Evening Primrose Oil for PMS and beauty?

Sainsbury's Evening Primrose Oil

These two Sainsbury’s Evening Primrose Oil came from my mother-in-law who strongly recommended taking them for overall health and skin benefits. Although I have long heard that Evening Primrose Oil can help to ease premenstrual symptoms such as cramps and breast pains but for some reasons, I wasn’t keen to try them. Anyway, drinking milk to ease my PMS has been working and keeping me happy so I’ve left it at that. But I have been taking one of these 1000mg evening primrose rose capsules for awhile now because I wanted to find out if they’re any good for me. And what’s my verdict?

Contains concentrated sources of Gamma Linolenic Acid
First, for those who don’t know, evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose flower and the purified oil is then available in capsules as well as liquid form for consumption. From what I understand, evening primrose oil is one of the most concentrated sources of Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA), which is an essential fatty acid of the omega 6 family with anti-inflammatory properties and plays an important role to maintain hormone balance and healthy skin.

Provides various benefits for the skin
One of the most proven benefits of evening primrose oil appears to be its ability to treat dry, scaly, or itchy skin conditions, such as rosacea, acne and atopic dermatitis. It also reportedly, has some modest benefits for eczema. In addition, I read that evening primrose oil may also help clear skin allergies, rashes and even prevent pores from becoming clogged.

No complete easing of my PMS symtoms
Personally, I haven’t found any PMS relieve from taking evening primrose oil. To test out if it will work for me, I deliberately stopped drinking milk for a week or so before my period and just relied on the intake of 1000mg of evening primrose oil per day. Well, not very wise because I suffered from my menstrual cramps and mood swings! It wasn’t very severe but the symptoms were apparent, compared to when I was drinking milk regularly.

Helps women with low levels of GLA
Based on some of the sources of information I’ve come across, there is little scientific evidence to support that evening primrose oil have clear benefits of relieving premenstrual syndromes (source). In addition, I learnt that many women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome have low levels of GLA, which is why evening primrose oil supplements may help to alleviate symptoms of their condition. Perhaps mine is not a case of low GLA? Or maybe the liquid form will work better for me?

Topical application of evening primrose oil
I also haven’t seen much of a difference to my skin after taking the evening primrose oil despite raves from my MIL. Perhaps I’ll have better luck applying the evening primrose oil topically on my skin because I’ve come across information that shows the oil of GLA can be effective when applied to skin irritations such as dermatitis as well as to help decrease the appearance of bruises on the skin.

Well, we’ll see. If I can find a suitable DIY recipe to use them, I may try.


  1. prettybeautiful says:

    hmm i have nv tried primrose too, i hardly experience the menstrual cramps, could it be that i drink milk almost everyday too? hmm..

    prettybeautiful: Probably…milk definitely helps mine!

  2. Penny says:

    I’ve heard those claims too but didn’t think of trying as my crams are quite bearable. One thing I know it works well for is that if you have rough patches of peeling skin, especially at the ball of your feet, squeeze the oil out from the capsule and apply directly to the skin. Helps it heal very quickly!

    Penny: That’s a great tip! Maybe I can try it on my body cos I have some rough patches…

  3. flym says:

    My personal experience with EPO: it does zilch for my PMS. However, it definitely eases my dermatitis. I have dry skin that peels on my fingertips. It only stops peeling when I’m on EPO. When I stop taking it for several days, like on a recent trip overseas, the skin starts peeling and cracking again.

    Flym: So the skin benefits of EPO are indeed true…I have heard some pple using it with success for PMS too. Maybe our PMS is due to other reasons…

  4. Leon says:

    I am hooked to Evening Primrose Oil,I take it internally and apply liberally on my skin. It has definitely helped me with my PMS and topical application is also wonderful.

    Leon: That’s good to know. I don’t know why it did not help for my PMS but good thing I have milk to help me. I tried applying the EPO on my skin once…very rich. Must try to find some use for them for topical application.

