November 2018 | By CBD Hacker

CBD’s anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant properties are gaining more fame with every passing day. So, it makes sense that applying it to the skin can be a great way to get targeted relief from a variety of complaints. But which CBD topical products are right for you?

There are a lot of different types of CBD products designed for topical application, and they’re so different that it can be hard to compare them in a meaningful way.

This ranking is for everyone out there who wants to try a CBD cream or balm, but doesn’t know where to start. We did the research and crunched the numbers. Now we’re ready to share what we discovered so that you can choose the best product for your needs.

So, read on to learn more about our methodology, or hit the button just below to skip right to the ranking.


With the explosion of attention directed towards CBD oil in the last few years, most people probably know that there are several ways of using CBD. You can vape it, pop a CBD capsule, or even use a suppository.

When you apply CBD externally, though, it has specific benefits. That’s because when it’s absorbed through the skin, CBD doesn’t circulate throughout the bloodstream the way it does with other ingestion methods. Its anti-inflammatory oomph is directed right to where you need it most.

So, people use topical CBD to get targeted relief for aches and pains from conditions like arthritis or neuralgia. Or athletes may use CBD creams and gels to soothe soreness after a workout. Still other people say that topical CBD products help with skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.

And with its antioxidant properties, CBD could also play a role in repairing acne, sun-damaged skin, and fighting the signs of aging.


In a project like this, the first step is selecting the products to evaluate. We decided to focus on creams, balms, and salves. These types of products are typically used to treat pain or to ease skin conditions.

This category did not include creams or lotions that are marketed primarily as beauty products, because we would need to use different criteria to evaluate them. (And we will probably do a separate review of CBD beauty products before too long.)

Some of the brands we included are well known and long established. Others are newer ones that have recently launched. We also looked at forums and review sites to see what products CBD consumers were asking about or recommending.


After we selected the products, we evaluated them using blind product testing. This means that we tested samples that had been packaged in identical containers and labeled by number. That way, when we recorded our subjective observations, we did not know which product was which.

We also sent samples to a third-party lab for cannabinoid potency analysis. Because these results are given in percentage by weight and milligrams per gram, it was a bit challenging to effectively compare the results to the labeled quantities.

That’s because most of these products are classified as liquids, so they’re labeled by volume instead of weight. And without knowing the density of the products, comparing the labeled quantities (in milligrams per milliliter) to the lab results (in milligrams per gram) just gave us a rough idea of whether the labels were accurate.

Ultimately, we decided that since people don’t typically measure creams and balms precisely, the potency percentage is probably the most useful number for comparison in this case. With a high-potency tincture, a consumer might need to precisely measure their dose in drops. But when we apply topicals, we usually judge the appropriate quantity visually.

Ready to check out our top CBD topical products? Click here on to see the full ranking!

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