When you think of oats, you probably think of breakfast cereal, but these little grains can do so much more than fill you up in the morning.
How Oats Can Benefit the Skin
You may have heard that putting finely ground oats into your bath water can help soothe itchy, irritated skin, or that using oats in a homemade mask can help soak up excess oil on your skin, reducing breakouts.
Oats have been used in just this way to treat the skin for thousands of years. The plant itself has been cultivated by humans for at least 3,000 years, as evidenced by the oats that were found in the caves of Switzerland dating to the Bronze Age. Hippocrates even referred to the medicinal properties of oats, particularly when it came to skincare.
Oats have many compounds in them that can help the skin. These include proteins, lipids, fiber, and beta-glucans that are soothing and hydrating. The lipid content in oats is much higher than in other cereal grains, with triglycerides that are rich in fatty acids and super moisturizing. There are other compounds, as well, including those with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Today, we know that oats provide many benefits for skin, and these benefits are backed up by research. Here are just a few of the ways that oats support skin health:
- Hydrates skin: Oat extracts have a natural hydrating effect. Studies have found that when moisturizing creams containing oats are applied, the skin responds with improvements in dryness, scaling, and roughness. Beta-glucan, one of the compounds in oats, actually binds to water, holding moisture within the skin.
- Reduces itch: In a 2017 study, researchers found that just a one percent colloidal oatmeal cream helped reduce symptoms of atopic dermatitis, including itch and dryness.
- Reduces inflammation: Plant-based chemicals in oats have been found to help reduce inflammation in the skin. In a 2008 study, researchers found that the topical application of a cream containing oat phytochemicals provided potent anti-inflammatory action.
- Provides antioxidant protection: Oat extracts have been found to exhibit direct antioxidant activity, meaning that they protect the skin from free-radical damage, which is tied to aging.
- Protect from UV rays: Flavonoids in oats help absorb damaging UV rays, protecting the skin from sun damage.
Oat-Based Ingredients Used in Our Skin Care Products
But oats in their natural grain form don’t work so well in skincare products, as they don’t tend to mix well with other ingredients. To create our smooth, creamy moisturizers and balms, we have to start with basic oats and then pull certain compounds out of them to mix into our solutions.
By doing this, we create a more uniform product, but even more importantly, we isolate certain oat compounds that are known to benefit the skin, thereby increasing their potency and providing better results.
The two oat-based ingredients that we use in our CV Skinlabs products include:
- Oat Beta Glucan: This is the soluble fiber component in oats that is responsible for lowering cholesterol levels and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels in the body. It can penetrate deeply into the skin, migrating through the layers to create more lasting benefits.
- Avena Sativa Oat Kernel Extract: This is an extract from the Avena Sativa plant—otherwise known as the oat plant. It contains all the benefits of oats for the skin.
Both of these ingredients work well in skincare products, and provide all the benefits listed above—sometimes much better than other ingredients do. Beta-glucan, for example, may work even better than hyaluronic acid when it comes to retaining moisture, with some studies suggesting it’s 20 percent more hydrating at the same concentration.
It’s this property that helps beta-glucan reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while also providing antioxidant protection to help delay the appearance of aging.
Meanwhile, oat extract provides similar benefits while also providing potent anti-itch relief and anti-inflammatory action, making it particularly beneficial for sensitive skin types. Avena Sativa oat kernel extract is typically recommended for reducing inflammation, moisturizing, and soothing skin, and is the ideal ingredient for relieving the symptoms of eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis.
To find oat ingredients in our products, check out these links:
Tell us about your experience using oats for the skin!
Feily, A., Kazerouni, A., Pazyar, N., & Yaghoobi, R. (2012). Oatmeal in dermatology: A brief review. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, 78(2), 142. doi:10.4103/0378-6323.93629
Lisante, T. A. (2017). A 1% Colloidal Oatmeal Cream Alone is Effective in Reducing Symptoms of Mild to Moderate Atopic Dermatitis: Results from Two Clinical Studies. J Drugs Dermatol., 16(7), 671-676. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28697218
Mclintock, K. (2018, March 8). This Little-Known Skincare Ingredient Might Take Over Hyaluronic Acid’s Job. Retrieved from https://www.byrdie.com/beta-glucan-skincare
Reynertson, K. A. (2015). Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skin. J Drugs Dermatol., 14(1), 43-8. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25607907
Sur, R., Nigam, A., Grote, D., Liebel, F., & Southall, M. D. (2008). Avenanthramides, polyphenols from oats, exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-itch activity. Archives of Dermatological Research, 300(10), 569-574. doi:10.1007/s00403-008-0858-x