Dear Mother, 

We know there’s evidence that smoking cigarettes does horrible things to your skin. What about smoking cannabis? Will it give you wrinkles and spots like cigarette smoke? I know that some beauty products now proclaim that cannabis is a miracle ingredients, but does smoking it negate all those benefits?

— Estée Lauder

Dear Ms. Lauder,

When it comes to cannabis and skin, it’s… complicated. First of all, what you’ve heard is true, cannabis contains powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that can be wonderful for your skin. At the same time, if you’re choosing to smoke cannabis flower, there is a risk of some negative impact on your skin. Let’s break it down and see what’s going on.

Cannabis has a few different components that are magic when it comes to making your skin smooth and beautiful. What’s super neat, is that our skin has receptors for cannabis, just like our brain does! So when you slather on a cream that is packed with cannabis oil, your skin is directly absorbing all those healthy aspects of the plant right into your endocannabinoid system. Direct contact like that allows the benefits to start working almost immediately. Plus, cannabis contains compounds that gives it antibacterial properties. Talk about clean skin!

THC and CBD have been shown to have antioxidant properties, too. Antioxidants protect your skin by neutralizing free radicals (those unstable molecules in your body that can cause danger and harm, from wrinkles to cancer). These antioxidants protect the cells against free radical damage, which allows you to have smoother, softer skin. Cannabis also has anti-inflammatories which, when processed properly in skin care products, help with common skin issues like rashes, eczema, and psoriasis. Some products are even perfect for when you’ve had too much sun and need to help your skin calm down.

There are now a variety of cannabis-infused skincare lines out there, and many are truly living up to their claims. Lines like Cannasmack offer everything from lip balm to skin care products, including eye creams, night creams, serums, and more. These products hone in on the various healing properties of cannabis, and combine them with other natural ingredients to bring out the best in your skin. And Cannasmack is not alone!

Need to reduce redness and inflammation or pain in your joints? Try Apothecanna’s Extra Strength Relieving Cream, which uses the anti-inflammatory and pain relieving components of cannabis to make their produce extra powerful. Khus + Khus’s SEN Face Serum includes CBD, which helps skin maintain its vitality and healthy glow. If you use it regularly, you will start to notice some refreshing changes!

That said, are there downsides to cannabis when it comes to having glowing skin? You’re right that just like with cigarette smoke, if you smoke cannabis flowers you are introducing harmful by-products that can cause free radical build up (remember, those unstable molecules that can give you anything from dull, wrinkled skin to cancer? Yeah). The next time you spark up a joint or grab your favorite bubbler remember that with every puff, your skin because a bit dryer, more prone to problems like eczema or psoriasis, and speedens up the aging process. Big bummer.

However, the good news is, if you stick to vaporizers and edibles, your skin — and your lungs — will thank you! But, if you don’t care about looking like a dried prune before you turn 40, then light it up. You could always balance it out with some super kickass face cream, like Kush Cream’s aloe-based face and eye cream — made with organic cannabis, of course!

— Mother