Summer is here, and most of us are spending our free time in the sun. Unfortunately, lying in the sun comes with the inevitable risk of sunburn. So many of us are eager to spend nice days outside, unaware of the harmful UV rays that can burn our bodies — my sister is one of them. After spending four hours outside, my sister’s sunburn sparked a conversation about remedies. After she tried aloe vera and soaked in a cool bath, we tried to think outside the box; our thoughts turned to the pantry.
I remembered hearing once that oatmeal could help treat sunburns. Most people don’t think of oatmeal as anything but a popular breakfast option. Proven healthy for our bodies, oatmeal is high in fiber and helps lower cholesterol. What a lot of people don’t know is that oatmeal has been used for centuries to help treat skin conditions like poison ivy, chicken pox, and dry skin. For this reason, oatmeal is found in countless beauty products due to its moisturizing and exfoliating effects.
So, is it true? Can you use oatmeal for sunburns?
The informational website, How Stuff Works explains that oatmeal is sold under two names in the cosmetic department: “When it’s used as a skin protectant in over-the-counter treatments, such as oatmeal bath products used for treating chickenpox or other skin conditions, it’s called colloidal oatmeal.”
When “oatmeal is used in cosmetic products, such as lotions or facial masks, it’s often referred to as avena sativa (oat) kernel meal,” as is stated on the Food and Drug Administration’s website. These products are usually available in either flake or powder form, though some websites claim that plain old store-bought oatmeal works just as well.
According to How Stuff Works, “oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties [that] can soothe” our skin, especially after a sunburn. How Stuff Works explains further,
“Itchy, dry skin often has a high pH level, but oatmeal can help normalize your skin’s pH, which can relieve itchy, uncomfortable skin [and] oatmeal baths also soften and moisturize your skin, which helps lock in moisture and protect skin from exterior irritants.”
Verdict: Truth. Oatmeal will help alleviate skin irritated by sunburn. You can buy colloidal oatmeal products in a drug store, or you can make your own oatmeal bath or mask with simple ingredients.
It is recommended to pulse oatmeal in a blender into a fine powder, stir it into your bath, and soak your body in the water for about fifteen minutes.
Some websites also recommend adding honey to the water for maximized results. How Stuff Works actually recommends buying “colloidal oatmeal, oatmeal that’s ground into a fine powder, [because] it won’t sink to the bottom of the tub—it remains suspended in your bathwater, which maximizes exposure to your skin.” It’s important to remember that oatmeal can also exfoliate, so be gentle when using it against a sunburn!
How do you handle sunburn?
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