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Soaking in a warm oatmeal bath has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and can calm irritations such as eczema or insect bites. It's hydrating and soothing, making your skin soft and smooth in an instant.
Oatmeal bath is not only great for adults – you can also use it for your youngsters, especially for the treatment of diaper rash. The best thing about it is that you can make it at home with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Or you can spend more than a dollar and buy a commercial product – it's up to you.
In this article, we'll dive into all the great benefits of oatmeal for the skin and share a simple recipe for a DIY oatmeal bath.
Oatmeal Bath: How It Works
Oatmeal has been used for ages to soothe dry, itchy, and irritated skin. To this day, it remained one of the most potent natural ingredients found in a variety of cosmetic products, such as shampoos, moisturizers, shaving creams, and others.
The secret of oatmeal baths lies in colloidal oats that act as an emollient. You can get them by grinding oat grains (Aveena sativa) into a fine powder, allowing all the nutrients from the oats to be easily absorbed by the skin. In addition, this finely ground oats powder binds to your skin, creating a buffer or a protective barrier.
Packed with minerals, proteins, fats, and antioxidants, colloidal oatmeal benefits the skin in many ways, acting as a powerful protective, anti-inflammatory, and soothing agent [source].
According to research, colloidal oatmeal serves as a buffering agent that can strengthen the skin's barrier function and helps it maintain a healthy PH level. As a result, it protects the skin and soothes itchiness, redness, and irritation caused by eczema.
In fact, FDA and other health organizations (like National Eczema Association) categorized colloidal oatmeal as a skincare ingredient with protective properties and the ability to treat various skin conditions.
Oatmeal bath has numerous skin benefits, including:
- strengthening skin barrier
- maintaining a healthy PH level
- soothing and softening
It's excellent for treating:
- eczema (an eczema related symptoms like redness, itchiness, and dryness)
- insect bites
- diaper rash
- dry skin
- itchy skin
How to Do an Oatmeal Bath
If your doctor recommended you try an oatmeal bath, you can opt for the lazy way and get a ready-to-use product, or you can DIY your own oatmeal bath. If you opt for the latter, you'll need to purchase whole and uncooked oats, a.k.a., rolled oats, without any added sugars and other additives.
It's also important to note that an oatmeal bath is nothing like your regular breakfast oats (although we see how it can paint that picture in your mind). While it's called oatmeal bath, it doesn't have an oatmeal consistency. The bath is a pearly white solution with a silky feel.
Recipe for DIY Oatmeal Bath
Whether you need relief from dry, red, and itchy skin, or just a little break from a long and arduous day, make yourself an evening oatmeal bath and soak all your problems away. You can also give your little ones an oatmeal bath that will soothe any rashes, insect bites, or sunburns.
- 1 cup of whole, uncooked oats
- Food processor, blender, or coffee grinder
- Tub and warm water
Prepare and soak
- Use your blender (food processor or coffee grinder) to process the oats into a fine, dust-like powder. Set your device to the highest speed.
- Test if your oats are ground fine enough by stirring one tablespoon of oats in a glass of warm water. If your blend quickly absorbs into the water, making it milky-looking and silky to the touch, you don't need to blend it further. If the water doesn't turn milky, blend your oats until you get a very fine consistency.
- Test again by repeating the same process from Step #2. Continue blending and testing until you get a whitish solution with a silky feel.
- Once your oats are ready, it's time to prepare the bath. Start by filling the tub with lukewarm to warm water.
- Sprinkle your finely ground oats under the faucet while the tub is still filling up.
- Keep stirring your oatmeal into the water until the tub fills to the right level. The water should turn milky white in color, and there shouldn't be any clumps of oats.
- It's finally time to soak and relax! Soak in your oatmeal bath for about 15 to 20 minutes, or as long as it feels comfortable for you.
If you can't get your oats into a powder-like consistency, use a cheesecloth, a small muslin bag, or your old pantyhose as a bag to put your oats in (this will also make less of a mess, and your tub will be easier to clean after your bath).
After the bath, gently pat dry your skin, leaving it slightly damp. Then, apply your emollient cream or moisturizer to seal all that moisture and nutrients in.
Note: You might feel a little sticky following the bath (it's from the oatmeal that binds to the top layer of your skin). If you're not a fan of that feeling, you can rinse it off with lukewarm water before applying your moisturizer.
Oatmeal bath is an excellent solution for an array of problems. If your skin feels tight and you have rough and scaly patches on different parts of your body, make yourself a warm oatmeal bath. Also, if you just need to relax and unwind after a stressful day at work, soak in an oatmeal bath. In any case, instant relief is guaranteed!
What does putting oatmeal in your bath do?
Putting ground oats into your bath will soothe your irritated, itchy, and dry skin. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and emollient properties, an oatmeal bath will help you relieve the symptoms of eczema as well.
Do you rinse after an oatmeal bath?
Colloidal oats will bind to the surface of your skin, leaving it a bit sticky. Therefore, you should rinse after the bath with lukewarm water and immediately follow up with your body lotion or moisturizer.
Does oatmeal stop itching?
Yes, colloidal oatmeal will soothe itching, tightness, and redness caused by atopic dermatitis. This is because, colloidal oatmeal has emollient properties, creating a protective layer on your skin and strengthening your skin's natural moisture barrier.
What is the difference between oatmeal and colloidal oatmeal?
Regular oatmeal contains oat flakes, while colloidal oatmeal is an oat powder, or basically, finely ground oats. When mixed with a liquid base (milk or water), colloidal oatmeal turns into a paste that acts as an emollient when applied topically.
What can I bathe in for itchy skin?
You can DIY an oatmeal bath by mixing finely ground oats (or colloidal oatmeal) into your bath tab while it's still filling with water to make them evenly dispersed. The bath should turn into a pearly white solution with a silky feel.