Why You Should Take an Oatmeal Bath for Itchy Skin

In this article, I am going to cover in detail why you should take an oatmeal bath for itchy skin.  Oatmeal can soothe and moisturize itchy skin.

And while I write this, I am itching!  Why is that?  Does just the suggestion of itchy skin make you itch?  Arghhh!

Why Do Oatmeal Baths Help Itching?

The oatmeal you should use is a colloidal oatmeal.  (See below.)  The properties of the oatmeal provide a protective layer for your skin.  It adds moisture to your skin, and can ease inflammation.  Finally it can act as a cleanser.

We are interested in the anti-inflammatory part, as that is what itching is caused by; some irritant is causing us to itch.  So the oatmeal calms the skin from itching.  But it is nice that it has other benefits as well!

What Kind of Oatmeal Should I Use for an Oatmeal Bath?

Please do not take a cup of Quaker Oats and put it in your bathtub.  You need an oatmeal colloidal solution.  This is made from finely pulverized oat grains that are so small they are almost microscopic.  This is added to a liquid to make a colloid, which is by definition a substance suspended in a liquid.  

High quality Colloidal Oatmeal shouldn’t have particles suspended that you can see.  It will contain the powder of the oatmeal in a liquid, so the appearance will be cloudy.  This solution will remain on your skin for you to get the full effect, so you don’t want oat flakes or granules on your skin.

Another factor to remember is that you need to drain this from your tub.  That’s why it is important to have the oatmeal in a powder.  

Should You Rinse After an Oatmeal Bath?

You don’t have to rinse off the product that is coating your skin.  You want the anti-inflammatory properties of the oatmeal to stay on your skin and continue to stop the itching.  So just pat your skin dry.  

You may want to add some moisturizer to your skin as well, but I would first see how your skin feels after the oatmeal soak.  The oatmeal is a moisturizer in itself, so you are already getting that added benefit.  

How Long Should You Soak in an Oatmeal Bath?

First of all, you should soak in a lukewarm bath.  Very hot water can cause you to itch even more, so don’t make it too hot.  Soak for only about 10 to 15 minutes.  

Be very careful getting into and out of the bathtub.  The colloidal oatmeal is slippery and you can easily slip.  I recommend having a grab bar installed to hold on to.  I reviewed some easy to install ones on my other website.  See: Best Clamp on Grab Bar for Getting Out of the Tub.

How To Make Your Own Oatmeal Baths

It is debatable about whether or not you can make your own colloidal oatmeal.  Some people say you can, as demonstrated in this following video.

Here’s a video from a doctor who explains the properties of oatmeal and why it helps the skin.  She says you shouldn’t make your own colloidal oatmeal.  But she doesn’t provide the reason why.  

Product Recommendations

In the above video from Dr. Anne, she recommends the Inkey List line for skin care.  However, I don’t see any colloidal oatmeal products, so I can’t recommend this brand.  

She also mentioned Aveeno, which makes an extensive line of skin care products, including a colloidal oatmeal soak.  I like Aveeno products because they are gentle to the body.  This particular product claims to be dermatologist recommended.  

If you use this link to purchase it, I receive a small referral fee from your purchase.  Otherwise, shop around and see what works for you.  

If you want more information about why your skin itches and other recommendations, see my other article on the topic. Best Bath Products for Itchy Skin and Other Helpful Products.


As with any product that you put on your skin, you may want to test a small part of your skin to see if you have a reaction.  Put it on your arm for a few days to see if you have a reaction.  

Although oatmeal is a soothing and non-irritating product, there may be people that react to it by getting a rash.  This would include people with contact allergies.  So please test this to see if you react before you bathe in it.  


Has this been helpful? Please leave me a comment and let me know. Also, if you have tried an oatmeal treatment, let all of us know!