Anyone who has had chicken pox, poison ivy, a bug bite or even very dry skin knows that the urge to scratch can often be worse than the itch itself. In colloidal form, oatmeal can help to alleviate the itch and its accompanying swelling as well as the desire to scratch.
Oatmeal, and its natural oil coat, moisturize, protect and gently cleanse, while correcting the pH of itchy or inflamed skin. When added to baths, colloidal oatmeal soap doesn't clump; it spreads out and melts into a cloudy treatment that can relieve skin irritations.
Its scientific qualities are due to many natural chemicals. Saponins - a form of natural detergent - comprise its cleaning ability. Colloidal oatmeal also has a high level of starch and beta-glucan, a polysaccharide with inhibiting abilities, which is primarily responsible for its moisture-retentive properties. Additionally, colloidal oatmeal contains phenols, an antiseptic, which encompass its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and ultraviolet absorbing properties. It can also be used as a gentle exfoliating agent.
Colloidal oatmeal suppresses the need to scratch, which is especially useful for irritated, dry skin. Conditions include insect bites; acne; eczema; psoriasis; sunburn; sores; chicken pox; poison ivy, oak or sumac; shingles; rosacea; and prickly heat. Bathe in lukewarm water because hot water will dry the skin out further, or apply colloidal oatmeal as a moisturizer in lotion form. It's also available in other soap-like styles such as shampoos and shaving gels.
Make your own bar of soap by grinding oatmeal in a coffee grinder or food processor and adding it to melt-and-pour style soap bases then into molds. Leave the oatmeal flakes larger for an exfoliating bar, or grind it for a smoother soap. Add other ingredients to calm the skin to boost the soap's soothing qualities.