Because oatmeal is so mild, oatmeal baths are a gentle way to treat a baby's dry skin. They're also recommended to help alleviate itchiness in infants and small children with eczema [source: Web MD].
Other Uses for Oatmeal Baths
Oatmeal baths aren't used only for relief from poison ivy -- you can soak in this home remedy for a variety of other mild skin irritations.
If you have chickenpox, insect bites or a rash caused by an allergic reaction, oatmeal baths can provide temporary relief just like they do for poison ivy. Because oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties, it can soothe the inflammation that results from your body's reaction to allergens [source: Sur]. Oatmeal baths are also a popular remedy for sunburns, dry skin and conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Itchy, dry skin often has a high pH level, but oatmeal can help normalize your skin's pH, which can relieve itchy, uncomfortable skin [source: CTV]. Oatmeal baths also soften and moisturize your skin, which helps lock in moisture and protect skin from exterior irritants [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
The advantages of oatmeal don't stop there. Saponins, chemical components found in oatmeal, allow oatmeal to function as an effective natural cleanser -- they absorb dirt, oil and odor. Oatmeal also contains phenols and flavonoids that provide protection from the sun's ultraviolet rays and act as antioxidants to fight free radicals. Plus, the presence of avenacins in oatmeal suggests that it may also have some antifungal properties [source: Rosacea Support Group].
Now that you're aware of all the benefits an oatmeal bath can provide, check out the next page for tips on how to prepare one.