Colloidal Oatmeal (Avena sativa) is a natural product which helps soothe and soften dry skin and relieve itchy skin rashes and irritations.
To produce colloidal oatmeal, whole oats are very finely ground. This enables the grain to readily absorb liquid. When the colloidal oatmeal is added to bath water, it almost instantly gives a slightly milky, almost slimy consistency to the water, which then coats the skin, moisturizing, softening, and protecting it. The emollient, or skin-softening, properties of oat products come from ingredients in the oatmeal such as cellulose and fiber.
Eczema (dry skin patches) will likely respond well to colloidal oatmeal bath treatments, as will skin conditions such as chickenpox and shingles. Insect bites, sores, and other minor skin irritations may feel soothed in such a bath, too.
Most commonly known in pharmacies as Aveeno Oatmeal Bath. If you don’t mind some experimenting, you can easily try to make your own colloidal oatmeal. In a blender, coffee grinder, or food processor, finely grind the oatmeal purchased at the grocery store. A word of caution is warranted, however. It can be a bit difficult to determine just how fine you need to make the oatmeal before it can become a colloid in water. If it’s too coarse, it will simply sink uselessly to the bottom of the tub. The commercial product is processed so minutely that its ability to form a colloid is assured.
Whether you’re preparing a bath with a commercial colloidal oatmeal product or your home “grind,” the instructions are the same: Draw a tepid bath. (Don’t use hot water, which will further inflame the skin and absorb moisture from your skin rather than lubricating it.) Add several cups of the oatmeal to the bath as it’s filling up. Soak for 10 minutes. Then pat (don’t rub) your skin dry. Repeat the bath as needed, up to three times a day, depending on the severity of your condition.
If you feel sticky after the bath, try rinsing your body off with a few cups of tepid water from the faucet in your tub.