COLLOIDAL OATMEAL: A WONDER INGREDIENT FOR SKIN
- Derived from the grinding of whole oat grains (Avena sativa) and subsequent standardization of particle size and quality, NDA's Colloidal Oatmeal is a USP grade raw material that can be employed as a soothing agent or skin protectant in many cosmetics, personal care products, and topical therapies.
- Colloidal Oatmeal functions as an anti-irritant and relieves itching due to the material's naturally nourishing composition. Two active constituents playing a key role in its effects include Beta Glucans, polysaccharide compounds with potent hygroscopic qualities, and Avenanthramides, plant phenols that display strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities.
- Due to its deeply moisturizing, hydrating, and protective properties, Colloidal Oatmeal is popular in a wide variety of formulations, including bath powders, shampoos, skin creams, body lotions, and baby care products.
WHAT IS COLLOIDAL OATMEAL?
Colloidal Oatmeal is an all-natural powder derived through the fine grinding or milling of the whole, dehulled oat kernels (Avena sativa). With unique and gentle reparative properties, it is frequently used as an ingredient in soothing products and treatments to help relieve itching, redness, or chapping of the skin due to irritations, sensitivities, or inflammatory conditions such as eczema and atopic dermatitis.
The term 'colloidal' refers to specific properties that oatmeal displays when dispersed in a liquid medium such as water. Due to its average particle size (200 mesh), the oatmeal particles become suspended and continuously distributed throughout the medium (rather than settling down at the bottom). This causes it to exhibit special characteristics that are somewhere in between that of a solution (such as sugar dissolved in water) and a suspension (such as chalk in water). In skincare, this colloidal property allows the oatmeal to settle evenly on the skin's surface in order to create a hydrating and protective film.
Colloidal Oatmeal Raw Material has been classed by the FDA and Health Canada as a 'skin protectant' and 'natural health product (NHP)', respectively. Thus, should a manufacturer wish to do so, Colloidal Oatmeal can be incorporated as an active ingredient in OTC drug products or natural health products designed and marketed to offer temporary protection and relief to those with skin irritations or injury. The formulation, label information, and marketing claims should adhere to the specifications on the FDA OTC Monograph (for sellers in the US) or the Medicated Skin Care Products Monograph by Health Canada (for sellers in Canada). If therapeutic claims are not used, Colloidal Oatmeal Raw Material can be equally used for manufacturing cosmetics or DIY recipes.
NDA's Colloidal Oatmeal meets the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) standards for purity, composition, and particle size. It consists of superfine oat flour with a mesh size of 200, which translates to 74 microns or just 0.074 millimeters. The fine size of the particle is made through careful processing and technology which involves selecting the highest quality oats with rich beta-glucan content, fine milling, and sieving.
HOW DOES COLLOIDAL OATMEAL WORK?
When added to water or incorporated in a formulation, Colloidal Oatmeal disperses easily to form a colloidal suspension. Its very small particles settle evenly onto the skin, attracting water due to its humectant qualities to counter dryness. The particles also create an occlusive film on the skin that has protective qualities and reduces transepidermal water loss (TEWL). The buffering properties of Colloidal Oatmeal further help normalize the pH levels of the skin, which can be helpful in relieving itching.
COLLOIDAL OATMEAL BENEFITS & COMPOSITION
Thanks to their natural composition and chemical properties, oats have unique qualities that make them strikingly suited for sensitive and dry skin problems. Indeed, it is said that oats have a complete and gentle yet powerful skin remedy naturally in-built into their chemistry…no wonder they are known as a 'wonder' ingredient!
The main components of Colloidal Oatmeal are Polysaccharides (including Beta Glucans), Proteins, Lipids, Saponins, Vitamins (including Vitamin E), Minerals, Antioxidants (including Avenanthramides), and other protective compounds.
BETA GLUCANS are known to:
- Be polysaccharide constituents that display potent hygroscopic (water holding) qualities
- Powerfully draw moisture to the superficial layers of the skin, boosting hydration levels
- Help reduce the appearance of the roughness, flakiness, redness, and fine lines
AVENANTHRAMIDES are known to:
- Be phenolic compounds that exert a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect
- Help reduce the sensation of itching
- Reduce the appearance of the roughness, flakiness, redness, and fine lines
OAT LIPIDS are known to:
- Surpass the lipid content of other natural grains, consisting predominantly of unsaturated triglycerides
- Deeply moisturize, nourish, and soften the skin texture
- Support in the rebuilding of the structure of the skin barrier, which may be especially compromised in dry and irritated skin
- Contribute to the high presence of antioxidants in Colloidal Oatmeal, which are naturally present to prevent these unsaturated fats from spoiling (oxidizing)
OAT SAPONINS are known to:
- Be glycoside compounds that have a chemical structure consisting of both a hydrophobic (water-hating) and a hydrophilic (water-loving) component
- Create a foaming effect useful in cleansing applications
- Help stabilize emulsions
VITAMIN E is known to:
- Have strong antioxidant properties that help slow the look of aging
- Promote the repair and restoration of scarred, burned, or blemished skin
- Slow down moisture loss from skin and hair
- Exhibit topical anti-inflammatory properties and relieve symptoms of dry, scaly, or inflamed skin
In addition to this, Colloidal Oatmeal also displays a remarkable pH-buffering ability. This ability helps to normalize pH levels of the skin, which can have a soothing effect on itchy skin and particularly help to mitigate the frustrating 'itch cycle'.
