the body. But eczema is a standalone condition in the diagnostic sense, and so we’ll be focusing mainly on its symptoms that affect the skin itself.
Eczema symptoms include red patches on the skin that are scaly in appearance and develop a cover of dead skin cells that gradually flake off. These patches can be anywhere on the body, but are most commonly found on the hands, elbows, and neck. Some eczema patients find that the patches stay localized to one area, while others find that over time, they develop all over the body. Eczema can range in severity and can affect people of all ages and ethnicities.
Currently, there is no known cure for eczema, and it’s considered a chronic condition. It does tend to be intermittent in terms of its symptoms, meaning that sometimes no symptoms are present, while other times, they flare up. Typically, flareups are caused by specific catalysts, including allergies, psychological stress or an infection within the body. Being an inflammatory condition, it can be traced back to the immune system. Therefore, anything that negatively affects the immune system can make symptoms appear or become worse.
What Causes Eczema
Currently, there is no singular known cause for eczema, except inflammation. Eczema may be passed down genetically, but this doesn’t always happen. It is believed that eczema may be the result of a weakened immune system, and since many children develop it early on, it’s believed that some children may be born with an immune system that attacks the cells of the skin, causing eczema to appear. It’s also possible that eczema is a sign of an internal issue, which is causing the immune system to behave inappropriately by attacking its host through various methods.
How Eczema is Usually Treated
Like we said, there is no known cure for eczema. But, there are treatments. If you have the symptoms of eczema, you must receive a proper diagnosis from a dermatologist. He or she will want to rule out other types of skin issues in order to properly diagnose the eczema.
Eczema is most commonly treated with prescription topicals that may be anti-inflammatory or steroidal in nature. The individual treatment depends on the needs of the individual. Extremely severe cases may require internal medicines that control the inflammation and improve the immune response. Further, if eczema results from an underlying issue within the body, that must be treated as well, through changes in diet and lifestyle that minimize the body’s inflammatory response.
Can CBD Help with Eczema?
Now, many medical professionals are embracing CBD for a wide range of issues, including eczema itself. Within the skin, you’ll find cannabinoid receptors that require cannabinoids. These receptors belong to the endocannabinoid system, which uses cannabinoids to regulate bodily processes through this unique binding via cannabinoid receptors.
What does this mean for eczema patients? Well, CBD’s noted anti-inflammatory properties come from its ability to regulate the inflammatory response, which is quite different from drugs which simply reduce the inflammation levels in the body.
- Study #1: CBD can help with skin inflammation specifically due to its ability to regulate the inflammatory response within the skin tissue.
- Study #2: Pointed to CBD’s potential when it comes to regulating the immune system, which is ultimately responsible for the inflammation that is occurring on the skin.
Topicals May Be Key
CBD creams, lotions, and other topical solutions may play a major role in addressing inflammation of the skin, like the kind that we see in eczema patients. This is because topicals provide a generous dose of cannabinoids directly to the area of application in concentrated levels, which could potentially make them more effective than internal methods that disperse CBD throughout the body. Further, CBD topicals are formulated with high-quality plant-based ingredients that can soothe the irritation that results from inflammation, while even containing additional anti-inflammatories that occur in nature.
Topicals are easy to use and can be applied multiple times a day as needed. They come in many unique milligram strengths and are gentle on the skin.
Things to Keep in Mind
If you intend on using CBD for eczema, you should:
- Speak to both your dermatologist and your regular doctor, as they can give you personalized medical advice based on their experience and their knowledge of your medical history.
- Use a product made with lab-tested CBD in order to ensure that you’re getting a legitimate and effective product that’s free of harmful impurities and additives. Also, choose a strength that reflects the severity of your condition for the best results.
- Apply a hemp topical solution at least once a day for eczema. This allows the cannabinoids to accumulate in the tissue of the skin.
Eczema Can Be a Challenging Condition Due to Its Discomfort and Appearance
However, treatments are out there, and dermatologists are tasked with finding the one that works best for you. If you want to go the natural approach, then a CBD cream or lotion may be ideal, as it provides CBD directly to the inflamed areas of the body for targeted relief.