Colloidal oatmeal is ground oatmeal, which is then placed in a liquid medium for better application and absorption into the skin. Studies show that colloidal oatmeal can function as a cleanser, moisturizer, skin soother, and protective anti-inflammatory agent.
TYPE OF INGREDIENT: Skin protectant.
MAIN BENEFITS: Protect, prevent water loss, and soothe the skin.
WHO SHOULD USE IT: In general, colloidal oatmeal can be used by anyone to hydrate and moisturize the skin, but King says it is particularly helpful for those with dry skin and conditions like eczema.
HOW OFTEN CAN YOU USE IT: The recommended use for colloidal oatmeal is twice daily.
WORKS WELL WITH: Colloidal oatmeal can be used in conjunction with ingredients that can be irritating to the skin, such as alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids and retinoids, to help minimize irritation and disruption of the skin barrier.
DON'T USE WITH: Colloidal oatmeal works well with most, if not all, other ingredients.
Benefits of Colloidal Oatmeal for Skin
Oatmeal is a classic ingredient that is commonly used as a soothing agent to relieve itchy skin and soothe irritation caused by dry skin conditions, but it also has a variety of functions. Discover the many benefits of colloidal oatmeal in skincare below.
Protects: One of the most important functions of the skin is to provide a barrier between the body and the environment. There are many cases where the skin is not performing this function optimally. Some examples are if there is a genetic predisposition to eczema, or the skin is very dry from weather or washing away its natural emollients and protectants. This is where colloidal oatmeal comes in. The ingredient has shown in clinical studies to help strengthen the skin’s barrier function.
Prevents transepidermal water loss (TEWL): Colloidal oatmeal works by creating a film on top of the skin's surface. After using colloidal oatmeal in studies, both the amount of water in the skin that was lost and overall skin hydration showed improvement. Colloidal oatmeal contains high concentrations of starches, which contribute to its water-binding properties.
Soothes irritation: The cellulose and fiber in colloidal oatmeal give it emollient properties that calm redness and irritation. It's great for patients with mild-to-moderate eczema or ichthyosis as well as those with itchy skin and sunburns.
Has anti-inflammatory properties: Thanks to the phenols it contains, colloidal oatmeal also shows antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.
Absorbs UV: Studies show the phenols in the colloidal oatmeal also may help with absorbing UV radiation.
Cleanses: Colloidal oatmeal contains saponins, which have cleansing properties; it also has anti-fungal properties, thanks to the avenacins.