Skincare vs. Stigma
Anna Pflefghaar’s mission to spread the use of high-quality, health-forward skincare products is a personal one. Having anxiety and autoimmune issues herself, Pfleghaar was drawn to the rapidly growing world of CBD. Combine this with her previous experience in the beauty industry and her desire for more clean skincare and the seeds were planted for CocoCanna, a vegan skincare line infused with hemp oil and CBD and composed exclusively of naturally occurring ingredients. Pfleghaar discusses the importance of organic ingredients and how she hopes to change the CBD skincare industry in this exclusive interview.
Cannabis & Tech Today: Have all-natural ingredients been a focus of CocoCanna from the start?
Anna Pfleghaar: 100 percent. I think that the average consumer isn’t privy to how many toxic ingredients the FDA allows in products. There’s 82,000 carcinogenic ingredients that are also toxic that we allow to be used in our cosmetics on the shelves, so one in eight of the ingredients that we’re consuming or putting onto our skin is possibly toxic or carcinogenic.
Our body has to actually digest that and it can create a ton of different health issues that we’re not aware of. You might be the best, cleanest eater in the world, but if you’re using these skincare products that are extremely bad for you with all these toxins, you could have really horrible long-term effects, including cancer.
C&T Today: What might the casual skincare user not know about using hemp oil within their skin care products?
Anna Pfleghaar: The studies are showing that it’s a stronger antioxidant than the leading vitamins that we use, like A, C, and E. This is something that can be compared to retinol in skincare, which people are shocked by.
It’s also universally anti-inflammatory. When we think of anti-inflammation, I think people think, “Oh, I sprained my ankle, my foot’s inflamed,” but acne is a source of inflammation. Any injury, irritation, or injury to the skin and the body reacts with inflammation.
CBD will help any of that, and that includes wrinkles, sun spots, anything of that nature that we don’t like on our skin is often a negative effect of free radicals and pollution in our environment.
C&T Today: Why do you believe it’s taken so long for the skincare industry to embrace hemp oil on a larger level?
Anna Pfleghaar: I think it’s simply that it’s related to cannabis and it has this stigma. It also wasn’t federally legal or FDA regulated for the last 100 years. We do have evidence of people using hemp oil for beauty and pain, topical purposes up to 5000 B.C. It’s only in the last 100 years that we as an institute, a society, decided to ban this amazing, powerful plant.
C&T Today: Has that stigma made it difficult to distribute your products?
Anna Pfleghaar: Yeah. I mean, most of the large retailers – like the big box stores – were definitely opposed to it when I first launched. And I had a network, so I knew who to call and what to do. They were just very leery of it until the Farm Bill passed last December.
Really, the biggest thing that’s been frustrating is Facebook and Instagram and their super dated policies that are really blocking us from being able to reach the mass consumer in that way. We’ve just had to be creative in our approach with influencers and events. But now that the doors are starting to open, things are looking brighter, for sure.
C&T Today: What other products do you envision for the CocoCanna brand?
Anna Pfleghaar: So we have five more SKUs that we hope to launch by fall. We’re super excited about those. One of those that I’m trying to develop right now would be a CBD-infused eye patch, similar to Patchology or any of those brands.
Just like your classic eye patch: silicone gel with CBD infusion that will address under-eye inflammation, discoloration, and things like that. We’re hopeful that we’ll get a response from it, as far as consumers really being able to see how CBD topically works when it’s concentrated in such a delicate area.
C&T Today: Where do you see the CBD skincare industry going in the future?
Anna Pfleghaar: I hope to see it go in a very inclusive, female-led way. In the cannabis industry, it’s marketed toward everyone and I feel like traditional skin care and beauty markets to a very specific, elite clientele. So, I think we have a cool opportunity to approach it from a smaller, craft angle.
That’s just something that’s super important to me and my brand. I don’t like normal models. I want someone to look like themselves and not what I used to see when I worked in fashion in New York. I think it’s an inclusive environment, for sure. I feel like Photoshop’s really done a large number on society, especially on girls, with the accessibility to touch up any picture. It’s crazy.