Thank You, Oat, for Saving My Stressed-Out Skin

Skincare experts weigh in on the benefits of the creamy grain.

oat

While it seems like another lifetime ago, I looked forward to my monthly Heyday facials for years. For a whole hour, I slipped into pure bliss as I got my skin therapist all to myself and chatted with them about all things skincare. My favorite topic was always at the midpoint mark, as my face was massaged with a concoction of products, and I played my usual guessing game to detect the scents. Lavender, citrus, and even eucalyptus were easy to guess, but I couldn’t pinpoint the creamy, hydrating, and fresh scent of oats in the Naturopathica Oat Polish Cleanser. 

Creamy yet exfoliating, it left my skin glowing. And I always grabbed my own tube of the cleanser as I walked out. Sure, oats were a staple in my vegan diet—they made a quick and filling overnight oats breakfast—and were essential in my nightly hot cocoa, spiked with some Apothekary adaptogens. But, how much did I need them in my skincare routine? I had to know more.

What Are The Benefits of Oats?

Dubbed as a true powerhouse ingredient, the gluten-free, nutrient-dense whole grain is a great source of important vitamins and minerals, such as manganese, iron, and zinc. Studies show that they aid in weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease. Topically, Beta glucan-rich colloidal oats, which are processed with the whole bran, contain most of the skin-soothing active minerals, such as ferulic acid, vitamin E, and flavonoids which can help protect your skin from sun damage and inflammation. 

Dermatologist Loren Franco, MD, FAAD, of Dermatology Specialists of Monmouth County NJ says oats provide a variety of skincare benefits. "Oats contain certain glucose-based compounds that help bind water and are anti-inflammatory, which can be beneficial in conditions like psoriasis and eczema," Franco says. "It helps restore a broken skin barrier by repairing it and preventing water loss, which is helpful in both eczema and dry skin, and it also has anti-itching properties, so it can be very soothing for itchy and dry winter skin."

NYC and LA-based Aesthetician Samantha Matteoni says the extract from ground oats, saponins, are full of antioxidants and lipids that protect your skin. "Full of healthy, lubricating fats, the polysaccharides found in oats are a key ingredient in nourishing and improving dry and rough skin," Matteoni explains. "When mixed with water, they create an occlusive layer on the skin that retains water in the skin, locks in moisture, eases sunburns, and even hydrates acne-prone skin."

All these years later, I have since gotten my third Naturopathica Oat Polish. The gentle yet effective cleanser removes oil, makeup, and dirt from my pores. It also gently exfoliates ( due to the soothing oats and jojoba beads) and even lightens my hyper-pigmentation. In the wintertime, I only use it twice a week, to avoid overdoing it but rely on the entire Naturopathica oat-based line. "Oats are a natural skin soother," says herbalist and Founder of Naturopathica Barbara Close. "They contain oat beta-glucan, which forms a film to help the skin retain moisture and also has anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe dry or aggravated skin."

My Favorite Oat-Based Skincare Products

Oats Stress Relief Tincture
Naturopathica Oats Stress Relief Tincture $30
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Another product from the Naturopathica line that I quickly got behind was the Oats Stress Relief Tincture. It is made with oat straw from green oats that have been praised since the Middle Ages for its anxiety-reducing benefits and considered a restorative "nerve tonic" for exhaustion. Since it’s preserved in organic cane alcohol, it has a subtle sweetness to it, and can actually help to sweeten your water, juice, or tea. It can even be dispensed directly on the tongue.

Anokha Cleansing Milk
Anokha Oatmeal Cleansing Milk $38
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Alternating with the oat polish, I use the Anokha Cleansing Milk. It's a gentle cleanser that keeps my T-zone from getting too oily and keeps my pores clean without stripping away hydration. Super creamy and luscious, the cleansing milk's warm smell of oatmeal gets me ready for bed, even before I need to reach for my nightly hot cocoa. 

Matcha Oat Milk Nourishing Mask
100% Pure Matcha Oat Milk Nourishing Mask $36
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For a weekly treat, I'll apply the 100% Pure Matcha Oat Milk Nourishing Mask. Once activated with water, it calms and nourishes my acne-prone skin. Combined with concentrated matcha green tea powder and finely-milled whole oat grain, the mask reinvigorates my tired skin. It even acts as a skin protectant due to the presence of flavonoids, which help with absorbing ultraviolet-A (UVA) rays. It also smells and looks good enough to (almost) eat. 

Lavender Fresh Body Wash
Sachajuan Lavender Fresh Body Wash $44
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When it comes to caring for my skin from the neck down, I rely on the Sachajuan Lavender Fresh Body Wash and Body Lotion to keep my winter skin hydrated. Swedish cultivated oats, called Oat Beta Glucan, are the star of this heavenly set that penetrate deep into the skin, stimulating collagen production and calming irritated skin.

Tea Tree Charcoal Facial Soap
Meow Meow Tweet Tea Tree Charcoal Facial Soap $14
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I try to avoid extra liquids while traveling, so this oat-based Meow Meow Tweet Tea Tree Charcoal Facial Soap is the perfect solution. Activated charcoal, cocoa butter, and ground oats soothe and exfoliate my face, while still keeping my hormonal acne and any redness in check. 

Intense Overnight Mask
Votary Intense Overnight Mask $136
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For the ultimate pampering, I use the Votary Intense Overnight Mask. It plumps and calms my skin due to oat kernal flour, aloe vera, and camu camu. All I have to do is a quick rinse by morning time, right before I grab a bite of my overnight oats.

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