While there are plenty of interesting ways to serve oatmeal in the morning, this breakfast superfood also boasts a ton of beauty benefits too!
Our Honey & Oats Soap Bar was one of the first bars we made, and is still one of our bestsellers. The use of oats in skincare has been documented as far back as 2000 B.C., and oatmeal is one of the few natural ingredients to receive recognition from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But the Ancient Egyptians didn’t need the FDA. They were among the first to recognize the skin-soothing properties of oats to heal skin problems because it relieves dry skin, itchy skin, bug bites, sunburn, rashes and more. But how does it work?
Colloidal Oatmeal – What is it?
Before we dive into the good stuff, let’s discuss the nitty gritty: sure, oats boast plenty of beauty benefits, but colloidal oatmeal is full of vitamins, minerals, and lipids that add moisture to benefit the skin’s condition. Colloidal oatmeal refers to oats that are finely milled and then suspended in water, gel, or other liquids like honey, oils, yogurt, or lotion, where it disperses evenly, allowing it to be absorbed easily by the skin. You can buy colloidal oatmeal pre-made, or you can pick up some organic old fashioned oatmeal and grind it up with a blender or food processor into a very fine powder (more on that in a minute).
Oatmeal and it’s superfine grinds are nutrient-rich for the skin, especially suitable for those with sensitive, easily irritated complexions. Because oatmeal is one of the ingredients least likely to cause a reaction, it’s a wonderful way to care for sensitive skin, or just help boost your everyday glow.
Helps Defend the Skin
Oats contain polysaccharides (think carbohydrates like starch, cellulose, or glycogen), whose molecules consist of a number of sugar molecules bonded together and have a gel-like texture when combined with moisture. This light gel leaves a protective layer over the skin that seals in its natural moisture while also providing additional nutrients. For many with sensitive skin, the skin barrier function may be compromised, and a layer of colloidal oatmeal acts like a protective, second skin. The proteins in oats also improve the skin barrier’s functionality by increasing the production of filaggrin, an essential building block of the skin barrier’s function.
Hydrates Dry Skin
The protective layer colloidal oatmeal imparts over the skin’s surface helps retain its natural moisture, while other actives help replenish moisture levels. The starches in oats are able to absorb water and bind it to the skin, resulting in a healthy complexion and glow.
Evens Out Skin Tone and Texture
Oats are also a rich source of avenanthramides, a unique group of antioxidant compounds not found in other plant sources. Avenanthramides are the main actives in oats that reduce redness and inflammation, especially irritation from excessive sun exposure (UV radiation).
Natural, Gentle Cleansing
Oats contain saponins, compounds that are naturally occurring in many grains and legumes. Saponins are an ideal, gentle cleanser for sensitive skin because they absorb dirt and debris on the surface of the skin. As a result, dirt can be easily rinsed away without disrupting the skin’s barrier.
Oatmeal contains zinc, which is one of the best go-to mineral for acne sufferers. When used topically, zinc is knowns to fight off acne causing germs, control sebum secretion (oil from the glands), and even heal acne scars. Oatmeal contains B-vitamins and selenium, which ward off pore-blocking free radicals that may contribute to acne. Furthermore, oatmeal’s soothing anti-inflammatory properties calm inflammation caused by acne.
Soaking in an oatmeal bath to soothe chicken pox, poison ivy, or burns isn’t merely an old wives tale – it really works! Since ancient times, Egyptians used oatmeal in their baths for soothing skin; later on, the Greeks and Romans adopted this practice, which is proven to be beneficial in calming redness, itchiness, and mild burns.
Ground oatmeal serves as an excellent ingredient for a homemade dry shampoo, too. Grind whole oats into a fine powder and rub it all over your scalp to soak up excess oils and keep your hair feeling clean. For the blonde bombshells out there, oatmeal powder can be used as a stand alone ingredient. For luscious brunettes, mix your ground oatmeal with raw cacao powder before applying. Make sure to brush off excess oat particles using a brush or wooden comb.
Lastly, as promised, if you wish to make your own magic dust colloidal oatmeal to add to baths or to your skincare ritual, it’s simple to make at home. You’ll need:
- A food processor, spice grinder, coffee mill, or mortar and pestle. If you have very sensitive skin, we recommend using a separate blender kept only for at-home skincare, because trace amounts of spices and coffee may irritate the skin.
- Whole rolled oats (do not use instant or flavored oatmeal)
- An airtight container for storage.
Mill the oats into a soft, fluffy powder. Keep the colloidal oatmeal in an airtight container in a cool pantry so the actives stay fresh. From there, the sky’s the limit: make yourself an oatmeal bath, scalp treatment, face mask, body lotion, or dry shampoo to reap the benefits of these awesome oats.