We find anti-oxidants in the form of tocopherols in evening primrose oil, but a surprisingly low amount at 211 ppm (compare this to sunflower oil with up to 700 ppm). Interestingly enough, evening primrose doesn't oxidize as quickly as you'd think given all those double and triple bonds! Evening primrose is "antioxidative in nature", meaning it quenches free radicals and chelates metal ions through mechanisms other than tocopherols! (Scienticians are still studying this to figure out why this is!) It has a shelf life of about 6 months, which is far higher than you'd expect with up to 93% double and triple bonded fatty acids!
The polyphenols in evening primrose are about 300 mg per kg of oil, found mainly as catechins, which may act as an anti-bacterial agent on our skin. This means evening primrose is going to feel a little drier than something like sunflower oil on your skin. Evening primrose contains gallic acid, which has been studied as a burn and wound healer that might prevent infection during the healing process (you might remember gallic acid from mango butter!). Studies have found evening primrose used at 20% offers a statistically significant effect on the skin barrier of those suffering with atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema).
Evening primrose is a fantastic addition in your lotions and other creations at up to 10% - mainly because of cost - but you can use at up to 20% if you are having real difficulties with dry skin.
Considering using it in a facial serum (more about this coming soon) at 10 to 20%. It does have a comedogenicity rating of 3 (out of 4), so although it works really well for people who are prone to acne, it might not be the best idea for those of us who are prone to clogged pores!
I like to use it in an after bath spray during the winter to increase the amount of linoleic acid and GLA to help with dry chapped or reddened skin. I'm tweaking this anhydrous after bath oil spray to include 20% evening primrose oil - which will offer us a lot of linoleic acid and GLA to help with skin barrier repair - 48% sesame oil, because it is non-staining and has a lot of linoleic and oleic acids. I'm adding 10% cyclomethicone to help with the glide of the product and 10% dimethicone to help protect our skin as it repairs itself, as is is an approved barrier ingredient. I like to add IPM to my bath oil sprays as it makes the product feel a little less oily, as does the cyclomethicone as it evaporates. I'm including Vitamin E in here because the evening primrose oil has a short shelf life - no more than 6 months - so we need some great anti-oxidants in here.
Note: Feel free to leave out the silicones and increase the oils and feel free to play with any oils you really like in this recipe!
AFTER BATH OIL SPRAY WITH EVENING PRIMROSE OIL
20% evening primrose oil
48% sesame oil
1% Vitamin E
1% fragrance or essential oil
Mix your oils together, then pour into a spray bottle for apres bath or shower use.
Join me tomorrow for fun with borage oil!