While there's no time like the present for self-care, making a plan to carve out structured time for wellness can help you stick to your favorite relaxation technique. Scheduling a regular bath for Tuesday nights, for example, is a good place to start. Not only can a long, routine soak put your mind at ease mid-week, but it can also help your health. Recent studies even show that taking regular baths can lower your risks of heart disease and stroke.
Instead of sticking to your usual bubble-based soak, however, consider adding oatmeal to the hot water to reap even more benefits from each trip to your tub. Here are the perks of switching to an oatmeal soak—and how to make your own from scratch.
The Benefits of Taking Oatmeal Baths
Oatmeal is delicious to eat for breakfast—or even as a tasty dessert. But oats have benefits for your skin, too.
Oatmeal Is Hydrating
Colloidal oatmeal is a combination of starch and beta-glucan, which allows the oats to hold water. "Colloidal oatmeal attracts water, so it can help hydrate the skin and it also helps strengthen the skin barrier," says Nazanin Saedi, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and clinical associate professor at Thomas Jefferson University. Considered an emollient, it can soften and add moisture to the skin to prevent dryness and irritation.
Oatmeal Is Anti-Inflammatory
"Oats have been studied to have anti-inflammatory effects for both psoriasis and for eczema," says Dr. Saedi. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that colloidal oatmeal is safe to use on inflamed skin, which dates back to 2003 research. Thanks to its calming properties, soaking in a colloidal oatmeal bath can help ease itchy, inflamed skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
How to Make Colloidal Oatmeal
Skip the store-bought oatmeal soaks and make your own—it's easier than you may think. Dr. Saedi says you can use any form of oats to make an oatmeal bath, so long as its final iteration is colloidal oatmeal. "That means that if you use the oatmeal that you eat, you need to grind it to make it into a very fine powder," she says. You can buy pre-made colloidal oats to add to your bath, or make your own using the following method.
Choose a food processor, coffee grinder, or blender to create the fine oats.
Pour the oats into the processor and pulse until the oats become grainy.
Oats are ready to pour into a bath when the grain is fine enough to easily dissolve in water.
How to Make Your Own Oatmeal Bath
The only steps necessary to create your own oatmeal bath is to fill your tub with lukewarm water—too-hot water can irritate your skin—and add about 1 cup of colloidal oats. Then soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Don't sit for too long, however: An oatmeal bath can have the opposite effect and dry out your skin should you delay toweling off, says Dr. Saedi.