Oat Oil: Skin & Hair Benefits, Cautions & More For This Soothing Botanical Extract
It's no secret that oats can do wonders for our skin. There are dozens of creams, lotions, and soaks filled with oatmeal benefits for the skin like softening, moisturizing, and even treating skin conditions like eczema. Let's face it: Oats and supple skin go together like peanut butter and jelly. That's why we perked up when we got wind of the increasingly popular new oil popping up all over the beauty industry. Enter, oat oil.
We know—there are, what feels like, hundreds of oils that are chock-full of benefits for the skin, but since oats and oatmeal are already known to work wonders on your complexion, we consider this newbie a must-try. Keep reading to learn more about why this oil is worth slathering on, stat.
What is oat oil?
According to board-certified dermatologist Tiffany Jow Libby, M.D., oat oil is derived from the stems and leaves of the Avena sativa plant, which is a common oat known for its highly nutritious seeds. Libby also mentions that this plant's more well-known cousin, colloidal oatmeal, is derived from the bran of the same plant and is an FDA-approved skin protectant. And even though we often link oatmeal to a healthy dietary option, those nutritional benefits aren't found in oat oil, but there are a slew of beauty benefits that are worth mentioning.
Board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D., says, "The lipid component of colloidal oatmeal is oat oil." And the actual oil is extracted from the seed kernels of the Avena sativa or oat plant.
What are the benefits of oat oil for skin and hair?
You can count on oat oil to do a number of good-for-you wonders:
Helps boost moisture in the skin.
Just like the oatmeal you find in your favorite soothing skin care products, oat oil can help to soothe and moisturize the skin. "It's rich in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that helps regulate and promote healthy functioning of the skin barrier," says Libby. She continues that when the skin barrier is properly functioning, the skin is better able to retain moisture levels and keep moisture from seeping out.
May increase ceramide levels in the skin.
Ceramides are an essential part of a strong and healthy skin barrier. They're often referred to as building blocks of our skin and nicknamed the "cement" that holds everything together. Libby says that oat oil has been known to boost ceramide levels in the skin, which help to keep skin cells together.
Can help reduce inflammation.
"Oat has direct anti-inflammatory effects on the skin and has been a centuries-old topical treatment for a variety of skin conditions, including eczema and burns," Libby says. It also can soothe itch and help to reduce redness.
Help reduce dryness in our hair and scalp.
No matter what hair type you have, we all deal with dryness from time to time. "Linoleic acid, or omega-6 fatty acid, is also an essential fatty acid that our bodies need, but we aren't able to produce ourselves," says King. "Linoleic acid stimulates hair growth, maintains a healthy scalp and also minimizes water loss, ensuring that the hair shafts stay hydrated." King also notes that there has been research that shows oleic and linoleic acid in hair care products help the scalp to absorb other ingredients faster and more efficiently.
Are there any downsides to using oat oil?
As with all new skin care and hair care products, it's best to test on a small area of skin and hair to avoid any adverse reactions. "Oat allergies are not common but can occur," King says. "Symptoms can range from mild to severe, so a patch test can be done to test for sensitivity."
Who should use oat oil?
The short answer is anyone. But if we're being specific, it's a great product for those with dry skin and hair or those dealing with inflammation and irritation. Even if you have normal or oily skin or hair, Libby says oils are great for moisturizing, especially in drier seasons like winter.
Additionally, oat oils are easily formulated into many types of products, from oil blends to face washes to creams. They are also suitable for allover, face, body, hands, and feet included.
It's no surprise that oat oil is full of hydration and soothing benefits and can be used to help restore moisture levels in the skin and hair. Even though there's still a lot of research that needs to be done on the oil, the history of oatmeal for skin proves that this oil can work wonders from head to toe.
Andrea Jordan is a beauty and lifestyle freelance writer covering topics from hair and skincare to family and home. She received her bachelor's in Magazine Journalism from Temple University and you can find her work at top publications like InStyle, PopSugar, StyleCaster, Business Insider, PureWow and OprahMag. When she's not writing, you can find Andrea tackling new recipes in the kitchen or babysitting one of her many nieces and nephews. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and cat, Silas.