Whenever we see someone with flawless skin, we compare them to a baby’s. This is precisely because babies mostly have perfectly smooth skin. But it is not like they never get rashes, acne, or eczema. But whenever you find any little bump or a little rash on their skin, do not rush over to the store to get some expensive lotion or cream. An oatmeal bath for babes can just be the thing they need to get their supple, smooth skin back. 

And it is not without reason that this remedy has been here for years. Oatmeal bath soothes the skin and moisturizes it for all ages. It has the potential to do everything, beginning with hives and ending with poison ivy and sunburn to psoriasis. 

This is not like any other old wives tale. Studies have proved that oatmeal has anti-inflammatory qualities and antioxidants. Moreover, this helps repair the skin and moisturizes it. Here is everything there is to know about giving an oatmeal bath to your baby. 

What is an oatmeal bath? 

Have you ever taken a bubble bath? It is exactly the same but without the bubbles. Here, you put oatmeal for your baby. However, the preparation is similar to having oatmeal for a meal. First, you have to crush or grind it into powder. 

To prepare an oatmeal bath, you can use any kind of oatmeal. Quick cooking oatmeal or instant. But it is best to avoid anything that has some added flavors to it. There is also a special kind of oatmeal that is mostly used for bathing and skin care. It is known as colloidal oatmeal. 

What is colloidal oatmeal? 

Colloidal oatmeal is finely ground oats. They finely grind it into a soft powder so it coats the skin well and protects it. It is different because it is not meant for consumption. This is specifically formulated to dissolve in fluids. 

Various skin care products like bath soaps, shaving creams, shampoos, and moisturizers also contain it. You will get this one in the market, and you do not have to prepare it separately at home for your baby’s bath. 

The term colloidal actually refers to noncrystalline fine particles mixed into some other substance that does not separate or settle from the other substance, even when filtered. 

How does it work? 

The effectiveness of colloidal oatmeal comes from the very small particles. When it is incorporated into any formula or added to water, this oatmeal disperses and forms a suspension.  

These microparticles settle into the skin, draw moisture to the skin, and create a film to prevent water loss. This is also an effective topical treatment because it has: 

  • Fats 
  • Proteins 
  • Antioxidants 
  • Skin-benefit nutrients 

Benefit of colloidal oatmeal 

Colloidal oatmeal has certain benefits, like: 

  • It improves the bacterial ecosystem of the skin, and this includes lowering the staphylococcus bacteria, which is responsible for causing staph infection. 
  • This eases itchiness, roughness, dryness, and scaling, mostly through anti-inflammatory actions and antioxidants. 
  • It also helps with the healing of chronic hand eczema. 
  • This helps the skin retain moisture, helps with the itch caused by dermatitis, and causes fewer flare-ups. 
  • It can also prevent atopic dermatitis. Babies are highly exposed to this risk. 
  • This is an effective and safe option, as many of the prescribed creams in the treatment of atopic dermatitis contain this. 
  • Improves allergic and irritant-induced eczema with dark skin, as it can be challenging to heal. 

Cancer treatments like targeted therapies and chemotherapy take a toll on your skin and leave behind toxins that are responsible for causing hair loss, rashes, pain, and discomfort. Ultimately, all of this together causes emotional distress. 

According to research, colloidal oatmeal can help with improving the side effects these treatments have on the skin. This will reduce the discomfort during cancer treatment and help patients have better livelihoods. 

Ingredients for an Oatmeal Bath 

It is not difficult to prepare an oatmeal bath. All you need is the right kind of oatmeal. They are all you have to take care of. According to Stephanie Kronberg, a professional nurse at the Department of Dermatology at the Children’s Mercy Kansas City, “You should not just throw your breakfast oatmeal into your baby’s bath!.” 

You should find colloidal oatmeal, which is specifically created for this purpose and is finely ground to a soft powder, making it easy to dissolve in water. When you are preparing your own oatmeal bath at home, you can use instant oats, slow-cooking oats, and quick-cooking oats. All of this is going to work well.  

Here are some of the ingredients that you will need to prepare an oatmeal bath: 

  • Coffee grinder, food processor, or blender 
  • Warm water 
  • 1 cup of oatmeal (this is for a full-size bath, and if it is an infant tub, then use ⅓ of a cup) 
  • Cheesecloth or muslin bag as a container 

How do you give your baby an oatmeal bath? 

There is an instructional manual for preparing an oatmeal bath at the back of every packet of colloidal oatmeal. You can just follow through the instructions. But if you cannot get hold of the packet, you can still prepare your little precious oatmeal bath. 

