Oatmeal is an excellent natural skincare product with highly beneficial properties that have been recognised for at least 2,000 years. It is naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and lipids and is both a gentle exfoliater and moisturiser.
It also has the rare distinction for a natural ingredient used in beauty products as being officially recognised by the FDA as a ‘skin protectant’. Oatmeal is particularly useful in relieving skin irritation and itching from rashes, insect bites, poisonous plants such as nettles and is particularly good at soothing the itchiness caused by eczema.
For most skincare products you need medium or fine oatmeal as coarse oatmeal has too much of a gritty texture for most applications. Do not confuse oatmeal with rolled oats. Oatmeal comprises natural oats which have been cold ground. Rolled oats are passed through a roller mill and have often been steamed first. You can produce something akin to oatmeal by processing rolled oats in a food processor but if they have been steamed some of the natural benefits may have been lost.
Oatmeal in Skin Care: what it does how it does it
Inexpensive and readily available, oatmeal is suitable for all skin types but is particularly suitable for the natural treatment of dry skin and eczema.
Oatmeal comprises many highly-beneficial naturally-occurring complexes and substances which are very valuable when making natural skincare preparations:
- Oatmeal’s Saponins cleanse the skin while the vitamins and flavonoids it contains are soothing substances; flavonoids also provide good UVA protection (they absorb UVA)
- Carbohydrates and proteins from oatmeal bind to the surface of the skin to make a protective (occlusive) layer which reduces moisture loss while maintaining correct pH levels;
- Oatmeal contains beneficial fats which strengthen the skin and restrict transepidermal water loss;
- Oatmeal’s high fibre content, in particular of beta-glucan attracts moisture and retains it— which is extremely beneficial when dealing with dry skin or attempting to treat eczema which are conditions when the skin loses the ability to do that itself;
- Oatmeal has excellent antioxidant properties because of the phenols it contains, including ferulic and caffeic acids;
- Oatmeal contains 20 different polyphenols, avenanthramides, which are a very powerful anti-oxidant. Although the content is only 0.03% this is a perfect natural level to provide oatmeal with its anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and anti-itching properties
Is Oatmeal Gluten Free?
Oatmeal is naturally gluten-free and should be suitable for people with most grain-related allergies.
However most mills where oatmeal is made also handle other types of grains and cross contamination can occur which can be dangerous for people with hyper-sensitivity to gluten.
Great care must be taken when purchasing oatmeal for coeliac sufferers, (known as celiac disease in North America), or people with a gluten intolerance or allergy to ensure the contamination is guaranteed to be below the officially accepted level for gluten-free of 20 parts per million.
Tags: anti-irritant gluten free eczema oatmeal