How Do I Use Evening Primrose Oil for Acne?

Victoria Blackburn
Victoria Blackburn
A close up of acne.
A close up of acne.

Evening primrose oil is a dietary supplement and a topical treatment derived from the seeds of a wildflower that grows across North and South America. In addition to its other uses, people use evening primrose oil for acne by applying it topically and by taking it in supplement form. Due to its short shelf life, it is recommended to purchase evening primrose oil in capsules; these can be broken and the oil applied directly to the skin as needed.

Evening primrose oil capsules.
Evening primrose oil capsules.

Use of evening primrose oil in poultices to help treat wounds can be traced back to the Native Americans. By applying evening primrose oil to the skin, it can help speed up wound healing and also help get rid of bruises faster. These effects are why people use evening primrose oil for acne topically as well as ingesting it.

As a supplement, evening primrose oil can help maintain the overall health of the body and the skin. The oil is high in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid, as well as linoleic acid. It has been linked with improvements in the symptoms associated with eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis, as well as acne. Taking supplements of evening primrose oil for acne treatment can lead to less redness and irritation of the skin. It can help reduce the inflammation, pain, swelling and redness that is suffered by people with chronic acne.

Evening primrose oil may be applied after the face is washed for acne prevention.
Evening primrose oil may be applied after the face is washed for acne prevention.

Applying evening primrose oil directly onto pimples can help to reduce the size and discoloration of the pimple. When taking supplements, there is no guarantee how much of an effect the evening primrose oil will have on the skin of the person taking the capsules. By applying the oil from the capsules directly to the pimple, the essential fatty acids will be absorbed by the skin cells that need to be treated.

Evening primrose oil contains high levels of gamma-linolenic acid.
Evening primrose oil contains high levels of gamma-linolenic acid.

Evening primrose oil is quite thick and can go bad quickly, so many people recommend buying the capsules and puncturing them as necessary if topically applying evening primrose oil for acne. By puncturing the capsules, there is a much smaller amount of oil to deal with, so the application can be much more controlled. Also, the capsules usually have a much longer shelf life than purchasing bottles of evening primrose oil.

Drinking plenty of water can help keep the skin hydrated and reduce the occurrence of acne.
Drinking plenty of water can help keep the skin hydrated and reduce the occurrence of acne.

To treat acne with evening primrose oil, the oil should be applied to the inflamed area of the skin in the evening after the face has been cleansed. The oil should not be wiped off, but left overnight to be absorbed completely into the skin. What is important to note is that this is a quite mild treatment method, so it can take some time for results to appear when treatment is first started.

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Discussion Comments

turquoise

I don't think EPO works for everyone. If your acne is not caused by a hormonal imbalance, EPO probably won't help when used internally.

serenesurface

@donasmrs-- Evening primprose oil is working for me, I'm taking the supplements internally. I take 500mg/day but I do take a break from it for a few days every now and then. My face started clearing up soon after I started this supplement and it has been clear ever since. I do get an occasional pimple (usually around the time of the month), but that's it. Evening primrose oil helps balance hormone and I think that's why it's working. I recommend it.

You probably had a bad reaction to it because you applied it all over your face. Try taking the supplements internally. It's also effective as a spot treatment but don't apply it everywhere.

donasmrs

EPO (evening primrose oil) did not work for me. I added some into my regular face moisturizer to help treat and fight pimples. But it made my face oily and caused more pimples. I wonder if I should have taken it internally instead.

Has anyone here used EPO with success? How did you use it?

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