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.