There’s no better way to warm up on a chilly fall morning than with a hearty bowl of oatmeal (and a cup—or several—of coffee). Filling and delicious, the mild-tasting grain is packed with essential nutrients, making it a champion of the breakfast table. But oatmeal’s benefits extend far beyond its belly-filling capabilities. The humble breakfast staple is also a highly effective skincare ingredient, with particular benefits for those with dry, stressed, or irritated skin.
Here, we’ll give you the dish on using oatmeal in your skincare routine. You’ll learn what makes this unique ingredient such a beauty powerhouse and discover three oatmeal benefits for skin. We’ll also introduce you to a couple of Kiehl’s products made with the humble whole grain and teach you how to use them. Settle in and keep reading for your Kiehl’s guide to oatmeal for skin.
What Is Oatmeal?
Oatmeal, also known as Avena sativa, is a type of grain best known for its culinary use. It’s been cultivated as a food source for humans for at least three millennia—in fact, the oldest cultivated oat grains ever discovered date back to the early Bronze Age. Throughout its extremely long history, oatmeal has also been used for various cosmetic purposes. Ancient Romans used oatmeal as a natural skin cleanser, while oat flour was often used as a topical treatment for a wide range of skin concerns. In skincare, the entire oat, kernel and all, is used. It’s usually ground into a fine, water-soluble powder, which is broadly known as colloidal oatmeal.
What Does Oatmeal Do For Your Skin?
The answer to “is oatmeal good for your skin?” is a resounding yes. Oatmeal is rich in skin-friendly nutrients, including amino acids, antioxidants, and fatty acids. These properties make oatmeal both a healthy food and a highly useful ingredient in topical skincare formulations. Keep reading to discover two notable oatmeal benefits for skin.
Oatmeal Is an Effective Skin Moisturizer
One of the best-known benefits of oatmeal for skin is its ability to help hydrate and nourish dry skin. Studies show that skincare products containing oatmeal can help with hydrating skin, reducing skin dryness and associated symptoms (such as itching, flaking, and tightness).I This is especially true of colloidal oatmeal, which, when applied topically, forms an occlusive barrier on the skin, helping to prevent excessive water loss.
Oatmeal Can Help Strengthen The Skin’s Natural Moisture Barrier
While keeping your skin well-hydrated helps protect your skin’s natural moisture barrier, it’s also important to keep its pH well-balanced. Healthy skin has a pH of around 5.0, meaning it is slightly acidic. Most skincare products are formulated specifically to complement the skin’s natural acidity, but exposure to certain stressors can cause your skin to become imbalanced. If left untreated, this alteration in your skin’s pH can make you more vulnerable to uncomfortable skin concerns, like severe dryness and irritation.
That’s where oatmeal comes in. It’s a pH buffer, which means it helps maintain your skin’s ideal pH. This makes oatmeal an especially useful skincare ingredient for those who have stressed or irritated skin, or are prone to sensitivity.
What Kiehl’s Products Contain Oatmeal?
At Kiehl’s, we offer a few products that contain oatmeal. Below, find our top picks and learn how to use them in your routine for soft, healthy-feeling skin.
Deluxe Hand & Body Lotion
If you have dry skin, try reaching for a moisturizer that contains oatmeal, such as our classic Deluxe Hand & Body Lotion. The lightweight formula, which also contains aloe vera and olive fruit oil, absorbs easily, leaving the skin feeling soft, smooth, and nurtured. It’s available in three fresh scents—lavender, coriander, and grapefruit—and is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. We recommend applying it liberally to damp skin after showering to lock in hydration for soft, moisturized skin.
“Ultimate Man” Body Scrub Soap
Oat bran and oat kernel meal both star in our “Ultimate Man” Body Scrub Soap, which also contains hydrating glycerin. The exfoliating bar soap thoroughly cleanses the skin while helping to slough away dead skin cells, leaving the skin feeling energized and smooth. When used regularly, it also helps alleviate roughness on tough areas like the knees, elbows, and heels.
Next: Now that you’re caught up on how oatmeal can benefit your skin, read up on some more of our favorite ingredients in our article 11 Dry Skin Ingredients and Treatments.
I. Narayanan, Varsha, et al. “Efficacy and Tolerability of an Oatmeal Moisturizer Containing Colloidal Oatmeal for Dry Skin Conditions: A Post-marketing Study.” Indian Journal of Clinical Practice, vol. 27, 1 (2016): 1118-1123.