We take a closer look at how CBD could influence wound healing and whether it is an effective treatment for scars. Here's all you need to know. The use of CBD for scars has become a new area of scientific study. We explore how scars form and how CBD could promote healing and overall skin health. Your access to this site has been limited by the site owner If you think you have been blocked in error, contact the owner of this site for assistance. If you are a WordPress user with
Can CBD Heal Scars? [Explained]
Scars are a normal part of healing, and for most people, they do not cause significant problems. However, for some people, scars can have a major impact on their quality of life. Not only may they be painful or itchy, but they can also cause psychological distress.
In recent years, scientists have made many discoveries about how cannabinoids like CBD could benefit the skin. This knowledge has led some people to wonder whether CBD oil could reduce scarring.
In this article, we explore how CBD could influence wound healing and whether it could help with scars.
Why Scars Form
Before we delve into how CBD might help scars, let’s look at what they are and why they form.
Scars occur following injury to the skin, whether it be a cut, a burn, or a skin condition such as acne. When the skin breaks, this causes an inflammatory response.
The body releases white blood cells, which protect the damaged area from infection. Cell fragments called platelets also travel to the area to help the blood clot.
Once any bleeding has stopped, cells called fibroblasts begin to produce a protein called collagen. It helps to strengthen the wounded area while it heals.
Collagen also causes the area to become bumpy or raised. Meanwhile, blood flow to the region increases, causing a red appearance. This is the first stage of scar formation, which can last for several months.
Over time, the extra collagen begins to break down, and blood flow returns to normal. At this point, a scar will usually flatten and fade. The process can take as long as 2–3 years, but scars do not often cause significant problems. However, there are always exceptions. Sometimes, scars can actually become worse over time.
Furthermore, there are several types of scar, and each one differs slightly.
Types of Scars
There are numerous types of scars, and they vary depending on the type of injury and the person’s genetic make-up. The most common scars include:
These are the most prevalent types of scar. Once fully healed, fine-line scars have a smooth, flat, and white appearance.
These can occur after surgery when movement during healing causes scar tissue to stretch and spread. Some people also consider stretch marks to be a type of widespread scar.
This type of scarring occurs due to skin conditions such as acne or chickenpox. As the name suggests, they have a pitted or sunken appearance.
These most often occur following a burn injury. Scar contractures cause the skin to tighten around an area and can make movement difficult.
This type of scar features a build-up of excess collagen, which leads to a raised appearance. In the medical world, this phenomenon is called fibrosis.
Hypertrophic scars may continue to thicken for several months after the injury occurs, but they usually flatten out after a few years. They do not extend past the site of the original wound.
Like hypertrophic scars, keloid scars involve fibrosis. Collagen continues growing, even after the wound has healed. However, keloid scars differ from hypertrophic scars as they can extend beyond the site of the original injury.
Keloid scars can appear raised, red, or purple and may be itchy or tender. If they occur over a joint, they can also make movement difficult. Only some people develop keloid scars. They are more widespread in people with dark skin.
Thus, the most problematic types of scars are contracture, hypertrophic, and keloid scars. However, any scarring can be distressing, particularly if it occurs in a highly visible area such as the face.
Common Scar Treatments
Scarring is an unavoidable part of healing, and, unfortunately, it is often permanent. However, there are a few treatments that may help to improve their appearance or relieve symptoms such as itching.
Some of the most common scar treatments include:
- Silicone gel or silicone dressings
- Pressure dressings
- Steroid creams
- Laser treatment
- Skin camouflage/make-up
Nowadays, CBD is becoming more popular, especially as an ingredient in skincare products. This has led many people to wonder whether CBD could help with scars.
Does CBD Help with Scars?
CBD is just one of many active compounds that cannabis produces. It has entered the mainstream in recent years thanks to its lack of intoxicating effects. It is also possible to extract CBD from industrial hemp, making it legal in the majority of places.
The compound works by acting upon the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for regulating a vast range of biological functions. It is present in most human tissues, including the skin. Here, it plays a role in cell growth and development. It also helps to regulate the inflammatory response.
Although we are only just beginning to understand the role of the ECS in skin health, it appears to play a vital part in wound healing.
