EVENING primrose oil, used by thousands to relieve skin complaints, is not effective after all, according to research conducted over 24 weeks.

Dermatologists at Leicester Royal Infirmary tested 102 patients with allergic eczema, using capsules of evening primrose oil, capsules of the oil mixed with fish oil (thought to improve its effectiveness) and a placebo.

Their study, published in the Lancet, could find no significant difference between the placebo and the oils.