What Is Colloidal Oatmeal? Uses, Advantages, and Safety

A Bowl Of Colloidal Oatmeal
A Bowl Of Colloidal Oatmeal

Colloidal oatmeal is useful in treating a wide range of skin conditions, such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), dry skin, itching, and rashes. It has been utilized for centuries.
This article describes the safety and efficacy of using colloidal oatmeal for skin conditions.

What Is Colloidal Oatmeal?

The oat grain, or Avena sativa, is ground into a fine powder to make colloidal oatmeal. Its rich content of fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that have been demonstrated to benefit the skin make it an emollient, a material that softens or soothes the skin (123).

Colloidal oatmeal has been used as a skin salve for dry, irritated, or itchy skin for centuries. You can easily find this natural ingredient in cosmetic products such as shampoos, shaving creams, and moisturizers.

Additionally, it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities that are good for your skin. Antioxidants conflict free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and harm to your body if they multiply excessively (123).

How to use it

The symptoms of numerous illnesses, including eczema, are treated with colloidal oatmeal.

Dermatitis, another name for eczema, is a group of illnesses that cause abnormalities of the skin, such as scaly, itchy, or patchy skin. It has various causes, including allergies, irritants, and stress (4).

Adults can also get eczema, though it typically affects children. Colloidal oatmeal can be applied topically or taken as a bath (4).

Colloidal oatmeal has been utilized to provide relief for skin irritation or dryness caused by radiation treatments for cancer(5678).

Additionally, individuals suffering from xerosis or extremely dry skin may find it beneficial.

Xerosis is more common in older adults, during the colder winter months, and in those who have repeatedly been exposed to harsh chemicals. Additionally, it may be a side effect of specific medications or the result of an underlying illness (578).

Multiple studies have demonstrated notable enhancements in skin hydration among individuals with and without xerosis who have incorporated a moisturizer enriched with colloidal oatmeal into their skincare routine. These improvements were observed when comparing the treated areas to both untreated regions and a control group receiving a placebo (9710).

Moreover, colloidal oatmeal has shown potential for relieving itchiness associated with chickenpox or burns. Typically, it is used in conjunction with other medications, like antihistamines.

Is it safe to use colloidal oatmeal?

In the majority of cases, colloidal oatmeal has been proven to be a safe option for most people.

Rarely do allergic reactions occur. In actuality, over a three-year period, 445,820 users of personal care products containing colloidal oatmeal reported no allergic reactions (2).

Furthermore, only 1% of participants in a sizable study involving 2,291 adults reported mild irritation following a 24-hour application of a colloidal oatmeal patch. Additionally, the majority of wearers reported sustained moisture for an amazing two weeks following patch application (2).

It is important to note that people who are allergic to oats should not use colloidal oatmeal. In case you encounter any undesirable symptoms like burning, a rash, or stinging after using colloidal oatmeal, it is advisable to discontinue its use and consult with your healthcare provider.


  • Colloidal oatmeal, a gentle and natural ingredient, is suitable for a range of skin types, including those with sensitivity.
  • Its ability to reduce skin inflammation and redness is attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • The presence of lipids in colloidal oatmeal serves as a valuable source of hydration for the skin, ensuring its moisture is well-maintained.
  • This versatile skincare option is suitable for both children and adults, ensuring safety for the entire family.

How to make your own

Preparing colloidal oatmeal is a quick, simple, and potentially cost-effective process.

Follow these instructions precisely:

  • Add all of the raw oatmeal to a blender, coffee grinder, or food processor.
  • Process it until a fine, off-white powder is formed.
  • Measure out one tablespoon (15 grams) and mix it with one pint (16 ounces or 473 mL) of water to see if it’s ground fine enough. The water should turn milky white. If not, just grind the oatmeal even more.

One cup (237 grams) of the powder should be added to lukewarm water to create a bath, which should be soaked in for ten to fifteen minutes.

In order to prevent further dryness or irritation, make sure your bath isn’t too hot. After taking a bath, pat dry or let air dry if possible, and then use a sensitive skin-friendly moisturizer without fragrance.

If an adult or child does not have any topical oat allergies, they can use this bath.

Make sure the water isn’t too hot when preparing this bath for a young child. For infants and young children, a water temperature of about 100°F (38°C) is ideal. You will need about 1/3 of a cup (43 grams) of oatmeal if you are making a bath for a baby.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to perform a patch test beforehand if this is their first oatmeal bath. To achieve this, just dab a small area of skin, like the back of your hand or your forearm, with a small amount of the colloidal-oatmeal-water mixture. Rinse it off after 15 minutes, and keep an eye out for any symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as redness.

When you or your child exit the bathtub, proceed with extra caution, as oatmeal may cause the surface to become slick.

The bottom line

For centuries, colloidal oatmeal has provided relief for individuals suffering from itchy, dry, and irritated skin.

According to research, its special compounds preserve the moisture content of your skin while having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

With the exception of those who have a documented oat allergy, most people—including kids—can safely use colloidal oatmeal.

Many people, including those receiving radiation therapy for cancer, as well as those with dry skin, aging skin, or chickenpox, have found relief from it.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is colloidal oatmeal suitable for all skin types?

Yes, colloidal oatmeal is a gentle giant suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

2. Are there any side effects of using colloidal oatmeal?

Generally, no. However, in rare cases, individuals may have allergies. Always patch-test and consult a dermatologist if unsure.

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