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Ground oatmeal can work as an exfoliant, sloughing away dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. It can moisturize, and reduce inflammation, meaning people often use it as a home remedy for dry, itchy, or irritated skin.

Doctors typically recommend that people use colloidal oatmeal for their skin. This type of oatmeal is a finely ground powder.

This article looks at the benefits of oatmeal for the skin, how people can use it, and some recipes for using oatmeal in home remedies.

A quick look at the best oatmeal products for the skin

Colloidal oatmeal contains several components that could be beneficial for the skin. These include:

  • beta-glucan, which is a substance that can absorb water
  • phenols, which are a type of antioxidant
  • saponins, which have soap-like properties and can act as a cleanser
  • oils

A 2018 study suggests that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of colloidal oatmeal come from plant chemicals called avenanthramides that it contains.

Additionally, authors of some 2020 research note that colloidal oatmeal may help to soothe sunburned skin.

Safety

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of colloidal oatmeal as an over-the-counter skin care product.

Additionally, a 2016 study into one brand of colloidal oatmeal moisturizer found that it was tolerated well and could improve atopic dermatitis, eczema, acne, psoriasis, and other dry skin conditions.

People can try applying oatmeal to their skin to help with various issues. It is worth noting that many of the studies involve small numbers of participants, so their results may not be as reliable as in larger studies.

Colloidal oatmeal may be helpful for the following conditions:

Dryness and itching

A 2018 paper suggests that using a cream containing colloidal oatmeal can alleviate the dryness, itching, and scaling that are symptomatic of skin conditions such as dry skin and atopic dermatitis in children.

The authors conclude that colloidal oatmeal can help to restore and maintain the skin barrier.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also suggests that colloidal oatmeal baths could help relieve itching in cases of shingles.

Learn more about home remedies for dry skin here.

Eczema

Eczema causes itchy, scaly, or patchy skin.

A 2020 double-blind study examined the effects of colloidal oatmeal on chronic hand eczema among patients at a dermatology clinic in Iran.

Among the 26 patients who received treatment with a 1% colloidal oatmeal cream, the researchers observed longer relief from symptoms than that experienced by a control group.

Another 2020 study examined the effects of a colloidal oatmeal cream on the skin of people with mild to moderate eczema compared with a standard moisturizer.

Among the 30 people who received the colloidal oatmeal cream, the researchers observed fewer harmful bacteria in areas of damaged skin than the 31 participants who received the standard moisturizer.

The researchers also noted that damaged areas of skin healed better with the colloidal oatmeal cream than with the standard moisturizer.

Learn more about natural remedies for eczema here.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition where the immune system triggers the overproduction of skin cells. It can lead to the development of scaly patches of skin, dryness, and itching.

A recent study looked at the effects of a 1% colloidal oatmeal lotion on the symptoms of 60 females with psoriasis and sensitive skin.

After 4 weeks of applying the lotion, the participants reported they had seen significant improvements in their symptoms. The symptoms that improved the most were itchiness and peeling.

In addition, 96% of participants thought that the treatment improved the severity of their psoriasis and reduced the amount of damaged skin patches.

Oatmeal baths could also help relieve itching and irritation that occurs due to psoriasis.

Learn more about home remedies for psoriasis here.

Some online sources claim that food products, such as oatmeal, turmeric, or lemon, can lighten the skin. However, most of these claims are not based on science.

While there have been no studies focusing on the possible whitening effects of oatmeal, oatmeal can help reduce redness and blotchiness by alleviating skin irritation.

Learn more about home remedies for skin pigmentation here.

Most research into the use of oatmeal on the skin examines the effects of colloidal oatmeal. Colloidal oatmeal refers to whole oat kernels that manufacturers have finely milled and processed in order to use as a skin protectant.

Using a home blender to grind whole raw oats may not result in the optimal size of the grain, but it may still be effective.

To test if the oats are ground finely enough, mix about 1 tablespoon of ground oats into a glass of warm water. A milky white color indicates that they are finely ground.

The following guides for using oats at home come from anecdotal sources.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Oatmeal baths

The National Eczema Association recommends a person with eczema bathes in lukewarm water every day. It also states that a person can add colloidal oatmeal to a bath to relieve itching.

How to make an oatmeal bath

Soaking in a lukewarm oatmeal bath can soothe, moisturize, and protect the skin.

  1. Fill a tub with lukewarm water. Avoid hot water as this can aggravate inflamed skin and draw moisture from it.
  2. Pour about 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal into the tub under the running water.
  3. Mix the water to help the oatmeal dissolve.
  4. Soak in the milky water for about 10 minutes.
  5. A quick rinse with lukewarm water will remove any residue and stickiness if needed.
  6. Apply moisturizer to add extra protection to the skin.

Learn more about oatmeal baths for eczema here.

Oatmeal face masks

This section details the ingredients for three types of oatmeal face mask.

A mask of ground oatmeal could help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons of colloidal oatmeal
  • water

How to apply an oatmeal face mask

  1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl to create a paste.
  2. Cleanse the face and apply the mask.
  3. Rub in gently and then leave on for 10–30 minutes.
  4. Rinse off and pat face dry.
  5. Apply moisturizer for an extra layer of protection.

