Colloidal Oatmeal - Remedy For Itchy Skin
Itchy skin can be brought on by a variety of factors. Bug bites, rashes, and skin problems such as eczema can all be responsible for itching skin. No matter the underlying cause, itchy skin is maddening and makes life miserable.
One natural remedy for itchy skin is oatmeal, but not the oatmeal so commonly eaten for breakfast. The oatmeal used to relieve itching is colloidal oatmeal. Colloidal oatmeal is still made from oats, but it is prepared differently than breakfast oatmeal. With colloidal oatmeal, the oats are ground very finely or even pulverized.
Grinding the oatmeal helps it absorb liquid readily. When it is added to water, it almost instantly produces a milk-like substance that gives the water a slimy consistency. This is because the oatmeal acts as a colloid, which means the molecules spread through another substance and permanently change its consistency. In this case, the molecules of oat spread through the water and permanently change the consistency of the water. Since the two substances combine together permanently, no oatmeal particles sink in the tub or float on the top of the water.
Oats have long been used for skin care treatment. The Egyptians and the Arabians used them as a skin beauty treatment as early as 2000 BC. The ancient Romans and Greeks also used oat baths to heal skin problems.
Oats are great for treating skin because, when colloidal oatmeal covers the skin, it actually binds to the skin. This binding helps it moisturize and soften the skin, as well as help protect it. This is because the water is attracted to the skin and held there by the colloidal oatmeal. Colloidal oatmeal is also beneficial because of its natural ingredients, which include cellulose and fiber. All of these characteristics combined also are why colloidal oatmeal is able to make the skin softer and more elastic.
Conditions that respond well to a colloidal oatmeal treatment include eczema, chickenpox, shingles, sores, sunburn and insect bites. Other skin irritations, such as that created by poison ivy, can also be relieved with a colloidal oatmeal bath.
Colloidal oatmeal can be made at home using regular oatmeal. To do this, oatmeal purchased from the grocery story should be placed in a food processor, coffee grinder, or blender. Using one of these kitchen appliances, the oatmeal can be ground finely into colloidal oatmeal. This process can be somewhat tricky, though, because ground oatmeal that is too coarse will sink to the bottom of the bathtub rather than act as a colloid.
Regardless of if the colloidal oatmeal is homemade or store bought, directions for its use are the same. A lukewarm bath should be drawn. It should not be hot because hot water will irritate the skin further and the water will absorb moisture from the skin instead of lubricating it.
After the water is at the correct temperature, several cups of oatmeal should be added to the bath as it fills. Once the tub is full, soak in the water for 10 minutes. Afterward, pat the skin dry. Do not rub it, as this will also irritate the skin and can potentially cause the itchy area to be torn open. This process might need to be repeated several times, perhaps even three times per day, if the itching is severe.
When getting out of the bath after colloidal oatmeal soaking, it is important to be cautious. The skin can become very slippery from this type of bath, making it easy to slip on the side of the tub or on the floor after getting out of the tub. In addition, using a colloidal oatmeal bath to relieve itching can sometimes leave a sticky feeling on the skin afterward. If this happens, the skin can be rinsed with a few cups of fresh warm water.
When taking a bath with colloidal oatmeal, it is important to make sure it does not get into the eyes. This can cause irritation. Also, if the itchy area is highly inflamed, it is best to avoid taking a colloidal oatmeal bath.
Colloidal oatmeal is a highly beneficial natural treatment that can work wonders toward stopping itching and irritation from a wide variety of skin problems and irritants.