Retinol and CBD: The Dynamic Duo You Never Knew You Needed

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While CBD and retinol may seem like an odd pairing at first, if you think about it for a moment, there are many reasons they play nicely together. The dynamic duo’s symbiotic relationship is soon to become a hot topic as brands venture into creating products with the two ingredients as headliners, with research to back them up.

The importance of retinol is not lost on us as it’s been touted as one of the best anti-aging products out there, but it’s also no secret that it can be harsh on the skin. That’s where CBD comes in. “Retinol is very important for anti-aging, but it can be irritating and drying to the skin. The combination of retinol with CBD cream or oil may help reduce irritation and dryness,” says Fresno, CA dermatologist Kathleen Behr, MD. “CBD is a botanical with innate anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory powers,” says Davie, FL dermatologist Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD. “These ingredients, therefore, work synergistically to enhance skin vitality.”

CEO and founder of Saint Jane, Casey Georgeson, says the two ingredients work “in concert to transform the skin, gently but effectively.” Many are hesitant to embark on a retinol regimen because they’re concerned about the side effects, especially if they have sensitive skin. However, the CBD helps to “alleviate retinol sensitivity,” she says.

A January 2022 study looked into this and sought to identify how a retinol and CBD combination topical could enhance facial skin. “CBD acts to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, mitigating irritation from retinol and further improving the skin’s appearance through independent anti-aging mechanisms,” states the study. Researchers found that the combo is effective at improving skin quality by minimizing pores, hydrating, smoothing texture and combating static and dynamic wrinkles.

A few brands have created products that synthesize these two powerhouses, but a combo elixir is not readily available. Paula’s Choice has a CBD + Retinol Oil ($54), but it’s not available in the U.S. and Aforé Beauty by Dr. Few has CR Emulsion ($299). Saint Jane has also created a product that’s available in the states and reasonably priced.

Saint Jane Sacred Sleep Overnight Repair ($70) is a deeply hydrating night cream that features a gentle dose of retinol, nourishing CBD/CBG and the brand’s signature bouquet of Luxury Active florals. “The .5% Retinol in Sacred Sleep resurfaces the top dermal layer while delivering potent anti-aging benefits deep into the skin,” says Georgeson. To abate common retinol side effects, Saint Jane blended 1000mg of its proprietary CBD/CBG. “Both CBD and CBG are renowned for their calming benefits to balance the irritation that can surface when using Retinol.” The ingredients work together to provide anti-aging results with minimal redness, drying or peeling, says Georgeson.

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