A woman holds a jar of cream in one hand while applying it to her skin with the other hand.

Can You Really Absorb CBD Topicals Through Your Skin?

It’s tough to get through the day with sore muscles and joints bothering you. Equally as difficult is selecting the right topical cream or salve to best calm down those overworked joints and muscles. Since most people are opting to take a more natural route when it comes to health and wellness, it’s no surprise that they are looking into what CBD creams and salves can do for them.

Does the Skin Absorb Creams and Salves?

In order to find out if the skin absorbs creams and salves, we first have to take a look at the anatomy of the largest organ in the body. The skin is made up of three layers: the epidermis, which is the outermost layer, the dermis, which contains collagen, connective tissue, hair follicles, sweat glands, and blood vessels, and the hypodermis, which is the innermost layer that contains fat and connective tissue.
An educational drawing of the skin, its layers, and various related biological parts
The epidermis, or stratum corneum, is the top layer of skin that’s made up of dead skin cells arranged in a brick-like pattern that is also connected by fatty acids in between them. The epidermis also has a protective acid mantle on top of it that acts as a barrier against microbes. To that end, healthy skin protects against harmful substances while also sealing in moisture. When cream, salves, or lotions are rubbed on top of the skin, they will be absorbed into the body to an extent. The overall condition of your skin will greatly determine how well a topical is absorbed into it. For example, skin will better absorb creams, salves, or lotions if it's not inflamed, broken, or injured.

What Kinds of Things Can the Skin Absorb?

When creams, lotions, salves, and other topicals are formulated, they are done so by skilled chemists that have a laser focus on skin absorption. Because of this, they know exactly which ingredients can be absorbed by the skin, and which ingredients will simply sit on top of it. The majority of creams and salves have thick ingredients in them that act like a bandage to help increase absorption while preventing the other ingredients in the topical from evaporating. Some ingredients, such as Vitamins C, E, and B3, are easily absorbed into the skin. And while a lot of beneficial ingredients can be absorbed into the skin, likewise, a good deal of harmful ones can be absorbed as well. This is why you should make sure that whatever topical product you purchase is crafted from clean, high-quality ingredients. But What About CBD Topical Creams and Salves?
Three tins of salve with herbs resting on top
The good news is that most topical CBD products are created with an oil base that makes them absorb easily into the skin. When a CBD topical, such as a salve or a cream is applied, the CBD does not enter into the bloodstream because it will not be able to penetrate that deeply into the skin. So, instead of it having a systemic effect like CBD oil that is taken orally, the topicals have a localized effect that may support overworked muscles and joints. Put simply, CBD topical creams and salves can be a wonderful way to calm tense or fatigued areas on your body.

How CBD Salves Work

CBD salves are unlike any other topical product on the market today. They are simple mixtures that typically do not have many ingredients in them (and if they do have a long list of chemical compounds, maybe opt for a different brand!). Some basic ingredients in salves include a natural wax, like beeswax, that provides structure, a fatty oil as a base, and a therapeutic compound such as hemp extract. It’s imperative to have fatty acids in salves because this is what acts to carry the CBD onto the skin for absorption. Some examples of carrier oils are coconut oil or almond oil. CBD salves are applied directly to the skin where the lipids are then absorbed into the epidermis. The lipids will then help the phytochemicals in the CBD to move across the skin membranes where it can then positively interact with nearby cells and tissues.
A young woman sits cross-legged on the floor and opens a stick of CBD body salve
The team at FAB CBD has put in a lot of time and effort into their CBD Salve. It is crafted using powerful organic ingredients paired with 1000mg of CBD inside of a 1oz stick and 3000mg inside of a 2.5 oz stick. FAB CBD Salve is perfect for active golfers, runners, gardeners, crossfitters, weight lifters, and even computer warriors who type all day. FAB CBD’s salve is created using organic golden jojoba, organic beeswax, menthol crystals for cooling, cinnamomum camphora oil for heating, distilled full-spectrum hemp flower extract, organic rosemary oil, ginger oil, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, organic peppermint oil, organic tea tree oil, organic lemongrass oil, sunflower seed oil, and vitamin E.

How CBD Creams Work

CBD cream is basically a lotion that is infused with CBD. Like salve, it can be applied directly to the skin and can be used to help calm tender joints and muscles, or can be used for general skin care. Cream can be used in the same way as salve. Whether you choose to use a CBD cream or a CBD salve is purely based on preference. CBD cream tends to be lighter due to the fact that it is not formulated using beeswax or any other heavy oils. Creams, therefore, tend to rub into the skin a little faster and do not leave an oily residue. Keep in mind, though, that the oily residue that comes from salve is also very beneficial.
A young woman applies topical CBD cream to her wrist
FAB CBD’s Topical Cream is light, non-greasy, and comes in a fresh citrus scent. The Topical Cream is made with 600mg of CBD that’s been paired with rich, full-spectrum hemp extract. The subtle blood orange scent makes the cream a pleasure to use any time of the day, and can be applied anywhere on the skin where there is muscle or joint discomfort. FAB CBD’s Topical Cream is created with aloe vera, cocoa butter, coconut oil, olive oil, chamomile, vitamin E, citric acid, and cinnamon and blood orange essential oils, among other fine, natural ingredients.

Skin and Absorption: The Big Takeaway

The skin is the largest organ in the body, and as such, when tough muscle and joint aches occur, it’s important that you take the time to choose the right topical product for your needs. Be aware that some topical creams can be harmful if they contain dangerous ingredients, herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals. Be especially aware of those products whose main ingredient is created from chemicals like petroleum jelly. When it comes to absorption, your skin can take in many different vitamins and minerals. Therefore, you should take the time to look into creams that contain beneficial vitamins like vitamins C, B3, or E, as well as healthy lipids like coconut oil or almond oil. And, if you’re looking to purchase a CBD topical cream or salve, be sure to go online and read the brand’s independent third-party lab test results, as these will attest to both the purity of the product and the quality of the ingredients. All of FAB CBD’s third-party lab results can be found directly on the FAB CBD website.

A woman in a bathrobe applies lotion to her leg
Anatomically, the skin consists of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis, and each layer is responsible for a specific function. The epidermis is both our protective layer and our line of defense against dangerous microbes and bacteria. Since this layer is also responsible for locking in moisture, it makes sense to choose a high-quality CBD salve or topical cream that will both nourish your skin as well as help ease tough muscle and joints. Topical creams and salves work on a localized level, as the CBD does not deeply penetrate the other layers to enter into the bloodstream the way it does, for example, when CBD oils are taken orally. So, if you have a localized area that you want to zero in on, FAB CBD Topical Cream or CBD Salve could be the perfect remedy. Remember, your skin is a great protector and one of the last lines of defense, so it pays to take care of it by being mindful of what you are putting on it!