Oatmeal baths can soften your skin and tame the itch caused by allergic reactions or skin conditions, and they're easy to make at home. You can purchase colloidal oatmeal, oatmeal that's ground into a fine powder, at most drugstores [source: Cosmetics Info]. Colloidal oatmeal won't sink to the bottom of the tub -- it remains suspended in your bathwater, which maximizes exposure to your skin.
When preparing an oatmeal bath, use tepid water -- particularly if you're taking an oatmeal bath as a treatment for poison ivy, allergic reactions, dry skin or chickenpox. Water that's too hot can draw moisture from your skin or aggravate already inflamed skin. Add the colloidal oatmeal as water flows from the faucet to ensure it mixes completely. Soak for 10 minutes or however long the package or your doctor recommends. If you feel sticky after your oatmeal bath, rinse with tepid water. Afterward, pat or blot yourself dry with a towel -- don't rub your skin because this can cause irritation. You can take an oatmeal bath up to three times a day to treat dry, itchy or irritated skin [source: Whole Health MD].
Whether you bathe in it, scrub with it or eat it, there are a lot of reasons to love oatmeal. To learn more about oatmeal and its benefits, visit the links listed below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Contact Dermatitis." (Accessed 9/13/09)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/contact_dermatitis.html
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Minimizing Flare-ups." (Accessed 9/13/09) http://www.skincarephysicians.com/psoriasisnet/flare_ups.html
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac." (Accessed 9/13/09) http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/skin_poison.html
- A.W. Read. "A History of Dr. Johnson's Definition of Oats." Agricultural History. Vol. 8, No. 3, p. 81.
- Cosmetics Info. "Colloidal Oatmeal." (Accessed 9/12/09) http://Cosmetics Info.org/ingredient_details.php?ingredient_id=998
- CTV. "Oatmeal Bath." 'A' Morning Ottowa (Accessed 9/13/09) http://morning.atv.ca/ottawa/todaysTheDay.php?id=3598&blogid=4530
- Food and Drug Administration. "CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21." (Accessed 9/13/09) http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=347.10&SearchTerm=colloidal%20oatmeal
- Kurtz, ES and Wallo, W. "Colloidal oatmeal: history, chemistry and clinical properties." PubMed. (Accessed 9/13//09)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17373175
- Mayo Clinic. "Cholesterol: The top 5 foods to lower your numbers." (Accessed 9/12/09) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol/CL00002
- Mayo Clinic. "Poison ivy rash." (Accessed 9/13/09) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/poison-ivy/DS00774/DSECTION=prevention
- Roscea Support Group. "Colloidal Oatmeal: A Dream Ingredient for Rosacea Sufferers." (Accessed 9/13/09)http://rosacea-support.org/colloidal-oatmeal-a-dream-ingredient-for-rosacea-sufferers.html
- Sur, Runa, et al. "Avenanthramides, polyphenols from oats, exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-itch activity." Archives of Dermatologic Research. (Accessed 9/13/09) http://www.springerlink.com/content/lh588j6x6n21r761/
- WebMD. "Baby Eczema: 7 Questions Answered." (Accessed 9/13/09) http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby-eczema-questions-answers?page=2
- Whole Health MD. "Colloidal Oatmeal." (Accessed 9/13/09) http://www.wholehealthmd.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?nm=Reference+Library&type=AWHN_Supplements&mod=Supplements&tier=2&id=A357188852CA476482FC054487165E2F