Can Primrose Oil Help in Acne Treatment?

Acne is one of the most common skin disease affecting millions of people across the globe irrespective of their gender, race or age.

It is characterized by frequent outbreaks of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads and inflammations marked by scarring and redness of the affected area.

This article tends to discuss the effectiveness of an organic oil, primrose oil, in its treatment of acne vulgaris and shall further discuss how successful it has been with the same.

About Primrose oil

It is an oil extracted from the seed of evening primrose plant that is natively found in Europe and North America.

It has been used for ages for its medical and healing properties. The roots of this plant were used by the Native Americans to bruises, wounds and skin problems.

In the present age too, it sticks to its medical uses. It is used widely to treat various skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis along with acne. It is further considered helpful in arthritis, osteoporosis, cholesterol problems, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes among various other conditions.

It also sometimes included as an effective ingredient in a various cosmetic product.

How does Primrose oil treat acne?

The mechanism of action that primrose oil follows in its treatment of acne is fairly simple. It contributes to the same in two ways.

Firstly, it causes regulation of these breakouts causing hormones namely testosterone or androgen.

And secondly, it inhibits or regulates the production of sebum through the regulation of hormones which thereby prevents the clogging of the pores.

Moreover, primrose has now also been known to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing the acne induced inflammation and the resultant redness and swelling.

Primrose oil has also been effective against acne induced scars.

It is high in GLA content which tends to lighten the scars and make the skin appear new and fresh. This serves as an added advantage.


How is primrose oil used?

This oil can be used either orally or topically. It is often available in capsules at drug stores. The dose that has been recommended is 1000mg per day. When accompanied by food, the absorption of primrose oil can be increased in the body.

When used topically, it can be applied directly to the skin or affected area. In this case, the oil should be properly refrigerated.

Benefits of Primrose oil

Apart from exhibiting excellent skin improvement properties, this oil is also considered beneficial for bodily health in general. Some of its benefits have been enumerated as below:

  • It is known to reduce joint pain and swelling especially in case of arthritis
  • The GLA that it contains helps in the prevention of nerve damage, especially in patients having diabetes
  • It tends to prevent inflammation associated with sclerosis. This is effected through the presence of fatty acid in the primrose oil
  • It tends to improve nerve impulse which further helps in treating brain disorder
  • Primrose oil can decrease impotence and improve fertility
  • The fatty acids that it contains acts as a good nourishment and moisturizing agent for the scalp and nails
  • The GLA prevents damage to the liver and nervous system thereby preventing the on set of withdrawal symptoms

Possible Side effects: 

Though the use of primrose rarely causes any side effects, its overdosage might lead to some minor and mild ones. Some of these side effects are enumerated below:

  • It can increase the risk of bleeding
  • It can cause seizures
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach

Precautions with Primrose oil

In order to avoid the side effects and ensure maximum effectiveness in the treatment you must be cautious while using it. Some precautions to be observed have been mentioned below:

  • It is not advisable to take this during pregnancy as it is likely to increase complications. It is therefore advised that primrose oil be avoided during pregnancy and while breastfeeding
  • Since it increases the chances of bleeding it should not be taken by people who have bleeding disorder
  • If you have epilepsy and seizure disorder, taking primrose oil might increase your risks. You must therefore avoid it in such conditions
  • It contains primrose oil that might cause seizures in schizophrenic patients
  • It increases the risks of bleeding and must not be taken two weeks before and after any surgery

Drug interaction:  

Primrose oil might react adversely when taken with some drugs/ medications. It is therefore advised that this oil not be used with the following medications/ drugs/ supplement;

  • Since it slows down bleeding it must not be taken with anticoagulants because it may intensify the effect
  • Taking it with anesthesia or other medications during surgery can result in seizures
  • Taking it with phenotheazine can increase the risk of seizures
  • It should not be taken with anticoagulant herbs like garlic, ginger and clover

Customer review of Primrose oil

We did an analysis of online consumer reviews to check the effectiveness of primrose oil in dealing with the acne breakouts based on what the consumers had to say about it. Here is a summary of what they liked and disliked about using primrose oil:

What they liked about it: 

  • Maintains moisture: Most consumers were of the view that primrose oil was excellently effective in maintaining the correct balance of moisture on the skin. While in spite of being an oil it did not make their skin oily, at the same time, it tended to keep their skin moisturized and not dry.
  • Better skin: A lot of consumers were of the view that it made their skin better as a whole making it soft and smooth and improving the overall structure of the skin

What they did not like about it: 

A few consumers expressed their concern saying that using this caused depression in them this is however supported by no medical evidence to have caused depression, and it might just be because of some other reasons.

However, these cases have been extremely few, just 1 or 2.


Primrose oil offers a natural solution to your acne and skin problems.

It's organic and can cause extremely negligible side effects. You can use it in two ways, either orally or topically whichever one suits you better.

It will not burden you with the numerous side effects that antibiotic and other such medications might cause. Primrose oil as such has proven effective in most cases and is definitely worth one try

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