  5. Tine says:

    My mum made me take EPO. Didn’t do anything for my PMS nor cramps. But then again, I don’t get bad cramps, so it’s okay. As for the skin, it didn’t make it better, but it didn’t make it worse. I still take it every now and then. If I remember to, that is :p

    Tine: Hmmm…looks like it works for some and not for others. I wonder why.

  6. fatty says:

    I think it helps to women like us.I used to take epo when i was in my teen days, didnt really realise its effect and stop for many years aldy untill i start to take again,my pimple are lesser,my skin is softer than before maybe also got some help from my skin products,my cramp are not as pain as before…and shd benefits in other ways also..i will continue to take for the rest of my life…cheers

    fatty: I started applying this on my skin and am surprised that it’s great for healing.

  7. Donna says:

    I regularly eat EPO after breakfast. It doesn’t help my skin look better but I want to maintain my GLA level.

    Donna: I’m having more luck apply it directly on my skin now.

  8. fwy says:

    I’ve ever tried but shows no results when I took it orally.

  9. MISSchandler says:

    I was searching for some information about appyling e.primrose topically from opening the capsule. Apparently it’s like a moistorizor. I have ran out of my regular organic moitirizor and was wondering if i should use the primorose oil instead until my new product arrives! =)

  10. sesame says:

    You can try. It’s quite good actually, except that the smell isn’t great.

  11. MISSCHANDLER says:

    Hi sesame

    I tried it last night and loved how it made my sensitive skin smooth & silky. the smell wasen’t great like you said but the results were!

    Thank youuu =)xox

  12. sesame says:

    Hey, I’m glad you like it. EPO is a nice oil. I like to use it. In the past, I sometimes share a capsule with my son by rubbing the remains on his arms and legs.

  13. dip says:

    I tried EPO it worked wonderfully for my skin and mood as well (esp when taken on empty stomach). I have seen two drawbacks though :

    1. it makes me feel soooo hungry. I eat so much when I am on epo

    2. It causeed mouth ulcers after few days.

    Has anybody noticed these side effects ?

  14. shah says:

    I have been taking EPO since 9 years now not very regularly but believe you must go on all your life after 30-35 years of age and it will help you in many ways.
    It should be taken in the evening after the dinner.This is what I was suggested.

  15. sesame says:

    I’ve been trying a new brand – Kordel’s – and am taking it after dinner. Hope it’ll work well… Thanks for your advice too!

  16. angela says:

    the benefits of evening primrose come with long term use. i’ve been taking it for at least 6 months now and my pms irritability has completely vanished and my usual acne outbreaks are far less frequent (they pop up when i don’t take it regularly). with everything, it only works if you take the recommended doses consistently.

  17. sesame says:

    Good to learn that it worked for you. I don’t think EPO is for everyone though. I wrote about how it can also contribute to hormonal imbalance for some here:


  18. hazel says:

    I have been trying evening primrose oil as I suffer from terrible PMT including spots, very sore breasts and horrendous mood swings, for up to 2 weeks before my period. I have found that taking small amounts doesn’t help. However taking 3-4 capsules a day has had more of an effect than i ever thought possible. My period is due in 3 days and I have no breast tenderness, normal mood levels and only 1 spot with the general condition of my skin being improved. Try taking more than 1 a day and see what you think ?

  19. Peggy Lee Kight says:


  20. sesame says:

    It’s not just a matter of taking on an empty stomach. If someone has hormonal imbalance, it is best to avoid EPO. The side effects can be quite serious – someone’s aunt had breast cancer.

  21. Jinxie says:

    I have started taking 2 capsules per day for the last 5 days……and heard that if I open the capsule and rub the oil on my face it will help. Well I have seen a difference in my face with immediate effect, my skin is plumper, the redness I always had has gone, my skin has a glow!! so maybe if it is not good for PMS try it for your skin! I had acne as a teenager, and my skin has remained blochy and discoloured all my life…and I have tried just about all the most expensive cosmetics claiming to do miracles….nothing worked. I am very impressed as will continue to take 2 capsules in the morning and open one at night for my face and neck. Have not used it long enough to see any other benefits yets……. after a month I might notice some other benefit…lets see ?

