There are few plants in the world with as many benefits to humans as oats. Luckily, we figured that out a long time ago: For the past couple of millennia, people have been harvesting this plant, not just as a healthy food and horse feed, but also for medicinal purposes. Lately, science has caught up to the ancient wisdom, confirming that oats can nourish us both inside and out. In concentrations like oat seed extract, we can take advantage of modern techniques—and use this gift from nature to keep our skin in top form.
What Is Oat Seed Extract?
The oat plant (a.k.a. Avena sativa) is actually a type of grass. There is a stage in the plant's life cycle when its seeds are green and soft, and they produce a milky substance when squeezed. By harvesting the oat tops at this time, you can get the oats' beneficial nutrients when they’re fresh and easy to extract. Oats contain minerals (magnesium, potassium, and others), vitamin B, antioxidants, a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, and more. Taken internally, oat seed extract can have a soothing effect on people, and applied topically, it can calm itches, moisturize, protect, and heal skin.
What Skin Types Is Oat Seed Extract Good For?
It soothes and cleanses sensitive skin.
One of the most common and ancient uses of oats is to calm irritated or itching skin. Colloidal oatmeal—a finely-ground oat flour—has long been used in baths and lotions for babies with eczema, and compounds in oats called avenanthramides are part of why it works for this purpose. Avenanthramides are anti-inflammatory, plus they stop itching and redness in irritated skin. What's more, they have an antihistamine effect, which means they can help prevent your body from reacting to allergens in the first place.
Oats also contain a substance called saponins that dissolve grease and oil. This makes it a great ingredient in cleansers for sensitive, oily skin.
It moisturizes and heals dry skin.
One very important component in oats and oat seed extract is beta-glucans. This is a sugar that can retains moisture in the skin. Beta-glucans stimulate your skin to produce more collagen, making it plumper and strengthening the skin's natural barrier to hold moisture in and protect against damage. Beta-glucans also stimulate cell growth, which means it can help skin heal from damage, too.
It protects all skin types from sun and pollution.
The avenanthramides in oat seed extract and other oat products also act as antioxidants in the skin. Sun and other external pollutants can cause permanent DNA damage in the skin, which shows up in the form of collagen loss, wrinkles, and dark spots. But antioxidants like the ones available in oat seed extract can stop the damage from factors such as ultraviolet light—before it starts.
Oat seed extract is a way to harness the many benefits of the oat plant and integrate it with other active ingredients, all with the aim of getting smooth, clear, supple skin—making it an ideal ingredient in the best moisturizers on the market.