When it comes to homemade facial masks and other skin care treatments, oatmeal is a beneficial, easy-to-find and simple-to-use ingredient.
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Oatmeal has cleansing properties as well as mild exfoliant properties. Oatmeal also has moisturising properties and can act as an anti-inflammatory for sunburned or irritated skin.
Facial masks are used to brighten the skin by cleansing it of dead skin cells and revealing fresh new skin underneath. While oatmeal can be used by itself as a cleanser, oatmeal facial masks often call for other ingredients--fruits, honey, yoghurt or oils, depending on your skin's qualities (dry vs. oily, etc.)--to help form a thicker and more cleansing paste.
Oatmeal can also be beneficial to the entire body. Dawn Gallagher's recipe for an oatmeal bath calls for a blend of 1 cup of oatmeal, 1.5 cups of warm water or milk, plus 1 tablespoon each of honey and vanilla extract poured under running water.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, oatmeal baths are also helpful in soothing the itching and discomfort of the effects of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. The Rosacea Support Group suggests that products with colloidal (ground into a very fine powder) oatmeal may help ease discomfort as well. Colloidal oatmeal has been classified as a "skin protectant" by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, and is also recommended as an ingredient to soothe insect bites and stings.
Natural exfoliants similar to oatmeal include cornmeal, almond meal and bran. Many skin care brands, such as Aveeno, frequently use colloidal oatmeal as an ingredient.
If you have only whole oats in the house, all you need to do is cook it up into oatmeal. Be sure to let it cool down before applying directly to your skin.
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