Acne is one of the most common skin problems. There are various medical treatment options, but these are often expensive. As a result, people continue to discover cheaper and cost-effective alternative treatment options. Evening primrose oil acne treatment is one option that has been growing in popularity in recent years. Read on to discover how this natural (plant-based) oil can help get rid of acne spots and blemishes and discover the best evening primrose oil for acne scars.
What is Evening Primrose Oil?
- 1 What is Evening Primrose Oil?
- 2 How Does Evening Primrose Oil Help Acne?
- 3 Evening Primrose Oil for Hormonal acne and Cystic Acne
- 4 Evening Primrose Oil Acne Dosage
- 5 Evening Primrose Oil Side Effects
- 6 Evening Primrose Oil for Acne Scars
- 7 Does Evening Primrose Oil Cause Acne?
- 8 Evening Primrose Oil Acne Before and After Pictures
- 9 Evening Primrose Oil Acne Reviews
- 10 Best Evening Primrose Oil for Acne Scars, Cysts, and Pimples
- 11 Evening Primrose Oil Acne Benefits in Summary
As the name suggests, evening primrose oil (Often referred to with the initials EPO) is extracted from the seed of evening primrose plant, Oenothera biennis. Evening primrose plant is a wildflower that grows widely in North America, Europe and parts of Asia.
It is one of the 650 flowering plant species that constitute the Onagraceae family and derives its name from the fact that its pale yellow flowers open in the evening.
Evening primrose plant has a long history of use for treatment of ailments such as wounds, skin inflammation, sore throat, hemorrhoids, and stomachache among Native Americans.
It is only recently that evening primrose oil acne healing power started getting the attention.
How Does Evening Primrose Oil Help Acne?
Research studies have shown that evening primrose oil is rich in an essential fatty acid referred to as Gamma-linoleic Acid (GLA). GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid and as with all essential fatty acid, GLA fatty acid cannot be synthesized in the body; it has to be supplied from another source.
GLA plays key roles in the body key among them being the promotion of insulin absorption, brain growth, and skin elasticity in addition to the strengthening of the heart and regulation of mood.
GLA is ultimately converted into prostaglandins. These are hormone-like substances that help in hormonal regulation in the body and exert anti-inflammatory action. These two roles are key to effective treatment of acne.
With between 2% and 16% of evening primrose oil fatty acids in the form of GLA, it is a far superior source of this essential fatty acid compared to other sources that the body ordinarily relies upon, usually dietary fats.
Evening primrose oil acne treatment benefits hinges upon its ability to dilute sebum, the oily substances produced in the sebaceous glands of the skin to keep the skin lubricated but which is in some cases over-secreted, leading to acne.
Less thickened sebum means less skin pore clogging and less development of acne lesions (whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, nodules or papules). Less inflammation also means fewer blemishes and reddening as is common to the acne-afflicted skin.
It takes about four weeks of continuous use of EPO to see a noticeable improvement in acne spots. This time, however, varies depending on the severity of the breakout and it is also possible that you see positive results sooner than that.
Evening Primrose Oil for Hormonal acne and Cystic Acne
Acne is closely linked to natural hormonal changes. This explains why it is a common phenomenon of teenage during which the body is undergoing numerous changes.
Hormonal fluctuation is also the same reason why some women experience an acne flare-up during menopause and before menstruation.
It triggers an over-secretion of sebum leading to clogging of pores.
Evening primrose oil hormonal acne treatment hinges upon its ability to maintain hormonal balance in the body which in turn helps to offset the associated complications such as acne breakout and mood swings. This coupled with the natural ability of EPO to dilute sebum makes for an effective treatment option for hormonal acne spots.
Cystic acne, on the other hand, is a severe and often problematic form of acne that is characterized by large, fluid-filled cysts located deep beneath the surface of the skin. The cysts may be confused for boils.
Cystic acne is usually more painful and often more difficult to treat than whiteheads, blackheads, and other acne pimples.
The risk of scarring is also higher with cystic acne compared to other milder forms of acne.
Although cystic acne blemishes and spots tend to occur more commonly on the face, particularly along the jawline, it may occur anywhere on the skin.
Cystic acne is also caused by hormonal fluctuations and overactive sebaceous glands and as such, evening primrose oil is usually an effective treatment. It may take time though, so don’t be one of those people who try evening primrose oil acne cyst treatment and give up before they can see the results.
NB: Cystic acne may be hormonal in nature
Evening Primrose Oil Acne Dosage
Now that you are conversant with evening primrose oil acne benefits, you may be wondering, “How much evening primrose oil should I take for acne”.
Well, the WholeHealthMD website recommends a dose of 1000mg of EPO three times each day. This will supply your body with 240mg of Gamma-linoleic Acid (GLA) every day.
It is usually sold over the counter as a supplement, in the form of capsules or liquid. You can also order evening primrose oil softgels (capsules) online on sites such as Amazon.
As with all supplements, taking your dose of EPO alongside food will help to enhance its absorption rate in the body.
In addition to oral intake, you may want to enhance the treatment efficacy of evening primrose oil by using it as a topical treatment – applying it to the skin.