A 2019 study by Toth and colleagues for Molecules suggests that it controls the action of fibroblasts (collagen-producing cells).
Therefore, by enhancing activity in the ECS, CBD could potentially aid healing and reduce scar formation. The authors even suggest that modulating the system’s effects might be “desirable to achieve scarless healing.”
A 2016 study by Zurier and Burstein for The FASEB Journal supports this theory. It suggests that cannabinoids like CBD have both anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic properties.
Furthermore, it seems that CBD could help to prevent acne scarring by relieving the condition itself. A 2014 study by Olah and colleagues for The Journal of Clinical Investigation found that it has sebostatic effects. This means that it reduces the production of sebum, the oily substance that builds up in the skin, causing acne. The authors conclude that CBD “deserves full clinical exploration as a potent, novel class of anti-acne agents.”
How to Use CBD for Scar Treatment
Current research suggests that CBD could play a part in enhancing wound healing and reducing scar formation. However, it is essential to use it correctly to derive the most significant benefits.
While most people use CBD oil orally, this is not effective for reducing scarring. For CBD to have an impact on the skin, it is necessary to apply it directly to the area. This means either applying CBD oil directly to the scar or using a specially formulated cream or ointment. The difference is that ointments are thicker and greasier than creams. They take longer to absorb and have more moisturizing properties.
A 2019 study by Palmieri and colleagues for La Clinica Terapeutica suggests that CBD ointment could be helpful for scars. The retrospective study included 20 patients with skin conditions, including scarring. They applied CBD ointment twice daily for three months. By the end of the study, the patients showed improvements in all skin parameters, including skin hydration and elasticity. Furthermore, there were no reports of allergic reactions or irritation.
However, it is essential to note that this study had a relatively small sample size. There was also no control group, so further research is necessary to confirm the accuracy of these results.
Anyone thinking about using CBD ointment for scars should remember it will probably not get rid of them completely. It may help to improve the overall appearance and texture of new scars. However, using CBD oil for old scars will probably have little effect.
To gain the most benefit, start applying CBD as early as possible during the healing process. That said, we do not recommend using it on broken skin. Wait until a scab has formed and then begin the application.
Can CBD Heal Scars? Final Thoughts
Research into CBD for scarring is currently limited, but it is an area of great interest. We know that the ECS is present in skin cells and could play a critical role in wound healing. For this reason, it seems logical that CBD could provide some benefits.
Although we cannot say for sure that CBD will improve scars, there is little risk in giving it a try. CBD causes very few side effects, especially when applying it topically to the skin.
However, it is always advisable to discuss CBD treatment with your physician before use. This is especially crucial if you suffer from a medical condition, are pregnant, or breastfeeding.
When buying CBD, choose a reputable brand and a product that contains few additional ingredients. It is best to avoid applying heavily perfumed or inorganic products to a scar. Look for a company that publishes third-party lab reports to know exactly what each product contains.
And finally, if any irritation or worsening of symptoms occurs while using CBD for scars, discontinue it immediately. In this situation, contact a dermatologist for further advice.
Can I Use CBD Oil for Scars?
Scarring is an all too common occurrence for people across the world. Every year, 100 million patients in the developed world acquire scars. Approximately 55 million scars come from elective operations, with 25 million arising from trauma .
The psychological effects of scarring are complex, and only a limited amount of research has been conducted into the impacts of scars. One study revealed that most patients were concerned about their social and mental well-being, with others concerned about their career prospects .
In recent years, scientists have focused on how CBD ( cannabidiol ) can benefit the skin, including how CBD products could potentially be used to reduce the appearance of scarring.
Why Do Scars Form?
Before discussing how CBD may help with scars, it’s important to understand and why they exist.
Scars respond to a skin injury, whether that injury arises through a cut, burn, or a skin condition. Every time a break in the skin occurs, the body’s inflammatory response triggers.
The body will release white blood cells to prevent infection. Platelets will also help form a blood clot, which is what ultimately stops bleeding.
After a clot has formed, fibroblast cells generate the collagen protein to protect and secure the wound until it heals. It is the collagen that creates a raised, bumpy scar. In the first months, increased blood flow to the area will cause the scar to turn red.
Over time, the collagen breaks down, and blood flow decreases, which is why most scars tend to flatten and whiten.
