We are often asked ‘What is colloidal oatmeal’? Quite simply colloidal oatmeal refers to whole oat kernels that have been finely milled and processed in order to be used as a skin protectant.
Are colloidal oatmeal and oat flour the same thing?
Oat flour normally has the bran removed to improve the taste for food applications. Colloidal oatmeal is manufactured with the bran as it contains the important skin soothing actives.
How does colloidal oatmeal work?
Oats contain molecules which can improve skin condition. Of these molecules, the particularly important ones are lipids, beta glucan and antioxidants.
- Lipids – Lipids replenish lost oils in the skin preventing dryness and irritation.
- Beta glucan – Beta glucan acts as a deep moisturiser and helps to maintain skin firmness by inducing collagen production.
- Antioxidants – Oats are packed with antioxidants. One group unique to oats, called Avenanthramides, work like an antihistamine, reducing redness and itchiness when the skin is irritated.
Colloidal oatmeal is finely ground and processed to allow these molecules to be used by the skin and forms a thin film which binds to the skin to form a soothing protective barrier.
What conditions are helped by colloidal oatmeal?
Colloidal oatmeal can be used for the temporary relief of itchiness due to conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, exposure to sun and childhood conditions including chicken pox and measles.
In the US, colloidal oatmeal is recognised by the FDA as a skin protectant and is used for over the counter preparations to treat these conditions.
How do I use colloidal oatmeal?
Colloidal oatmeal is traditionally used as a bath additive but is also incorporated in creams, lotions, shampoos and other personal care products to treat inflamed skin.
What is a colloidal oatmeal bath and how often can I take them?
Colloidal oatmeal can be safely used daily as it is not known to be sensitizing or allergenic.
Can I use colloidal oatmeal on my dog and cat?
Anecdotal evidence indicates that the benefits of colloidal oatmeal on human skin can also be demonstrated on your pets. Therefore, you will find many dog, cat and equine shampoos contain this remarkable ingredient.
Can I make my own colloidal oatmeal at home?
To be effective, colloidal oatmeal is micronized to a specific particle size. It also needs to be processed so the starch is modified so it can be effectively dispersed into creams, lotions and bath products.
This is not something that can be achieved at home by grinding oats in a coffee grinder or blender.
The selection of oat variety used is very important. Food grade oats are generally quite low in the active molecules that give the skin protection qualities. A high quality colloidal oatmeal, such as Oat COM, will use oat varieties that are particularly high in beta glucan, antioxidants and lipids to provide the best level of skin protection. For best results, you need to buy a colloidal oatmeal that has been manufactured and tested to USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) standards.