A beautiful yellow flower that blooms in the evening produces the evening primrose oil. What does the oil of this ornamental plant have to offer for our skin?
Simply a lot!
We all want to have healthy skin forever. Who wouldn’t want their skin to remain healthy and glowing? Like how it takes effort to care for our body's health, preserving our skin's greatness also needs our utmost care!
That is why we search far and wide for the products that will give us our best skin possible. We don't want to wake up in the morning, look at the mirror, and have dull, dry, and rough-looking skin looking back at us. Oh no, we don't! What we want is to counteract these as much as possible and put our best face forward.
Lucky for us, mother nature's gifts abound — gifts that will surely make our skin happy! One of these gifts is evening primrose oil.
Find out how evening primrose oil can up our skin care game and help boost our skin's overall health!
What Is Evening Primrose Oil?
Evening primrose oil (EPO) comes from the seeds of the evening primrose, Oenothera biennis. The oil is usually sold in capsule form, but it is equally popular as a cold-pressed carrier oil for essential oils.
Like the flower of the plant it comes from, evening primrose oil appears a pale to golden yellow. Since it is a carrier oil, the scent of EPO is subdued.
EPO contains mainly aliphatic alcohols, fatty acids, sterols, and polyphenols. Above all its components, precious is the evening primrose oil's extremely high linoleic acid (LA) (70–74%) and γ-linolenic acid (GLA) (8–10%). The high linoleic acid content is responsible for EPO's thin consistency. We will discuss more on these components later, as we explore the oil's benefits for our skin.
History of Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose is a plant native to North America but also grows in Europe and parts of the Southern Hemisphere. Indigenous tribes in North America (namely the Cherokee, Iroquois, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi) were the first to use this plant — using the plant as food and medicinal crop for hundreds of years.
In the early 17th century, evening primrose was introduced in Europe as an ornamental plant in botanical gardens. The discovery of possible applications in the kitchen and as a medicinal plant of evening primrose came 100 years later.
Different Uses of Evening Primrose Oil
Traditional medicine utilized evening primrose in various ways. Today, many studies focus on the potential use of evening primrose oil. Here are some of this oil's uses:
- as a dietary supplement
- as a carrier oil
- as a hair oil treatment
In aromatherapy, evening primrose oil cannot be used alone. But as a carrier oil, you can mix the essential oil of your choice with EPO. Using a diffuser for aromatherapy sessions evenly disperses the vapors so that it can enter the respiratory system more gently.
Skin Benefits of Evening Prim Rose Oil
Have I got you intrigued on the skin benefits of evening primrose oil? Now's the time to explore this oil's goodness for our skin!
As mentioned above, EPO is extremely high in linoleic acid (LA; 70-74%) and gamma-linoleic acid (GLA; 8-10%). Though many plant oils contain LA and GLA respectively, the percentage of these two in EPO makes it quite potent!
The combo of LA and GLA is responsible for the oil's numerous benefits that contribute to maintaining healthy skin. According to this study, evening primrose oil has the following benefits for our skin when applied topically:
- strengthens the epidermal barrier;
- normalizes the excessive loss of water through the epidermis;
- regenerates the skin; and,
- improves smoothness.
Whatever your skin type might be, reading each bullet point must make you smile. All of these are qualities our skin must have to maintain its health and loveliness. So it's great news that we can obtain these through EPO!
LA and GLA: A Closer Look
Because of the oil's linoleic acid content, EPO has a beneficial moisturizing effect for acne patients treated with isotretinoin. A considerable side effect of using tret is the dryness and flaking it causes to the skin while curing acne.
Supplementing the skin with EPO improves the skin's water balance, which is weakened by tret treatment. This effect also implies that those with skin on the dryer side will benefit from EPO.
Also, in discussing EPO benefits, emphasized all the time is its gamma-linoleic acid content. Popular sources of GLA include borage oil, black currant oil, and evening primrose oil. Though EPO has the lowest GLA percentage among the three, the amount in EPO oil is enough for the skin to benefit from GLA.
GLA is a source of the anti-inflammatory eicosanoids 15-HETrE and PGE1. These eicosanoids address skin swelling and promote wound healing — problems that occur to us when going through acne breakouts.
How to Use Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is genuinely something that can up the skin care game of all skin types. Uncomplicated and lovely is this oil that it is quite easy to incorporate into our routines!
You can incorporate drops of the oil into your existing skin care products or feature the oil in your upcoming DIY projects.
To inspire you, here is a moisturizing DIY face oil with evening primrose oil!
Face Oil with Evening Primrose Oil
- clean, dry bowl
- 1 amber glass dropper bottle
- 1 tablespoon of Evening Primrose Oil
- 1 tablespoon of Rosehip Oil
- 15 drops of Bulgarian Rose Essential Oil
- 15 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil
- 15 drops of Geranium Essential Oil
How to Prepare It?
1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl. Stir well.
2. Pour mixture into a glass dropper bottle.
Use 1/2 dropper (or less) full of the face oil on clean face and neck. You can use this in both mornings and evenings. The moisturizing and water-balancing effect of EPO, combined with the many EOs in this face oil, will surely leave your skin healthy and nourished!
Is Evening Primrose Oil Safe?
There are no significant dangers in using evening primrose oil topically. Of course, we must always practice caution when dealing with any carrier or essential oils.
Since EPO is a carrier oil, there is no need to dilute it before use.
Always perform a patch test when using a new oil. Place a drop of the carrier oil on the inner area of your elbow. Leave it on for 24 hours and observe the skin for any reactions.
For safety purposes, it is not advised for pregnant and breastfeeding women to use oils without consulting medical professionals.
In relation, for children and the elderly, it is highly advised to contact your physician or doctor before using oils. Self-treatment of chronic diseases by applying EPO may also hold serious consequences without professional advice.
How to Choose Evening Primrose Oil
As with all carrier oils, remember not to buy evening primrose oil from food stores. Apart from these reminders, here are the things you should look for when choosing your EPO:
- 100% essential oil
- Therapeutic grade
I highly recommend Plant Therapy's evening primrose oil. This brand, for me, is trustworthy since the EPO they carry has the highest possible GLA content. Their EPO also passes all the requirements for a quality carrier oil for a reasonable price!
We can all benefit from upping our skin care game. Our environment can get harsher and harsher every day, so it is a must to protect our skin and maintain its health.
Evening primrose oil is a leading candidate when it comes to holistic care for our skin. The oil itself is uncomplicated and easy to use!
Of course, always research if you have doubts. When you're ready, hop on in and use this lovely oil for healthy and glowing skin!
Thank you for reading the post!
Have you used EPO before? Any DIY recipes you love doing with this oil? Share in the comments below!
Stay tuned and take skin care