  22. Jinxie says:

    Open the capsule and apply directly on your face and neck or where ever you have a problem, I found having applied it on my skin directly worked wonders for me. Maybe when taken by mouth, it gets taken up into the system and loses most of it’s value, but I’m still taking 2 capsules in the morning…..and omega tabs…… to see if there is an improvement.

  23. sesame says:

    I found EPO effective for reducing acne inflammation. Great for topical application yes!

  24. Lia says:

    Evening primrose oil does wonders for me. Whenever I sense a breakout, meaning some bump is formed, take at least 4 capsules of 1000mg each + a vitamin D right before you sleep, the next day 80 percent of the bump would vanish. it’s amazing. I find that it really depends on the dosage. For it to have dramatic noticable difference, try at least 4000 mg of it orally right before you sleep, so it travels into your bloodstream. Anything less than 4000 mg may not be as effective. So for those who claim it didn’t do much for you, perhaps up your dosage because I notice one of those claim to be taking only 1000 mg [one capsule] of it and thats simply not enough for your body to absorb.Ideally 4000-6000 mg right before you sleep in conjunction with a vitamin pill that contians vitamin D.

  25. sesame says:

    Interesting! The dosage has an effect. I might give this a try next time. Thank you very much for sharing! ?

  26. Elizabeth says:

    I certainly have good things to say about evening primrose oil. I have relatively good blemish-free skin on my face although I do suffer from Eczema which primarily appears on my limbs. A week ago, I unwittingly picked at some milia seeds which were appearing on my face and dug into my skin so hard with my nails that I tore the skin and caused it to bleed in many places. I had a nasty habit of picking at my skin since young and I have mostly overcome it, although rare urges of picking at my skin like that do come. When the skin healed, the wounds darkened and gave me an unsightly appearance of dark patches all over one side of my face. (I have dark skin so pigmentation is a problem) I panicked and used a bleaching agent for scars on it which was unfortunately expired. I used it twice a day and in great amount, trying in vain to get rid of the dark patches. It caused half of my face to crack and flake although, it did get lighter. I was so frustrated that I picked at the flakes and made them worse. By then, half of my face felt sore and inflamed. I tried moisturizing creams, whitening creams, brightening serums but nothing worked. I stayed at home for a week and was very upset and deeply regretted my actions. My mother scheduled an appointment with the doctor and advised me to apply evening primrose oil topically to my skin in the meantime. I followed her advise, cut open a pill and applied it in generous amounts to my face. In just a day, it visibly got much better that all the dead skin from the scabs were able to come off with a good exfoliate. In just two days, my skin was almost completely healed after a whole week of torture. Even the scars lightened. I have taken evening primrose oil before but I’ve always taken them orally as pills so its effect on my skin was always lost. Now that I’ve tried this topically, I’m going to keep this up until my skin has completely healed. I recommend doing this to anyone who is going through skin problems. Results guaranteed!

  27. J says:

    Hello, I am interested in trying EPO for the relief of irritability associated with PMS. Should I be taking EPO all the time? Or oly in the week leading up to my period? Thanks!

  28. sesame says:

    I understand some pple take regularly nearer to their period so you might want to try that and see how it works. Another supplement that works well for PMS is fish oil. That’s probably a better supplement to take daily.

  29. angie says:

    Hi, I have a giant pimple on my chin and i think it is because i haven’t taken my EPO regularly. I am about to try it topically and hope it works..

  30. britney says:

    Can evenong premrose oil cause may breast or any one elses to grow after using it for a while?

  31. sesame says:

    Hmm…not that I can confirm.

  32. didi says:

    can someone tell me how to purchase Evening Primrose oil? i live in Belgaum, Karnataka India. Please…………..

  33. Paula says:

    I have just started using Primrose oil again its wonders it difinitely works for me with PMS, stress, tension, mood swings and skin conditions. Now I have given it to my mum to take she also recomends it to anyone to use for PMS, stress, tension matters. It supports the older age woman from 45+.

