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Ingredient Spotlight: How Oatmeal Soothes Every Skin Type, Especially Those With Eczema

Why should you use oatmeal skin care products? Since it’s really easy to become overwhelmed when searching for a new product, Ingredient Spotlight is here to break down the basics. Here, we’ll teach you how an ingredient works and leave you with product recommendations to help you with your search.

While oatmeal is a superstar ingredient for any skin type, it’s especially wonderful for those with sensitive skin, including people with eczema. Today we’re putting this soothing hero in the spotlight—where it belongs—to teach you about how and why it works so effectively in skin care products. We’re also sharing some product recommendations—and a couple fun DIYs—so you can begin incorporating oatmeal into your regimen as soon as today!

Oatmeal in skin care products:

You’ll find oatmeal in all sorts of skin care products, not limited to creams, lotions, cleansers, scrubs, washes, soaps, and face masks. It’s even found in shampoos, body cleansers, and shaving products. The natural question is, “How is this bulky ingredient so seamlessly incorporated into a product?” The answer is that it’s very, very finely milled.

In some cases, the powder is simply stirred into the product, which can create a very mild exfoliating effect once used. Another option is to add this finely milled powder—referred to as colloidal oatmeal—to water, or another type of liquid, so that it’s evenly suspended throughout. This produces a more even consistency that’s typical of lotions and creams.

Oatmeal benefits:

“Oatmeal has been used for centuries in skin care as a calming agent to soothe itch and relieve sensitive skin in patients with eczema,” says Dr. Suzanne Friedler, a board-certified fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. “Its components play a role in both moisturizing and cleansing. Oatmeal also has the ability to buffer or neutralize the pH of dry itchy skin, [and] has anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and antioxidant properties.”

She adds that another key benefit of oatmeal is that it has a very low incidence of allergenicity. That means that many people can use it without worrying about an adverse reaction. Because of this, oatmeal is wonderful for people with all skin types, including oily, dry, combination, mature, young, and, of course, sensitive.

DIY oatmeal treatments:

We had Dr. Friedler share a couple DIY options that anyone can whip up at home. For either, you can use your own ground oatmeal, or store-bought colloidal oatmeal.

  • Oatmeal Bath: “Add a cup of grinded oatmeal and a few drops of lavender oil to your bath for a relaxing and soothing treatment that cleanses and hydrates your skin at the same time,” she says.
  • Oatmeal Mask: “For a homemade oatmeal paste, grind one cup of oatmeal to a powder and mix with half a cup of warm water and half a cup of coconut oil,” she says. Apply to dry itchy skin anywhere for instant relief. 

Product recommendations:

missha oatmeal enriched body oil

One of our favorite products that incorporates oatmeal is Missha’s Oatmeal Enriched Body Oil. This lotion hydrates your skin while calming, soothing, and nourishing it. In addition to the oatmeal, it utilizes almond, safflower, and grape seed oils to smooth and soften.

skinfood oatmeal lotion

Another great option is Skinfood’s Intensive Shea Butter Cream Lotion. While it puts more emphasis on shea butter, it also utilizes the soothing properties of oatmeal to double down on that soothing effect. It’s also infused with ceramides and botanical ingredients, including broccoli, calendula, and rosemary. Finally, for a soothing treat for your face, throw on The SAEM Natural Oatmeal Mask Sheet, which utilizes oatmeal extract to moisturize and bolster the skin’s barrier function.

+ What are your favorite oatmeal skin care products? Share your recommendations below!

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