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“Oat-standing” benefits: Revitalize your skin with this common kitchen staple

“Oat-standing” benefits: Revitalize your skin with this common kitchen staple

The nutritional value of oatmeal is no secret.  Rich in fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins, oats have been credited with a roster of health-sustaining effects, including lowering harmful cholesterol, regulating blood sugar, and promoting healthy weight. 

But did you know that oats also do “double duty” in natural skin care products? As it turns out, oats are high in saponins - natural soap-like compounds that gently cleanse skin.  They are also rich in lipids, contributing to their humectant and emollient (moisturizing and protective) gifts.  You can whip up simple versions of these products at home using colloidal - or finely ground - oats.  Let’s take a look at some oat-centric recipes to pamper skin. 

Face forward: Clean, tone, exfoliate and moisturize with oats

Mix finely ground dry oats in a 2 to 1 ratio with powdered milk, and add a sprinkle of turmeric powder, if desired, for additional anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits.  (You can store this mixture in an airtight, waterproof container.)  When ready to use it, add enough water to make a paste and massage it into facial skin with a circular motion.  Leave on for a few minutes, then rinse off with lukewarm water.  If you add turmeric, use a tissue rather than a towel to dry your face to avoid staining.

For an exfoliating mask to gently remove dead skin, mix oatmeal and baking soda in a 2 to 1 ratio.  Add enough water to make a paste, then apply to the face and leave on till dry.  Rinse well with lukewarm water and pat dry.  Follow up with a mild moisturizer.

Don’t want to restrict all the skin-friendly “goodies” to your face?  You can make a gentle allover body wash by combining dry oats with enough fresh milk to make a paste.  Let the mixture sit for half an hour to allow the oats to absorb the liquid.  Apply with a washcloth, then rinse off. Your skin will thank you! 

Ease eczema and irritated skin with colloidal oats 

Over 31 million Americans - one out of every ten people - are affected by eczema.  This inflammatory skin condition, also known as atopic dermatitis, can cause weeping blisters and reddened, thickened, scaly skin, accompanied by itching and burning.  Colloidal oats have moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and itch-soothing benefits, making an oatmeal bath a perfect ally for sensitive and eczema-prone skin.  Oats have also been shown to assist in restoring the skin barrier, which helps protect against further irritation and injury.

Creating an oat bath couldn’t be much more straightforward.  Add a cup of oats to lukewarm - not hot - bathwater, and soak for ten minutes.  Check with your integrative doctor before addressing eczema with colloidal oat baths and stop taking them if eczema worsens.  By the way, the National Eczema Association recommends daily warm baths for eczema sufferers and is “on board” with colloidal oats.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also acknowledges that colloidal oatmeal baths may soothe itchy skin.

Protect fragile skin from oxidative damage

Another “ace in the hole” for oatmeal is that it contains a unique group of plant compounds known as avenanthramides.  A 2018 study revealed that avenanthramides have antioxidant properties, which can help reduce damage from UV rays and environmental toxins and pollutants.  Why not let a nourishing oatmeal facial mask work on repairing and refreshing stressed-out skin?  

Combine two tablespoons of colloidal oats with two tablespoons of organic honey, a half teaspoon of lemon juice, and four drops of tea tree oil.  Apply to a clean, dry face and leave on for 15 minutes.  Rinse off with cool water and pat your face dry.  (If you have sensitive skin, leave out the lemon juice.  And, before using the oatmeal facial mask or cleanser, try it on a small area on your wrist 24 hours before use.) 

Let colloidal oats show your skin some love                         

For maximum benefit, opt for steel-cut oats over rolled oats.  Steel-cut oats have been cut along the grain and offer superior skin-soothing benefits.  By the way, if you are grinding your own oats, you can ensure that you’ve ground them finely enough by mixing a tablespoon of the ground oats into a glass of water.  The liquid should turn milky white.  If this all sounds like too much work, no worries.  You can buy colloidal oats that are ready for use. 

Non-toxic, chemical-free, easy to make, and inexpensive, these colloidal oat preparations are a great way to lavish your skin with the love it deserves.

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