CBD Oil For Sunburns: Does It Work?

CBD Oil For Sunburns: Does It Work?

According to estimates, one out of every three Americans gets sunburnt annually. A sunburn is caused when an individual is exposed to excessive ultraviolet (UV) rays through the sun or artificial devices like tanning beds. [1] 

When this happens, people seek out sunburn remedies, and in recent years, individuals have been exploring the use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for sunburns. Yet, although this has become a popular sunburn cure, does it work? 

How Does Sunburn Affect Your Skin? – Its Harmful Effects

Before we look at whether CBD oil works for sunburn, it’s important to know more about sunburns and their devastating effects on your skin. 

Although a sunburn might not seem like a serious concern, it’s not something to take lightly. For example, according to statistics shared by the Skin Cancer Foundation, even a single sunburn during childhood or adolescence can double your chance of developing melanoma later in life. [2]

In the long run, the more you burn, the more likely you are to develop cancer in the future. Along with cancer, overexposure to the sun can have various negative impacts throughout your lifetime. 

For instance, sunburn causes the skin to inflame, resulting in redness, swelling, and irritation. UV radiation also causes skin damage by degrading the DNA in skin cells. Sunburn further harms the skin’s natural barrier, causing dryness, tightness, and peeling. 

Sunburn causes the essential skin proteins collagen and elastin to break down more quickly, contributing to early indications of aging, including wrinkles and hanging skin. Furthermore, sunburn may culminate in freckles or sunspots, causing uneven pigmentation and darkening.

Does CBD Oil Work For Sunburn? 

Although it is frequently sought after as a potential sunburn treatment, the effectiveness of CBD oil has not been thoroughly investigated. Ultimately, despite some people having successfully used CBD oil to treat sunburns, there isn’t much scientific evidence to support these claims. 

However, this doesn’t mean there is no evidence highlighting the effectiveness of CBD in sunburn treatment. For example, recent research has found that CBD oil helps lessen inflammation, one of the primary symptoms of sunburn. [3] 

This research implies that for the majority of people, CBD oil is likely to aid in reducing swelling, redness, skin irritation, and itching, which means it could be an effective sunburn treatment. 

What Are The Purported Benefits Of Using CBD Oil For Sunburn?

Although there is very little research on the specific impacts of CBD oil on sunburn, it has been established that high-quality CBD oils can assist with soothing and alleviating certain symptoms, such as sunburn-related inflammation. The following are a few other potential benefits of applying CBD oil for sunburn:

  • Pain relief: CBD might have analgesic (pain-relieving) properties that could ease the discomfort brought on by sunburn. Some researchers believe it might interact with the body’s pain receptors to lessen the experience of pain.
  • Moisturizing and skin-nourishing qualities: Some CBD-infused products, such as creams, lotions, balms, and oils, frequently include essential oils, aloe vera, or shea butter that hydrate and nourish the skin. 
  • Antioxidant effects: CBD has been shown to have antioxidant properties. This means it assists with protecting skin against oxidative stress caused by free radicals created by UV rays. Sunburn can lead to increased production of free radicals, which can damage skin cells and contribute to aging. 
  • Potential itch relief: Sunburn can often be accompanied by itching or skin irritation. CBD oil may help alleviate itching due to its anti-inflammatory effects and interactions with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating itching and irritation.

How Do You Use CBD Oil To Treat Sunburn? 

With the overwhelming variety of CBD products available, selecting the right one for your sunburn can be challenging. When treating sunburn, it is often advisable to consider topical CBD options like CBD balms, moisturizers, or CBD oil. 

These products work directly on the application area, providing targeted relief for the sunburn symptoms individuals typically experience, like inflammation, peeling, itchiness, swelling, and burning. 

Combining CBD treatments with a moisturizer and oil is usually best if topical treatment is not enough to soothe a sunburn. It is also believed that combining CBD products can provide longer-lasting relief with more immediate symptom alleviation. 

In most instances, using CBD oil tinctures alone can provide relief for between three to four hours before re-application is required. However, it’s important to use high-quality CBD oils for sunburn as certain products might not have high enough concentrations to alleviate sunburn symptoms. 

Wrap-Up On CBD Oil For Sunburns

Preventing sunburns is a better option than seeking a solution. However, CBD oil can be a viable option if you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of unfortunate overexposure to the sun. This is because there are evidently many benefits associated with CBD oil use for sunburns, according to recent studies on the topic, sparse as they may be.

Thus it might be advisable to use a high-quality CBD oil when sunburnt, and if you’re unsure about which to use, a healthcare professional can point you in the right direction. 


  1. Sunburn – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. (n.d.).
  2. Sunburn. The Skin Cancer Foundation. (2023, June 14).
  3. Gęgotek, A., Atalay, S., Rogowska-Wrzesińska, A., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2021, February 2). The effect of cannabidiol on UV-induced changes in intracellular signaling of 3D-cultured skin keratinocytes. International journal of molecular sciences.

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