Fatty acid-packed evening primrose oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the primrose flower, a common wildflower in North America. Evening primrose oil is most often found in skincare as one component of a blend, since it’s expensive and has a short shelf life. It has extensive skin-health benefits, both as a topical and internal oil. Here’s a look at the history and many uses of this deeply nourishing carrier oil:

Early uses of the evening primrose plant

Evening primrose flower

Native Americans used a poultice of the evening primrose plant to remedy many conditions, including stomach aches and sore throats.

Why choose evening primrose oil for your skin?

Evening primrose oil makes a wonderful carrier oil or a component of a carrier oil blend, as it’s highly emollient, nourishing, and easily absorbed. This rich oil is prized for its content of fatty acids, especially the omega-6 acids linolenic acid (about 70%) and gamma linolenic acid, or GLA, (about 10%) which help strengthen the skin barrier and reduce moisture loss. Evening primrose oil can be especially well-suited for mature skin, or skin that is parched or irritated, as with eczema or dermatitis. Evening primrose oil helps maintain stratum corneum adhesion. It also reduces inflammation, boosts circulation, improves tone and elasticity, and may be healing to acne and eczema. It has a light, sweet scent and a medium yellow color.

What to consider when using evening primrose oil:

Evening primrose oil has a short shelf life. Store it in the fridge, and use it within 6 to 9 months. If you wish to use small amounts of evening primrose oil, look for capsules rather than a large quantity that could become rancid before you use it all.

Evening primrose oil: Did you know?

Evening primrose oil may have skin-health benefits when taken internally as a supplement as well. Evening primrose oil is commonly utilized to help improve hormonal acne, eczema, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis, as well as to balance other hormonal fluctuations. Supplementation with evening primrose oil has also been shown to improve skin elasticity, moisture, and firmness. Talk to your doctor for dosage recommendations.

Sources and Further Reading:

Truth in Aging. What is it: Evening Primrose Oil. Retrieved 4/30/17.

Essential Oils, Neal’s Yard Remedies, 2016 DK Publishing.


Flower image via flowerinfo.org