In rare cases, scars may continue to worsen over time, but it largely depends on the type of scar.
Different Types of Scarring
There are several types of scars to take into account. Different scars arise from varying types of injury and will have different appearances after they heal.
Before examining how using CBD could help with scars, let’s list their different types:
- Fine-Line Scars – The most common type of scars. Appears smooth, flat, and white after healing.
- Widespread Scars – These scars typically arise after surgery. Stretching and spreading during healing leads to widespread scars.
- Pitted Scars – Pitted scars originate from acne, chickenpox, and other skin conditions. These scars can appear pitted or sunken.
- Scar Contracture – Most common after burn injuries. Scar contracture tightens the surrounding skin and may make movement painful.
- Hypertrophic Scars – Build-up of excess collagen. These raised scars often thicken for months before flattening out after a few years.
- Keloid Scars – Collagen continues to grow after the wound has healed. Unlike hypertrophic scars, keloid scars may extend beyond the site of the original wound. Often appears raised, red, and purply. It can be tender and itchy.
Some scars can be worse than others, but all scars can cause psychological distress, particularly if scarring appears in obvious areas, such as the face.
How to Use CBD for Scars
CBD is just one of 80 to 100 cannabinoids found naturally in the Cannabis Sativa L plant. The lack of intoxicating effects has led to CBD legalization in many areas in the United States and other parts of the world.
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for several biological functions.
There are multiple roles CBD plays that have led to a growing interest in how CBD can boost skin health, such as:
- Pain relief
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Improved collagen production
One 2019 study claims that CBD influences the action of fibroblasts, which means CBD could improve healing and reduce the appearance of scars . The author even made the bold claim that CBD could one day result in scarless healing treatments.
Zurier and Burstein also published a study in 2016, concluding that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties could prevent skin conditions like acne and skin conditions like psoriasis .
If confirmed, this would mean CBD could play a part in preventing pitted scarring.
Does CBD Heal Scar Tissues?
Research into using CBD for scars is limited. The studies that have been completed have been extremely positive about its potential, however.
In a study focusing on using the compounds in hemp oil for acne scar healing, scientists used mice and human cells to test out the impact of healing .
Researchers found that CBD:
- Reduced healing time
- Boosted collagen levels
- Stimulated cellular turnover
- Enhanced cell regeneration
It should be noted that this study focused on acne scars, so there’s no telling whether the effect is transferable to other types of scars.
CBD vs. Other Scar Treatments
There are already several treatment options for scars. Not all treatment options are designed for every type of scar.
Here’s a roundup of some of the most common scar treatment options employed by doctors around the world:
- Surgery – The most invasive option. Skin is transplanted over the scar from another area of the body.
- Laser Removal – Laser removal is ideal for surgical scarring. This non-invasive option reduces the size, color, and shape of scars.
- Chemical Peels – Used for surface-level scars. Dermatologists place chemical peels over the skin and lift away the skin around the scarred area. Requires multiple rounds of treatment.
- Dermabrasion – Smooths away the top layer of skin—ideal for raised scar types, such as hypertrophic scars.
- Steroid Injections – Used for raised scars, steroid injections shrink scars by evening it alongside the skin. Dermal fillers may be used to fill in areas around pitted scars.
- Creams/Ointments – Ideal for minor scarring. Perfect for fine-line scars. It can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC).
So, how does CBD stack up against these traditional scar treatments?
Truthfully, CBD products will not heal older, existing scars. On the other hand, limited research has shown that it could aid in healing due to its impact on the endocannabinoid system.
Full clinical exploration is required to find out exactly how beneficial CBD oil could be for scars.
What CBD can help distract from the pain and boost overall skin health during the healing process.
Either way, CBD is a non-intoxicating product that offers few side effects.
In the unlikely event of taking too much, side effects are generally limited to:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
Now, let’s discuss the best way to use CBD to heal scars.
How to Use CBD to Heal Scars
One study investigated the effects of CBD on dermatitis and psoriasis scars and was published in the La Clinica Terapeutica journal .
In this study, 20 patients had CBD ointment applied to their scars twice daily for three months. After the three-month period elapsed, researchers found that the skin had improved significantly in appearance. Patients also reported improved skin hydration and general elasticity.
