For centuries, colloidal oatmeal has been a salve for itchy, dry, or irritated skin. This natural ingredient is readily found in cosmetic products like moisturizers, shampoos, and shaving creams.
Colloidal oatmeal is made by grinding oat grain, or Avena sativa, into a fine powder. It’s considered an emollient — a substance that softens or soothes the skin — because it packs fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients shown to benefit the skin.
In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially categorized colloidal oatmeal as a skin protectant in 2003.
It also boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that benefit your skin. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which can damage your body through oxidative stress if their numbers become too high.
Oxidative Stress is linked to conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as inflammation and certain skin diseases like dermatitis. It also affects aging, which can present as a lack of skin elasticity and moisture.
One study found that colloidal oatmeal’s unique chemical profile diminishes cytokines, a group of proteins that cause inflammation in your body. These beneficial properties are due to avenanthramides, a group of plant chemicals found in oat kernels.
By blocking inflammatory cytokines, avenanthramides inhibit the inflammatory response. As such, avenanthramides are not only responsible for colloidal oatmeal’s benefits to the skin but also the heart-healthy properties associated with eating oatmeal.