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Eczema is a chronic skin disorder characterized by underlying inflammation, which manifests in the form of dry, irritated, red, dry, bumpy, and itchy patches on the face and body. This condition can come and go and may affect different parts of the body.
Early treatment can limit the severity, extent, and frequency of its symptoms. Eczema not only causes skin dryness but is aggravated by it as well, so keeping your skin properly moisturized is central to dealing with eczema. (1) Dry skin ruptures easily because it loses elasticity (the ability to stretch properly).
Plus, scratching the itchy patches can cause friction against the sensitive skin and break it open, compromising its barrier function. Your skin is naturally populated with microbes, and your nails transfer more germs and dirt onto it during the act of scratching. These microbes multiply and penetrate the damaged skin to give rise to infections.
Thus, you have to plan a comprehensive skin care routine to look after your sensitive skin to avoid such complications.
This article will present an easy-to-make oatmeal mask that can soothe your angry skin at home. This remedy will cleanse, moisturize, exfoliate, and repair the eczema-ridden skin through the beneficial properties of affordable, natural, and easily available ingredients.
Including this remedy in your skin care regimen will help manage ongoing flare-ups and prevent future ones.
Know the Ingredients
Here’s the list of ingredients to be used in the oatmeal mask that can be helpful in managing eczema flare-ups.
Another reason for adding this ingredient to the mask is that it is full of lipids that can deeply hydrate the skin. Inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis can make your skin extremely dry, stretched out, and itchy. Scratching can further compromise your skin barrier and increase the risk of infection. Thus, it is very important to treat your skin with enriching moisturizers regularly. (4)
Regular soaps and cleansers tend to remove impurities from the skin but strip away the natural skin lipids too in the process. If you have eczema, this can make your already dry skin even drier.
Oats can help in this regard as well. They are good for cleansing the skin due to their lathering effect. Saponins are organic chemicals found in oats that produce foam when mixed with water, and this foam pulls out the impurities settled deep inside the pores without sucking the natural moisture from the skin.
Unlike the foaming agents used in regular cleansers, oats deeply clean the skin without drying it out.
2. Coconut oil
Eczema-ridden skin requires intensive hydration, and coconut oil is the perfect moisturizer for this purpose. It is readily absorbed into the skin and deeply moisturizes it without the greasiness.
The severe dryness caused by eczema not only makes the skin itchy but also less elastic and therefore prone to tearing. Scratching the itch can further damage the skin and invite infections.
The lubricating properties of coconut oil combined with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory potential can help minimize these discomforts. (5)
3. Olive oil
Olive oil is a great lubricant for dry patches, and it is also a strong anti-inflammatory agent that can bring down the swelling, redness, itching, and general skin irritation associated with eczema. (4)
Yogurt is an excellent source of lactic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid that breaks down the bond between dead skin cells when used topically. Using this ingredient in the mask will help loosen the skin flakes so that they become easier to remove.
The dead skin peels off to reveal new healthy layers of skin underneath. Thus, yogurt helps gently exfoliate sensitive skin without causing any irritation.
Apart from this, lactic acid maintains the acidic pH of the skin so that it remains inhospitable for the overgrowth of infection-causing microbes. It may even lighten the hyperpigmentation to even out your skin tone.
Honey is made up of water and natural sugars that hydrate the skin and trap moisture to keep it hydrated for long periods. Plus, it exhibits strong antimicrobial effects that can keep your skin infection-free.
Honey is also renowned as a natural wound healer, which can help repair the dry, scaly eczema patches.
6. Lavender essential oil
The constant skin irritation and itching caused by eczema flare-ups can keep you up at night, but the soothing aroma of lavender essential oil can help calm your senses to prepare you for sleep.
Plus, eczema can be an inflammatory response to stress, so it’s very important to keep stress under control. Lavender essential oil contains a variety of phytochemicals that affect the brain in a positive way to release stress and induce relaxation.
Lavender essential oil is also credited with antiseptic properties that can ward off skin infections. (6)
How to Prepare the Oatmeal Mask
- Put ½ cup oatmeal in a mixing bowl and pour just enough warm water over it to be completely absorbed.
- Let the oats soak in the water for about 5 minutes.
- Mix in 2–3 tablespoons of yogurt, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Add in 4–5 drops of lavender essential oil.
- Mix all the ingredients properly to form a smooth paste.
How to Use the Oatmeal Mask
Disclaimer: Patch test the remedy on a small unaffected area of the skin to rule out any adverse allergic reactions. You can also individually patch test each of the ingredients before adding them to the paste mix. If you notice even the slightest irritation after applying any of the ingredients, do not use them. Use a safer alternative that suits your skin instead.
- Apply an even layer of the paste all over the eczema patches.
- Let it sit for 20–30 minutes.
- Moisten a soft, clean cloth or tissue with water, and use it to gently wipe off the dried paste.
- Wash the treated skin with warm water and pat it dry.
- Apply a good moisturizer.
- Only use regular unflavored oatmeal and yogurt for this remedy, because the flavored varieties contain artificial flavors and pigments that can further irritate your skin.
- Make sure your skin is totally clean and devoid of any makeup before applying this mask.
- If you are out of yogurt, you can use fresh milk or cream in its place.
- If your skin is extremely dry, consider using mashed avocado instead of honey. This is because avocado has a higher fat content than honey and will provide more intensive skin hydration.
- There are many types of honey, but your first choice should be organic, locally produced, raw honey or manuka honey, which is least processed and therefore contains maximum nutritional value. If you cannot get your hands on premium-quality honey, you can go for medical-grade honey.
- If you have eczema patches all over your body, taking an oatmeal bath is a more convenient option than using a mask on all the affected spots. All you have to do is to add oatmeal to your lukewarm bathwater and soak in it for a while. Once you are done taking the bath, moisturize your entire body with organic virgin coconut oil while it’s still damp to lock the moisture in your skin.
Oatmeal is a gentle skin healer that can help manage eczema and other similar conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, hives, and rashes. It is suitable for all skin types and becomes even more effective when used with other skin-enhancing ingredients such as the ones used in this mask.
But you must be patient and reasonable with your expectations. Eczema is a long-term condition that cannot be cured with a single remedy, and the oatmeal mask is just an add-on that truly works if you use it regularly and as part of a proper skin care regimen.
The oatmeal mask does provide a far safer alternative than commercially prepared skin products, which often contain chemicals that can aggravate your eczema. If not that, they can be quite expensive, which can be a strain given that you need to repurchase them every few months for as long as you grapple with the disease.
By contrast, all the ingredients used in the oatmeal mask are completely safe, natural, and readily available in most kitchens. Severe flare-ups of eczema have to be treated by a professional.