Tuesday, 25 July 2017

10 Benefits of using Oats for Skin backed by Scientific Research

A few months ago I used oatmeal as a face mask. I mixed some rolled oats with water and left it on my face until it dried up. Afterwards, my skin felt soft and supple and it lasted the whole night and even into the next day. The process of leaving it on my face while it slithered down my neck felt more like a biohazard than a calming experience, so I never did another oatmeal mask again. Until a few weeks ago, and here's why (and how).

Properties of Oatmeal
Oats contain lipids, proteins (glutelin and avenin), β-glucan (mucilage polysaccharides), and flavonoids. They are also a rich source of antioxidants and saponins.

Colloidal oatmeal extracts were found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. The extracts diminished pro-inflammatory cytokines in vitro, while an oatmeal lotion improved skin dryness, scaling, roughness, and itch intensity in 29 females with moderate to severe dry skin on their legs.
Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skin. (2015)
Avenanthramides, polyphenols from oats, exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-itch activity (2008)

'Oats' by David J licensed under CC BY 2.0

Oats contain saponins, which have soap-like properties, making them cleansing as well as soothing.
Steroidal Saponins in Oat Bran (2016)
Oatmeal in dermatology: A brief review (2012)

Skin Barrier
A 2016 study investigated the effects of  oatmeal on the skin barrier in vivo and in vitro.
Treatment with oatmeal showed:
  • significantly upregulated genes associated with skin barrier function
  • enhanced expression of genes involved in keratinocyte differentiation, lipid production and tight junction formation, which can provide overall skin barrier related benefits
  • helped in the recovery of cytokine-induced barrier disruption. Over-production and disfunction of cytokines are associated with many inflammatory skin conditions.

Skin hydration
The same experiment revealed those with moderate to severe dry skin showed significant improvements, at all time points during and after application, as well as 13 days after.
After 3 weeks of treatment, skin moisture was significantly revealed.
Atopic Dermatitis
Studies have revealed that daily use of colloidal oatmeal products (cleansers and moisturisers, in this case), improved area and severity, itch, dryness and quality of life.
Colloidal Oatmeal Formulations as Adjunct Treatments in Atopic Dermatitis (2014)

Other Properties
  • anti-fungal
  • anti-viral
  • anti-genotoxiticity
  • moisturising
  • protects skin from UVA, as flavonoids in the oats absorb some wavelengths of UVA rays

Most of these studies have used colloidal oatmeal, which is finely milled whole oat grains suspended in water. You can either grind oats yourself or buy them.

How to incorporate oatmeal into your routine
  • Mask Paste: I now mix my pre-ground oats with water. I usually use 1 teaspoon of oats to 3 teaspoons of water. It makes for a hassle free mask, and the results are better too!
  • Use as a gentle morning cleanser
  • soothing bath

Links: Where to buy oatmeal powder and oatmeal products

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