  34. Sesame says:

    I would exercise caution for women older to use PMS. Maybe you can read this:

  35. JACE says:

    TAKING evening primrose oil ( weekly I pop a capsule onto my face as a mask, and I take 2 capsules 2 times a day orally ) plus applying rosehip oil on my face everynight ( even on breakouts ) has transformed my face completely! after using PROACTIVE for 7 months, my face was clear but mostly EXTREMELY starved of nourishment, and beggining to give me all sorts of reactions. A combination of taking EP and Rosehip Oil now gives me glowing, clearer and supple skin like it should be! SPF is always an necessity, and a good antibacterial facewash for acneprone skin is iSOHEX (no benzyl peroxide). As for the hormones, I have been suffering from vaginal dryness and after taking this oil for 2 weeks I would consider that I am back to “normal” This has been the most suprising benifit for me and I will be sticking to it! if it werent for this site, I wouldnt have tried EP in the first place so THANK YOU! Good luck to everyone

  36. Sesame says:

    I’m glad the info has helped your skin! But do note the EPO can cause hormonal imbalance for some people too so it’s just something to be aware of.

  37. Great Skin says:

    In the last week I have just started taking 3 x 1000g EPO plus 1 x 1000g Fish Oil a day & I have already noticed a HUGE difference in the way my skin looks & feels.

    My period is due anytime & again I have noticed that my breasts aren’t as sore & unbearable. Even my moods aren’t swinging like they normally do around this time of month.

    I wish I had discovered this truly amazing oil back when I was a teenager. I wouldn’t have suffered the horrible acne breakouts that I had on my back, shoulders, chest & face. I hated the way I looked & acne didn’t do much for my self-esteem. Today, however, one would hardly have known that I had cystic acne on my back or face. All of the scars have healed. I am in my late 30’s & my skin is a real asset to me now. I aim to look after it the best I can.

    My fingernails are starting to grow again but I think it will be a while before I notice any real improvement in strength. My toenails have grown as well but are still very flimsy & weak. I guess it will be about 6 months before I notice that I have strong nails again.

    I have long past-the-shoulder hair which I have kept long for the past 6 years. I get it trimmed every 3 months to keep it in good condition & to get rid of the split ends. Hopefully, I won’t have to worry about getting it trimmed as often if I keep taking EPO as I will be feeding it with the proper nutrients (as well as silica), which will make my hair grow shiny & strong.

    I highly recommend EPO to anyone with skin problems as results are noticeable in a very short period of time.

  38. Sesame says:

    Glad it works for you but EPO is not recommended if you’re aware you have hormonal issues.

  39. Grace says:

    Is it safe to take expired evening primrose oil? I have a bottle that has never been opened or in contact with sunlight before.

  40. Sesame says:

    No…it’s best you discard expired stuff.

  41. Hema Pyakurel says:

    Yes, you are right. I have been taking EPO for 5 weeks now and mouth ulcers or sores developed after some time.

  42. Jo says:

    Hi, can anyone post their photos of before and after of their skin after using EPO/email to me? cos i suffered from acne 10years ago..i have plenty of scars and didn’t know if applying EPO directly will help on my face..i am reli curious whether is the result are guaranteed..Thank you..

  43. Sesame says:

    The results are not guaranteed. At the end of the day, it depends on individual’s reaction.

  44. stacie says:

    I have PMS horrible.. and am severely anemic due to mennoraghia, losing nearly a pint of blood each month. I never drink milk..from reading it seems that milk is helping you.. how is this helping? Are you drinking unpasteurized and organic? I would like to learn more please. Thank you!

  45. Sesame says:

    The calcium within the milk helps…another thing to try is fish oil.

  46. Val says:

    Studies with Evening Primrose Oil indicate that it takes approximately three months for the benefits to show. Might be a good idea to take it on a regular basis to accurately assess what it does for each individual.

  47. nisha says:

    I took EPO for my acne. My sister recommended me to try it. I bought it and start using it solely to cure my acne. Didn’t know any other benefits. After using it for a month, I saw no improvement for my acne. But it helped my menstrual carmps and breast tenderness. I wonder how come my menstrual pain disappeared.it was the magic of EPO. I am really happy with the result. I take it everyday.

