Written by Grove Collaborative

What is colloidal oatmeal? Here’s all you need to know about it.

Last Updated: August 16, 2021

Tired of dealing with dry, itchy, or irritated skin? Learn everything you need to know about colloidal oatmeal and how it’s used from the experts at Grove.

When you’re dealing with dry, itchy skin, you’re probably willing to try just about any type of remedy for relief. Colloidal oatmeal to the rescue!


So, what exactly is colloidal oatmeal, how do you use it, and are there any side effects you need to know about? Keep reading to find out from the experts at Grove.

First, what is colloidal oatmeal?

Made by grinding oat grain into a fine powder, colloidal oatmeal is a natural ingredient that’s commonly found in skincare products, cosmetics, shampoos, shaving creams, moisturizers, and cleansers.


People have used colloidal oatmeal for centuries to soothe dry, itchy, or irritated skin. It’s now even used for itchy pets too.

What’s colloidal oatmeal good for?

Oatmeal is a classic staple in the kitchen, but it’s also commonly used as a remedy to relieve skin irritation.


According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, colloidal oatmeal packs a variety of proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that benefit the skin, especially sensitive skin.


Here are just a few colloidal oatmeal benefits for skin:


  • Protects skin. Your skin serves as a barrier between your body and the environment, and colloidal oatmeal can strengthen the skin’s barrier function.
  • Moisturizes dry skin. Products containing colloidal oatmeal create a film on the top of your skin that increases water retention and improves hydration.
  • Soothes irritation. Both the cellulose and fiber in colloidal oatmeal help calm redness and irritation. This is especially helpful for people who have eczema (atopic dermatitis) or sunburns.
  • Absorbs UV. Studies have shown that colloidal oatmeal contains powerful phenols that could absorb UV radiation.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties. Because of its phenols, it’s also known for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Phenols are organic compounds with disinfectant and antiseptic properties, and they’re commonly used in mouthwashes and throat lozenges.
  • Cleanses skin. It also contains saponins, which are naturally occurring compounds found in legume plants that are known for their cleansing properties.

Colloidal oatmeal uses

Now that you’re familiar with what colloidal oatmeal is, you’re probably wondering what it’s actually used for.


This natural compound is used to treat a variety of skin conditions because it helps to:

Treat xerosis

Products with colloidal oatmeal can significantly improve dryness and irritation for people who deal with severe dry skin conditions, or xerosis.

Soothe skin irritation

When used in natural face moisturizers, colloidal oatmeal can soothe skin irritation and reduce dryness, including irritation caused by radiation treatments for cancer.

Alleviate itching

Colloidal oatmeal creams and sprays help alleviate itching caused by chickenpox or burns.

How to apply colloidal oatmeal

As mentioned above, colloidal oatmeal is used in many types of natural skincare products. The way you apply a product with colloidal oatmeal will depend on the type of product you’re using.


For best results, always follow the directions on the product packaging. It’s also a good idea to test the product, especially if you have sensitive skin, by putting it on a small area of your skin before you apply it all over.

GROVE TIP

Develop a natural beauty routine that works for you

Amy Hart, Chief Innovation Officer at Elevation Labs told Grove this: “Developing a routine that works best for you helps trigger your body & mind that it’s time to relax. The key is taking extra time for yourself, not rushing through the routine only to lay in bed wide awake. [This includes] not only skincare, but hair care, oral care, and body care (stretching even). Your body is all you’ve got and taking a few extra minutes to relish in the day you’ve had and mentally prepare for a much needed break is key to good health and good self-care all around.”

Colloidal oatmeal side effects

Side effects of products with colloidal oatmeal are rare, but there’s always a chance that your skin could react poorly. Potential side effects to watch out for include stinging, burning, redness, or irritation.


If you experience any of these side effects, the issue may not be the colloidal oatmeal itself — you might be reacting to other ingredients included in the product.

4 natural products with colloidal oatmeal for you and your pets

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