Oats are considered by many to be the healthiest grain on the planet. They are naturally gluten free, packed full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, are relatively low in calories, and are absolutely delicious. Aside from the most common use for oats: using them as a hearty and healthy breakfast food, you might not know that oats can also provide some serious benefits for your skin.
First, Let’s Quickly Review the Top Health Benefits of Oats
Once you understand some of the top reasons are so good for you on the inside, you won’t be so surprised as to why they also deliver some serious benefits on the outside.
Oats are Packed Full of Nutrients
As mentioned above, oats are packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. But don’t take our word for it, check out the nutrient profile of 1/2 cup of dry oats (1):
- Manganese: 191% of the RDI.
- Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 34% of the RDI.
- Copper: 24% of the RDI.
- Iron: 20% of the RDI.
- Zinc: 20% of the RDI.
- Folate: 11% of the RDI.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI.
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI.
- Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin).
And all of this comes from only 51 grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 8 grams of fiber, and 303 calories.
Oats are Rich in Antioxidants, Which Provide Many Skin (and Other) Benefits)
Antioxidants are important for fighting free radicals in the body, which are damaging to our cells and DNA and have been linked to cancer and other degenerative diseases. Oats are especially rich in antioxidants, particularly polyphenols, which are a naturally occurring plant compound. The antioxidant makeup of oats have been shown to be very anti-inflammatory, and can even calm itching in some cases (2).
Oats Can Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
Oats have been shown to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as total cholesterol (3). High LDL cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, and the type of fiber in oats (beta-glucan fiber) is known to help achieve healthy blood cholesterol levels.
Oats Can Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels
Unlike some other grains, oats are actually known to help lower blood sugar levels. Especially for those who are obese and/or suffer from type 2 diabetes, oats have been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity (4).
So, Why Are Oats So Good For My Skin?
The type of oats that are best for your skin are fine ground oats, sometimes called colloidal oats. This type of oat can be found in many skin care products, and for good reason. And interestingly, this is no new discovery, as oats have been used historically to treat skin itching, rashes and inflammation. As you’ve learned, oats are highly effective in soothing itchy or irritated skin (anything from a random itch to eczema) and their antioxidant content is also beneficial in skin care.
What is an Oatmeal Bath?
If you have any sort of skin irritation, oatmeal baths can usually help (and they definitely can’t hurt, although check with your doctor if for any reason you question as to whether oats applied topically could worsen an existing condition). You can also simply take oatmeal baths as a routine, preventative skin care measure.
An oatmeal bath is an easy, inexpensive and 100% natural solution to soothe and calm irritated or dry skin. All you need are finely ground oats, bath water and whatever other ingredients you’d like to add (such as essential oils, sea salt, etc). You can either buy colloidal oats pre-ground, or simply add a cup of whole oats to a blender and grind them into a fine powder.
Next, run your bath to your desired temperature, and add your one cup of ground oats as your bath is running. Once all water is added, mix your oats well to make sure they are totally dissolved in the water. This is when you can add any other of your favorite relaxing and nourishing bath ingredients, or just the oats will do! Be careful getting into the tub, as oats can make the floor a bit slippery. Soak in your oatmeal bath for anywhere from 15-30 minutes, and that’s it! If you feel a bit sticky, you are free to rinse off with clean, warm water afterwards.
Is There Any Reason I Shouldn’t Take Oatmeal Baths?
Those with Celiac Disease or other extreme gluten sensitivities should avoid oatmeal baths unless you purchase certified gluten free oats. While oats are naturally gluten free, they are often cross-contaminated and will contain a bit of gluten, so those that are very sensitive need to be careful.
Can My Kids Take Oatmeal Baths?
Absolutely! In fact, gentle oatmeal baths are a great way to soothe children’s skin conditions, even in infants. Irritation such as diaper rash, eczema, sunburn, chicken pox, baby acne, poison ivy or oak, bug bites and more can also be helped safely and naturally with oatmeal baths for children and babies.
So, what have you got to lose? Take a cup of oats you already have in your cupboard or head to the nearest grocery store and run yourself a relaxing and healing oatmeal bath. Oats are a much cheaper alternative to many commonly used bath and beauty products, not to mention that commercially made products often contain chemicals and other potentially harmful ingredients (especially to kids). Opt for oats, and your skin will thank you.