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INTRODUCTION

Activities:

Anti-inflammatory, antipruritic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticholesterolemic, antidiabetic, immunomodulatory, neurotonic, wound healing1

Important Chemical Components:

Polysaccharides (particularly β-glucan), lipids, polyphenols (i.e., hydroxycinnamic acids such as caffeic, ferulic, p-coumaric, and sinapic acids; and avenanthramides), proteins, vitamin E, vitamin B complex, phytic acid2–4

Origin Classification:

This ingredient is natural. Organic forms exist. Derivatives of avenanthramides have been synthesized in the laboratory.

Personal Care Category:

Anti-inflammatory, moisturizer, cleanser, buffer, barrier protection, soothing agent

Recommended for the following Baumann Skin Types:

DSNW, DSPW, DSNT, and DSPT

SOURCE

Avena sativa (also known as oatstraw or wild oats, and Jai or Javi on the Indian sub-continent)5 has a long history of traditional folk use, particularly as a poultice or soak, to alleviate pruritus and irritation related to dry skin conditions (Table 68-1).6,7 As a cultivated plant, this annual cereal grain and member of the Poaceae (also known as Gramineae or true grasses) family, is grown for its seeds for multiple uses. In recent decades, colloidal oatmeal (CO), dehulled oats ground into a fine powder, has been used, typically in a bath, for purposes similar to the traditional ones, namely lessening the irritation and mild pruritus characteristic of eczema, insect bites, rashes, poison ivy, and other contact allergens.8 CO has also been used for decades as an adjunct in the treatment of atopic dermatitis.9 Generally, better benefits are seen with the use of oat fractions than whole oat-meal.10

TABLE 68-1Pros and Cons of Colloidal Oatmeal

Evidence suggests that CO, the modern version of the traditional elixir, is effective in protecting and repairing skin and hair damaged from environmental insults such as ultraviolet (UV) radiation, smoke, bacteria, and free radicals as well as alleviating cutaneous inflammation and discomfort.10 In addition, CO appears to have the capacity to repair damage from other chemicals such as α-hydroxy acids, surfactants, and bleaches.11

A. sativa is also believed to promote the release of luteinizing hormone, which is integral in the production and release of sex hormones such as testosterone. This might account for its traditional use as an aphrodisiac and the origin of the expression “sowing wild oats.”

HISTORY

The skin care application of A. sativa dates back earlier than 2000 BCE to its native Mediterranean region, particularly Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula, and oatstraw was widely cultivated in Europe by 2000 BCE.6 Early references to the medical application of oats were ...

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