Here are the steps to prepare your DIY oatmeal bath: 

  • Blend the oats on the highest setting of your coffee grinder, food processor, or blender till the point the oats turn into a fine, consistent powder. 
  • Do not put it directly into your baby’s bath water. However, you should always test it first. Take a tablespoon of the powder and stir it in a glass of warm water. 
  • If the powdered oats absorb in the water quickly and form a milky substance, along with a silky feel, that means you have blended enough. 
  • If it does not turn into a milky substance, then you need to grind the oats some more. Then, try the same test again. Keep repeating the same process unless the solution turns milky. 
  • Get the tub filled with warm water, and make sure that the water is not too hot. If the water is too hot, it can make their skin dry. 
  • Then sprinkle the oatmeal while the tub fills with water, or you can make use of the muslin bag. After the oatmeal dissolves in the water, it should form a milky-looking color.  
  • Put your baby into the tub and allow them to soak in that water for 10 to 15 minutes, and splash them with that water as well. 
  • After they are done with their bath, pat them dry with a soft towel, and before you dress them, apply some gentle moisturizer. Be cautious around this step, as the baby can be slippery from the moisturizer and the oatmeal. 
  • If you do not want to give them an oatmeal bath, you can make a smooth paste with water and oatmeal and apply that to the affected areas. 

What are the benefits of oatmeal baths for babies? 

Oatmeal is being used as an age-old remedy for lots of hair and skin ailments in babies, children, and adults. Apart from that, there have been independent medical studies that show that colloidal oatmeal products and oatmeal baths help with some skin problems. 

According to a medical study that was conducted in 2014 found that creams and lotions that have oatmeal added to their formula do a better job at keeping the skin healthy and moisturized than the products that do not contain oatmeal. The study featured some adults who had less cracking and dry skin after they used a product that contained oatmeal. 

Another study that was conducted in 2020 found that adding colloidal oatmeal to any skincare treatment plan helps ease serious hand eczema in some adults. Research shows that colloidal oatmeal helps with the symptoms of eczema in two different ways. 

  • Colloidal oatmeal helps repair the skin barrier. This keeps the skin moisturized, helps it heal, and prevents it from drying out too soon. 
  • It has soothing and anti-inflammatory qualities. Moreover, it helps reduce irritation, tenderness, itching, and skin redness. 

Before giving your baby an oatmeal bath, you should check with the doctor first. There are certain conditions that colloidal oatmeal can help with. Those are: 

  • Cradle cap 
  • Diaper rash 
  • Eczema 
  • Heat rash 
  • Dry and flaky skin 
  • Diaper rash 
  • Baby dandruff 
  • Allergic skin reaction 
  • Swelling or skin redness 

As your baby grows, you should keep packets of colloidal oatmeal close to you in case of skin emergencies, such as: 

  • Hives 
  • Sunburns 
  • Chickenpox 
  • Poison ivy rashes 
  • Itching 
  • Cracked heels 
  • Mosquito bites 
  • Dry and itchy feet 
  • Bug bites 

What are the concerns of oatmeal baths for babies? 

According to a study conducted in 2012, there are instances where completely natural products have caused some reactions. However, there are very few instances where oatmeal products have caused a reaction. 

If your baby is allergic to gluten or wheat, it is possible that they would be sensitive or allergic to oats as well. There is no gluten in oats, but they grow near wheat and other grains. They are mostly processed in the same factories.  

So, it is possible that there would be traces of gluten left in oatmeal products and colloidal oatmeal from the other grains. This is what can cause some allergic reactions in babies. 

Even though it does not contain gluten, it contains a protein known as avenin, which is similar to gluten. Cross-contamination is the thing responsible for causing allergies to oatmeal. 

Some babies and adults might be allergic to oats themselves. This happens because oats contain protein, which is quite similar to gluten. If your baby is allergic to gluten or oats, it can cause different skin problems and breathing problems. 

Moreover, keep an eye out for these symptoms to figure out if your baby is allergic to oats. The symptoms include: 

  • Throat, mouth, or face swelling 
  • Redness or skin rash 
  • Eye irritation 
  • Hives 
  • Sneezing 
  • Vomiting 
  • Stuffed or runny nose 
  • Difficulty in breathing 

Get immediate medical help if the baby shows any serious reaction like anaphylaxis. Colloidal oatmeal that is available in stores contains other ingredients that your baby can be allergic to. They could have a reaction from the other ingredients that oat skin care products have. 

Get pure oatmeal without any added preservatives 

It is best to get 100% pure colloidal oatmeal in single-use packets or get an entire bottle that you would be able to use for almost a month or more. This way, you would be able to avoid perfumes, additives, and other ingredients that are responsible for causing irritation. 

Generally, colloidal oatmeal products, which are specifically designed for babies, are pure and do not contain added dyes and perfumes. But it is better to double-check the product before you get it for your little one. 

You can get those that have been organically grown. A baby’s skin is sensitive, and they deserve the absolute best. 

When to Contact a Health Care Provider 

Skin problems can impact a baby’s health and quality of life. There are not many alternative and complementary treatments that have been researched as much as colloidal oatmeal. So this one is a safe option. 

You can use this without having any second thoughts. But if you are using any commercial product on your baby, then run it by any dermatologist or some medical professional to make sure that this product is safe for the little one. 

Well, you might be trying to treat a certain condition with an oatmeal bath for babies, but if the symptoms don’t get any better or seem to get worse and they develop some additional symptoms, then it is time to take them to a healthcare provider.  

Moreover, if you find your child getting an adverse allergic reaction to an oatmeal bath, then take them to a doctor immediately. 


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subhasree nag
Subhasree is a content writer who is passionate about traveling, writing, and reading books. In her leisure time, she is seen listening to music and watching web series. Writing along with music and dance are ways in which she expresses herself.

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