Colloidal oatmeal refers to finely milled and processed whole oat kernels.
Not be confused with your breakfast cereal, colloidal oatmeal is formed when oats are finely ground, almost to nanoparticles - to 44 microns in size, and added to water. This causes the fine powder to expand and create a gel-like substance which acts as an emollient(a substance that prevents water loss from the skin’s surface).
‘Colloid’ simply means, an evenly distributed mixture of one substance (oatmeal, in this case) suspended in another (water).
Colloidal oatmeal includes the bran of oat kernels i.e the outer layer of oats that contains essential nutrients like lipids, beta glucan, and antioxidants required for healthy and moisturized skin. The inclusion of bran is the main difference between regular oatmeal or oat flour and colloidal oatmeal.
How Is Colloidal Oatmeal Extracted?
Colloidal oatmeal is extracted in two ways: the dry & wet methods.
- The dry method: The dry production of colloidal oatmeal is done with advanced milling equipment. As per FDA guidelines, the whole oat kernels need to be ground until 80% of the product passes through the sieve, it is then safe to label the product as colloidal oatmeal.
- The wet method: The purpose of the wet method is to separate oats from the starch. The oats are soaked first to change the structure of the starch so that the particle size of the colloidal oatmeal is easy to incorporate into formulations.
What Does Colloidal Oatmeal Contain?
Most importantly, the structure of Colloidal oatmeal allows it to act as a humectant that helps protect your skin's barrier. Here are some of its other benefits that are crucial to skin improvement, especially to help excessive dryness and skin barrier damage.
- Lipids: Lipids are organic compounds that form a protective layer on the skin by replenishing lost oils in it. It also prevents excessive dryness & irritation.
- Beta Glucan (Polysaccharides): Beta-glucan is sugar found in the cell walls of plants like oats and barley. It increases the firmness of the skin by increasing collagen production and works as an excellent hydrating agent as it binds water to the skin when applied.
- Avenanthramides( the phytochemical in oats): Avenanthramides are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents helping reduce itchiness & redness when the skin is irritated as in the case of moderate to extremely dry skin types.
- Saponin: a phytochemical that contains soap-like anti-infective qualities also moisturizes the skin & balances its pH levels while cleansing effectively.
How Does Colloidal Oatmeal Benefit Skin?
- Cleanses, Exfoliates, Moisturizes - A powerful benefit of colloidal oatmeal is its ability to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize the skin without dehydration or damage. It contains healthy and lubricating fats that help hydrate and moisturize the skin. It also removes dead skin cells from the skin’s outermost surface and has pore cleansing benefits.
- Forms A Protective Barrier - Colloidal Oatmeal contains high protein content and a unique lipid profile that helps maintain the stratum corneum(skin’s barrier). It also protects skin from harsh chemicals and pollutants. In 2003, the FDA approved colloidal oatmeal as a natural skin protectant.
- Protects From Damage - Due to its high saponin content, colloidal oatmeal works as a perfect ingredient for a skin cleanser. It does not strip your skin of its natural oils, maintains a good pH balance and hydrates your skin at the same time. Its rich antioxidant properties help undo any damage done by pollution, chemicals or the harmful rays of the sun.
- Fights Skin Infections - Colloidal Oatmeal is massively beneficial for those with dry skin prone to flaking and infection. It contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that treat itching associated with fungal infections. It also calms eczema and psoriasis and helps in skin recovery.
Whom Does Oatmeal Benefit The Most?
Colloidal oatmeal is a remarkable skin-soothing solution for those who experience excessive dryness. It can help prevent inflamed skin conditions, itchiness & eczema. With its moisturizing properties, colloidal oatmeal also protects the skin & keeps allergies at bay. Those who have extremely sensitive skin conditions can find relief by using products containing colloidal oatmeal.
Colloidal oatmeal is also a trusted ingredient among dermatologists. In fact, some of the world’s most successful brands use colloidal oatmeal as their number one ingredient.
Can You Make Colloidal Oatmeal At Home?
It is possible to grind oatmeal to a fine powder with your food processor. But failure to achieve the miniscule particle size ends up being counterproductive as larger particle sizes will not achieve the same results.
Additionally, with larger particle sizes, using it in a face mask or any DIY facial application can be difficult as it creates undesirable lumpy bits.
It is better to use skin care products that come with colloidal oatmeal as they contain a tested formulation that is safe for your skin.
Also, it is wiser to apply a product that offers clear usage instructions on the amount to be used and how long to leave it on than using the ingredient directly without knowing the same.
Do SkinKraft Products Contain Colloidal Oatmeal?
SkinKraft uses colloidal oatmeal in some of its products. The customer’s feedback in the SkinIDTM questionnaire is crucial here. If feedback indicates skin’s natural tendency towards dryness or if it matches a decisive number of dry skin parameters, face cleansers that contain colloidal oatmeal are recommended. However, this isn’t constant; it tends to vary according to the customer’s complete skin profile.
Want a skin care regimen that matches your skin’s exact needs? Start by understanding your skin’s unique profile by taking the SkinIDTM questionnaire.