Can Evening Primrose Oil Stop Acne?

I just took my daily dose of evening primrose oil. It's just a small capsule that I take once or twice a day, right after a meal. Why? Because a friend recently told me it can help clear up my skin and stop breakouts. And since I now break out more than I did as a teenager, most acne remedies, natural or not, are fair game to me. Luckily, it looks like this little experiment is working.

I've been taking evening primrose oil for about a month now (was a quick purchase at Whole Foods with no particular brand in mind) and can honestly say that my skin looks clearer and less red. But since I'm always a skeptic and assume that most supplements and medicine just create a placebo effect, I decided to reach out to two trusted dermatologists to get their take.

It turns out that my clear skin isn't just a figment of my imagination. West Palm Beach, FL, dermatologist, Kenneth Beer, MD, says, "Evening primrose oil is one of the earliest known treatments for eczema and it may also be used to treat acne as it calms some of the inflammatory lesions and decreases redness."

While Calabasas, CA, dermatologist Debra B. Luftman, MD, agrees and says that the supplement can potentially calm acne and rosacea due to its anti-inflammatory properties. "The seeds of the primrose contain gamma-linoleic acid and linoleic acid-both are omega fatty acids," she says.

Of course, taking evening primrose oil will only calm redness (not necessarily stop acne), but Dr. Beer says you can combine the supplement with emollients like squalane to smooth your skin and give it a better appearance.

It's a concept that I'm now sold on, but before you toss out your skin-care products, give it a try and see what you think first. You might be pleasantly surprised. I know I was.

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