If you think oatmeal is just a basic breakfast food, think again. The soothing properties of oats can be used to treat itchy, inflamed and sensitive skin while restoring moisture and essential minerals. Oatmeal also makes a great natural remedy for skin infections caused by plants like poison ivy. To make an oatmeal bath, you can either add a cup of ground oatmeal powder directly to warm bath water or steep a bath bag of whole oats in warm water. Either way, whipping up an oatmeal bath only takes a couple minutes, but can reduce discomfort for hours, and will leave your skin feeling fresh and protected.
Method One of Three:
Adding Oatmeal Directly to the BathEdit
1Grind the oatmeal into a fine powder. Place about one cup of raw, unflavored oats into a blender, food processor or coffee grinder. No need to get too fancy—the kind of normal packaged oatmeal you’d find at the supermarket will work just fine. Blend the oats until they reach a very fine, powdered texture. This will help them dissolve more easily in the bath.
- The oatmeal particles must be very small in order to spread through the bathwater without simply sinking to the bottom of the tub.
- If you’re not sure whether the oatmeal has been ground fine enough, try testing it by blending about a tablespoon into a bowl of warm water. If the water becomes a uniform, milky color, the oatmeal will dissolve in the bath.
2Pour the oatmeal into the bath. Run a warm bath. Once the oatmeal has reached a fine enough consistency (meaning it will successfully blend with the water), shake the powder into the bathtub as it fills. If you wish, you can also incorporate other additives at this point, such as whole milk to soften skin, sea salt to exfoliate or essential oils to moisturize and provide a pleasant fragrance.
3Stir until the oatmeal is thoroughly blended into the water. Run your hand through the bath water until the oatmeal powder and other additives are completely dissolved. The water will begin to take on a milky appearance. This is a good thing, as it means that the oatmeal has been evenly distributed throughout.
- The loose oatmeal may create a thin film in the bathtub once it has been drained.
4Soak for 15-30 minutes. Climb into the bath. The powdered oatmeal will make the bath extra slippery, so be careful. Relax and soak until the water has cooled to room temperature. If you feel somewhat sticky when you're done, rinse yourself off with clean warm water after you get out of the bath. Use a towel to gently pat yourself dry and ensure that the oatmeal remains under the surface of the skin to provide a protective barrier.
- For people with persistent ailments like chickenpox, taking multiple oatmeal baths a day can provide much needed comfort.
Method Two of Three:
Making an Oatmeal Bath BagEdit
1Place the oats in a pair of pantyhose or muslin bag. Rather than grinding the oats, leave them whole. Take a muslin bag, thin pair of nylon pantyhose or large coffee filter and add ½ to ¾ cup of oats. When placed in the bath, the bag containing the oats will act like a teabag, infusing the water with nourishing natural compounds.
- Make large batches of oatmeal bags in advance so that you’ll have them on hand when you feel like plopping one into a bath.
2Add any other desired elements. Depending on the purpose of the oatmeal bath, you might also choose to include other ingredients in the bath bag. A little powdered milk will help soften your skin. A drizzle of olive oil will lock in moisture as you soak. A tablespoon of baking soda can help reset your skin’s natural pH level. What you put in your bath bag is completely up to you, and the choices are nearly endless!
- If you are using an oatmeal bath to treat an infection or itchy, inflamed or sore skin, it is advisable to either avoid this step or be very cautious, as adding extra ingredients could aggravate the condition.
3Make sure the bag is secure. Cinch the muslin bag tight or tie off a pair of pantyhose to keep the oats and other additives from being released into the bath water and turning it gritty. If you’re using a coffee filter or some other loose container, hold it closed with a rubber band or a length of ribbon or string. The bag needs to be secure enough to stay shut as it is hit by the running water while it floats around the tub.
- Coffee filters and other paper-based bags should be handled carefully when wet, as they’re prone to breaking and may come apart if they’re left in the water too long.
- Sturdier materials like nylon pantyhose are good for multiple uses, provided they’re rinsed and dried out after each bath.
4Add the bag to the hot bath water as it runs. Begin running hot water for the bath. Once the tub is about half full, toss in the bag. The heat and motion of the running water will unlock the essences of the oatmeal and other natural ingredients. Let the bath water cool to a comfortable temperature before getting in, and leave the bag in the tub the whole time you’re soaking.
- Bath bags are easy to make and leave no mess because their contents infuse into the water rather than being added directly to it.
Method Three of Three:
Finding Different Uses for Oatmeal BathsEdit
1Ease rashes, itchiness and irritation. Oatmeal baths are perfect for reducing the uncomfortable symptoms of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, as well as infections from poison ivy, oak and sumac. The power of the oatmeal eliminates itch, cuts down on redness and swelling and forms a defensive layer on the surface of the skin. Take a dip in an oatmeal bath one to three times a day until the condition improves.
- Oatmeal baths will not cure a chronic skin condition, only alleviate the symptoms temporarily.
2Treat infants with diaper rash. A gentle oatmeal bath or two will get rid of the redness and irritation of diaper rash in infants. Simply pour a small amount of finely blended oatmeal into a warm bath (about half as much as you would use for an adult) as you clean your baby. Pat the area with a dry towel. The oatmeal-infused water works much better than regular soaps and powders for clearing up diaper rash, and can be safely repeated as often as you like.
- Allow the irritated skin to dry completely and rub on a little anti-rash ointment before putting on a fresh diaper.
3Soothe a sunburn. For mild sunburns, a specially formulated oatmeal bath can work wonders. Simply add a little powdered milk, mint and aloe vera to the oatmeal as you run the bath. Together, the ingredients can ease pain while speeding up the healing process of sun damage.