  48. poons says:

    Hi didi oil mil jaata hai primrosa ke naam se
    medical shop per.

  49. poons says:

    Hi is it good for hair growth

  50. Sesame says:

    Apparently it does but I can’t be certain.

  51. Sara says:

    I started taking using a organic version of Evening Primrose Oil which I purchased from Amazon from a company called Dr. Adorable and love it. I use it as a lotion for my skin and take a tsp by moth every night. I have not had a flare up from my Seborrheic Dermatitis since I started using it. I also add a little baking soda to it and wash my face with it.

  52. Sesame says:

    That sounds interesting. I know it’s good to calm inflammation.

  53. ingrid says:

    I started using epo for about 2 months now and I have dysmenorrhea, I would have pain in breasts and sometimes lumps and lower ovary pain half of the month, but now i get little pain if none really, just right before my period. I still have some cramps when I start my period but found out that it could be from low magnesium which helps stops muscle spasms, it has helped me but you need to give it a chance to work so maybe around the 2nd month u could feel the difference. Also my skin has never looked so good! I just use the oil in the pill. Also dairy for some will make ur cramps or pms worse, I myself feel awful when I have so much, its also very congesting so if u have issues with ur period it could make worse. There is a amazing site all natural that’s full of info, (natural fertility info) I never have learned so much! I also eat organic u should never eat hormones added to meat or milk!

  54. Lili says:

    You can’t take Primrose for just the “week before your period” as you wrote in your article that promotes milk instead of primrose. It’s not that the primrose that didn’t work, you didn’t use it properly. You have to take it for at least a month but more is better, 2-3. It works long term very well, healing many things in your body. Herbal medicines don’t work right away as everyone wants them to, you have to use them for 2-3 months and then it works more effectively and thoroughly than other things. Patience and long term thinking when it comes to these things, not quick western style take one pill and instantly be better. So use this beautiful oil longer term and give it a chance. It’s amazing.

  55. Sesame says:

    Hmm…perhaps but I wonder. If something is ingested, then the effects should be pretty immediate. I don’t think our system takes that long to digest something. I’ve taken many supplements and they either work or don’t. Perhaps a month but I haven’t come across one where I need to take a longer period of time before the effects kick in. Similarly, when I stop taking something, the effects disappear.

  56. Chris says:

    Was the breast cancer caused by EPO??
    Any evidence??

  57. Chris says:


    I had second time menstrual on same month (gap of nine days from first menstrual), I took two capsules, 3 times a day, the abnormal menstrual stop the fourth day.

    And the water retention also gone after taken EPO.

    As you mentioned, amount of dosages is important.

  58. Chris says:

    I have immediate positive results after taken EPO, water retention gone and abnormal menstrual which came 9 days after first menstrual, stop immediately second day after I consumed the EPO.

  59. Zee says:

    Can I consume EPO after total hysterectomy? My surgery was two months ago.

  60. Joanel says:

    I was ill for 6 mo. And my diet was so restricted that I was tired 24/7, my skin was pale and dry. And my hair was breaking and I had alopecia too. So Now that I’m better I’ve been using 1,000 mg evening primrose in this way: 1/3 capsule for hair, 1/3 for skin and the reast orally with other supplements. I see and feel lots of improvement From all these applications. One caveat: phenalalanines can cause nervousness and sleeplessnes, so I advise caution. Don’t overdo it!

  61. marva joseph says:

    Can evening primrose help with infertility

  62. sasha alkaff says:

    can it be applied on the skin after it expired??

  63. rm says:

    What are the long term effect, if you take for a long time.
    I have been taking for 30yrs. Starting taking it for PMS.
    I was 37 yrs old.
    I do take 2 a day 500mg.
    I am afraid for side affect later in life.

  64. Sesame says:

    Can’t say. It can vary from person to person. Some people may have no side effects. Best to check with a doc.

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