What Makes Colloidal Oatmeal Colloidal?

I've been on an extensive, several-part research session that turned up differing answers, more questions and a whole lot of interesting info about microns, particle sizes, and oats for skincare that we're going to be looking at today.

Who could imagine oats could be such a mind-blowing ingredient?

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Get ready for a bit of a ride as we examine colloidal oats, because there are going to be a few twists and turns along the way!

It All Started...

It was discussion with some colleagues about the correct process for making colloidal oatmeal that started this whole thing. Some were convinced colloidal oatmeal could only be produced via several steps that entail boiling in water, drying, and subsequent filtering. Others were convinced making colloidal oatmeal was 'merely' a matter of grinding/milling oats to a certain particle size.

Guess what.

Everyone was right.

But before we get into the processes of making colloidal oatmeal, we need to take a peek at the difference between colloidal oatmeal and ground oats and oat flour.

Colloidal Oatmeal vs Ground Oats vs Oat Flour

If you grind up a portion of rolled oats (what we did on this post), your result (unsurprisingly) will be ground oats. A coffee grinder and lots of sifting may get you a fine, powdery result, but still won't get the particle size down far enough to call it colloidal oatmeal.

Go ahead and add your ground oats to a powdered face cleanser or face mask, but if you incorporate it into an emulsion (say, a lotion), it may create undesirable lumpy-bits.

In short: ground oats have more limited uses than colloidal oatmeal in a cosmetics-making setting.

Colloidal oatmeal is processed from whole oats and includes the bran, but has a smaller particle size than can be achieved in a home setting (more on that in a minute).

Oat flour is made from oats where the bran has been removed. By removing the bran, it's possible to mill the oats to a much finer particle size. This is great if you want to add a bit of texturizer to your product, but not at all great if you want all the documented skin-loving properties that colloidal oats offer.

In short, without the bran, the oats just ain't grand.

So, What's in Oat Bran?

Colloidal oatmeal and ground oats (from whole oats) includes the bran and therefore contains actives such as:
  • lipids (unsaturated triglycerides that help replenish the skins oils) 
  • beta glucan (moisturising) 
  • avenanthramides (anti-oxidant unique to oats) 

Colloidal oatmeal is anti-inflammatory, helps soothe itchiness and offers barrier repair.
Oats also contain a small percentage of saponins, which are great for cleansing activity.

The bran is – quite simply – where the actives are.

Colloidal Oat Confusion

Now that we know the difference between oat flour, colloidal oatmeal and ground oats, one would think there was nothing more to discuss (or research).

One would think.

But while I was researching colIoidal oatmeal, I kept running into this:
The INCI name for colloidal oatmeal is: Avena Sativa (oat) kernel flour 
The INCI name for oat flour is: Avena Sativa (oat) kernel flour 

Do you see any difference in these INCI names?

I sure don't.

It seems you can't be quite sure of whether or not you are purchasing oat flour or colloidal oatmeal just by looking at the INCI name.

Obviously, more research was in order.

The International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook defines colloidal oatmeal as finely ground oatmeal; the definition does not specify which species of oat is needed/desired/required.

I checked a few places to see what they had to say about colloidal oats. Here are some highlights:

Colloidal Oatmeal is finely ground oatmeal. It is often used to relieve minor skin irritation and itching due to poison ivy or insect bites. It can also be used as a soak, compress or wet dressing. When oatmeal is used in cosmetic and personal care products, it may be called Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel / Meal.

Oat Cosmetics writes:
Colloidal oatmeal is a natural cosmetic ingredient obtained from Avena sativa (oats). The whole oat grain, including the bran layer, is milled and sieved. This results in a light cream coloured, fine powder. 

Aroma Zone describes their colloidal oatmeal as such (Google translated from French):
This powder is called colloidal because the fineness of its particles allows it to form a homogeneous suspension.
Particle size: 44 microns
(note the micron mention - we're going to be looking at that in a tic)

I emailed Maggie Ghanem of Formulator Sample Shop to ask if she could explain a bit about about colloidal oats and she was kind enough to provide me with this:
Colloidal Oatmeal is made of finely milled oats from the Avena sativa plant. It consists of sugars, amino acids, lipids and fibers. Colloidal Oats are grounded, boiled and steamed. Oat grains are milled into fine powder that will produce a cosmetic agent that can be used as an addition to baths, powders, and moisturizing creams. 

All in all, there's some great info here, but the mention of microns and particle sizes raised even more questions.

We need to get a teensy bit nerdy now, but stick with me and I'll try to make it as entertaining as possible. Here's a quick peek at Wikipedias illustration from the previous post again.

Microns, Nanometers, and Colloids

The upper limit size for particles in a colloid is generally defined at 1000 nanometers. That means, each of those little green particles you see up there on the left should be under 1000 nanometers in size.

1000 nanometers is equal to 1 micrometer - commonly called micron.

How tiny is a micron?

Well, 15 microns is the same as 0.015 mm in size (that's 1.5 hundredths of a millimeter).

Now, remember Aroma Zones product description above? It mentions a particle size of 45 microns. That is the same as a particle size of 0.04 mm (read: four hundredths of a millimeter).

Colloidal Oatmeal Particle Sizes

Now let's look at the particle sizes of colloidal oatmeal, which consists of about 20% starch particles and 80% oat-y particles.
The starch particle size is between 10 - 25 microns.
The oat-y particle size is described as 'below 75 microns'.

