Person Using Topical CBD Oil for Skincare

CBD Topicals: A Buyer’s Guide

There’s a wide variety of topical CBD products on the market today. But what makes one better than another? Learn more in this CBD topicals buying guide!

The CBD topicals market is vast and diverse, offering products such as gels, creams, and oils. But how do you choose which products stand out from the rest to fit your needs? In this guide, we'll explore some crucial factors to consider, such as the quality and potency of the CBD used in the topicals, the quality of other ingredients involved, and tips on how to choose the right product for you that enhances the effectiveness of these CBD topicals.

Use the links below to easily find answers about choosing the best CBD topicals for you:

Topical CBD Benefits

Before getting into learning how to choose the right CBD topicals for you, it’s helpful to understand what CBD creams, gels, and oils can do for you. Adding CBD topicals into your daily wellness routine can help offer a number of health benefits.

CBD topicals have surged in popularity due to their potential therapeutic benefits, particularly for temporary pain relief, workout recovery, muscle aches, and dry skin. They work by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex cell-signaling system that plays a key role in regulating a range of functions and processes, including sleep, mood, appetite, and pain.

When applied topically, CBD interacts with ECS receptors in the skin, muscles, and nerves, which can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. This makes CBD topicals an excellent option for localized relief from conditions like joint discomfort and sports injuries. Moreover, CBD's anti-inflammatory properties can aid in workout recovery. By reducing inflammation, CBD topicals may help speed up the healing process, relieving muscle soreness after an intense workout session.

In addition to providing target relief, CBD topicals can also offer skincare benefits. CBD oil has been shown to have moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties, making it a useful ingredient in lotions and creams. It can help combat dry skin by nourishing and hydrating the skin's surface.

Overall, CBD topicals offer a holistic approach to wellness, providing targeted relief while promoting overall skin health. Whether you’re dealing with chronic pain, post-workout soreness, or dry skin, CBD topicals can be a beneficial addition to your self care routine. For an enhanced wellness experience, pair topicals with other CBD products such as cbdMD MAX to help you feel better both inside and out.

Athlete Applying CBD Cream for Muscle Recovery

What to Look for in CBD Topicals

The best CBD topicals boast superior ingredients, provide precise CBD dosages, and seamlessly fit into your daily regimen. Their applications are straightforward, they can provide quick relief, and they help contribute to your overall health and well-being with a number of additional topical CBD advantages.

However, distinguishing between high-quality CBD topicals and ones you might want to avoid can be challenging due to the similarity in product appearances and the vast array of choices available. To ensure you're making the right selection, here are a few factors to consider:

  • The source of the CBD: Did it come from high-quality hemp?
  • GMP certification: Does production meet Good Manufacturing Process requirements?
  • The testing process: Are the CBD topicals third-party tested with COAs?
  • Ease of use: Are the topical products easy to apply?
  • Additional ingredients: Are the topicals made with superior ingredients?

CBD 101: What’s in the Best CBD Topicals?

While all companies may claim to offer the best CBD topicals, it's important to remember that not all topical CBD products meet the same standards. Understanding the correct procedures for formulating, testing, and using CBD topicals can equip you with the knowledge to make an informed choice. Regardless of your selection, you'll be well-prepared to identify key factors when making a purchase.

USA Hemp

The best CBD creams, gels, and oils start with high-quality hemp. While it may not appear to be a significant factor at first glance, the quality of hemp used is indeed crucial to the creation of superior CBD topicals. Hemp, as a crop, offers many benefits, making it an excellent base for topical CBD products, and making the source and quality of the hemp one of the top factors to consider.

Many believe that the finest hemp is cultivated within the United States. Although some companies might opt for European-sourced hemp, which isn't necessarily an unfavorable choice, the soil quality on American farms is known to yield some of the world's most outstanding hemp plants. Furthermore, using US-grown hemp eliminates any doubts about compliance with American regulatory standards.

The importance of using high-quality hemp in products, especially CBD topicals, cannot be overstated. It directly impacts the effectiveness and safety of the final product, reinforcing the necessity of choosing US-grown hemp for assured quality and compliance with regulations.

Third Party Testing &  COAs

When choosing the right CBD topicals for you, researching a company’s Certificates of Analysis and third-party testing results can help you find high-quality, consistent products that you can depend on. These processes help ensure quality, safety, and transparency, which are crucial in the largely unregulated CBD industry.

Third-party testing involves independent laboratories analyzing CBD products to verify their contents and potency. These tests confirm whether the product contains the advertised amount of CBD, and also detect any harmful substances like heavy metals, pesticides, or microbial contaminants. This is critical as these impurities can pose risks to user health and undermine the effectiveness of the CBD.

Certificates of Analysis (COAs), on the other hand, are issued by these third-party labs. They provide detailed information about the product's composition, including the levels of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids present, and any potential contaminants. COAs are a testament to a product's quality and safety, helping consumers make informed decisions.

In essence, third-party testing and COAs are integral to maintaining high standards in the CBD industry. They offer an extra layer of assurance to consumers, confirming that they are investing in safe, effective, and high-quality topical CBD products.

Application Type

The application type of a topical CBD product is a key consideration when choosing the right product for your needs and lifestyle. Some common forms include roller balls, pumps, sprays, gels, creams, and oils, each offering unique benefits.

