The use of oatmeal in skin care has a long history dating right back to the ancient Egyptians. The Romans and Greeks recorded how bathing with oats helped with healing skin troubles. The tiny oat has had a long journey through the centuries as a natural skin healer, and in 1989 after years and years of well documented and respected studies, oatmeal was finally recognized by the FDA as a safe and effective over the counter skin protectant.
The high concentration of starches and beta glucan in oats are what give oatmeal the ability to hold onto moisture, and protect the skin. Oatmeal also boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, which come from the presence of its different kinds of phenols.
The avenacins found in oatmeal, have potent anti-fungal activity as well as having a soap-like cleansing quality. When finely milled, the tiny oat particles adhere to the skin, smoothing and removing dry skin build up. When introduced to water, the ground oat powder forms a viscous barrier which is important protection from outside irritants. These different moisturizing properties found in oats all contribute toward maintaining the integrity of the skin's barrier, preventing water loss, and alleviating itch.
Among the many sugars, vitamins and minerals to be found in natural oats, is vitamin E, a valuable antioxidant. Oxidative stress is implicated in many skin complaints, and different inflammatory conditions can be helped with the protection offered by antioxidants.
Oatmeal is a natural product, and is helpful with a long list of skin troubles, including: dry skin, prickly heat, hives, sunburn, chickenpox, poison ivy, oak and sumac, insect bites, winter itch, atopic dermatitis, and allergic or irritant contact dermatitis.