Evening Primrose Oil
For those who are new to aromatherapy, you may be wondering what is evening primrose oil? Originating from North America, evening primrose is a flowering, yellow plant traditionally used to heal bruises and treat a variety of skin conditions.1,3 Today, this oil is commonly used as a carrier oil for essential oils but carries its own benefits, as well.
So, where does evening primrose oil come from? Organic evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose, known by its Latin name of Oenothera biennis.1 Unlike many other plants, evening primrose grows yellow flowers that bloom in the evening instead of the daytime, and contains the fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).1,2
Evening Primrose Oil Uses
While there are many different primrose oil uses, the oil has been noted for its ability to moisturize skin and hair. Research shows that due to the high concentrations of GLA, evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory properties and helps keeps skin hydrated.2 Evening primrose is often considered a great choice for individuals who suffer from acne or skin sensitivities.
For users curious about how to use evening primrose oil in your hair, it can simply be used as a hydrating, alternative shampoo or as a preventive hair loss treatment. Evening primrose oil contains essential fatty acids which are important for hair growth and maintaining a healthy scalp.3
Other uses for evening primrose oil include applying the oil directly on the skin to treat symptoms of eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis. Traditionally, women have also used evening primrose oil for pms to help reduce pain and balance hormones.
Evening Primrose Oil Benefits
There are several different benefits of evening primrose oil when applied topically. With vitamin E, fatty acids and anti-inflammatory properties, evening primrose oil may benefit dry or irritated skin and hair.2,3 Anecdotally, it has been very beneficial in treating acne, along with rejuvenating dull, tired skin. Primrose oil can also be massaged on to sunburns, eczema patches, and blemishes to provide moisture and help reduce redness.
Evening Primrose Oil Acne
Use evening primrose oil for acne to help moisturize the skin, soothe redness and reduce the appearance of blemishes. It’s often considered one of the best oils for acne as it contains useful fatty acids and vitamin E, which help soothe irritated skin without clogging pores. With daily use of evening primrose oil, hormonal acne symptoms may be reduced, leaving you with healthy, glowing skin.
Since women tend to break out more during their menstrual cycle, use evening primrose oil in combination with the acne-fighting properties of tea tree essential oil to help control potential outbreaks.
Evening Primrose Oil Pregnancy
Traditionally, primrose oil has been used by pregnant women by directly applying the oil to the cervix. It was believed that using evening primrose oil during pregnancy may help soften and enlarge the cervix, and even help induce labor.
To date, only preliminary studies that have researched the use of evening primrose in pregnancy, but without significant data it’s not clear if the oil can induce labor.
For post-pregnancy mothers, users have reported that with the daily use of evening primrose oil, breastfeeding side effects may be reduced as the oil can soothe dry, chapped nipples or skin.
Always talk to your healthcare professional before using any essential oil or carrier oil during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Evening Primrose Oil Skin
There are many evening primrose oil benefits for skin when applying this oil topically. Rich in GLA and vitamin E, evening primrose oil can soothe painfully dry skin, and may be useful for conditions including acne, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, sunburns and more.3 Emerging research has also noted that daily use of evening primrose may help maintain the skin’s natural barrier, ensuring proper hydration.2
To use evening primrose oil for skin conditions like psoriasis or dermatitis, combine 2 drops of tea tree essential oil, or thyme essential oil, with 1 Tbsp. of evening primrose carrier oil.4 Apply to the affected areas for soothing relief.
For users concerned about aging skin, you may also apply a small amount of evening primrose oil liquid to the under eye area with your fingers to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Evening Primrose Oil Hair Loss
Primrose oil may also be beneficial for for those suffering from hair loss as it’s rich in the essential fatty acid GLA along with vitamin E, nutrients that contribute to thick, healthy looking hair.3 To help prevent further hair loss naturally, you can combine evening primrose with rosemary essential oil or cedarwood essential oil which may help stimulate hair follicles.
To use evening primrose oil for hair loss, combine 1 Tbsp. with 2 drops of rosemary or cedarwood essential oil and massage into the scalp. Rinse thoroughly and repeat if desired.
Is Evening Primrose Oil Safe?
Evening primrose oil is considered safe to use for topical application, however those who are pregnant or have a serious medical condition should speak with a health care professional before undergoing long term use of this carrier oil.
Where to Buy Evening Primrose Oil
You may be wondering, where can I buy evening primrose oil? While some retail stores may carry primrose products, there most likely will not be a wide selection to choose from. Essential Oil Experts recommends buying evening primrose oil from reputable essential oil retailers who specialize in carrier oil products.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health. (September 2016). Evening Primrose Oil. Retrieved June from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/eveningprimrose – View reference
- Park, K. Y., Ko, E. J., Kim, I. S., Li, K., Kim, B. J., Seo, S. J., … Hong, C. K. (2014). The Effect of Evening Primrose Oil for the Prevention of Xerotic Cheilitis in Acne Patients Being Treated with Isotretinoin: A Pilot Study. Annals of Dermatology, 26(6), 706. doi: 5021/ad.2014.26.6.706
- Graham, J. (1989) Evening Primrose Oil. Retrieved June 17, 2017 from https://books.google.ca/books?id=mKj9zValugkC&dq=evening+primrose+oil+uses+book&source=gbs_navlinks_s – View reference
- Mayo Clinic. (2013, November 1). Evening primrose (Oenothera spp.) – Safety. Retrieved June 20, 2017 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/evening-primrose/safety/hrb-20059889 – View reference