Benefits of Oatmeal for the Skin + How to Use It

Start your day with a bowl of delicious oatmeal for breakfast and finish it with a nutritious oatmeal face mask - this way, you'll reap all the skin-loving benefits of this superfood.

November 22, 2021 5 minutes read
Glass jar filled with oats

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Besides being super-nutritious and good for your overall health, oats are packed with protective, antioxidant, and soothing agents that your skin craves. If you thought that putting food on your face is ridiculous and messy, we're confident you'll change your mind after reading this article.

Research suggests that oats, Avena sativa, contain various minerals, vitamins, proteins, and fats with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and have a long history of treating various skin disorders, from itchy skin to eczema. Keep on scrolling to find out all about the amazing benefits of this superfood for the skin and how you can incorporate it into your skincare routine.

Benefits of Oatmeal for the Skin

wooden bowl full of oats

Oatmeal, especially colloidal oatmeal (finely ground oats), is a centuries-old folk remedy for soothing itchy, dry, and irritated skin. It's jam-packed with a variety of compounds highly beneficial to the skin. Here are the 8 top skin-caring benefits of oatmeal:

#1: It's Hydrating and Moisturizing.

Oatmeal is rich in beta-glucan, starches, and lipids that create a hydrophilic film on the skin's surface and act as humectants and water-binding compounds. Therefore, oatmeal buffers and moisturizes the skin while strengthening its natural barrier at the same time. As a result, it's ideal for relieving symptoms of dry skin, such as tightness and itchiness [source].

#2: It's Protecting and Anti-Aging.

Using cosmetic products containing oatmeal can help you protect your skin from environmental factors such as ultraviolet radiation, UVA in particular. This is because oatmeal is chock-full of polyphenols, particularly flavonoids, that act as potent antioxidants, absorbing UV radiation and fighting off free radicals – the main culprits that cause premature skin aging [source].

#3: It's Anti-Inflammatory.

Colloidal oatmeal has anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic activity thanks to its polyphenols content as well as avenanthramides. These compounds inhibit the release of proinflammatory cytokines, cutting inflammation in its root and helping with a variety of inflammatory skin diseases, such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, eczema, and rash [source].

#4: It Helps With Burns.

The emollient and moisturizing properties of oatmeal can relieve various symptoms related to burned skin, such as redness, itchiness, and pain. In addition, thanks to the antihistaminic and anti-inflammatory properties of avenanthramides found in oatmeal, it's proven effective in soothing irritated and inflamed skin, reducing its hypersensitivity and histamine-mediated itch [source].

#5: It's Cleansing.

Oatmeal contains phenolic esters called saponins that act as natural cleansers. These compounds belong to a group of plant carbohydrates with soap-like and cleansing properties [source]. In addition, these are also known to have antioxidant and skin-soothing properties.

#6: It Helps With Oily Skin.

Thanks to the starches fund in oatmeal, it's highly absorbent and can soak up excess sebum on the skin. Therefore, if you have oily skin, you might greatly benefit from using oatmeal topically. It will get rid of the excessive shine and cleanse and soothe your skin at the same time.

#7: It Exfoliates the Skin.

Finely ground oats, or colloidal oatmeal, are an excellent natural exfoliator for both your face and body. It will gently scrub away the top layer of dead skin cells and make way for fresh and new cells from underneath. While, thanks to its emollient and soothing properties, it will nourish and moisturize your skin at the same time, leaving it smooth, soft, and glowing.

#8: It Helps With Acne.

Due to its potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, oatmeal can help with acne as well. In addition, it contains natural cleansers, like saponins, that remove the dirt and oil that may clog your pores and lead to breakouts.

How to Use Oatmeal for Skin Care

woman with diy oatmeal facial mask

To get the most out of your oats, it's best to use colloidal oatmeal for topical application. In essence, colloidal oatmeal is nothing more than oats finely ground into powder. It's also usually mixed with some water or other liquid base to get all the nutrients from this superfood.

When applied topically, colloidal oatmeal will act as an emollient, creating a protective film on your skin and strengthening your skin's natural barrier. In addition, since it's jam-packed with fatty acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, saponins, and antioxidants, it will also nourish your skin and relieve any dryness, itchiness, redness, or irritation.