- Taking an oatmeal bath with mint and aloe is an easier way to get full body relief from a sunburn than applying topical creams.
- Severe sunburns should always receive medical attention. If you have a sunburn that is swollen, blistered or discolored, see a doctor immediately.
4Moisturize and exfoliate your skin. Even people who don’t suffer from irritating dermatological conditions can benefit from regular oatmeal baths. When combined with additives like sea salt, lavender blossoms, baking soda and essential oils, oatmeal restores skin to full health while drawing dirt and oil out from the pores. Best of all, it will leave your skin soft to the touch.
- Olive, coconut and almond oil make great natural moisturizers when paired with oatmeal.
- Schedule a relaxing oatmeal bath once a week to pamper yourself as part of a home spa session.
My son has a diaper rash and I was told to add oatmeal to his bath water. How many baths do I give him to get rid of it?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- The oatmeal bath wont "cure" the rash. It just helps soothe the inflammation. You may find that cortisone and diaper rash creme work best. Going diaperless can also help. You may need to see the doctor.
Does an oatmeal bath help psoriasis?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- It couldn't hurt to try; some people swear by it. Reducing exposure to triggers will help. For example, mine flares up because of certain foods, too much stress and certain laundry detergents -- so I avoid those things.
Will it work if I tried a peppermint oil bath, and the peppermint oil caused a burning sensation to sensitive body parts?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- It should work, because peppermint oil is known to sting sensitive areas if used too much. You can try it, but if you feel any stinging or burning, get out immediately.
Hot water usually makes my skin itchier. Should I still use hot water when drawing the bath?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- People who suffer from painful skin conditions should use tepid water to keep from making the irritation worse. Your best option is to run the bath hot to extract the essence of the oatmeal and other elements, then let it cool before getting in.
Will this oatmeal bath help with eczema?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- For some people yes, this will help, and some persons with eczema find that it relieves itching and pain briefly. The good thing is that an oatmeal bath is mild and cannot harm the problem, so give it a try to see what the outcome is for you.
Will this bath help with the itchy skin associated with allergies? Also, is it safe to use essential oils if the skin is broken out because of allergies?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- The oatmeal bath soothes itchiness associated with allergies. Avoid using essential oils as you may be allergic or they may aggravate the itchy skin.
Can I use any oatmeal? More specifically a flavored oatmeal? I have some and can not afford to buy anything new.Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- Flavored oatmeal is not recommended as its sugar content could upset your skin and vaginal pH levels. Oatmeal is a very cheap product, look for brand name oatmeal in the supermarket and it should be well under $2 for a decently-sized package.
To make an oatmeal bath, grind 1 cup of raw, unflavored oats into a fine powder. Fill the bath with warm water and sprinkle the oats throughout the bathtub. Use your hand to mix the oats into the water until the water is a milky white color. Carefully climb into the tub and soak for 15-30 minutes, or until the water is cooled to room temperature. When you’re finished in the tub, you may want to rinse your body quickly to prevent your skin from becoming sticky.
- Oatmeal baths are mild enough to be used as often as you like.
- Buying and preparing ground oatmeal in bulk can save you time and money. Store the oatmeal mixture in a mason jar or plastic tupperware container until you need it.
- Colloidal oatmeal is readily available at many pharmacies. Make sure you follow the included instructions when buying pre-ground oatmeal for medicinal use.
- If you suffer from an aggravated skin condition, dry yourself carefully, blotting the skin gently with a soft towel.
- Pour your oatmeal flour or pre-packaged oatmeal under running water to make the largest amount of bubbles.
- Oatmeal baths are an easy, affordable way of treating skin irritation, but they are not a substitute for medical treatment.
- Don't place a bath bag directly under running water—the pressure could tear the bag, leaving you with a big mess on your hands.
- People with painful skin conditions should use lukewarm rather than hot water to prevent further discomfort.
Things You'll NeedEdit
- Raw, unflavored oatmeal
- Blender, food processor or coffee grinder
- Soothing essential oils or other additives (optional)
- Muslin or cheesecloth bag, nylon pantyhose or sturdy coffee filter (optional)
- Ribbon, string or rubber band (for securing bath bag)
- Hot or lukewarm water
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Reader Success Stories
A"No blender, so 2nd method was a good solution."
SH"Have wondered for a while if it's OK to use just normal oats and what to do, this was made more important when my little girl developed chicken pox! Thank you for your help!"..." more
SS"My wife has an itchy bum problem. I suggested this method of using oatmeal in the bath. It worked!"
JB"This was great! My son just turned a year old, and has huge mosquito bites from head to toe. This will be perfect to do at bath time tonight to help soothe and heal them faster, hopefully. Thanks!"..." more
LD"Easy instructions. I have flea bites on my chest, sides, and legs from my dog. As long as you're completely submerged, you will be fine."..." more
JB"This helped me because I have been fighting atopic eczema and the oatmeal bath has calmed my skin down!"
PB"I have shingles and an oatmeal bath was recommended. Didn't know how to accomplish this. Now I do."
JY"I was at a loss at what to do for my foster child's chicken pox. This was very helpful. "
JW"I tried this to give my two year old daughter some relief from nasty bug bites."
EH"I have been wanting to try this oatmeal bath. I am going to try this one."
SR"Cheaper than Aveeno, for which I paid $20 and it was 100% oatmeal."
CP"Lucid and perfectly easy to follow, thanks!"
A"Been looking for how to do this. Thanks!"
KM"It helped so much with a rash I had."
BG"Using muslin for filter is genius."
WW"Very relaxing and soothing."