On top of being part of a well-balanced breakfast, did you know that oatmeal or, more specifically, colloidal oatmeal can do absolute wonders for your skin?
The beauty world is chock-full of ingredients that are hard to pronounce and even harder to understand just what exactly they do. Terms like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxy acid, and glycolic acid peels are tossed around so casually, but what do they actually mean?
It’s enough to make you feel like you need to be a certified organic chemist just to get a grip on what exactly you are putting on your skin.
A favoured item of skincare lovers and dermatologists, the unexpectedly unique and ingredient colloidal oatmeal is chock-full of beauty benefits, including soothing, hydrating, and protective properties that will help your skin appear more supple and youthful.
In fact, it’s even classified as a skin protectant by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, that said, we would not recommend eating colloidal oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal products.
So how is it that an item that many of us once thought was a healthy and hearty meal full of fibre and protein is also something that we can use to solve our skincare woes?
Stick with us, and we’ll let you know precisely what makes colloidal oatmeal so special.
This article will outline what colloidal oatmeal is, its benefits, potential side effects, and how to use it.
By the end, you’ll be saying “oat my God!” at the results it can produce!
Yes. We just made that pun. No, we’re not sorry.
Let’s get into it!
What is Colloidal Oatmeal?
While the name may make it sound like something that needs to go through an assortment of gruelling scientific procedures to be produced, all colloidal oatmeal is oatmeal that has been ground down into a fine powder.
From there, it is often placed or suspended in a liquid medium, such as water, to make it easier to apply and absorb into the skin. But, really, that’s all there is to it.
For centuries, oatmeal has been utilized by humans as a soothing agent to help relieve symptoms of itchy and irritated skin, and it’s only progressed from there.
The many healing properties of colloidal oatmeal stem from its chemical polymorphism, which gives it its protective and water-retaining qualities.
What are the Benefits of Colloidal Oatmeal?
So, if it’s been used for centuries, what makes colloidal oatmeal so great?
Relax. We’re getting to that.
Many benefits come from this simple grain, including as a treatment for irritating skin conditions, such as eczema, to provide calming relief. It has also been shown to help treat conditions such as psoriasis and skin manifestations of diabetes.
It’s able to do this because it possesses a vast assortment of beneficial, healing qualities that allow it to soothe the skin and promote healing.
Below are just a few examples of its benefits.
It Protects Your Skin
A desirable trait in most skincare products is creating a layer of protection between outside environmental factors, such as pollution and UV rays, and your skin barrier.
Colloidal oatmeal does just that.
Using the example of eczema and in a more general sense, colloidal oatmeal protects the skin from sun damage, UV radiation and dry weather, helping decrease irritation and the loss of moisture while boosting and strengthening your body’s skin barrier.
It Soothes Irritation
Piggybacking off of the previous point and factors we have already mentioned, colloidal oatmeal has been used for centuries as a means of helping treat irritated and uncomfortable skin conditions.
Its high fibre content, coupled with its hydrating properties, work together to calm redness and irritation.
In this way, even if you don’t have chronic skin conditions, you can still use colloidal oatmeal to treat itchy skin or calm the redness, itchiness and pain commonly associated with rashes, burns, or sunburns.
It has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Along with soothing irritation, colloidal oatmeal is also widely celebrated for possessing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant elements.
These unique properties are carried out by chemicals in oats called avenanthramides, which boost skin and overall body health.
In a study published in 2015, 29 female subjects possessing mild itch with moderate to severely dry skin were treated with colloidal oatmeal skin protectant lotion.
The results showed that the treatment diminished inflammation and caused significant improvements in skin dryness, roughness, scaling and itch intensity.
These conclusions demonstrate that colloidal oatmeal exhibits direct antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.
It Helps with Hydration Retention
One of the most significant colloidal oatmeal traits that makes it such an excellent ingredient in skincare products is its ability to retain water.
Scientific and anecdotal evidence is reported of this ingredient providing significant improvement in overall skin moisture.
In a 2012 study containing 2,291 adults, participants were requested to test the safety of personal care products containing colloidal oatmeal via patch testing. The results indicated that only 1% of participants reported low-level irritation after wearing the patch for 24-hours.
Astonishingly, most people experienced sustained moisture for a shocking two weeks after wearing the patch.
It Promotes Anti-Aging Effects
Due to its ability to combat oxidative stress, reduce inflammation and maintain higher levels of hydration, colloidal oatmeal is a fantastic ingredient for promoting elasticity and giving skin a more youthful glow.
All this works together and combines synergistically to help your skin look and feel years younger.
Are There any Side Effects?
As we mentioned before, colloidal oatmeal is classified as a skin protectant by the FDA, meaning that they view it as safe to use.
That said, while rare, there is potential for allergic reactions. So, if you know that you have an oat allergy, it’s best to steer clear of products containing this ingredient.
You should also perform a patch test on a small piece of skin on the inside of your arm to see how your skin reacts before applying any products generously, especially on your face.
If you have any concerns or reservations or are living with a chronic skin condition, consult your doctor or dermatologist before trying new products to seek a professional opinion and see how it will interact with any internal or topical medications.
How to Use Colloidal Oatmeal
You can find colloidal oatmeal in a vast assortment of products currently available on the market, including moisturizers, bubble baths, shampoos and more. You can even find it on its own in powder form.
If you’re scratching your head trying to think of how you’d like to use it, we’ve created a list of some of the most common and popular application methods.
In a Bath
If you’re looking for full-body coverage, integrating this ingredient into your tubby time, whether in a bubble bath or by adding a few cups of powder into your bath, can do wonders.
Submerge your body fully, let the healing properties work their magic, soothe irritation, and promote relaxation. We’d recommend sitting in an oat bath for roughly 18-20 minutes.
In a Moisturizer
Perhaps one of the most popular ways to enjoy this item’s benefits is by using it in a moisturizer.
If you’re prone to dry skin, we would recommend using it at least twice a day. However, some professionals recommend that you use it as often as you like.
Be the envy of your friends by showing off your naturally soft, supple skin.
As an Exfoliant
If you’re looking for a product that can buff all the badness away, the grainy texture of colloidal oatmeal serves as an excellent way to scrub away dead skin cells.
It works double-time to serve as a gentle exfoliant while also providing your skin with a quenching supply of moisture.
Colloidal Oatmeal – Say Hello to Happy, Hydrated Skin
Not just another pretty face and not just another healthy snack. Who knew that something as tiny as oats could have such massive benefits!
With an ongoing shift in the beauty world from complex ingredients to natural alternatives, this ingredient provides a multitude of healing benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing and hydrating properties.
With options such as these, it only goes to show that you don’t need a long laundry list of chemicals and compounds to have beautiful results.