Oats- The Superfood for your Skin and Hair
Undoubtedly, the first thing that would come to your mind at the mention of oats would be a nutritious, hearty breakfast. But what you and most people might not be aware of is that this humble ingredient has been used for centuries for skin care because of its unique molecular make-up and unrivaled anti-inflammatory properties. As back as 2000 years ago, Ovid; one of Rome’s most famous writers, was among the initial creators of oat-based skincare recipes.
Why is the humble Oat a powerhouse for your beauty regime: Know now!
About the plant
The scientific name of oats is Avena sativa and it’s a part of the Poaceae or cereal grass family. This whole-grain food usually grows in cooler temperatures such as in Finland, Canada, and the USA.
The goodness of Oats
This cereal grain is a skin-soothing powerhouse, loaded with several different chemical constituents that make up its medicinal value. It is rich in saponins (which absorbs dirt and cleanses skin), proteins and polysaccharides (which form a protective barrier on the skin), and flavonoids (which is an antioxidant that keeps skin healthy). It contains a balanced mixture of vitamins and minerals that moisturize, soothe, and protect the skin.
Oats Benefits for Skin
There is a difference between the oats that we consume and oats for cosmetic use. The latter is usually colloidal oatmeal. This is the type of oats that have been ground into a fine powder through the milling process. By grinding the whole seed along with the bran, the essential nutrients of oats are retained.
However, in addition to colloidal oatmeal, there is a wide range of derivatives of oats which act as effective cosmetic ingredients, such as oats extracts and oils. Packed with antioxidants and lipids, colloidal oatmeal’s texture allows for it to be rapidly absorbed by the skin.
1. Adds moisture to skin:
The topical application of oatmeal can help protect delicate skin and provide much-needed hydration. Loaded with proteins, Vitamin E, beta-glucan, and carbohydrates, oats penetrate deep into the skin and nourish it by trapping the water in. The emollient and antioxidant properties of these ingredients reduce inflammation and add moisture, making skin softer and more supple. Thanks to its hydrophilic qualities, oats are a perfect ingredient in moisturizers and lotions.
2. Soothes itchy, irritated skin:
Itching is usually caused when the skin’s pH level is too high or when there is inflammation under the skin. Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which help reduce itching and irritation caused by flare-ups. It can bring the pH levels back to normal and provide protection from irritants, making skin soft, smooth, and hydrated.
3. Cleanses and exfoliates:
Thanks to saponins, oatmeal can serve as a gentle and effective cleanser. Unlike more harsh chemical soaps, oatmeal removes dirt and unclogs your pores without stripping your skin of its natural oils. The coarse texture of oatmeal, along with its anti-inflammatory qualities, makes it a great exfoliator. It removes the dead skin cells, calms inflamed skin, and moisturizes the skin. This makes it suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive and gives skin a bright and fresh glow.
4. Protects skin from several concerns:
Flavonoids are a compound that protects your body from environmental pollutants, toxins, and chemical irritants. Although not as efficient as sunscreen, it also absorbs UV radiation, preventing it from penetrating the skin and causing damage. Oatmeal is also known to provide benefits to all skin types- dry, oily, sensitive, and irritated. It can help treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, making skin soft and relieving itchiness and irritation
5. Lightens skin:
A common concern most people have is full, discolored skin. This is often caused due to excessive exposure to UV rays. Oats help reduce the appearance of skin imperfections such as dark spots, discoloration, and acne scars. With the help of antioxidants and protective phenols, oatmeal brightens and lightens the skin’s complexion, making it glow.
6. Fights acne:
Acne is usually caused due to the buildup of excess oil (sebum) on the skin, which clogs the pores. Rich in zinc, oatmeal is known to kill the acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation. Oats also bind to the excess oil, absorbing it and making it easier to wash away. This efficiently reduces acne and the risk of infections.
Oats Benefits for Scalp and Hair
1. Reduces dandruff:
The combined goodness of saponin and lipids cleanse your skin and then moisturize it. It absorbs the excess oil and creates a protective barrier on the scalp, reducing transepidermal water loss. Oatmeal keeps the scalp clean and healthy by getting rid of excess oil, dirt, residue, and dandruff flakes. This is what prevents dandruff from resurfacing.
2. Boosts hair growth:
By eliminating dandruff and excess sebum, oats make the scalp healthier and more conducive to hair growth. Enriched with nutrients such as proteins, iron, polyunsaturated fatty acids, beta-glucan, and saponin, oatmeal is a great ingredient to facilitate hair growth. It stimulates the hair follicles which support the growth of hair, giving you thick, luscious tresses.