Roller balls are convenient and portable, allowing precise application on targeted areas without getting your hands messy. They're ideal for on-the-go use or post-workout relief. Pumps allow you to distribute just the right amount of product onto a specific spot. Sprays, on the other hand, cover larger areas quickly and evenly, making them suitable for general pain or discomfort.

Gels are often cooling due to ingredients like menthol, providing immediate relief to inflamed or painful areas. They are absorbed quickly, delivering fast-acting results. Creams are typically thicker and more moisturizing, making them perfect for dry skin conditions or joint pain. They also tend to have longer-lasting effects due to their consistency. Oils offer the highest concentration of CBD and are versatile in their application, as they can be used directly on the skin or mixed with lotions for a customized experience.

In essence, the choice of application type should align with your specific needs, lifestyle, and comfort. Considering these factors will ensure that you select a topical CBD product that offers maximum effectiveness and convenience.

Woman Applying Topical CBD Product for Better Skin

Made with Premium Ingredients

The best CBD topicals are loaded with high-quality ingredients, offering benefits that go beyond CBD's health advantages. High-quality and natural ingredients help ensure rapid relief and revitalized skin. By steering clear of unknown chemicals, cbdMD’s topical products provide worry-free enjoyment of our CBD creams, gels, and oils. Here are a few of the natural ingredients we include in our range of topical CBD products.


Menthol provides a cooling sensation that can help soothe discomfort and inflammation. It enhances the pain-relieving properties of CBD by numbing the skin, offering quick relief from temporary aches, pains, and soreness. Additionally, menthol facilitates better absorption of CBD, maximizing the product's overall effectiveness.

Histamine Dihydrochloride

Histamine dihydrochloride acts as an external analgesic, providing temporary relief from pain and itching. It works by causing a warming sensation on the skin, which soothes and distracts from discomfort and enhances the overall benefits of CBD. It's often used in products targeting joint and muscle pain.


Renowned for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, arnica aids in reducing swelling, bruising, and discomfort. When combined with CBD, it enhances the product's overall efficacy, making it especially beneficial for those seeking relief from muscle soreness, joint pain, or skin inflammation.

Aloe Vera

Known for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera helps soothe skin irritation and promotes healing. CBD topicals with aloe vera are especially beneficial for conditions like sunburns, dry skin, acne, and inflammatory skin disorders.

Types of CBD Topicals

Once you’ve narrowed down your options to only high-quality CBD topicals, it’s time to choose which application of topical works best for your lifestyle. As mentioned above, many topical CBD products also come with additional ingredients crafted for specific purposes, which you might want to consider as well.

Topical CBD Creams

Our Recover CBD Cream is designed to help soothe joint and muscle aches. It combines superior broad spectrum hemp extract with pain-relieving histamine dihydrochloride, soothing arnica and aloe vera, and skin-nourishing oils for ultimate relief and rejuvenation. The cream helps provide temporary pain relief and a gentle warming sensation.

Roll-On CBD Gels

CBD Freeze is an award-winning CBD gel that combines menthol's quick cooling relief with hemp extract's soothing power. Ideal for alleviating temporary muscle and joint pain, this fast-drying roll-on includes ingredients like arnica, tea tree oil, and aloe vera for skin soothing. It's perfect for daily use on discomfort areas.

CBD Oils

Topically applied CBD oil can be a versatile addition to your skincare routine. Mixing it with your existing products can enhance their benefits, or adding a few drops to your bath can provide extra skin hydration. It's also great for targeted application on areas needing pain relief or relaxation – especially when used during a massage.

Man Getting Massage with CBD Oil for Relief

Look for Topical CBD Product Reviews

Reviews can be a valuable tool when searching for the best CBD topicals for you. They offer insights from individuals who've already tested the product you're interested in. Through reviews, you can see if real people have experienced the benefits you’re on the market for.

However, online reviews can be manipulated, so it's advisable to seek reviews from various independent sites and not just the company's platform. If celebrity endorsers or influencers are involved, look for details about their personal use of the products to ensure they actually use and enjoy the product instead of just using a sponsored product.

Be cautious of the claims made in these reviews. Expected benefits may include temporary pain relief, soothed skin, and muscle recovery. However, beware of any extravagant claims about CBD. Reputable CBD vendors will not allow misleading or exaggerated reviews on their sites to maintain customer trust and avoid legal issues.

Using the Best CBD Topicals

As part of your daily wellness routine, CBD topicals are a great way to maintain your healthy lifestyle, soothe aches and pains, and improve your skincare routine. Plus, they’re easily applied in gel or cream form for quick relief, or mixed into your favorite skincare products with CBD oil.

Topical CBD products made from superior quality hemp should also be made with the best ingredients, like menthol, histamine dihydrochloride, aloe vera, and arnica. A trustworthy CBD company will also provide consistent CBD dosing for results you can rely on.

Hopefully, now that we’ve covered the basics, you’ll be able to choose the best CBD topicals for you!

If you’re interested in learning more about choosing the right topical CBD products and how to incorporate them into your life, keep an eye on our frequently updated blog. You can also learn more about other CBD products with our gummies guide, tinctures guide, capsules guide, calm CBD guide, and CBD for sleep guide.


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