Ingredient: Evening Primrose Oil

INCI: Oenothera Biennis

Sources: Plant Oils - Evening Primrose Oil and Borage Oil

Our rating: GOOD

What is Evening Primrose Oil?

Evening primrose oil (EPO) is derived from the seeds of the evening primrose plant using a cold-press method to preserve the nutrients.  The plant is native to North America and was used by Native Americans for its medicinal properties. The oil contains about 10% gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) - an omega-6 essential fatty acid (EFA) - and 72% linoleic acid. GLA, EFA and linoleic acid are crucial to glowing skin.

In 17th century Europe, evening primrose oil was referred to as "king's cure-all" because it was used for treating numerous disorders such as sore throats, bruises, digestive problems and haemorrhoids.

Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil:

High levels of essential fatty acids are required to ensure skin health. The EFAs contribute to moisture, suppleness and smoothness of skin. The natural aging process causes the body’s natural moisturising factors levels to drop and can result in dry skin and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Topical application of evening primrose oil that is rich in EFAs can help to enhance the epidermal barrier, restore hydration of the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and lines.

Acne-prone skin contains lower levels of linoleic acid in its secreted sebum, a deficiency which contributes to higher cases of pimple breakout.  Evening primrose oil contains high levels of linoleic acid which can help to reduce acne formation. Studies have shown that GLA acid has been shown to be one of the most effective agents for the treatment of skin problems such as dry skin, eczema, inflammation and dermatitis.

Side Effects & Toxicity:

An extremely safe ingredient, evening primrose oil has no known toxicity in general use and is shown to be non-irritating and suitable for sensitive skin.

Editor’s Note:

Evening primrose oil contains phenylalanine – a pain relieving compound – and is increasingly being used to treat chronic headaches, hormonal imbalance and many other health disorders.