For topical acne treatment option, simply pop an EPO capsule onto the face (or any other part of the body with acne spots) and leave it on overnight, then wash it off your skin with a mild cleanser in the morning.
If you choose to use the liquid form of EPO, be sure to keep it refrigerated as it gets spoiled relatively faster compared to capsules.
Evening Primrose Oil Side Effects
Before you embark on an evening primrose oil acne treatment regime, you need to be aware of potential side-effects. As with all supplements, different people react to EPO differently.
You are also likely to get nausea, headaches and stomach upsets within the first few days of usage. If that continues for longer than a few days, then stop using the supplement. You may however still continue using it topically if no allergic reaction occurs.
Here are other potential side-effects of evening primrose oil that you should keep in mind:
- It may cause adverse reactions to other medications you are taking. Consult with your doctor if you are on any medications.
- It may cause low blood pressure. It thus should not be taken alongside any other supplement or medication that is known to lower blood pressure.
- It may trigger allergies. As the mayo clinic says, it may cause allergic reactions in some people even though this is rather rare. People with known allergies to Onagraceae family plants should stay away from evening primrose oil.
- It heightens bleeding risk and is thus not recommended for people with bleeding disorders.
- It has been shown to cause bloating and abdominal pain in about 2 percent of users.
Evening Primrose Oil for Acne Scars
Now, does evening primrose oil help acne scars, you ask? Yes, it does.
Acne spots often cause a degeneration of collagen in the skin. Because collagen is essential for optimal skin elasticity, the areas of skin affected by severe acne breakout may end up with a “lower-quality” skin, resulting in scars.
Acne is often associated with ice pick scars (narrow, deep scars with a pitted-hole appearance at the top), rolling scars (wave-like scars), and boxcar scars (sunken into the skin; round or oval in shape) all of which fall within the atrophic category of scars.
The healing properties of GLA fatty acid can help to rejuvenate your skin cells and reduce the appearance of acne scars.
Does Evening Primrose Oil Cause Acne?
Although this article is about evening primrose oil acne treatment i.e. using the oil to treat acne, there are other people on the other side of the divide who often ask online, “Does EPO cause acne?”
Although EPO can cause various side-effects as explained in another section of this article, it is unlikely that it will cause acne spots if used orally or topically.
We took significant time reading through online blogs, forums, and review sections of sites selling EPO online.
All the information we came was targeted at the effectiveness and users’ experiences with EPO in as far as hormonal acne, including cystic acne, is concerned.
Many skin care experts and users of EPO seemed to argue in favor of EPO with a few people claiming that it didn’t at all help improve their condition. There was, however, no single case of evening primrose oil acne causing acne to people who didn’t have acne to start with.
If you have experienced this though, please share your story with us in the comments section.
Evening Primrose Oil Acne Before and After Pictures
Still not sure if evening primrose oil may help you get rid of that acne breakout naturally? Well, some before and after pictures may help you make your mind. The following set of pictures were obtained online from real users of EPO for acne and shows how their facial skin has changed after a period of use.
Evening Primrose Oil Acne Reviews
Reviews also help to shed light on people’s experience with given products and this article wouldn’t have been comprehensive enough without including some reviews. Below are some evening primrose oil acne treatment reviews as obtained online on sites such as Amazon, MakeupAlley, etc.
“While I’m still not 100% clear, this is definitely helping with my hormonal acne” As one reviewer had to say on makeupalley.com.
Here is yet another positive EPO review from an actual user who got amazing results with this acne treatment option that she refers to it as “God sent”.
“… EPO [evening primrose oil] … has been a god [sic] sent product! My cystic acne on my neck and jawline is almost completely gone just small little pimples that are healing, my face has not had a bad pimple in over two weeks”
Another verified purchaser on Amazon had this to say about EPO,
“…I have hormonal acne and I have tried everything, diet changes didn’t even help. I have seen a great improvement since starting this.”
And because we don’t want to appear biased, there is no way we could only list positive reviews for evening primrose oil acne treatment, so here is one negative review from one user who suffered from nausea after starting to use EPO.
“This made me so nauseated that I couldn’t keep taking it…”
As we have said elsewhere, nausea is one of the potential side-effects of EPO and if it gets intolerable, it simply means that this natural acne remedy is not for you.
Best Evening Primrose Oil for Acne Scars, Cysts, and Pimples
Nature’s Way is arguably the best evening primrose oil for acne judging from the amazing reviews and rating (4.4/5 as aggregated from 235 customer reviews). This 120 Softgels pack is particularly cost-effective.
Evening Primrose Oil Acne Benefits in Summary
- Evening primrose oil is rich in GLA, an omega-6 fatty acid.
- In the body, GLA is converted into prostaglandins
- Prostaglandins help in hormonal regulation (hence is great for hormonal acne treatment)
- Prostaglandins also have anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce the appearance of acne spots and blemishes.
That is all there is to using evening primrose oil for acne treatment? Now, did you find this article helpful? Then please share it with your friends on social media so they can as well discover and benefit from it.