Itchy skin is, well, awful! Most times when someone tells me they have itchy dry skin, the first thing that pops in my head is OATMEAL! And rightfully so. Oatmeal has a good reputation for helping sooth skin and add moisture.
Recently, I was making a new batch of soap with a new recipe by Brambleberry’s Soap Queen, Soothing Baking Soda & Oatmeal Bar and discovered, once again, that I was missing 2 ingredients, oat extract and colloidal oatmeal. So true to my nature, I went on a hunt to 1)see if can I make it and 2) what are the benefits to adding it in my soaps and other skin care products. To my wonderful surprise and amazement I could make both and adding these 2 ingredients were a definite plus to any bar. However, my current bar would not have the oat extract because I just don’t have patience to wait for the extract to be done!
First, let’s talk about some benefits of oats in your skin care products. Most of us have heard about how to take oatmeal baths for poison ivy, rashes, or other skin irritations because it helps to relieve the condition you or your loved one is suffering from. It is also a great moisturizer, it gets congealed when it is wet and helps to build a thin layer on your skin to keep moisture in. Oats are also filled spaonins, which are natural cleansers that gently clean your pores to remove dirt and oil.
The really great news is that you can make colloidal oatmeal right in your kitchen! Just grab some rolled (preferably organic) oats and grind those babies up till they are a fine powder. That’s it! This site on benefits of colloidal oatmeal has more detailed information and many great ways to use colloidal oatmeal for you and your pets (yes, Hank the dog and Millie the cat get itchy skin too). Colloidal oatmeal can be used in conditioners for hair, lotions, soaps, face creams, and masks. Usage rate varies depending on the product you are making: for soap up to 5%, added to a bath for milk bath-50%, masks up to 25%, and creams and lotions up to 1%.
Now on to oat extract. Oat Extract is a great addition to your skin care creations for the moisturizing properties and anti-aging properties for all skin types. This extract would also be a great additive for baby skin products (think lavender or rose water, oat extract, and colloidal oatmeal in a soothing bar) for diaper rash or other skin irritants. The nice thing about using oat extract for your skin care products is that you don’t have to worry about bits of oatmeal clogging up your lotion pumps or soap dispensers in case you don’t get the oats ground fine enough. You can just pour the extract in and let it do its work. Recommended usage rates for oat extract is up 10% for soaps, lotions, conditioners, and creams.
If you have made tinctures before you will have no problem making this extract. Tinctures are wonderful way to extract oils, nutrients, photochemical (chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants (phyto means “plant” in Greek)) and other important compounds in plants. A tincture usually uses a solvent, such as alcohol (90-100 proof vodka—you can also use Everclear using ½ water and ½ Everclear). Tinctures can also be made by using glycerin, although it will not make as strong of a tincture and the shelf life will not be as long. Tinctures are usually taken orally as medicine but for our purposes we are using it for skincare.
Ok so grab your tincture ingredients and lets get busy!
1. Grind your oats to a coarse flour.
2. Place oats in your glass jar and fill to the top of the neck with your vodka, everclear mixture, or glycerin.
4. After 3-6 weeks take out a second jar, place cheese cloth over the neck and strain your new tincture. You can use a coffee filter to strain your oat extract for the 2nd and beyond straining. It may take several strainings to get it really clear.
5. Store in a jar in a dark cool place.
Note: If you don’t want that much tincture/extract (about a pint) you can cut it in half and so on, follow the rest of the directions.