Background: Oat (Avena sativa) in colloidal form is a centuries-old topical treatment for a variety of skin conditions, including skin rashes, erythema, burns, itch, and eczema; however, few studies have investigated the exact mechanism of action for the anti-inflammatory activity of colloidal oatmeal.
Methods: Four extracts of colloidal oatmeal were made with various solvents and tested in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant assays. In addition, an investigator blind study was performed with twenty-nine healthy female subjects who exhibited bilateral mild to moderate itch with moderate to severe dry skin on their lower legs. Subjects were treated with a colloidal oatmeal skin protectant lotion.
Results: Extracts of colloidal oatmeal diminished pro-inflammatory cytokines in vitro and the colloidal oat skin protectant lotion showed significant clinical improvements in skin dryness, scaling, roughness, and itch intensity.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that colloidal oat extracts exhibit direct anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, which may provide the mechanisms for observed dermatological benefits while using the colloidal oatmeal skin protectant lotion.