How does Topical CBD Work?

Many people understand the basics of how lotions or creams work, but how does topical CBD work? If you are reading this article, you probably understand that a large portion of the CBD products that exist come in an ingestible form. If you don’t know, ingestible simply means “meant to be eaten.” For instance, gummies, capsules, pills… – these are all meant to be orally consumed. However, ingestible CBD is only one form of a CBD supplement. The other CBD supplement type is of a topical nature. Topical simply means its meant to be applied topically, to the skin (NOT orally!). If you’d like to learn more about how different methods of CBD consumption affect your body, read more here. For the purposes of this article, we will stick to the question, “How does topical CBD work?”

The Epidermis and Dermis (AKA Your Skin)

Without getting too scientific, all humans have skin. We know this. The skin is actually the largest organ in the human body. A lot of people do NOT know this, however. It’s important to take care of our skin. From a young age, your parents likely told you things like “put on your sunscreen” or  “make sure you wear your hat.” Our skin, although incredible resilient, is also damaged periodically as we age. Sun damage, chemical damage, and acne are just a fraction of the things that can hurt our skin – permanently. In order to prevent damage to our skin, we have to take two approaches to a proper skincare regimen: preventative treatment, and reactionary treatment. An example of preventative treatment would be applying sunscreen to your skin before you go outside. Your skin would be covered in a small layer of the sunscreen which prevents your skin from being burnt for a certain period of time. Reactionary treatments, on the other hand, revolve around how you treat your skin in reaction to something that damaged your skin. For example, when you come back inside from being in the sun, you may apply aloe. The aloe seeps into your skin and helps repair your skin cells. What does this have to do with how topical CBD works? Follow closely.

The epidermis and dermis are both layers of skin. The epidermis is the top layer of your skin that you can see. It contains freckles, scars, pours, and other visible characteristics. The dermis is the layer of skin below your dermis. The dermis contains hair follicles, nerve and blood vessel endings, and different skin cells than the epidermis. There is a hypodermis, but we are not addressing that layer in this article. Here is an example to help you better visualize your skin layers:

how does topical cbd work


How does Topical CBD Get Into the Skin?how topical cbd works

The simple answer is through absorption. The skin has pours all over it. When something goes on the skin, the skin absorbs it. Have you ever sat in the pool or bathtub for an extended period of time? You’ll notice your skin gets wrinkly. This is because while you were submerged in the water, your skin began to absorb it. When you put a lotion or cream on your skin, it absorbs this also. 

By blending CBD with a cream (like our topical hemp balm called “soothe”) , it makes it available to your body for use by allowing it the be absorbed through the skin. The cool thing about this is that the area you apply the CBD topical product to will reap most of the benefits of the CBD. Have pain in your knuckles from arthritis? By applying a topical

CBD product, that area will reap the anti-inflammatory affects of the CBD. Have muscular pain from an overworked or stretched/torn muscle? The same effect will apply here as well. The skin is quite excellent and delivering nutrients to your body by absorbing them. CBD is simply an example of a nutrient that can be absorbed by the human skin. Not only is it absorbed, it’s absorbed deep into the layers of your skin. CBD, and other cannabinoids, deliver a type of anti-inflammatory action through what’s called keratinocyte cytokine production and also their structuring of immune cells.

Should I Use a Topical CBD Balm, Lotion, or Cream?

There is no right answer here. This is purely up to the individual. All products are absorbed into the skin in the same way. Some people like a lighter option like a lotion. Other’s prefer a nice balm. Tiger balm is a multi-million dollar company who made a lot of money by only providing a balm for pain relief. Other companies, like Dove, provide lotions for their consumers. It’s all a matter of preference – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Checkout our Topical CBD Product: CBD TOPICAL BALMbest topical cbd balm


I hope we helped answer the question, “How does topical CBD work?” There is a lot of science involved, but this article helped explain it in an easy to understand method. If you have any questions, please contact New Phase Blends and we’ll do our best to help you out! Thanks for reading!

If you are interested in purchasing any hemp-based or CBD products, please check out our store by clicking here. If you aren’t signed up to receive updates like this and exclusive discounts on our products, please visit our homepage at and subscribe! It’s quick and easy.

If you find interest in reading about CBD, you should check out the eBook “CBD Essentials“, written by CBD expert and CEO of New Phase Blends, Dale Hewett.

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