Beauty Ingredient 101: Borage

The beauty of borage

Borage is an herb with a beautiful (edible!) star-shaped flower that often grows wild. If you've heard of borage, it's probably in reference to its well-known oil. Borage seeds are a potent source of an oil rich in gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fat known to prevent water loss and increase skin cell strength when taken internally, or when applied to the skin topically. Borage oil actually contains up to 24 percent pure GLA, making it a very popular supplement for those looking for the many benefits of GLA, which include relief of PMS and arthritis.

Topically, borage oil is an anti-inflammatory known to ease eczema and psoriasis, and generally soothe, hydrate, heal and boost elasticity in the skin. The GLA in borage oil is also a well-known nail strengthener, according to Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, author of The Living Beauty Detox Program. So if you've got splitting nails, here's one solution! Look for a daily supplement with 360 mg GLA.

Borage oil: Inside or out?

I find it so interesting that the skin benefits of borage oil are similar whether you choose to take it internally or apply it to your skin topically. In the skin care world, you'll find borage oil in serums, creams and in a fantastic new line of products for sensitive skin by German natural beauty brand Primavera. I put the new Primavera Calming line of products, with chamomile and borage oil, to the test on my sensitive skin and was thrilled with the results. I highly recommend the line, which reminds me of Pai Skincare products in its perfect formulation for sensitive skin. I tested the Primavera Cream Cleanser (great for removing makeup, extremely gentle) and the Toning Lotion, a very unique gel that takes the place of a toner (it pH balances the skin) and a light moisturizer (thanks to the borage oil!).

The Primavera Calming line with borage oil will be available beginning May 2012 at


Image via: The Writing Nag