Oats (Avena sativa) are a centuries-old topical treatment for a variety of skin barrier conditions, including dry skin, skin rashes, and eczema; however, few studies have investigated the actual mechanism of action for the skin barrier strengthening activity of colloidal oatmeal. Four extracts of colloidal oatmeal were prepared with various solvents and tested in vitro for skin barrier related gene expression and activity. Extracts of colloidal oatmeal were found to induce the expression of genes related to epidermal differentiation, tight junctions and lipid regulation in skin, and provide pH-buffering capacity. Colloidal oatmeal boosted the expression of multiple target genes related to skin barrier, and resulted in recovery of barrier damage in an in vitro model of atopic dermatitis. In addition, an investigator-blinded study was performed with 50 healthy female subjects who exhibited bilateral moderate to severe dry skin on their lower legs. Subjects were treated with a colloidal oatmeal skin protectant lotion. Clinically, the colloidal oatmeal lotion showed significant clinical improvements in skin dryness, moisturization, and barrier. Taken together, these results demonstrate that colloidal oatmeal can provide clinically effective benefits for dry and compromised skin by strengthening skin barrier.<br /><br /> <em>J Drugs Dermatol</em>. 2016;15(6):684-690.