Evening primrose oil for dry skin – this is what the active ingredient can do

People & Style

A special moisturizer in cosmetic products is evening primrose oil. What properties also make the North American plant so valuable for skin care? STYLEBOOK asked the experts.

Evening primrose oil is said to help with inflamed skin and eczema and can even relieve menstrual cramps. The dermatologist reveals what’s really behind it and how to best use the active ingredient Dr. Timm Goluke AND Birgit Huber by the Personal Care and Detergents Industry Association.

What is Evening Primrose Oil?

Evening primrose oil, or “Oenothera biennis oil”, is an active ingredient often contained in skin care products, especially in medical skin care. The oil is extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose, a plant native to southwestern North America. Each single fruit produces about 200 seeds. However, the oil yield is low and therefore production is very expensive.

How is the active ingredient used?

Evening primrose oil can be used topically on the skin or internally as a dietary supplement. For use on the skin, the oil can be applied in its pure form or used in skin care products in the form of creams, lotions or soaps with the appropriate ingredient. Evening primrose oil as a component of care products is particularly suitable for mature and sensitive skin. “It has a high content of gamma-linolenic acid and linoleic acid,” explains Birgit Huber of the Personal Care and Detergents Industry Association.

What is the effect of evening primrose oil?

Evening primrose oil for irritated skin

Evening primrose oil has a calming effect on sensitive skin and supports its protective function. “In addition, creams with vegetable oil are particularly suitable for dry skin, as it acts as a reliable moisturizer and keeps the skin smooth and supple,” adds Birgit Huber. “Evening primrose oil may also be helpful against brittle nails.” Thanks to the gamma-linolenic acid it contains, the ingredient is also suitable for people with problem skin. In case of rashes or skin diseases such as neurodermatitis and psoriasis, evening primrose oil can also be an effective aid. You should integrate the oil into your skincare routine for several weeks. The itching decreases and the complexion improves in the long run.

Internal use for PMS symptoms

Vegetable oil can help not only in skin care, but also in case of PMS symptoms. The active ingredient can help regulate hormonal balance and relieve menstrual problems such as hot flashes or fatigue. As a PMS aide, the oil is to be used internally. Evening primrose oil is therefore also available in practical capsules to swallow.

Possible risks of use

Basically, evening primrose oil offers many health benefits. However, there are some things to keep in mind when using it. As always with topically applied skin care products, you should do a patch test first to rule out an allergic reaction. Vegetable oil also has an antihypertensive effect, which is why people with low blood pressure should consume only small amounts.

expert evaluation

dermatologist Dr Timm Golüke evaluates the active ingredient as largely positive: “Evening primrose oil is very well known in the treatment of eczema because it contains omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. It can be used well in case of eczema or neurodermatitis, as it reduces the loss of the skin and can strengthen the skin’s barrier function”. However, the doctor also warns of possible allergic reactions. “Allergy sufferers should first test the vegetable oil on a small area of ​​the skin”.

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That’s what consumer protection says

There are no limited dosage recommendations for use on the skin. However, if you take evening primrose oil as a dietary supplement, you should be careful not to exceed the recommended intake of a maximum of 1,500 mg per day.


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