Oat Oil: Spotlight on the Best Face Oils
by Heather Smith on Jan 10, 2022
Oat oil is an amazing emollient with anti-inflammatory benefits. It's one of the best oils for dry and irritated skin. This article is a continuation of our series on the best face oils a in our detailed face oil buyer's guide.
Is it worth trying oat oil for skin? We say absolutely yes!
Avena sativa: oats and oatmeal are well-known for their skin-beneficial properties. There is evidence of oats being used in skin care in Egypt dating back to 2000 BC. Bathing in oats, milk, and honey was a luxury for queens of ancient history.
Starting as an ancient remedy, the use of oats has continued to modern times and has become a staple ingredient in many skincare products designed for irritated and inflamed skin.
Globally, oats play a significant role in food for both animals and humans. Oatmeal is very heart-healthy and helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
What is Colloidal Oatmeal?
Colloidal oatmeal is created by grinding the oat grain into a delicate thin powder that can be dissolved in water or added to skincare products.
Oat powder is prized for its soothing properties and is considered an active ingredient in some medicated products for eczema.
The FDA approves it as a skin protectant ingredient. One of the reasons oats are good for skin and cardiovascular health is because of the anti-inflammatory properties of some of the phytochemicals found in the oat plant, called avenathramides.
Since colloidal oatmeal contains the whole oat, it is not gluten-free.
So, how about oat carrier oil? Are there specific skin benefits? Is it a good face oil?
What Is Oat Oil?
Unlike other carrier oils, which are often made by cold-pressing or expeller-pressing a seed, oat oil is extracted using a solvent. None of the solvent remains, so it's not an issue for irritation. Sometimes the solvent used is plant-based ethanol, but more commonly now supercritical CO2 extraction is used - as it is with many essential oils.
Oats, a cereal grain, are low fat by nature. The free-fatty acid composition is usually around 35% oleic acid and 40% linoleic acid when the oils are extracted.
Other components include sterols, phospholipids, palmitic acid, and various soluble antioxidants. Oat oil contains many skin-identical lipids and ceramides.
Oat Oil Benefits for Skin
The primary skin benefits of oat carrier oil are its emollient and skin-soothing properties. It contains skin-identical lipids, ceramides, anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, and vitamin E.
Natural squalene levels are high, which helps enhance its ability to support your skin barrier. It also has some innate ability to inhibit fungal growth, which may be helpful if you are prone to acne.
One of the other favourite things we love about oat oil is its ability to moisturize without clogging pores. Oat oil has a comedogenic rating of around 2 which means it is unlikely to clog pores for most people.
Oat oil is suitable for all skin types. It's one of our favourites for people who are prone to irritation and dry skin.
A summary of the skin benefits of oat oil:
- improved skin barrier strength and function
- moisturizing emollient
- skin soothing and improved redness from dry irritation
- helps relieve itchy skin and scalp
- natural antibacterial and antifungal properties
- natural skin identical ceramides
Will Oat Oil Have the Same Effects as Colloidal Oatmeal?
This is not yet known. Experimentation using fractionated oat oil in conditions such as eczema are underway.
What we do know is that some of the same antioxidant chemicals, like avenathramides, are also present in oat oil. So this is an exciting finding with huge potential.
Is Oat Oil Safe for Skin?
Oat oil should have no traces of oat protein, making it gluten-free. If you have celiac disease, you should still discuss this with your physician and ensure the products you use can trace their supply chain back to confirm. It's likely still best to avoid oat oil if you suffer from celiac.
What Is the Environmental Impact of Oat Oil Production?
There are no specific humanitarian or agricultural concerns about oat production. It is a global food crop that is not known to contribute to deforestation.
Much of the oat oil produced uses byproducts/waste from feed production. This improves the overall sustainability profile of oat oil because it's using waste to generate the oil.
- Reynertson KA, Garay M, Nebus J, Chon S, Kaur S, Mahmood K, Kizoulis M, Southall MD. Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in the treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skin. J Drugs Dermatol. 2015 Jan;14(1):43-8. PMID: 25607907.
- Cerio R, Dohil M, Jeanine D, Magina S, Mahé E, Stratigos AJ. Mechanism of action and clinical benefits of colloidal oatmeal for dermatologic practice. J Drugs Dermatol. 2010 Sep;9(9):1116-20. PMID: 20865844.
- Perrelli A, Goitre L, Salzano AM, Moglia A, Scaloni A, Retta SF. Biological Activities, Health Benefits, and Therapeutic Properties of Avenanthramides: From Skin Protection to Prevention and Treatment of Cerebrovascular Diseases. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2018 Aug 23;2018:6015351. DOI: 10.1155/2018/6015351. PMID: 30245775; PMCID: PMC6126071.
- Banaś, K., Harasym, J. Current Knowledge of Content and Composition of Oat Oil—Future Perspectives of Oat as Oil Source. Food Bioprocess Technol 14, 232–247 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11947-020-02535-5
- Sobhan M, Hojati M, Vafaie SY, Ahmadimoghaddam D, Mohammadi Y, Mehrpooya M. The Efficacy of Colloidal Oatmeal Cream 1% as Add-on Therapy in the Management of Chronic Irritant Hand Eczema: A Double-Blind Study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2020;13:241-251. Published 2020 Mar 25. doi:10.2147/CCID.S246021
- Chon SH, Tannahill R, Yao X, Southall MD, Pappas A. Keratinocyte differentiation and upregulation of ceramide synthesis induced by an oat lipid extract via the activation of PPAR pathways. Exp Dermatol. 2015 Apr;24(4):290-5. DOI: 10.1111/exd.12658. PMID: 25651930.