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What is Colloidal Oatmeal

what is colloidal oatmeal

Long before colloidal oatmeal, ancient Egyptians recognized the value of an oat milk bath to soothe irritated skin. In fact, Queen Cleopatra took milk baths often. Just the words, “milk bath” makes me feel like a queen!

So, today I want to tell you about my discovery of a colloidal oatmeal bath. Because when you have dry, itchy, irritated skin, you want fast relief. Most of all, you’ll appreciate discovering which brand is best.

What is Colloidal Oatmeal?

Very simply, colloidal oatmeal is oats ground to a fine powder to create a flour to soothe dry, irritated skin.

Grinding oats into tiny particles helps the grain to easily absorb and mix with water so it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the tub.

How Does Colloidal Oatmeal Work?

Oatmeal contains both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It’s also full of vitamins, minerals, and fats. Hence, it’s the fat in oatmeal that gives it the emollient quality, which treats itchy skin.

What makes colloidal oats effective at soothing the skin is the cellulose and fiber from the oats. It forms a protective barrier to moisturize, soothe and soften your skin. Also, colloidal oatmeal can help to restore skin’s healthy pH balance.

What is Colloidal Oatmeal Used For?

  • Skin inflammation
  • Minor skin irritations
  • Eczema
  • Dry skin
  • Acne
  • Hives
  • Chicken Pox

The Benefits of Colloidal Oatmeal

Colloidal oatmeal is a fast acting skin soother, emollient, and protectant.

How to Use Colloidal Oatmeal

Pour 1-3 cups (depending on your bathtub size) into lukewarm bath water. Soak for no longer than 15-20 minutes. Then pat (don’t rub) your skin dry. You may want to wrap the oats in cheesecloth or a cotton sock for quick clean up.

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The bath water should be milky and feel silky (almost slimy) on your skin.

You can repeat up to 3 times daily if needed, depending on the severity of your condition.

When using colloidal oatmeal in your bathtub, take extra precaution not to slip. Use a bathmat for safety.

Colloidal Oatmeal Review – Which Brand is Best?

Aveeno Brandcolloidal oatmeal


Size: 1 lb – 8 each 1.5 oz packages
Price: $5.88
Ingredients: 100% Colloidal Oatmeal – Avena Sativa
Fragrance free


  • Comes in 1.5 oz packs – (Convenient if you have small to medium size tub)
  • Inexpensive
  • Doesn’t clog drain (Be kind to your pipes and use nylon sock or cheese cloth anyway).
  • Established company (Since 1945)
  • No chemicals


  • Comes in 1.5 oz packs (Inconvenient if you have a large bathtub)
  • A little clumpy when it hits the water

Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment

Molly’s Products 

Featurescolloidal oatmeal

Size: 1 lb loose
Price: $15.99
Ingredients: 100% Colloidal Oatmeal – Avena Sativa
Fragrance free
Arrives in a clear stand-up pouch with zipper
No chemicals


  • High quality
  • Ground extra fine (no grit)
  • Does not clump
  • Hand milled
  • GMO free
  • Extra smooth texture
  • Resealable bag
  • Supporting a small company


  • Expensive

Molly’s Milk Bath

colloidal oatmealMy thoughts

I have extremely sensitive skin and am prone to rashes. Long ago a dermatologist recommended I bathe in colloidal oatmeal, colloidal oatmealso I tried both of these brands. There are no artificial scents or ingredients in either, but my personal experience is…

Most of all, Aveeno didn’t dissolve as well as Molly Products brand, but it’s far less expensive. Since it’s not ground as fine, it clumps a little when it hits the water. Yet, this is not a big issue because you can break it apart with your fingertips or against the side of the bathtub.

I didn’t have any clumping issues with Molly’s Products brand because it’s ground super fine. If you make your own home-made skin care products, I recommend Molly’s for best results.


In conclusion, if you need or like to take an oatmeal bath only occasionally, and want to save money…Go with Aveeno. However, if money is not an issue, and you want a higher grade product, buy Molly’s brand. Because the oatmeal is hand milled, the quality is top shelf. Both brands should deliver the results as promised for you though.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them for me in the comment section below.

what is colloidal oatmeal

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  • What is Colloidal Oatmeal? That was exactly my first thought. I love the stuff, but that just doesn’t sound good to me…just the name. Then I read and see it is not for eating at all 🙂 Wow, I cant believe all the benefits. My son has acne, but I don’t think I am going to get him to rub it on his face. Can it work the same way as Epson Salts do?

    • Hi Matt’s Mom! They work differently. Colloidal oats is for soothing and lubricating irritated skin. Epsom salt is more about relieving muscular pain. Some suggestions for your son’s acne…Reduce heat in his diet (avoid spicy), eat foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (salmon, flax seeds, hemp, chia seeds) consider giving him probiotics to improve liver function, make sure he goes to bed before 10 pm, drink lots of water, good herbs are: red clover, milk thistle, dandelion, bumyamalaki.

  • This is the first time I’ve heard the term colloidal oats. I have heard of just oats being used in skin care preparation and I never knew it was good for shingles, but I guess it makes sense. My sister is currently suffering from shingles and I’m going to let her know about this. Hopefully, she can find some relief; they are so painful.

  • This is the first time I’ve heard the term colloidal oats. I have heard of just oats being used in skin care preparation and I never knew it was good for shingles, but I guess it makes sense. My sister is currently suffering from shingles and I’m going to let her know about this. Hopefully, she can find some relief; they are so painful.

  • Wow, very interesting. Never knew that bathing in oats could be beneficial for my skin. May be I should try this. Just a few questions pop upped into my mind as reading this, are there any more health benefits, recovery benefits from bathing in oats? I know eating oatmeal is great and healthy, but take a bath in them,.. I certainly learned something new today. Thank you

    • Hello Hakan, Colloidal oatmeal is not like epson salts that penetrate into the muscle. It’s for soothing and hydrating irritated, dry skin.

  • Very good to know indeed! Thank you for sharing this information with us. I was just wondering if colloidal oatmeal would be safe to use on people who have had skin transplants?
    The particular person I have in mind has had all the skin beneath his knee transplanted due to severe burns. It has been years now but he still suffers from itching of the transplanted skin…

    • Hi Michael! I really don’t know, but I don’t see why not. In any case it’s a worthy inexpensive experiment! 🙂

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