It’s not as well-loved as bacon, but it is a breakfast staple. Oatmeal is more than just a healthy whole grain — the FDA has designated this starch as a skin protectant that’s proven to relieve itching & skin irritation. In fact, if you look at the ingredient lists of your favorite sensitive skin and skin-soothing products you’re likely to find colloidal oatmeal as one of the main ingredients. Colloidal simply indicates that the oatmeal is ground up into tiny particles and incorporated into another substance.
Why does this simple kitchen ingredient do such an effective job relieving itchy, irritated skin, and even help to assuage conditions like eczema and psoriasis?
Well, for starters, starches, which create a layer on the skin to lock in moisture. Starches also absorb water easily, which they then transfer to the skin. When colloidal oatmeal is an ingredient in a lotion or soak, polysaccharides form a gel-like structure that acts as a protective layer for the skin. Avenanthramides are antioxidant compounds naturally present in oats that help reduce redness and irritation and saponins are another natural compound that absorb dirt and bacteria. Oatmeal is also an excellent exfoliant, helping to slough away dead skin cells and relieve softer, smoother skin.
One of the best things about oatmeal is that it’s a natural ingredient that’s incredibly gentle which means it can be used in abundance, even on sensitive skin or babies.