Evening Primrose Oil

  • Active Oil
  • INCI: Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil
  • Comedogenicity: 2-3
  • Composition: Linoleic acid (up to approx. 75 %), γ-linolenic acid (up to approx. 13 %), oleic acid (up to approx. 10 %), palmitic acid (up to approx. 10 %), stearic acid (up to approx. 2 %).
  • Cosmetic use: Dry, scaly, inflammatory, blemished, neurodermitic skin.


The two-year-old evening primrose was introduced to Europe in the 17th century from North America and can reach a height of approximately 1.5 m. In its first year, the plant forms a leaf rosette with 20 to 30 leaves lying close to the ground. Then, in the second year, a green, densely-leafed and hairy stem rises from it. On the upper part, the stem branches out and carries a raceme with numerous green flower buds. The evening primrose flowers from July to September. The flowers, consisting of four yellow petals, only open in the evening. The fruit of the evening primrose are up to 3 cm long capsules, each containing more than 200 seeds. These dark grey to brown-black seeds contain between 15 % and 30 % oil.

Extraction of Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil is obtained from the seeds of the common evening primrose. For the production of high-quality oils, the ripened seeds are extracted with hexane in steel tanks or in glass tanks. The extract is then washed with water and the solvent is removed under reduced pressure. Another method of oil extraction is cold pressing. The fatty acids are only retained if a low amount of heat is generated during production. The seeds of the harvest are stored in a very dry location, because the water content of the harvest may not exceed nine percent. The seeds are then cleaned and dried further. Then, they are subjected to gentle cold pressing and the oil is extracted. 

Cosmetic use of Evening Primrose Oil

Due to the unique composition of the oil, it is used both internally and externally. Dry, itchy skin especially benefits from the oil and the fatty acids it contains. The active ingredients of the fats resemble the natural fats of the skin and are therefore particularly well tolerated and quickly absorbed.

Inflammatory, impure and dermatitic skin can be well cared for with evening primrose oil since the oil disinfects the affected areas and combats inflammations of the skin. The oil’s moisturizing component also accelerates the healing process. Thanks to the high content of gamma linolenic acid, the oil has proven itself as a remedy against neurodermatitis. Small, open wounds are disinfected and water loss of the skin is reduced.