Colloidal oatmeal is a skincare ingredient known for its soothing and moisturizing properties. Particularly effective in treating dry, itchy, and sensitized skin, colloidal oatmeal is a promising ingredient for those seeking to achieve softer, smoother, and more comfortable skin.
What is Colloidal Oatmeal?
Colloidal oatmeal is made by grinding oats into a fine powder and boiling it to extract its beneficial compounds. These compounds include lipids, proteins, various antioxidants, and avenanthramides, potent skin-soothing molecules unique to oats. In skincare, colloidal oatmeal is recognized for its ability to soothe dry, itchy, and sensitive skin and restore the skin's natural barrier. Colloidal Oatmeal can be used as a skin protectant in OTC eczema products which are regulated by the FDA. For these OTC products the colloidal oatmeal is standardized by the United States Pharmacopeia.
What Does Colloidal Oatmeal Do to the Skin?
The protective properties of colloidal oatmeal are due to its high concentration of starches and beta-glucan that form a protective film on the skin with high water holding capacity. This in turn locks in moisture and shields the skin from pollutants or irritants that further dehydrate or cause inflammation. The various phenolic compounds in colloidal oatmeal act as antioxidants to fight free radicals and reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines, soothing dry, itchy, and sensitive skin. Colloidal oatmeal also acts as an efficient skin buffer counteracting elevated skin pH which improves stratum corneum barrier function and integrity. The many mechanisms of action provide direct dermatological benefits especially for those suffering with atopic dermatitis or eczema.
Benefits of Colloidal Oatmeal:
Colloidal Oatmeal has many benefits in skincare including:
Skin Protection: By creating a protective barrier on the skin, colloidal oatmeal helps to safeguard the skin from environmental aggressors and prevent moisture loss.
Soothing Effects: When the skin is shielded from irritants and environmental aggressors, there is less inflammation. Active molecules within colloidal oatmeal, such as the avenanthramides, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which can also help to alleviate skin irritation and redness.
Skin Hydration: With its high water holding capacity, colloidal oatmeal helps to draw moisture into the skin, providing hydration and promoting skin softness.
Acid Mantle Restoration: Colloidal oatmeal can buffer the pH of the skin helping restore the skin barrier.
Itch Reduction: Colloidal oatmeal can temporarily protect and help relieve minor skin irritation and itching due to rashes, eczema, poison ivy or oak, and insect bites.
How Does Colloidal Oatmeal Work?
Colloidal oatmeal works in a multi-therapy way. Water soluble fractions of colloidal oatmeal such as oat proteins and carbohydrates have a pH-buffering capacity. Compromised skin, including atopic dermatitis or dry skin dermatitis, tends to have an elevated pH which hinders barrier function. By buffering the pH, colloidal oatmeal helps restore skin barrier function and reduce skin dryness. The protective film created by native beta-glucan and starches helps prevent water loss and shields the skin from harmful ingredients. Active molecules within colloidal oatmeal help reduce the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators that lead to inflammation and irritation. Colloidal oatmeal has also been shown to increase the expression of genes responsible for barrier proteins and skin lipids, further restoring the skin barrier. Overall, colloidal oatmeal enhances barrier homeostasis, supporting healthy skin.
Concentration Levels & Recommended Usage for Colloidal Oatmeal:
The concentration of colloidal oatmeal in skincare products can vary, and its usage depends on the specific product. Products formulated for sensitive skin or to address skin irritation, such as lotions, creams, and bath products, often feature colloidal oatmeal as a key ingredient. In OTC skin protectants it can be combined with other skin protectant actives in which case the concentration of colloidal oatmeal is called out on the drug facts panel. Many eczema therapy or treatment products use colloidal oatmeal typically between 0.5-5%.
Is it Okay to Use Colloidal Oatmeal Daily?
Yes, colloidal oatmeal can be used daily and is often recommended for individuals with sensitive skin or skin conditions like eczema due to its gentle, soothing properties. It is a well studied, peer reviewed ingredient with proven efficacy and little to no side-effects.
Who Should Use Colloidal Oatmeal?
Colloidal oatmeal is ideal for those with sensitive, dry, or irritated skin, but it is gentle enough to be used by all skin types. It's especially beneficial for those with conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or dry, itchy skin. Many baby products leverage colloidal oatmeal’s superb skin soothing properties in lotions and creams. It's also suitable for those looking to enhance their skin's natural barrier and hydration. As always, it's best to consult with a skincare professional or dermatologist to determine if colloidal oatmeal is right for your specific skin concerns.
DISCLAIMER: All skin care articles are intended to help educate on specific ingredients and skin care topics. Our articles are written to be informative and informational. Any reference to a specific patient experience is not a medical suggestion for treatment. Please note that any Prequel products with referenced ingredients are formulated for Cosmetic Use Only and NOT intended as replacements for physician advice and/or pharmaceutical product recommendations.