Worldwide, the cannabidiol (CBD) market had an estimated value of $4.6 billion in 2018. By the end of 2020, experts forecast that this will more than double to reach a staggering $9.3 billion worth.
Fueled by growing scientific evidence, many of those with skin art turn to CBD for tattoo healing.
The big question now is, what exactly can CBD do that makes it golden in the eyes of tattoo artists and those they ink? How can it help boost and speed up the recovery process after getting a tat?
We’ll give you all the must-know deets on CBD and skin art below, so be sure to stick around!
The Lowdown on CBD
Within the cannabis sativa plant are over 420 known constituents. More than 60 of these are “phytocannabinoids”.
Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids explicitly manufactured by the cannabis plant. Whereas endocannabinoids are those made by mammals, including humans.
Either way, cannabinoids are chemicals that interact with cannabinoid receptors. You can think of these receptors as “messengers” of the body and brain. They have signaling functions that affect the whole body’s homeostatic processes.
Of the many known cannabinoids, cannabidiol or CBD is one of the two most popular. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the other one. THC, although found to exert therapeutic effects like pain relief, is psychoactive.
In fact, THC is the key component that gives the cannabis plant its signature “high” effects.
Pure CBD, on the other hand, appears to have no psychoactive effects. Some studies even suggest that it counters the psychiatric or “elation” effects of THC!
On top of that, studies have shown that CBD has significant analgesic properties. It also has displayed anti-inflammatory effects, as well as anxiolytic activities. Researchers are also studying it as a potential treatment for cognitive disorders.
A Quick Look at the Body’s Tattoo Healing Process
To have a clear understanding of how CBD may help with fresh tats, let’s go through some tattoo basics first.
For skin art to be permanent, the artist needs to make sure the ink reaches the dermis. This is the layer of the skin that’s right below the epidermis, the outermost (visible) surface of the skin.
This process requires continuous pricking of the skin.
This is exactly what the tattoo machine and all its needles do. Every time the needles touch the skin, the ink goes deeper until it gets into the dermis.
This pretty much follows the fascinating traditional “tapping” method of getting inked. In the Philippines, for instance, the Kalinga tribe keeps this tradition alive. Every tap pushes the ink — in this case, wet charcoal — deeper into the skin.
Whichever method you go with though, both will still involve wounding the skin. Albeit temporary, the tattooing process still opens up your skin, so it may take about two to three weeks to heal. It’ll take longer, however, if you pick on it or forget to apply a topical to ease the swelling and pain.
CBD’s Potential Role in Wound Recovery and Tattooed Skin Recovery
First things first: there are no specific studies on CBD and tattoo recovery yet. However, researchers have already found evidence that it has anti-inflammatory effects.
For instance, one study looked at how a CBD-enriched ointment would affect psoriasis. The study also involved patients suffering from atopic dermatitis. Both psoriasis and atopic dermatitis are chronic inflammatory conditions of the skin.
With psoriasis, the skin develops flaky and scaly patches of skin. With atopic dermatitis, the most common signs are skin redness and itchiness.
At the end of the study, however, the patients had a significant improvement in their skin. Moreover, there were no allergic reactions that occurred with the use of the topical!
The Potential to Fight off Skin Infections
Did you know that the skin can house up to 100,000 units of bacteria per square centimeter? That’s why freshly-inked skin, with its open wounds, is much more prone to getting infected.
The good news is, CBD, like other cannabinoids, has antibacterial effects. More recent research, however, has found evidence that CBD, specifically, has anti-pathogen activity. Such pathogens include E. coli and Gram-positive bacteria.
These are among the most notorious pathogens that cause skin infections. As such, applying topical CBD on your new tat may help reduce your risks for such skin problems.
That’s on top of cannabidiol’s anti-inflammatory effect. Together, these two properties may help diminish the appearance of the zits themselves.
In this way, CBD may be able to help relieve the swelling that occurs after getting a tat. It may also help alleviate the redness associated with inflamed skin.
Antioxidative Property That May Help Counter Skin Damage
Vitamins C and D are essential for skin health, as both are powerful antioxidants. However, studies show that CBD’s antioxidant properties seem to exceed those of both.
Now, you want antioxidants in your system because they deliver cell-protective benefits. They counter free radicals, which are substances that can damage cellular DNA. They can also wreak havoc in the cell membranes, including those within the skin.
Keep in mind that your new ink, as tightly-done as it may be, still required some sort of skin damage. So, it makes sense to up your body’s antioxidant supply. Since CBD is a powerful antioxidant, then it may help counter some of that skin damage.
Try CBD for Healing Tattoo Wounds and Other Skin Maladies
Granted, there’s definitely a need for more CBD studies on humans. However, the existing literature does shed some light on its potential skincare benefits. If it can help with skin diseases like psoriasis, then it may also help with the tattoo healing process.
If you do decide to try out CBD on your fresh tat or other skin maladies, make sure you stick to a high-quality product. At the very least, it should come with an independent lab test result. This way, you can be sure that’s it pure CBD without any potential skin irritant.
Ready for more of the latest news in tattoo care and lifestyle? Head over to our site’s Tattoo section then to read up on more ink care tips and tricks!