Putting Oatmeal on Your Face Sounds Messy, But Is Actually Super Soothing

oatmeal
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Oatmeal is more than just a cereal that helps lower high cholesterol. Your skin's surface will also enjoy a bowl of this nutritious grain. Oatmeal contains avenanthramides, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that soothe itchy, dry and irritated skin. Oatmeal is also great for acne-prone skin because it may absorb oil from the skin’s surface. All of which makes oatmeal a perfect ingredient for facial masks.

The first three masks are fine for most skin types, and are typically safe even for those with sensitive skin (although it's always a good idea to chat with your derm before trying a new product or treatment, especially if you have existing skin concerns).

Meet the Expert

  • Jordan C. Carqueville, MD, is president of the Chicago Dermatological Society and medical director at The Derm Institute of Chicago.
  • Dr. Natalie Yin is a board-certified dermatologist at U.S. Dermatology Partners practicing in Colorado.

Keep scrolling for some of the best oatmeal face masks to soothe and improve skin.

Instant Oatmeal Mask for All Skin Types

Oatmeal

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You actually can use instant oatmeal for this mask if you’d like—just make sure it doesn’t have any flavoring and other additives. (If you’re not sure, get plain oats). Oatmeal is good for treating inflammation and skin redness. You can also use colloidal oatmeal (oatmeal ground to a fine flour). "Colloidal oatmeal, which is a fine powder of ground oats, has been shown to enhance the skin barrier, improving moisturization," says Dr. Jordan Carqueville, a Chicago-area dermatologist. "It is used for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown in studies to provide symptom relief of dry skin and eczema. It can be used for both children and adults to reduce dryness and scaling of the skin." Oatmeal flakes are also easier to use for homemade exfoliating scrubs than large granules.

Directions:

Cook one serving of oatmeal. Allow to cool (you can also use slightly warm, but never hot). Apply to the affected areas. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with cool water.*

Oatmeal & Honey Face Mask for All Skin Types

oatmeal and honey

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As board-certified dermatologist Dr. Natalie Yin explains, oatmeal "has a decades-long history of being used for a variety of skin conditions."

"Colloidal oatmeal has been shown to not only have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties but also reduce itch and promote the integrity of the skin barrier," Yin says. "For this reason, colloidal oatmeal has been shown to be helpful as adjunctive therapy in eczema patients who often have compromised skin barriers and altered skin microbiome composition."

Honey is a great humectant to hydrate the skin and lock in moisture, and also has antibacterial properties.

Ingredients

  • 1 serving oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Directions:

Cook one serving of oatmeal. Add two tablespoons of honey to hot oatmeal. Allow the oatmeal to cool and then apply to the face. Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with tepid water.

Apple & Oatmeal Exfoliating Mask for All Skin Types

cut up apple

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Apple is antioxidant-rich. It also contains an AHA called malic acid, which removes dead skin cells. Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties, soothes irritated skin and is good for sensitive skin.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • Few drops of rosewater

Directions:

Mix 2 tablespoons applesauce (you can also cut, peel and core a ½ medium-sized apple and puree in a food processor), 1 tablespoon honey, and 2 tablespoons oatmeal together, with a few drops of rose water. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with tepid water.

Oatmeal Face Mask for Acne-Prone Skin

Young girl with acne

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According to Yin, "while colloidal oatmeal has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties and may function as an effective cleanser due to its rich saponin composition, the data surrounding the use of CO to treat acne is not robust. "Baking soda is often used to gently exfoliate dead skin cells, however, and may also help open and deep cleanse pores, clearing away blackheads and absorbing excess oil from the skin.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Water (just enough to make a paste)

Directions:

Grind two tablespoons of oatmeal in a blender or food processor.

Add one teaspoon of baking soda to the oatmeal with enough water to make a paste. Apply the oatmeal paste onto clean, dry face. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water.

Oatmeal Face Mask for Oily Skin

Woman with baking soda mask on face


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The ingredients in this mask are all healing, and for various reasons. Lemon is an astringent, and vitamin C is great for skin brightening and diminishing dark marks from acne and skin discolorations. Vinegar is acidic and has antiseptic properties, which gets rid of bacteria. It might also help restore the skin’s pH balance. Some people use white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar, but white wine vinegar is milder.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons colloidal oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Combine ingredients into a paste. Apply to clean face, massaging gently in circular motions. Leave on no more than five minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Oatmeal-Yogurt Face Mask for Oily/Combination Skin

Yogurt in a bowl on a table

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As Carqueville notes, this mask will work best with colloidal oatmeal, which is perfectly safe to use yourself. "Colloidal oatmeal is FDA approved for over the counter skin care. The side effect profile is minimal, and it is rare to have an allergic reaction to colloidal oatmeal," she says.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup cooked oatmeal
  • 2-3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Mix the yogurt, oatmeal, and honey. Apply to face and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with cool water.

Oatmeal Face Mask for Oily, Congested Skin

Woman with acne

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If you can't find oatmeal flakes, Carqueville says you can still try a DIY mask — just ensure you grind the oats first. "It is possible to grind whole oats at home, but the particle size may be larger than finely milled colloidal oatmeal, thereby limiting some of the effects," she says. "One may consider using the colloidal oatmeal in baths or as a paste for a mask." This mask is simple and requires ingredients you likely have at home already.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of cooked oatmeal, cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ mashed apple

Directions:

Combine ingredients and apply to face. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Oatmeal Face Mask for Dry Skin

Woman applying face mask in front of mirror

Westend61 / Getty Images

"By reinforcing the skin barrier, colloidal oatmeal has demonstrated efficacy in retaining skin moisture and moisturizing dry skin. In fact, it was FDA approved in 2003 for its use as a 'skin protectant,' " says Yin. "With respect to its antimicrobial functions, CO contains saponins which are compounds with the ability to form soap-like foam when mixed with water."


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oatmeal flakes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Mix together oats, lemon juice and honey. Apply to face. Rinse with warm water.

Oatmeal Face Mask for Dry & Mature Skin

Woman washing her face in a mirror

deniskomarov/getty images

This mask packs a one-two punch thanks to the oats and the bananas. Because of their anti-bacterial properties, bananas may help blemishes heal.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil
  • ½ mashed banana
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Combine ingredients and apply to face. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Oatmeal Face Mask for Inflamed Skin

Young black woman with acne

PeopleImages / Getty Images

Almond oil is good for aging and dry skin. Egg whites are meant to draw out excess oils and the yolk is meant to moisturize. Some people like to use just the egg whites in masks for skin toning.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil

Directions

Combine ingredients and apply to face. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water or remove the mask with a washcloth. Just make sure the washcloth isn't too rough and gently wipe (don't rub) off the mask, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Article Sources
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  8. Al-Mqbali LRA, Hossain MA. Cytotoxic and antimicrobial potential of different varieties of ripe banana used traditionally to treat ulcersToxicol Rep. 2019;6:1086-1090. doi:10.1016/j.toxrep.2019.10.003

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