From ingredient buzzword to supplement and skincare staple, CBD has become a key player in the beauty and wellness sphere in recent years. With the CBD skincare market projected to reach £7.2 billion by 2030, clearly our skincare routines are falling in sync with the prioritisation of our mental wellbeing right now.
With significant investment within the industry, it was only a matter of time before cannabinoids were further explored and new ingredients discovered – hence the latest innovation for formulations: CBG. Coined the ‘mother of all cannabinoids’, CBG is a superior, nutrient-rich ingredient helping to calm, soothe and moisturise skin.
It looks like CBD has to share the spotlight with its rare and precious parent molecule…
What is CBG?
With hype building around this buzzy ingredient, what actually is CBG?
CBG (cannabigerol) is a type of cannabinoid that can be extracted from a cannabis plant. It’s considered particularly potent because all other cannabinoids, such as CBD and THG, come from CBG. In its acidic form (CBGA), it is available in large quantities and it’s not until it matures and is exposed to UV light and heated temperatures that it converts into CBG. At this point of maturity, less than one per cent of CBG can be harvested, making it incredibly expensive to extract.
CBG benefits for skin
Like CBD, CBG is non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t create a high like the THG in traditional weed does. Also, it can be applied topically via formulations in oils, creams and serums. CBG (like CBD) interacts and works with the skin’s endocannabinoid system. These are the receptors within the skin that alert our body to pain, regulate oil and collagen production, and control pigmentation. “When applied topically, CBG reduces the reactive oxygen species, which reduces the damaging oxidation process,” explains Dr Ophelia Veraitch , consultant dermatologist at GetHarley. “Equally, studies have shown that the antioxidant properties of CBG are considered equivalent to perhaps better-known antioxidants such as vitamin C and E.” As a powerful antioxidant, CBG helps calm and defend against oxidative stress, encouraging a healthy and even glow.
Not only boasting antioxidant properties, CBG – thanks to its anti-inflammatory benefits – helps protect the skin from inflammation and reduces the chances of stress-related ageing, as Dr Ophelia explains. “It stops the pro-inflammatory signalling molecules such as interleukin from impacting the skin and causing damage.” CBG also works wonders for those with breakout-prone and dry skin; a 2016 study highlighted its antibacterial and moisturising properties, helping to balance oil production, promote cellular renewal and retain skin’s moisture levels.
CBG vs CBD
So what’s the difference between the two? Well, CBG and CBD both have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and both support the skin – but they have two slightly different focuses. CBD boosts the endocannabinoid system to help soothe the skin. In contrast, CBG works with the receptors as an antioxidant to address oxidative stress and reduce the impact that environmental damage has on the skin.
The UK-first CBG brand, Cellular Goods, has conducted extensive research to see how CBG compares with CBD when exposed to UV rays. They found that neither CBD or vitamin C could match CBG’s anti-inflammatory activity in response to UV exposure. “This demonstrates the superior anti-inflammatory properties of CBG compared to vitamin C, which is widely regarded as the most effective anti-ageing ingredient next to retinol,” says Alexia Blake, head of research and product development at Cellular Goods. “CBG also demonstrates its superiority to CBD as discovered through our own proprietary research, which shows that CBG – when combined with specific skincare actives – can also help with skin brightening overall.”
CBG and CBD skincare
CBD skincare has been celebrated for a wide range of benefits associated with its healing properties, including soothing skin reactivity (redness, irritation or sensitivity) as well as brightening and evening the skin. But, as noted by Dr Ophelia, with more extraordinary anti-inflammatory properties, CBG is more effective in combatting the impact of oxidative stress and inflammatory-related conditions in the skin. Take the Cellular Goods Rejuvenating Face Serum, which contains CBG and matrixyl (a peptide heralded for reducing the signs of ageing). “The serum reduces skin ageing while protecting from irritation and UV damage. This allows us to provide a 360-degree approach – prevention and treatment – to age-preventative skincare,” explains Blake.
So, if you’re considering CBG skincare as a soothing, anti-inflammatory addition to your skincare arsenal, you’ll be pleased to know that this ingredient can be used both day and night. “Applying CBD or CBG in the morning can help protect skin from the ageing effects of UV exposure and urban pollution because of their antioxidant properties,” adds Blake. “On the flip side, the anti-inflammatory benefits of these ingredients makes them excellent additions to a night-time routine, especially ones that involve irritating actives, as these cannabinoids can help soothe skin and mitigate inflammation.” However, for those that are breastfeeding or pregnant, cannabinoids aren’t recommended, and those that suffer from inflammatory conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, eczema and severe acne should seek to advise their medical expert beforehand.
Discover the new CBG skincare products below:
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