The continuing trend toward natural skincare ingredients is prompting more salons and spas to add CBD treatments to their service menus. Globally, the CBD skincare market was valued at $634 million in 2018, and the International Spa Association (ISPA) 2019 Snapshot Survey found that 48% of member spas reported including CBD products in their retail offerings. Looking to the future as spas re-open following a global pandemic, the global CBD skincare sector is projected to soar as high as $3.48 billion in 2026.  North America accounts for the largest market share (more than 40%), driven by the legalization of cannabis in Canada and many US states.

With so much demand, what is CBD oil and what benefits does it deliver when integrated into facials and massage therapy treatments? As a natural compound, cannabidiol is produced in cannabis plants and is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Following extraction from cannabis plants and subsequent treatment with steam or other processing protocols, CBD is mixed with various carrier oils and ingredients to create oils, lotions, creams, masks, serums, bath salts, and other products used in facial or massage therapy treatments.  

CBD has gained favor in skincare applications for treating skin conditions like inflammation, dryness, free radical damage, eczema, dermatitis, and acne. Depending on the desired benefit, a CBD facial may aim to help the client de-stress or energize. In massage applications, CBD treatments are integrated into modalities that support effects such as relaxation, pain relief, or promoting sleep. As a client, you can help the esthetician or massage therapist recommend the optimal treatment and products by communicating the desired benefit.

Three questions that can help optimize your results from a CBD facial or massage are noted below:

What is the quality of the CBD used in the treatment?

Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are two of more than 100 cannabinoids that have been identified in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are chemicals that have the potential to interact with a series of receptors in the human body collectively known as the endocannabinoid system. CBD is available in three types. A full-spectrum CBD is comprised of multiple extracts from the cannabis plant. These extracts may include a variety of essential oils, terpenes, and other cannabinoids. A broad-spectrum CBD is made up of different compounds and cannabinoids in the plant and typically contains no THC. In contrast to full-spectrum products, CBD isolates contain no THC, making isolates a good choice if you cannot or do not want to ingest the active ingredient in marijuana.  

Does the product contain THC?

While marijuana is legal for medicinal and recreational purposes in a growing number of states, It is important to consider that trace amounts of THC – the primary active ingredient in marijuana – could potentially show up in a drug test. Therefore, it is essential that the esthetician or massage therapist be knowledgeable about the ingredients used in the CBD product, whether it’s a serum, lotion, oil, or other product.

What benefits to my body will using this product deliver?

An esthetician or massage therapist should be able to explain how the CBD product chosen can balance and help regulate the endocannabinoid system. Earlier this year, Bellus Academy introduced a curriculum to elevate spa education regarding the use of CBD treatments and selection of the proper terpenes, tinctures, and therapies to support the client’s objectives.

Communication is a two-way street and it’s always important for the client to inform an esthetician or massage therapist of health conditions – such as cancer, pregnancy, or perimenopause when getting a treatment. Again, the client’s health status may present contraindications that influence the choice of product ingredients. CBG is a good example. CBG stands for cannabigerol, a plant compound that's required for the production of all the other phytocannabinoids. Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), transforms into different cannabinoids like CBD, THC, CBN, and more as plants go through the flowering cycle. CBG works to fight inflammation, pain, and nausea and works to slow the proliferation of cancer cells. It also supports several skincare benefits similar to those offered by CBD.

More and more practitioners trained in oncology massage are introducing CBD treatments into their services. Research has shown CBD can significantly reduce intraocular eye pressure caused by glaucoma. Strains high in CBG will be beneficial in treating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, and cancer. Other conditions ranging from sleep disturbances to digestion issues or stress can also influence the products recommended for facials and massage therapies. And finally, a licensed esthetician or massage therapist should be able to provide information on at-home regimens to support the benefits of the service delivered in the spa. For example, tinctures and gummies can “top off the tank” and support the therapeutic benefits of the spa service. CBD can also be found in a breadth of body care products including lotions and oils for at-home use.

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