Oats: Skincare's Best Kept Secret

Providing your skin with health-enhancing benefits

Credits: Bessi at
Anna Pleet
Edited By:
Raja Sivamani , MD, MS, AP

You may have heard that oats are beneficial to heart health. Or perhaps you know oats as your children’s favorite breakfast food. Oats are beneficial to our health both inside and out. Science explains some of the best understood ways that oats may better our skin.

When used topically, oats have been shown to decrease inflammation and provide our skin with antioxidants. One of the best-known skin applications for oats is to help decrease someone’s sensation of itch, used commonly in a bath for poison ivy treatment. Oats have also been shown to improve skin barrier function, meaning they help the skin cells stay tightly connected and communicating.

The skin acts as a barrier between our bodies and the outside world. Simply put, the skin prevents unwanted substances from entering in, like certain bacteria, and wanted substances, such as water and oils, from leaking out. This way, the skin maintains its healthy integrity to keep our bodies safe and flourishing.

Because oats are so good at decreasing inflammation to our skin, many researchers have wondered how oats may help some common skin conditions. Skin dryness, one of the most common skin complaints, was clinically shown to improve with oat-containing lotions. The improvements to skin dryness were more dramatic with the lotions containing oats than with lotions that did not contain oat extracts.

Eczema, otherwise known as atopic dermatitis, has also proved to benefit from topical treatments with oat-containing skin products. Clinically, oat-containing skincare products, when used daily, helped improve a variety of symptoms associated with eczema, such as itching, dryness, severity of rashes, and the quality of life of the eczema patient. A research study showed that individuals suffering from eczema applying oat-containing creams twice a day showed significant improvements in their skin rashes and decreased the number of skin flares.

Some researchers have also tested oat-containing skincare products for their likelihood to cause allergic reactions in the skin. Their overall conclusions are that oat-containing products generally do not lead to allergic reactions and are safe to use for skin care.

Curious to give oats a try? Use this easy at-home recipe to give your skin a boost.


Homemade Soothing Oat Skin Mask

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 Teaspoon honey
  • 2 Teaspoon warm water (not boiling)

Directions: Place dry oats in food processor and blend into a fine powder. Add banana and honey. While mixing, add water to create a paste. More or less water may be used to change the thickness of the mixture. Apply the mixture to the face and neck, or any desired skin area. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Et voila! Soothed and moisturized skin in minutes. Just try not to eat it before applying.

To read more about the science of oats in skin care, see our Dermveda article here.

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