Evening Primrose Oil – Hormonal Acne Edition

As a teenager I had very minimal acne, and most of the time I had a clear face with neither extremely dry nor extremely oily skin. Because of this I have always been horrible to my skin. I never had to work very hard for it so I just didn’t care. I would go to sleep with my makeup on, I NEVER moisturized and I usually only washed my face with whatever facial cleanser was on sale. After I became a makeup artist I got a lot better – if I am lecturing others of their skincare regimens, I thought I should start caring for my own too. But after years of always taking my makeup off before bed, moisturizing and using various products, my acne would not go away.

That’s right, after all those years free and clear as a teenager and young adult I got acne in my late twenties. Seems fair.
I went to my doctor, but because I didn’t have breakouts all the time, she suggested just applying Benzoyl Peroxide overnight and seeing how that went. It did work, sort of, but the acne would always come back in the same place around my jaw line, above and below my mouth and on my chin.

Eventually, I figured out this was hormonal acne and I’d probably have to start using something else. I reached out to a skincare Facebook group I’m part of and someone suggested I try Evening Primrose oil. I am usually skeptical of “natural” remedies because I am always convinced they are not going to work – I want the strong stuff! But after a little bit of research and looking at the sad 5-6 pimples around my mouth, I hunted down topical oil at the health food store near my work. I used my Clarisonic (my one true love) and cleanser to exfoliate and remove any residual makeup and dead skin and then put 3-4 drops of the oil onto my palm, rubbed my hands together and then worked into my face. What is great about Now Solutions packaging is the bottle has a flip cap and only allows small drops out at a time. I didn’t want to use too much the first time because in my mind oil = greasy. I know moisturizing with oils is the cool new thing to do but I have always been afraid of putting something oily on my face. I ignored my fears, I let it absorb into my skin and went to bed.

When I woke up, the swelling around my pimples was gone, they were only light red where once throbbing painful beasts had been the day before. My skin looked firm and had a nice glow. After one day, guys! Those are results!

I continued my nightly ritual of Clarisonic cleansing and buffing and rubbing this lovely oil into my skin and it just kept getting better! I am not going to pretend that I completely understand the science behind it, but I know evening primrose oil comes from the seeds of the plant, which only blooms at night (hence the name) and contains gamma-Linolenic acid. GLA is a fatty acid that can be found in many vegetable based oils and is said to be good for a variety of “ailments” and can be found in supplements for menopausal women.

You can buy Evening primrose oil in a capsule form or an oil for between $15-$25 at health food stores. Now Solutions brand was available for $21.99 at my health food store and the topical treatment needs to be kept in the refrigerator. As an inexpensive, easy and natural solution to hormonal acne, evening primrose oil is at least worth a try to start the road to clear skin.

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Kerry Riordan
Kerry comes from a visual art background, practicing printmaking at OCAD University in Toronto. Eventually she discovered the face was her favourite canvas and pursued her love of beauty, makeup and most of all, people! She studied makeup, special effects and skincare at Seneca College. Working as a makeup artist gives Kerry the opportunity to meet different kinds of people and help them look their best, whether it's sweet and natural, high glamour or avante garde. A lover of all makeup products - from drugstore to professional brands she knows the best products for everyday wear, special occasions and even special effects.
Kerry Riordan