A person can also consider oatmeal face creams available to buy online.

Best oatmeal face cream: Eczema Honey Soothing Facial Cream

  • Price: around $20
  • Skin type: all skin types

Eczema Honey writes that this face cream is a gentle moisturizer that can calm irritation and hydrate the skin.

It contains colloidal oatmeal, along with honey, vitamin E oil, blueberry, kelp, and green tea extract.

The company writes it is suitable for all skin types.

It holds Leaping Bunny certification, which means this product is not tested on animals. Additionally, Eczema Honey writes that the National Eczema Association has accepted this cream as suitable for people with eczema.

A person can order a 2-ounce (oz) tub of the Eczema Honey Soothing Facial cream online for around $20.

Face mask for oily skin

Some people claim that egg whites can benefit the skin due to their protein and vitamin content.

A 2020 systematic review writes that honey has antimicrobial properties, which could be helpful for people with damaged skin due to conditions caused by excess oil such as acne.

Learn more about the benefits of honey for the skin.

This face mask combines the benefits of oatmeal with those of egg whites and honey.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of colloidal oatmeal
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp honey

If a person prefers to buy ready-made oatmeal masks, they may wish to consider the following:

Best oatmeal mask for oily skin: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask

  • Price: around $24
  • Skin type: sensitive, oily, dry, combination, balanced

First Aid Beauty claims this product is suitable for sensitive, oily, dry, combination, and balanced skin. It aims to reduce dryness and redness.

In addition to colloidal oatmeal, the ingredients include Avena sativa oat bran, shea butter, and sea buckthorn.

According to First Aid Beauty, it is a cruelty-free product. It is also free from alcohol, artificial colors, parabens, phthalates, and talc.

A person can buy a 2-oz tube for around $24.

Face mask for dry skin

Research suggests that plant oils have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the skin. They promote healing and help repair the skin barrier.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup colloidal oatmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp almond oil
  • half a banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp honey

For an option available to buy online, a person can consider:

Best oat milk mask for dry skin: PCA Skin Hydrating Oat Milk Mask

  • Price: around $64
  • Skin type: balanced

This face mask from PCA is suitable for all skin types, including dry skin. The company states that it can help with acne, aging, and discoloration.

It uses Avena sativa oat kernel extract to soothe and calm the skin. PCA Skin also claims it can help retain moisture.

This mask also contains Arnica montana flower extract and cucumber to provide a calming effect.

The company recommends a person applies this mask in the evening once a week.

People can buy a 2.1-fluid ounce (fl oz) tube online for around $64.

The table below compares each of the oatmeal products available to buy online.

Eczema HoneyFirst Aid BeautyPCA Skin
Pricearound $20around $24around $64
Ingredients• colloidal oatmeal
• honey
• vitamin E oil
• blueberry
• kelp
• green tea extract
• colloidal oatmeal
Avena sativa oat bran
• shea butter
• sea buckthorn
Avena sativa oat kernel extract
Arnica montana flower extract
• cucumber
Skin typeall skin types• sensitive
• oily
• dry
• combination
• balanced
balanced, acne-prone

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: MNT chooses products available for a wide range of budgets.
  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products that clearly list all ingredients.
  • Skin concerns: Where appropriate, MNT selects products that target a specific skin concern, such as dryness, oiliness, or aging.
  • Safety: MNT chooses products that contain ingredients safe for topical use.
  • Reputable: MNT selects products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices.

Oatmeal baths can help to moisturize the skin.

The National Eczema Association writes that if a person wishes to apply moisturizer after a bath, they should apply it to slightly damp skin within 3 minutes of getting out.

This is called the “soak and seal” method.

They should also use a fragrance-free moisturizer if they have sensitive skin or allergies to fragrances.

Learn more about the best moisturizers for sensitive skin.

People experiencing the symptoms of chronic conditions such as eczema and psoriasis should contact a doctor to discuss a treatment plan.

While colloidal oatmeal can help control and improve symptoms, a healthcare professional should confirm that it can be used in conjunction with the person’s medications.

The 2016 study of over 2,000 people found none of them had any allergic reaction to colloidal oatmeal.

However, if a person experiences the symptoms of an allergic reaction when using oatmeal, they should stop using it and get advice from a doctor.

Below, we answer some common questions about oatmeal for the skin.

Can I use oatmeal every day on my skin?

Yes, people can use oatmeal on their skin daily if they wish. It is a natural product, and studies have shown it is unlikely to irritate after regular use.

What is the benefit of oatmeal for the face?

Oatmeal for the face may help reduce the symptoms of dry, itchy, and eczema-prone skin. It can also help to moisturize the skin.

How do you use oatmeal on your face?

A person should first make the paste if they are making their own formula.

Once they apply the oatmeal formula to their face, they should rub the mask in and leave it for 10–30 minutes.

Finally, they should rinse it off, pat the face dry, and apply a moisturizer if they wish.

Colloidal oatmeal may help provide some relief from the symptoms of skin conditions, such as dryness and itchiness.

People can purchase colloidal oatmeal online or in health stores. Alternatively, people can try making their own at home by using a blender to grind down raw oats.