What’s the deal with oatmeal skincare?

Hold onto your oat milk lattes – oatmeal skincare is about to take over your beauty routine. 

The popular vegan milk alternative is making its way from our favorite coffee shop to our beauty shelves, and it’s about time. Oat milk is highly regarded in the plant-based community as being the best, most sustainable milk option. Scientists argue that because almond milk requires more water to produce than dairy or dairy alternatives, it’s not very earth-friendly. Studies have shown that drinking soy milk may negatively impact your health, including digestion and ovarian function. Oat milk is the newest guilt-free green ingredient in everything from coffee to ice cream. (Seriously, once you try oat milk ice cream, you’ll never go back.) 

The beauty community must’ve heard all the buzz about oat, because oatmeal skincare is the newest sustainable skincare trend sweeping the shelves. The soothing, nourishing ingredient is popping up in creams, toners, and serums that your skin will love to drink up. Colloidal oatmeal is already well-known as a universal cure for eczema and sensitive skin, and with oat milk’s rising popularity among sustainability advocates, it makes sense why we’re seeing the comforting ingredient in new beauty launches. Oatmeal is good for the planet, good for your skin, and good for the soul. 

To find out what makes this superfood so special, we spoke to San Franciso-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Caren Campbell. Here’s everything you need to need to know about oatmeal skincare, and a few of our favorite products featuring this sustainable super ingredient. 

What is oatmeal skincare?

Oat milk may be a new addition to your local coffee shop, but oatmeal skincare has been around for centuries. Oats have been used in home remedies for many skin ailments from the chickenpox to eczema.

“Patients with eczema have an impaired skin barrier and ingredients like oatmeal help rebalance our skin’s pH, cleanse without drying, and restore lost moisture,” Dr. Campbell tells Very Good Light.

Colloidal oatmeal a common ingredient found in skincare products designed to soothe eczema, but what exactly is colloidal oatmeal? “Colloidal oatmeal is made from oats ground down to a fine powder in an effort to allow them to disperse more easily in water, creams, and lotions for use in cosmetic products.”

Oatmeal skincare benefits

Colloidal oatmeal is very gentle, which makes it great for calming troubled skin. It also helps balance the skin’s pH, and restore normal skin barrier function. It’s basically a dry skin savior. Dr. Campbell explains that colloidal oatmeal is hydrophilic, meaning it pulls water to the skin.

“When the skin’s barrier is impaired, proteins that normally lock moisture into the skin and keep the outside environment out are mutated,” says Dr. Campbell. “Hydrophilic moisturizers like colloidal oatmeal help pull water back to the skin’s surface to restore this barrier.”

If you have dry or eczema-prone skin, you should definitely incorporate products with colloidal oatmeal into your skincare routine, but avoid products with added fragrance or essential oils, as these ingredients could irritate your skin even more. Colloidal oatmeal is great on its own, and who doesn’t love the smell of oatmeal?!

VGL’s top picks for oatmeal skincare

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask ($24)

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask ($24)

This ultra-hydrating 10-minute mask is perfect for reviving dry, dehydrated skin. The formula contains a blend of two different oats, colloidal oatmeal and avena sativa oat bran, which makes it ideal for soothing skin after a bad sunburn or reaction. It’s like a Benadryl, but for your face. The ingredients are super clean and nourishing for sensitive skin. I want to take a bath filled with this stuff – THAT’s how good it is.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Eczema Soothing Relief Cream ($15)

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Eczema Soothing Relief Cream

This product is made for eczema, but even if you don’t suffer from the skin condition, this lotion is great for dry skin.  It contains 1% colloidal oatmeal, along with other hydrating ingredients like shea butter and niacinamide. I love this product for soothing redness and irritation post-shaving.

Tatcha Indigo Cream Soothing Skin Protectant ($85)

Tatcha Indigo Cream Soothing Skin Protectant

Tatcha can do no wrong, IMO, and this hydrating moisturizer proves it. Unlike her other moisturizer, Water Cream, Indigo Cream feels thick and super luxurious. It’s made with natural Japanese indigo, which is known to have soothing and restorative properties, and, of course, colloidal oatmeal. A little goes a long way when it comes to this product. It’s non-greasy, so if you have oily, sensitive skin, this might be your new favorite moisturizer.

Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk ($28)

Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk ($28)

Any skincare product with “milk” in its name is guaranteed to be hydrating. Made with oat extract, this gentle cleanser gets rid of dirt and grime without over stripping the skin. Grape seed oil and sweet almond oil work together to soften and smooth, while also leaving the skin feeling hydrated. Caudalie also donates 1% of sales to plant trees, so by purchasing this product, you’re also helping the environment.

Pixi Milky Tonic ($15)

Pixi Milky Tonic ($15)

Pixi is famous for their Glow Tonic, but Milky Tonic is lowkey the best-kept secret at the drugstore. Glow Tonic contains glycolic acid, which might be too harsh for sensitive skin. Milky Tonic contains oat extract to balance and comfort irritated skin, along with skin-loving botanicals such as Matricaria flower water, jojoba seed oil, camellia leaf extract, and more. I love spritzing this on my skin throughout the day for a quick pick-me-up. Pixi Beauty is also available at Target, which makes it super affordable and accessible.

Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Moisturizer ($38)

Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Moisturizer

Vegans, rejoice. This lightweight moisturizer contains a blend of oat milk, fig milk, and argan milk, so it’s safe to say it’s extremely hydrating. Cow milk, who? We don’t know her. One of the main ingredients is also olive-derived squalene, which seals in moisture and provides antioxidant benefits. It’s like whipped milky goodness in a jar.

(Photo by Melissa Di Rocco on Unsplash)