To heal scars, a topical CBD product must be applied directly to the skin. While most users will often consume CBD oil, gummies, and other oral/sublingual products, this is unlikely to impact scar healing.
Topical CBD products take a long time to enter the bloodstream; therefore, the CBD will have a chance to work its magic on scars.
Since it’s practically impossible to overdose on CBD, especially when it comes to topical products, there’s little need to worry about dosages. Slather a layer of cream or ointment over the affected area 2-3 times per day and allow it to soak into the skin.
Based on studies into CBD for scars, it’s likely that it will take a few months to experience any significant changes in scarring.
Due to CBD producing a less immediate impact on scarring, you may choose to undergo other medical treatments simultaneously, such as dermabrasion, laser treatments, or even surgery.
Best CBD Products to Heal Scars
As already discussed, topical CBD products are the only viable option to aid in scar healing. Only when applied directly to the skin can CBD have a real impact on new and existing scars.
1. CBD Ointments
CBD ointments are the smoothest and oiliest of all the different topical CBD products. The oil-based nature of ointments means that they contain the highest concentrations of pure CBD.
2. CBD Creams
On the other hand, CBD creams are thick and remain on the skin for an extended period. These aid in scar healing because they take a much longer time to absorb the skin fully; therefore, scar tissue has more contact time.
3. CBD Patches
CBD patches can be helpful for certain types of painful scarring. They excel in helping people cope with localized pain, whether cramping, muscle pain, or joint pain.
However, CBD patches also work on the surface level to reduce discomfort, which makes them a favorite for sufferers of scar contracture.
Choose Your CBD Topicals For Scarring
The CBD craze has taken off in recent years but beware that these are not CDC or FDA-approved products. For that reason, consumers must choose their CBD topicals with care as there’s little to no regulation in the industry.
Some unfortunate consumers have discovered that their CBD products contained much less CBD than advertised. This is why it’s highly recommended that you take the time to buy from a company that has great reviews and uses independent laboratories to label and verify its products.
As a general rule of thumb, higher concentrations of CBD topicals are superior for dealing with scar healing.
Final Thoughts: Does CBD for Scars Work?
Research into using CBD to heal scars is limited, with most studies focusing on specific scars with a small number of participants. However, early results have been promising, and the more scientists understand CBD’s role in influencing the human body’s endocannabinoid system, the better.
It’s logical to believe that if CBD can boost skin health and reduce inflammation, it could effectively heal certain scars.
If you suffer from significant scarring, we recommend contacting your physician before applying CBD, particularly if you’re using other prescription medications.
Finally, if you want to use CBD to help with scars, choose a pure CBD topical to help. Avoid creams, ointments, and patches with inorganic additives and fragrances. These products may cause discomfort for those with sensitive skin.
If you notice any irritation or your scars begin to worsen, cease using CBD immediately and consult your physician.
- Bayat, A., McGrouther, D. A., & Ferguson, M. W. J. (2003). Skin scarring. BMJ, 326(7380), 88-92. 
- Hsieh, J. C., Maisel-Campbell, A. L., Joshi, C. J., Zielinski, E., & Galiano, R. D. (2021). Daily Quality-of-life Impact of Scars: An Interview-based Foundational Study of Patient-reported Themes. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, 9(4). 
- Dunn, S. L., Wilkinson, J. M., Crawford, A., Bunning, R. A., & Le Maitre, C. L. (2016). Expression of cannabinoid receptors in human osteoarthritic cartilage: implications for future therapies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 1(1), 3-15.
- Tóth, K. F., Ádám, D., Bíró, T., & Oláh, A. (2019). Cannabinoid Signaling in the Skin: Therapeutic Potential of the “Cannabinoid” System. Molecules, 24(5), 918. 
- Zurier, R. B., & Burstein, S. H. (2016). Cannabinoids, inflammation, and fibrosis. The FASEB Journal, 30(11), 3682-3689. 
- Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2020). Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol. Antioxidants, 9(1), 21.
- Palmieri, B., Laurino, C., & Vadalà, M. (2019). A therapeutic effect of CBD-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. Clin Ter, 170(2), e93-e99.
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
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