Oat Oil: The Gentle Calmer for Itchy, Stressed Skin
by Heather Smith on Jan 10, 2022
Oat oil is an amazing emollient with anti-inflammatory benefits. It's one of the best oils for dry and irritated skin. This spotlight article is a continuation of our series on the best face oils in our detailed face oil guide.
Is it worth trying oat oil for skin? We say absolutely yes!
Avena sativa: oats and oatmeal are well-known for their skin-beneficial properties. There is evidence of oats being used in skin care in Egypt dating back to 2000 BC. Bathing in oats, milk, and honey was a luxury for queens of ancient history.
Starting as an ancient remedy, the use of oats has continued to modern times and has become a staple ingredient in many skincare products designed for irritated and inflamed skin.
Globally, oats play a significant role in food for both animals and humans. Oatmeal is very heart-healthy and helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
What is Colloidal Oatmeal?
Colloidal oatmeal is created by grinding the oat grain into a delicate thin powder that can be dissolved in water and added to skincare products.
Oat powder is prized for its soothing properties and is considered an active ingredient in some medicated products for eczema. This is because of its unique ability to penetrate well into the skin's layers.
The FDA approves it as a skin protectant ingredient. One of the reasons oats are good for skin and cardiovascular health is because of the anti-inflammatory properties of some of the phytochemicals found in the oat plant, called avenathramides.
Since colloidal oatmeal contains the whole oat, it is not gluten-free.
So, how about oat carrier oil? Are there specific skin benefits? Is it a good face oil?
What Is Oat Oil?
Unlike other carrier oils, which are often made by cold-pressing or expeller-pressing a seed, oat oil is extracted using a solvent. None of the solvent remains, so it's not an issue for irritation. Sometimes the solvent used is plant-based ethanol, but more commonly now supercritical CO2 extraction is used.
Oats, a cereal grain, are low fat by nature. The free-fatty acid composition is usually around 35% oleic acid and 40% linoleic acid when the oils are extracted.
Other components include sterols, phospholipids, palmitic acid, and various soluble antioxidants.
Oat oil has three specific claims to fame compared to other plant-based carrier oils. Here they are:
Avenanthramides: Avenanthramides are polyphenols exclusive to oats with anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties. They soothe irritated skin by reducing inflammation and alleviating itchiness. Avenanthramides also neutralize free radicals, protecting the skin from oxidative stress.
Natural ceramides: Oat oil's high, natural ceramide content benefits individuals with dry, dehydrated, or aging skin, as it aids in replenishing and maintaining the skin's natural lipid balance and keeping the skin barrier healthy and strong.
- Natural squalene: Oat oil's squalene content enhances the skin's overall health by reinforcing its natural defences, improving moisture retention, and promoting a smooth, supple texture.
Oat oil contains many skin-identical lipids and ceramides, which are an essential component making this such an amazing oil for face and skincare.
Oat Oil Benefits for Skin
The primary skin benefits of oat carrier oil are its emollient and skin-soothing properties. It contains skin-identical lipids, ceramides, anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, and vitamin E.
Natural squalene levels are also high, which helps enhance its ability to support your skin barrier. Oat oil also has some innate ability to inhibit fungal growth, which may be helpful if you are prone to acne.
One of the other favourite things we love about oat oil is its ability to moisturize without clogging pores. Oat oil has a comedogenic rating of around 2 which means it is unlikely to clog pores for most people.
Oat oil is suitable for all skin types. It's one of our favourites for people who are prone to irritation and dry skin.
A summary of the skin benefits of oat oil:
- improved skin barrier strength and function
- moisturizing emollient
- skin soothing and improved redness from dry irritation
- helps relieve itchy skin and scalp
- natural antibacterial and antifungal properties
- natural skin identical ceramides and squalene
Will Oat Oil Have the Same Effects as Colloidal Oatmeal?
This is not yet known. Experimentation using fractionated oat oil in conditions such as eczema are underway.
What we do know is that some of the same antioxidant chemicals, like avenathramides, are also present in oat oil. So this is an exciting finding with huge potential!
Is Oat Oil Safe for Skin?
Oat oil should have no traces of oat protein, making it gluten-free. If you have celiac disease, you should still discuss this with your physician and ensure the products you use can trace their supply chain back to confirm. It may still be best to avoid oat oil if you suffer from celiac and aren't certain you can verify the product was tested to be 100% gluten free.
What Is the Environmental Impact of Oat Oil Production?
There are no specific humanitarian or agricultural concerns about oat production. It is a global food crop that is not known to contribute to deforestation.
Much of the oat oil produced uses byproducts/waste from feed production. This improves the overall sustainability profile of oat oil because it's using waste to generate the oil.
The natural content of squalene and plant ceramides, and the potential for it to function with similarities to colloidal oatmeal, makes oat oil a bareLUXE favourite!
Oat (Avena sativa) oil is featured as a key ingredient in our Northern Rescue Serum for dry and stressed skin.
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- Banaś, K., Harasym, J. Current Knowledge of Content and Composition of Oat Oil—Future Perspectives of Oat as Oil Source. Food Bioprocess Technol 14, 232–247 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11947-020-02535-5
- Sobhan M, Hojati M, Vafaie SY, Ahmadimoghaddam D, Mohammadi Y, Mehrpooya M. The Efficacy of Colloidal Oatmeal Cream 1% as Add-on Therapy in the Management of Chronic Irritant Hand Eczema: A Double-Blind Study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2020;13:241-251. Published 2020 Mar 25. doi:10.2147/CCID.S246021
- Chon SH, Tannahill R, Yao X, Southall MD, Pappas A. Keratinocyte differentiation and upregulation of ceramide synthesis induced by an oat lipid extract via the activation of PPAR pathways. Exp Dermatol. 2015 Apr;24(4):290-5. DOI: 10.1111/exd.12658. PMID: 25651930.