OK, so I'm willing to bet some pretty good money that most of you are aware that oatmeal is great for your skin. At the same time, I wouldn't be shocked in the least if some of you are guilty of what I used to do—literally pouring Quaker Oats into my bathwater and then being pissed when all I ended up with was a tub of soggy mess. The problem was, I didn't take time to do the appropriate research. What I mean by that is, I wasn't supposed to be out here using raw oatmeal; I was supposed to be using colloidal oatmeal. And yes, y'all, there is a significant difference between the two.
Probably, the best way to explain what colloidal oatmeal is, is to think of oat grains—ones that contain the whole bran which typically isn't the case when it comes to the kind of oatmeal that you eat—that have been ground to the point where they are super fine. Then, after that, they are boiled to the point of becoming an extract. Once oats are in this state, they contain the kind of vitamins, minerals, oil-replenishing lipids, moisturizing beta-glucans and avenanthramides that are really great for your skin. This is colloidal oatmeal.
Now that you know what colloidal oatmeal is, you're probably wondering if you can make it yourself. The answer is yes; you can check out a DIY video here. Or, if you'd prefer to purchase some, drugstores typically carry it, although I'd recommend hopping on Amazon and getting it there (it tends to be purer). Either way, if you're looking for a way to bring out the absolute best in your skin, colloidal oatmeal is definitely a natural, healthy and totally worthwhile investment. Here are some of the reasons why.
1. It Cleanses, Exfoliates and Seals Your Skin
Did you know that we shed anywhere between 30,000-40,000 dead skin cells a minute which equates to around nine pounds a year? Still, between dirt, sweat and the products that we put on your skin, some of those cells can stick to our skin or get trapped in our pores. One way to prevent this from happening as much is to bathe with colloidal oatmeal soap. Not only does it deeply cleanse your skin, the texture of the oatmeal serves as an awesome exfoliant. Plus, colloidal oatmeal also has flavonoids in it that are able to protect your skin from harsh pollutants and chemicals, along with protective phenols to even and brighten your complexion. Oh, and colloidal oatmeal also has polysaccharide and lipid content to seal in moisture which makes it even better.
Exfoliant Tip: A great way to exfoliate your skin is to mix a half cup of colloidal oatmeal, a half cup of brown sugar (it's another great exfoliant) and three tablespoons of olive oil (it's loaded with antioxidants). Apply it to clean damp skin, all the while gently massaging the solution. Then rinse.
2. It Relieves Eczema and Psoriasis
Although the true cause of eczema is a mystery, I do find it interesting that it tends to occur in families that have a history of allergies, asthma or both. This is the type of skin condition that is pretty much always going to itch; then, if you scratch it, you're only going to make it worse as it oftentimes creates a scaly rash that oozes and then crusts over.
The reason why colloidal oatmeal is an effective treatment for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis (a condition that causes your skin cells to multiply 10 times faster than normal) is because first, it cleanses the infected area. Then, the oatmeal literally binds to your skin in order to create a protective barrier that not only soothes inflammation but traps in healthy moisture so that your skin feels less dry or irritating.
Eczema and Psoriasis Tip: If you put two cups of colloidal oatmeal, along with one-half cup of baking soda (its antibacterial properties reduces symptoms), into a tub of warm water and soak in it for 20 minutes, it can relieve itching and irritation by as much as 67 percent.
3. It Heals Acne
There is a certain kind of bacteria (propionibacterium acnes) that leads to acne breakouts. One thing that colloidal oatmeal does is remove that bacteria so that it doesn't clog up your pores. Another cool thing about this particular kind of oatmeal is, if you've got naturally oily skin, it absorbs excess moisture. Not only that, but it has a remarkable way of maintaining a healthy pH balance. That's why colloidal oatmeal can work in your favor if you use it as a facial mask or even a pimple spot treatment.
Acne Tip: One teaspoon of colloidal oatmeal, a half teaspoon of sweet almond oil (it removes excess oil), along with three drops of tea tree essential oil (it's a powerful antibacterial oil) and lavender oil (it soothes inflammation and heals damaged skin) as a spot treatment. Wash your face, apply it directly onto your pimples for 15 minutes, then rinse with cool water.
4. It Reverses Aging Signs
Colloidal oatmeal also has proteins, fatty acids, Vitamin E and antioxidants like quinones, flavones, favonols, and anthocyanidines in it. All of these things work together to protect your skin from free radicals and sun damage. Colloidal oatmeal is also one of the best all-natural anti-aging treatments because it contains beta glucans. Long story short, those are natural sugars that are found on the cell walls of things like bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens, and plants. They are oftentimes given to people during surgery in order to prevent an infection. As a bonus, the properties in them have been proven to soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Anti-Aging Tip: Combine two tablespoons of colloidal oatmeal, one tablespoon of manuka honey (it's a wonderful humectant) and one teaspoon of lemon juice (it's loaded with antioxidants that help to trigger collagen production). Apply it to a clean face and neck. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, rinse and moisturize.
5. It Is Great for Sensitive Skin
If your skin happens to be super sensitive, that's just one more reason to give colloidal oatmeal a try. Something else that the oatmeal contains is a chemical compound called saponins; they work to deeply cleanse the skin without irritating it in the process. In fact, colloidal oatmeal is considered to be a powerful cleanser while still being considerably gentler than soap is. That's what makes it a winner in keeping sensitive skin clean and comfortable.
Sensitive Skin Tip: Make your skin feel amazing, every time you wash it, by making your own colloidal soap. Click here for a DIY recipe.
6. It Soothes Itchy Skin
Something else that colloidal oatmeal has in it is phenolic alkaloids known as avenanthramides. The reason why these are relevant is because they contain properties that help to significantly reduce any hypersensitivity or inflammation that may cause your skin to feel itchy and irritated.
Matter of fact, if you or your child happen to come down with chickenpox, soaking in a tub that has colloidal oatmeal in it can provide instant relief.
Itchy Skin Tip: One way to create immediate relief to itching skin is to make your own colloidal oatmeal lotion. You can find a fairly easy-to-make recipe here.
7. It Soothes an Itchy Scalp Too
There are all sorts of things that can lead to an itchy scalp. Product build-up. Dandruff. An inflammatory condition known as seborrheic dermatitis. Scalp psoriasis. Irritation from chemical treatments. The list goes on and on. Something that can bring major relief to any itchiness that is caused by these conditions is colloidal oatmeal. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties will reduce the irritation as the oatmeal seals in moisture to reduce excessive dryness and scalp flaking.
Scalp Tip: Combine a half cup of colloidal oatmeal with a tablespoon of lemon juice (it deep cleanses your scalp), a tablespoon of olive oil (it reduces bacteria while increasing blood circulation to your hair follicles) and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (it contains alpha-hydroxy acid which exfoliates your scalp). Apply the mixture to freshly washed hair. Massage it gently into your scalp, let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse and style as usual.
So, there you have it—seven really good reasons to either make or pick up some colloidal oatmeal. It's one of the best things that you could ever do for your skin. That is a promise.
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