Colloidal Oatmeal is a versatile and multi-functional compound.
This paper details the history and chemistry of colloidal oatmeal and shows how its’ chemical polymorphism leads to many useful clinical properties.
Of most interest to rosacea sufferers are the cleansing, moisturizing, buffering, soothing, protecting and anti-inflammatory properties.
Colloidal Oatmeal may well be the dream ingredient for rosacea friendly products.
The following table summarizes the paper’s detailing of the components of colloidal oatmeal and the corresponding clinical benefits obtained.
|Colloidal Oatmeal Component||Clinical Property|
|starches and [beta]-glucan||protection and water-holding or moisturizing|
|phenols||anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory|
|vitamin E||antiphotodamage and anti-inflammatory|
|avenacins||antifungal and soap-like|
Colloidal Oatmeal is defined as a product made from grinding and processing whole oat grain with strict requirements on the particle size and fat content. The small particle size and the way that it disperses in water means that when it deposits on the skin it forms an occlusive barrier.
The paper lists references to colloidal oatmeal being used as a therapy for swimmer’s itch, chickenpox, poison ivy, oak and sumac, insect bites, winter itch, atopic dermatitis, dry skin, allergic or irritant dermatitis, ichthyosis – as well as prickly heat, hives, sunburn and rashes.
Colloidal oatmeal: history, chemistry and clinical properties, J Drugs Dermatol. 2007 Feb;6(2):167-70, Kurtz ES, Wallo W., Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company, Scientific Affairs Department, Skillman, NJ 08558, USA.
Abstract: Oatmeal has been used for centuries as a soothing agent to relieve itch and irritation associated with various xerotic dermatoses. In 1945, a ready to use colloidal oatmeal, produced by finely grinding the oat and boiling it to extract the colloidal material, became available. Today, colloidal oatmeal is available in various dosage forms from powders for the bath to shampoos, shaving gels, and moisturizing creams. Currently, the use of colloidal oatmeal as a skin protectant is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) according to the Over-The-Counter Final Monograph for Skin Protectant Drug Products issued in June 2003. Its preparation is also standardized by the United States Pharmacopeia.
Ellen S. Kurtz PhD and Warren Wallo are employees of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, the manufacturer of Aveeno products. The preparation of this manuscript was sponsored in full by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.
More Background and Links
Dr. Wu’s paper on treating rosacea with herbs had this to say about Oatmeal ;
The US Food and Drug Administration classifies colloidal oatmeal (the powder resulting from the grinding and processing of whole oat grain) as a skin protectant ingredient that “provides temporary skin protection and relieves minor skin irritation and itching due to poison oak, poison ivy, poison sumac, and insect bites.” The properties that make oatmeal useful for these itchy and allergic conditions, however, make it an especially efficacious ingredient for rosacea therapies
First, oatmeal is a potent antipruritic. The moisturizing properties of colloidal oatmeal alleviate itch due to dry skin. These properties, in turn, promote protection of barrier function, which is often impaired in rosacea patients. Oatmeal also works as a skin protectant and enhancer of barrier function as the proteins and polysaccharides bind to skin to provide a protective barrier, while proteins buffer both acids and bases.
Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties. A study by Saeed and associates reported that a 10% colloidal oatmeal suspension inhibited prostaglandin synthesis by as much as 85%. The magnitude of prostaglandin inhibition was similar to that reported with indomethacin.
Finally, oatmeal is an effective cleanser that contains saponins that absorb dirt, oil, and sebaceous secretions while hydrophilic and lipophilic components absorb and solubilize aqueous debris.
Dr. Linda Sy was inspired by rosacea support group members making their own cleansing masks with oatmeal and water. She wondered if she could use colloidal oatmeal as a basis for a gentle rosacea cleanser. An extra bonus would be that it could sop up flakes associated with seborrheic dermatitis. This cleanser is well liked by the members of rosacea support. I find it cleanses really well, but does leave a slight tight feeling – which can be relieved with a gentle moisturizer.
We also know that after as little as 1 week using a colloidal oatmeal lotion (containing colloidal oatmeal, oat extract, humectants and a skin protectant) patients can see relief from dry itchy or scaly skin.
Johnson & Johnson, who make the Aveeno (avena is latin for oats) and Active Naturals range of products has a page on Oatmeal from their Aveeno Professional Site.
Tips: do you have any tips for Colloidal Oatmeal that you’d like to share ? please leave a comment below.