As the weather begins to cool, the turning leaves aren’t the only sure sign of fall; due to the dryer air, dry skin is often one of the first changes we notice at the start of crisp weather (via Everyday Health). And while the itchiness and flakiness can be annoying, if you are prone to more serious skin conditions, including eczema or psoriasis, the dryness can really interfere with your everyday life. But before reaching for the cortisone or other ointment, there may be a more natural (and more relaxing) solution to try: an oatmeal bath.
According to Healthline, people have been using oatmeal for skincare since the time of ancient Rome, and modern medicine recognizes its benefits for relieving symptoms of conditions like atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, chicken pox, diaper rash, and dry, itchy skin. How can a beloved breakfast food work such wonders? Well, the type of oatmeal used for skincare is colloidal oatmeal (a fine powder rather than the whole oats you eat), which binds to your skin, creating a protective, emollient barrier (via WebMD). This barrier helps to prevent moisture loss throughout the day and also helps ease inflammation.
While the FDA says oatmeal baths are safe, it is possible to have an allergic reaction, so try a quick test before hopping in your tub. Just put a small amount of colloidal oatmeal on a patch of skin, leave it on for 15 minutes, and rinse. If no redness, swelling, or itching appear after several minutes, you’re good to go.
How to create a skin-soothing oatmeal bath
You can always use a store-bought product for your skin-soothing oatmeal bath. Or, to make your own, simply follow these easy instructions from Women’s Health: First, using rolled oats you can find at the store, grind the oats into a fine powder using whatever tool you have, such as a coffee grinder or blender. The aim is to get the powder fine enough so that a tablespoon of it dissolves in hot water. Next, draw your bath with warm water. It’s important not to use hot water to prevent further drying of skin. Add at a half-cup of the oat powder to the bath. (Or you can add up to 1 1/2 cups, depending on how you’re feeling). Soak for about 15 minutes, and gently pat skin dry.
Important note: Oatmeal baths can be messy, as well as slippery due to the lubricating nature of oatmeal. In fact, Healthline suggests preventing messy clean-up by putting the oatmeal powder into the leg of a pair of pantyhose as a makeshift sachet. Then, enjoy the healing soak. We know your skin will.
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