3. Soothes dry, irritated scalp:
Like many other benefits of oats, this one is thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties too. It contains nutrients such as vitamin N and manganese which reduce micro-injuries and scalp inflammation, while also moisturizing. Oats provide relief and nourishment to dry, itchy, and irritated scalp, keeping it healthy and clean.
4. Reduces hair fall:
The antioxidants and omega-6 fatty acids in oatmeal help unclog pores, strengthen the hair follicles, and prevent hair fall. Its rich fiber content gives your calp the perfect amount of nutrition it needs to grow healthy hair. Apart from that, it also adds volume to your hair, making it thick and bouncy.
5. Strengthens hair:
This superfood can repair hair damage, prevent split ends, improve hair texture, and make hair stronger. Its vitamins and minerals nourish the hair, hydrating it and ensuring healthy growth from the roots. It penetrates the hair follicles and strengthens them from within, creating a protective barrier on the scalp and hair. Oats increase the elasticity of hair, making them less fragile and giving you strong, shiny, and healthy locks.
Benefits of Oats During pregnancy
1. It boosts collagen production which increases cell renewal. This reduces sagging skin and fights signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles, giving you glowing skin.
2. Its antioxidant qualities help maintain healthy blood circulation and can lower blood pressure. Massaging oils infused with oats into the skin can lead to an improved flow of blood.
3. Oatmeal is a great exfoliator which helps in getting rid of dead skins and reducing scarring. This also makes it an effective way of reducing stretch marks.
Side Effects of Oats
Oats are one of the healthiest foods, and one of the reasons that it is an active ingredient in skincare products is that it has a very low risk of adverse reactions. It is extremely gentle on the skin and is beneficial for those with sensitive skin. That being said, the chances of an allergic reaction are not zero. In very rare cases, it can cause skin irritation. If you are allergic to gluten, there is a chance that oats might be harmful.
During pregnancy and breastfeeding: Oatmeal is safe for topical use even during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Make your own Oats Masks
While raw oats can be ground down at home to create oatmeal. Using a blender may not result in the ideal texture of the grain, but it is still effective. You can check if the oats are fine enough by mixing one spoon in warm water. If the water turns a milky white color, it is an indication that it is the right texture. You can also buy formulated products that contain oats as an ingredient such as face masks, creams, cleansers, and exfoliators.
1. Almond face mask
Blend almonds and oats until they are a fine powder. Add honey and either yogurt or milk and mix well. Apply to your face and leave it for 15 minutes to dry. Gently rub it into your skin using firm, circular motions to exfoliate. Rinse well.
2. Rose water face mask
Grind oats until powdery before adding gram flour (besan) and honey. Mix well and add rose water to dilute. Let this sit on your skin for 20 minutes before rinsing.
3. DIY hair mask
Add plain oats, honey, coconut oil, and milk into a bowl. Mix it well using a blender to make a thick paste. Apply to the hair and leave it on for 30 minutes. Wash it off using shampoo.
1. Can I apply oats to my face every day?
Yes, oats can be applied regularly since it does not usually have any harmful side effects. It gently cleanses and exfoliates the skin, while also reducing inflammation and irritation, making it the perfect addition to your skincare routine.
2. How to make an oatmeal bath?
To make a homemade oatmeal bath, you will need rolled oats that are free of any chemicals or flavorings, or fragrances. Grind the oats into an extremely fine powder using a blender until it can easily dissolve in hot water. Fill the bathtub with warm water and add up to 1 and a half cup of the oats. Take a bath for about 15 minutes and pat dry.
3. What are the benefits of colloidal oatmeal?
Colloidal oatmeal is the kind that is used topically on all types of skin, including sensitive. It soothes several skin conditions and problems such as:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Insect bites
- Dry, scaly skin
There is a great reason for oats being a common skincare product and that is it serves multiple purposes with minimal risk of harm. If you want to get rid of all the harmful chemicals that your skin is exposed to in a soap, use oatmeal for a natural alternative. It can exfoliate, moisturise the skin, giving it a bright, even-toned look. Oatmeal is a great homemade remedy for getting salon-like silky smooth hair. It provides relief from dry, itchy scalps which reduces dandruff as well. It also created a protective barrier on the strands, making it stronger and less prone to breakage, split ends, and hair fall.
Apart from providing nutrients and improving blood circulation, oats also boost collagen formation which encourages cell regeneration and renewal, giving you a youthful glow. With a long list of benefits along with being gentle and natal-safe, oatmeal is the perfect ingredient to include in the skincare and haircare routines of expecting, as well as new moms too. Now the first thing that comes to mind while thinking of oats should not only be a delicious healthy meal but also an important ingredient to include in your beauty regime!