Digital Strategy Expert and skin care aficionado, Meghan E. Farnsworth, shares how she discovered evening primrose and its healing benefits.
My first encounter with evening primrose oil (sometimes referred to as EPO) occurred in Oberlin, OH at the eclectic beads-meets-the-modern-worldly-woman store, Bead Paradise II. It was, to a then humble college student, a wondrous explosion of everything distinct and revolutionary — from ethnological pendants, jewels, and home décor direct from Africa, Asia, and more to drapey, flowy womenswear, organic and natural body care products, not to mention bounties of beads in almost every color and shade imaginable.
Everything in the tiny town of Oberlin may have felt within walking distance to me, but I considered roaming into Bead Paradise II a rare and well-deserved treat. It was retail — and little did I know, skin care — therapy at its best, and I soon became great friends with one of the store’s sales associates, Marnie.
Marnie was my favorite, and as someone who now helps media outlets and businesses reach their intended audiences, she was what I call Bead Paradise II’s “Tier 1 Audience” — that woman who is worldly, beautiful, flawless, and ever so cool.
One day as she flaunted her gorgeous skin, I pointed to a red patch just below my lower lip, asking her what she thought it was. “It looks like eczema,” Marnie said. “I can’t be certain, but I think I have something that might help.”
She whipped out a small blue bottle of an otherwise magical skin care potion called “evening primrose oil,” and within three days, my pesky red patch disappeared. I was, as they say, good as new, and I’ve been a changed woman ever since.
Evening primrose oil comes from the seeds of the “evening primrose,” a wildflower native to North America known for its yellow flowers that blossom in the evening. The plant contains gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), an omega-6 essential fatty acid that specifically acts as an anti-inflammatory, relieving symptoms from eczema, brittle nails and hair, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, breast pain, and more. I have even heard of women using evening primrose oil to balance their hormones, along with Vitex or “Chasteberry.”
For healthy skin, you can ingest the oil as a supplement, similar to any omega-3 fish oil capsule, or apply it topically, depending on your condition.
Here are some examples of what I’ve found so far.
People who suffer from acne don’t always know they can cure it naturally, says Dr. Josh Axe, a Doctor of Natural Medicine and Certified Nutritionist. And for those women and men who suffer from “hormonal acne,” a condition prompted by an imbalance of hormones, evening primrose oil can especially work wonders. The oil not only helps regulate their imbalance, but it also improves cell structure, refining nerve function and the skin’s elasticity.
Irritated, Itchy, Dry Skin
According to the latest research, people who suffer from eczema don’t have the common ability to process fatty acids, leading to the body’s lack of necessary GLA to combat inflammation and promote cell growth. By taking in more GLA, like that found in evening primrose oil, the body can more easily create the nourishing material it needs for balance.
Psoriasis arises due to poor diet, issues with digesting protein, and of course, hormonal changes. Evening primrose oil can balance hormones and aid digestion in this regard, too.
How I Use It
I’m certainly no skin care expert, but I do love the topic, having tried a variety of products, particularly as a former Whole Body Team Member at Whole Foods Market. I tend to develop eczema, especially during the wintertime, so I make sure to have a bottle of my favorite organically grown, cold-pressed (for optimized nutritional value) evening primrose oil from Life-flo on hand. I typically apply the oil directly onto my skin, using only a quarter-size amount to each affected area. Side note: I even use the oil as a nighttime mask after thorough cleansing, waking up to a face that’s plumper and softer than ever with a more even skin tone.
Meghan E. Farnsworth is a journalist and founder/owner of the digital strategy firm, Debora Consulting. She covers music and the in-between. Read her piece for SkinGab, featuring Indonesian Dangdut singer, Cita Citata, here. Follow her on social media, too: Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (@mugglemoo).