Want to make a soothing oatmeal bath at home? Oatmeal baths soothe your skin and have a therapeutic effect on the senses. You can easily make an oatmeal bath with a few simple ingredients. We’ve got the perfect recipe for relaxation, so keep scrolling for all the skin-soothing details on this home remedy.
What Is an Oatmeal Bath?
An oatmeal bath is a regular tub bath filled with oatmeal-infused water. While you can’t pour rolled oats into a bathtub without causing a plumbing disaster, you can infuse your tub with ground colloidal oatmeal. The fine, powdery oatmeal flour creates silky-smooth water when combined with warm water. This soft, milky bath creates a bath that feels fit for royalty.
How To Make an Oatmeal Bath
To make an oatmeal bath, choose either regular rolled oats or colloidal oatmeal, and follow these steps.
1. Choose Your Oats
Oat ingredients should be pure and free from flavorings, salt, chemicals, and sugars. Pure oats are the best type of oats to use for an oatmeal bath if you don’t have colloidal oatmeal. Use one cup of oats for this simple bath recipe.
2. Gather Additional Ingredients
In addition to oatmeal, you also need:
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil - Lavender softens the skin and relaxes the senses.
- Two tablespoons of baking soda - Baking soda further reduces irritation and itchiness.
- One-half cup of Epsom salt - Epsom salt detoxifies and soothes tired, achy muscles.
- Optional: Four to six tablespoons of raw honey - Honey contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Optional: When treating chickenpox or poison ivy, substitute four to five drops of tea tree oil for the lavender.
- Optional: Chamomile flowers (one-fourth of a cup) make an excellent substitute for a luxurious and relaxing bath option.
3. Grind Ingredients To Combine
After you have your ingredients, grab a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor and grind the oats and other ingredients into a fine powder. Grind them into a fine enough powder that they dissolve quickly in the bathwater.
If the oats are not well-ground, they become pasty in the tub. To avoid an oatmeal mess in the bathtub, place the ground oats in a cheesecloth or pantyhose leg tied at the top. Doing this will keep the oatmeal contained.
4. Add Water to the Tub
Begin running warm water into the bathtub, then gradually sprinkle half a cup to one and a half cups of the ground oat mixture into the bathtub while the water runs. Stir the mixture around in the tub with your hand to make sure it is well incorporated.
5. Relax & Soak
Sit back and relax in the oatmeal bath for 10 to 15 minutes. The soothing and nourishing bath helps relieve dry, itchy skin, so enjoy the soothing effects of the bath while you soak. When you are finished with your oatmeal bath soak, rinse your skin with clean, lukewarm water to remove the oat film from your skin.
6. Dry & Moisturize
Carefully step out of the tub, and gently pat your skin dry with a clean towel. Immediately follow with a moisturizing lotion or cream to hydrate your skin. If you have a skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis, or poison oak, apply a medicated cream designed to treat your skin. Read the product labels to make sure you aren’t applying ingredients that will irritate your already sensitive skin.
Take an oatmeal bath up to twice per week if desired.
Which Skin Conditions Are Soothed by Oatmeal Baths?
Oatmeal is known for its soothing benefits on the skin. Egyptians and Ancient Romans alike used oatmeal for healing sunburns, eczema, poison oak, and rashes. In the 19th century, rich oat bath soaks were used to soothe hives. Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that reduce swelling, irritation, itchy skin, and even diaper rash.
A study conducted on children in 2018 concluded that creams containing colloidal oatmeal soothe itchiness, dryness, and scaling associated with atopic dermatitis and dry skin. Colloidal oatmeal restores and helps maintain the skin’s barrier.
The CDC also notes that colloidal oatmeal baths relieve the itchiness that is associated with shingles.
Eczema is a skin condition that causes dryness, itchiness, and scaly skin. A study conducted in 2020 examined the effects of colloidal oatmeal and eczema on the hands. Researchers found that the patients that received one percent colloidal oatmeal cream received longer relief from their eczema symptoms than the patients that did not use the cream.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that involves the immune system. This condition causes the skin to over-produce skin cells, causing scaly patches, itching, and dryness. In a study conducted on 60 females, colloidal oatmeal lotion reduced their symptoms of psoriasis including itching and peeling. Oatmeal baths could also help relieve these symptoms as well.
What Types of Products Contain Oatmeal?
Oatmeal isn’t only used to create warm, soothing baths. Colloidal oatmeal is an ingredient in many lotions, shampoos, cosmetics, and bath products. It is popular for its ability to soothe and moisturize the skin. It also makes its way as an ingredient in the following cosmetic items:
- Shave Gels and Shaving Creams
- Facial Masks
- Facial Exfoliants
- Body Lotions
- Facial Moisturizers
How Is Oatmeal Beneficial to Your Health & Skin?
Colloidal oatmeal contains compounds such as ferulic acid, avenanthramides, and vitamin E. Avenanthramides are the primary antioxidant in oats. Oatmeal also contains beta-glucan, starches, polysaccharides, and hydrocolloids. The polysaccharides and hydrocolloids form a protective barrier on the skin, holding onto moisture and trapping it inside, thus reducing skin dryness.
Ground oatmeal is an excellent cleanser, exfoliant, it removes dead skin cells, and nourishes the skin with vitamins. The additional skin benefits of colloidal oatmeal include:
- Oatmeal provides antiviral properties, minimizing skin rashes.
- Oatmeal normalizes the skin’s pH levels by acting as a buffering agent.
- Oatmeal reduces the release of histamines when allergic reactions occur.
- Oatmeal contains saponins that cleanse the skin with their soap-like activity.
- Oatmeal improves the skin barrier, making it stronger and healthier.
- Compounds in the oats promote lipid regulation in the skin.
- Oatmeal baths soothe the symptoms of itchy hives.
- Oatmeal baths relieve itchiness from poison ivy, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
- Oatmeal baths soothe irritated skin and the itch due to chickenpox.
- Oatmeal soothes dry skin associated with sunburn and skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.
Is It Safe To Soak in an Oatmeal Bath?
Oatmeal baths are safe and effective epidermal treatments. Allergic reactions are rare but are possible, so if you experience symptoms such as itching, redness, or swelling, wash your skin with soap and clean water and stop using oatmeal immediately.
Can Babies Take Oatmeal Baths?
Oatmeal baths are safe for babies; however, if you have concerns about allergies, perform a “patch test” on your baby’s skin. To do this, apply a small amount of dissolved colloidal oatmeal onto your child’s skin. Allow the oatmeal to remain on the skin for about 15 minutes, then rinse it off with water.
Observe that area of your child’s skin for any reactions that may occur. Ask your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns about giving your baby an oatmeal bath or using colloidal oatmeal to treat skin rashes or irritations.
It’s Bath Time
Oatmeal baths are soothing, therapeutic baths that have many skin benefits. These types of baths are easy to make at home with colloidal oatmeal, essential oils, Epsom salt, honey, and baking soda. Oatmeal soothes itchy, dry skin and skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and chickenpox. Oatmeal baths are safe for anyone to take, including babies.
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Colloidal Oatmeal (Avena Sativa) Improves Skin Barrier Through Multi-Therapy Activity | Pub Med
Poison ivy, oak, and sumac: How to treat the rash | American Academy of Dermatology
18724 Tolerance and subject satisfaction of an over the counter colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) lotion in patients with psoriasis and sensitive skin | Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Clinical and confocal evaluation | Pub Med
The Efficacy of Colloidal Oatmeal Cream 1% as Add-on Therapy in the Management of Chronic Irritant Hand Eczema: A Double-Blind Study | NCBI