Evening primrose oil is taken from the seeds of the evening primrose. The name comes from the fact that its flowers blossom in the evening and wither in the day. Evening primrose oil has high gamma linoleic acid, which is an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid that is converted into prostaglandins and hormones. Because evening primrose oil has an extremely high gamma linolenic acid (GLA) content it has been extensively researched. GLA is vital for the synthesis of prostaglandin an important function in the body, especially the skin. Linoleic acid is said to rejuvenate skin cells. It is full of vitamins and minerals. It repairs damaged skin, keeps skin healthy, helps repair sun damaged and mature skin. Evening primrose oil is an emollient. According to the AMA’s committee on Cutaneous Health does help make the skin feel softer and smoother, reduce roughness, cracking and irritation. And may possibly retard the fine wrinkles of aging.

EPO is used primarily to relieve the itchiness associated with certain skin conditions (such as eczema and dermatitis) and to ease breast tenderness from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or other causes. It has also been reported to be effective for rashes,particularly skin rash or hives.

Specifically for eczema with symptoms that include redness and scaling in addition to itching. More than 30 human studies report the benefits of EPO for eczema and dermatitis. A study of 1,207 patients reported that EPO was beneficial for skin conditions, including itching, crusting,edema (fluid,swelling), and redness. EPO can be used in children and adults with skin conditions.

According to several excellent sources, Evening primrose oil, used topically, was researched and found to have significant anti-inflammatory and emollient benefits for skin (Sources: Surgeon, February 2005, pages 7–10; Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, January–February 2002, pages 20–25; and Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, September 2001, pages 4502–4507).