So here are some ideas for different ways you can incorporate oatmeal into your skincare routine:

#1: Make an Oatmeal Bath

For a spa-worthy experience from head to toe, you can make an oatmeal bath – all you need is one cup of colloidal oatmeal. Using a blender or a food processor, grind rolled raw oats into a fine powder (use plain raw oats without any additives and flavors). Then add them to your bathtub while it's still filling with water so that the oatmeal is nicely dispersed – the water should turn milky white.

Avoid using hot water as it can irritate your skin and dry it out even more. But instead, use lukewarm water and soak in it for about 15 to 20 minutes. If the water cools down quickly, you can warm it up by adding a bit of hot water into your bath. The oatmeal will create a sticky film on your skin, so once you're finished with your bath, rinse any residue with lukewarm water. Apply your body lotion right after, while your skin is still damp, to lock all that moisture in.

#2: Make an Oatmeal Face Mask

For this face mask, you'll need only three ingredients any household has – milk, honey, and oatmeal. The combination of these ingredients is safe for any skin type – it will soothe sensitive and irritated skin and hydrate it at the same time.

First, you need to make colloidal oatmeal by grinding half a cup of rolled oats in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder. Mix it with just enough lukewarm milk to create a paste. Then add one tablespoon of honey into the mix, and your face mask is ready!

Apply it to a cleansed face and leave it on for about 30 minutes. Then rinse off with lukewarm water and apply your moisturizer while your skin is still damp. This will add an extra layer of protection and moisture.

#3: Make a Body Scrub

It's pretty easy to make your homemade body scrub with just a couple of ingredients. Create a thick paste using roughly ground oats and a little bit of water. The amount you'll need will depend on the size of the area you want to exfoliate – half a cup of ground oats will probably suffice.

While in a shower or a bath, gently rub the oat scrub onto your skin using light circular motions. Then rinse off with lukewarm water and apply your body lotion to the damp skin.

#4: Make a Lip Scrub

If your lips are often chapped and dry, you'll love this hydrating lip scrub, especially during the cold winter months. You'll need one tablespoon of colloidal oatmeal mixed with a little bit of warm water to create a paste. Then add one teaspoon of brown sugar and one teaspoon of coconut oil into the mix. Gently scrub your lips, then rinse, and follow up with a nourishing lip balm or hydrating oil of your choice (or both!).

Is Oatmeal Safe to Use on Skin?


According to a 2012 study, personal care products that contain colloidal oatmeal are generally safe to use. The risk of developing skin irritation or allergic reactions when using colloidal oatmeal is extremely low.

However, to make sure it's safe to use for you, we recommend doing a 24-hour patch test beforehand. Apply a small amount of colloidal oatmeal mixed with water to the upper part of your inner arm and wait 24 hours before washing it. Observe how your skin reacts. If you don't notice any redness, rash, swelling, or itchiness after 24 hours have passed, it's safe to use on a larger skin area.


As you can see, oatmeal is indeed a superfood and a hidden skincare gem, offering a myriad of benefits for your overall health and your skin as well – facts backed by science. So, no need to feel silly putting food on your face and have fun making your DIY concoctions with oatmeal.

Whether you make an oatmeal bath or a face mask, your dry and irritated skin will instantly feel relieved, nourished, and moisturized. In addition, it may help you with acne, burns, and cuts, reducing inflammation, swelling, and pain.


What does oatmeal do to your face?

Oatmeal provides many benefits for the skin, including soothing, anti-aging, hydrating, and moisturizing. If your facial skin is sensitive, prone to irritation, acne, or dryness, oatmeal and oatmeal-rich skincare will help soothe your skin.

Why is oatmeal good for your skin?

Oatmeal is good for your skin because it contains heaps of skin-loving compounds, such as antioxidants, saponins, fatty acids, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.

Is oatmeal anti aging?

Oatmeal contains polyphenols, such as flavonoids, that act as powerful antioxidants, protecting the skin from pollutants and UV damage. Therefore, oatmeal prevents oxidative stress and, hence, it has anti-aging effects on the skin.

How long should you leave oatmeal on your face?

To get the most out of all those nutrients found in oatmeal, it would be best to use colloidal oatmeal, which is basically finely ground oats, for your DIY face mask. Mix it with a little bit of water and honey to create a smooth paste. Then apply it to your cleansed face and leave it on for about half an hour.

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