Sep 15

Evening Primrose Topically Applied to Eczema


Eczema is a recurrent or chronic, inflammatory skin disorder also known as atopic eczema, or by its medical name, atopic dermatitis. It can appear as blisters that crust over to become scaly, itchy rashes, or as dry, thick patches of skin with scales. Although eczema is not contagious, it is very common. Estimates are that more than 15 million people in the United States have eczema. People with eczema often have a personal or family history of allergies. There is no cure, however, treatments can reduce symptoms and help prevent outbreaks.


The goals when treating eczema are to heal the skin, reduce symptoms, prevent skin damage, and prevent flare-ups. Developing skin care routines, identifying what triggers flare-ups, and avoiding these triggers are a large part of any treatment plan.

Treatments for eczema include: medications, surgery, nutrition and dietary supplements, herbs, homeopathy, massage and physical therapy, and essential oils for the skin. While there are numerous medical drugs that can be used topically for eczema, most of them have side effects and are only partly effective.

The best essential oils for skin disorders such as eczema include:

Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), a native of North America, was brought to Europe in the 17th century. Evening primrose oil has been used since the 1930s as a folk or traditional remedy for eczema. The oil from this plant is high in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is a rare fatty acid that nourishes the skin and is thought to correct deficiencies in skin lipids, thus reducing inflammation. Evening primrose is considered one of the essential oils safe for skin treatment.

Does This Oil Help Eczema

Let’s read about two studies performed to find out the safety and efficacy in the use of essential oils for skin problems.

The first study investigated the treatment of atopic eczema in 12 patients using topical evening primrose oil (EPO) cream. The patients were treated for 2 weeks with EPO cream applied to one arm and placebo to the other.  The arm treated with EPO cream showed greater improvement in comparison to the placcbo-treated side using a simple self-assessment scoring system. There were no topical or systemic side-effects observed indicating evening primrose essential oils safe for skin treatment. The authors “Concluded that topical EPO has potential as treatment for atopic eczema and warrants further clinical studies.”

Study number two evaluated the effect of evening primrose essential oil on 20 subjects with atopic dermatitis. The treatment contained 20% EPO, which was applied topically twice daily to the affected areas for four weeks. The result was improved integrity of the skin, which becomes compromised in atopic dermatitis. These findings indicate evening primrose essential oils for skin should be considered as an alternative treatment for improving skin and providing skin barrier protection.

Atopic Dermatitis Link

We, at Good Living Essential Oils, always look forward to hearing about great results from studies using essential oils.