As illustrated, Colloidal Oatmeal Raw Material is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:
COSMETIC: Soothing, Redness Reducing, Softening, Revitalizing, Anti-Aging, Hydrating, Plumping, Cleansing
MEDICINAL: Anti-inflammatory, Soothing, Antioxidant, Emollient, Cleansing, Softening, Anti-Itching/Anti-Irritating, Restorative, Preventative, Protective, pH-Buffering
The overall benefits of Colloidal Oatmeal for skin can be summarized as below:
- Helps relieve itching, irritations, and inflammation
- Helps improve skin texture and reducing flakiness and/or scaling
- Boosts skin hydration and moisturization
- Creates an occlusive layer on the skin surface to help decrease TEWL and impact of external irritants
- High in antioxidants to help protect skin from free radical damage
- Acts as a gentle cleanser and soap replacement for those with dry, itchy, or sensitive skin
COLLOIDAL OATMEAL USES & APPLICATIONS
There are now many types of skincare and cosmetic products that incorporate Colloidal Oatmeal available on the market. It is often sold in the form of bath powders, but is also present in other bath and shower items (such as cleansers, soaps, shampoos, bath oils, and shaving creams) as well as creams and lotions targeted towards dry or sensitive skin. It is used as an ingredient in a wide variety of baby care products, such as bath washes, baby creams, and lotions. Colloidal Oatmeal is also frequently incorporated in topical treatments for eczema and xerosis.
Added to bath water, Colloidal Oatmeal moisturizes, soothes, and gently cleanses the skin for lasting relief. For adults, a 1/2 cup can be sprinkled under a running tap of warm water, and stirred with one's hands if needed before soaking the body for not more than ten minutes. Soaking allows the Colloidal Oatmeal to form its protective film on the skin's surface, and for this reason, the skin may have a slightly glutinous texture after the bath. For babies, up to 1 tablespoon can be used for a soothing bath.
Colloidal Oatmeal can be used as a calming alternative to conventional soap. Soap products can create an unpleasant experience for those with dry or inflamed skin; while the skin is slightly acidic (about pH 5.5), soaps are alkaline in nature (with a pH of about 8-10) and thus can raise the pH of the skin when applied, leading to aggravated itching and irritation. To use Colloidal Oatmeal for its gentle cleansing actions, place the desired amount into a soft, thin, non-abrasive cloth (such as a pantyhose), then wrap and tie a tight knot at the ends. Immerse the cloth into the water and use it to gently pat and clean the skin.
Due to its rich humectant and mild cleansing properties, Colloidal Oatmeal is an excellent ingredient to incorporate into face care applications. To make a simple DIY face cleanser, add 1 teaspoon of Colloidal Oatmeal into a small bowl of lukewarm water and mix. This milky solution can be used directly on the face as an all-natural cleanser. For a variation, add a pinch of Colloidal Oatmeal to a one-time portion of NDA's Milk Face Cleansing Lotion Cosmetic Base and cleanse the face as usual. For those with dry or dehydrated skin, a gentle hydrating facial mask can be made by adding 2 teaspoons of Colloidal Oatmeal, 1 teaspoon of White Kaolin Clay, and 1 teaspoon of honey into a bowl. Add a little bit of warm water and combine to get a thick paste. Using a face brush, apply this Colloidal Oatmeal mask onto the face and leave on for ten minutes before rinsing and patting dry.
Used in lotions, creams, and moisturizers, Colloidal Oatmeal helps boost skin moisture, ease itching, and improve skin texture. To make an instant soothing cream, combine 3 g (0.11 oz.) of Colloidal Oatmeal powder with 300 g (10.6 oz.) of NDA's Cream Base with Jojoba, along with a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil. For DIY creams or lotions, Colloidal Oatmeal can be added to the water phase at a recommended rate of 0.05 - 2%.
Added to hair care products, Colloidal Oatmeal supports in the conditioning and light cleansing of the hair strands, and also helps relieve scalp irritations. A DIY remedy for an itchy scalp involves mixing two teaspoons of Colloidal Oatmeal in a 1/2 cup of cool or lukewarm water, which is then applied and left on the scalp for 10 minutes before rinsing. To help soften dry hair and add a natural shine to locks, a hair mask can be made with 1/4 cup of Aloe Vera Juice, ¼ cup water, 1 tbsp of colloidal oatmeal, and 2-3 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil. Section the hair, apply the mask, and leave on for 10 minutes before shampooing and conditioning the hair as usual.
For localized irritations, such as itching due to a mosquito bite or a mild sunburn, a wet compress with Colloidal Oatmeal can be helpful. In a small container, dissolve two teaspoons of Colloidal Oatmeal in a 1/2 cup of cool water. Soak a clean cloth in this mixture and apply it onto the affected area for 10-15 minutes.
In its dry form, Colloidal Oatmeal has been shown to reduce skin irritations and discomfort as a result of sweating after wearing tight accessories such as gloves. The traditional method is to sprinkle the oatmeal powder onto the hands before wearing the gloves; this can absorb any moisture as well as provide a soothing effect to counter any discomfort. Those who experience irritation from chafing or sweating due to tight clothing or shoes may also find relief using this remedy.
Interested in discovering the benefits and uses of other popular balancing, strengthening, and hydrating cosmetic raw materials? Learn more by reading our articles on Zinc Oxide, Hyaluronic Acid, and Silk Raw Materials!
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR COLLOIDAL OATMEAL
As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, Colloidal Oatmeal Raw Material is for external use only. Those with an oat or bran allergy should avoid the use of Colloidal Oatmeal.
It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this product for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Colloidal Oatmeal Raw Material without the medical advice of a physician. This product should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.
While Colloidal Oatmeal is known to be safe for use by most people, it is possible for some to experience allergies or minor irritations following its use. Prior to using Colloidal Oatmeal Raw Material, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by dissolving 1 tsp of Colloidal Oatmeal in 1/2 cup of water and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Colloidal Oatmeal must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Colloidal Oatmeal include redness or a rash. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.
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