I know you're seeing this too. 

Something doesn't fit.

The particles in colloidal oatmeal are massive! They have a diameter well above 1000 nanometers. 

Colloidal oatmeal particles are too big to be classified as a colloid.  

If you want to get completely and utterly technical, even colloidal oatmeal isn't colloidal.

This was pretty much my reaction to this information. 

But, instead of panicking and deciding the world was about to end, I decided to keep digging around and asking even more questions.

There was still the matter of production processes for colloidal – which was the correct method?

With the help of a very patient and gracious expert in the production of colloidal oatmeal, I finally found the answer (he has a special mention at the bottom of this post).

Production Processes for Colloidal Oatmeal

The Dry Way: If you have the right equipment (and no, we're not talking about a pricey super duper kitchen machine), it is indeed possible to dry-produce colloidal oats. The main challenge is the natural fat content of oats (about 7%) which tends to gunk up the 75 micron sieve it has to pass through, but as long as at least 80% of the oats can pass through the sieve, it's OK to label the packet 'colloidal oatmeal'. Granted, this method takes some real advanced milling equipment that not many have, but it is indeed do-able.

The Wet Way: Producers who employ 'the wet way' of making colloidal oats will use a process called pre-solubilising the oat starch. This means they soak the oats (and do other magic secret proprietary things) to separate the oaty bits from the starchy bits. This process changes the structure of the starch and allows the producer to achieve an acceptable colloidal oatmeal particle size. 

So, everyone in the discussion was right!

Don't you just love it when that happens?

But wait!

There is still an unanswered question!

The Unanswered Question

Since the INCI name is identical on oat flour and colloidal oatmeal, how can we tell what are buying?

Here's the kicker. 

I don't have the answer.

I can only offer this advice: ask your supplier. Be kind, but be persistent until you get a satisfactory answer. Be patient. It could take a few weeks, because sometimes the distributor (not being the producer) won't be able to answer you until they do a bit of digging and asking on their own first. 

Do Tell

Do you use colloidal oats, ground oats or oat flour in your products?

More About Oats for Skincare, Colloids, and Avenathramide

Google answers: how colloidal oatmeal is made
Colloidal oatmeal; history chemistry and clinical properties
What is a colloidal oatmeal: Cosmetics Business
Anti inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal formulations as adjunct treatments in atopic dermatitis
Cosmeticsinfo: Avena Sativa Oat Kernel Meal
Cosmetics and Toiletries: Colloidal Oat flour for skin and hair
U.S. Pharmacopeia: Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal Oatmeal: history, chemistry and clinical properties
Safety Assessment of Oat derived ingredients as used in Cosmetics
Scientific American: Creating your own colloid
Particle Size: Wikipedia
Micrometer Conversion scale

A special thanks to Cark Maunsell at Oat Services for his kind assistance and patience with all of my questions.


BRBX said…
Well, there is an even further thought to this fine mess:
Are the oats non-GMO?
As, if we don't want GMO's inside our bodies, would we really want GMO's on the outside of our bodies either, where it gets inside your body by absorption?
Talk about things getting complicated!!
Rebekah Osorio said…
Bless you for this post. This question has been hot on my mind!
LisaLise said…
@BRBX - I think you will find the manufacturers of colloidal oatmeal can document whether or not the oats are non-GMO or not.

@Rebekah - Thank you kindly!
The Rustic Bee said…
Oats are not GMO. There isn't a single variety of oats that is commercially available that is GMO.

LisaLise said…
Thank you Rustic Bee!
Elisabeth Wilks said…
Thank you Lise for your wonderfully informative blog. I am very new to formulating and I have learned so much from your posts.
LisaLise said…
Hi Elisabeth - thank you so much for your kind words! I hope you find some useful information here
Unknown said…
You may be pleased to hear that there are no GMO oats.
LisaLise said…
Hi Angus! Thank so much for this info :D
Theosandrias said…
Would it be possible to boil oats, blend, strain and dehydrate at home? Then you can process the dehydrated powder in a food processor. it seems like you'd be able to get a very silky, fine particle this way...
LisaLise said…
Hi Amy - You might get a fine powder to work with, but you still won't have colloidal oatmeal. Also, it sounds to me like the trouble, work and energy spent (electrical bill, etc) to acheive your product would cost more than buying colloidal oatmeal. For an easy, home method that will give you a fine silky powder, check my post called 'Colloidal oats - let's make our own".
Anonymous said…
Weird question, but would either the wet or dry method products be edible, if the ingredients listed are 100% oatmeal, nothing else?
LisaLise said…
Hi Anon - Interesting question! I would imagine the product is edible but I'm not sure I would be inclined to eat it. Awfully pricey way to ingest oats! :)
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the quick response! I'd like to add it to instant coconut milk powder for a healthy coffee creamer that doesnt taste too coconutty, I actually quite dislike coconut flavour! Would you like an update when I try it?
LisaLise said…
Hi Anon - I think if you want to use oats as a coffee creamer you would do fine with finely ground oats that are then sifted (check my earlier blogpost). I'm pretty sure this will be a less expensive option. If you do decide to use colloidal oatmeal, it might be a good idea to ask your supplier if it is suitable for consumption - just to be on the safe side. I'd love to hear an update if you try it!
Avotts in MS said…
I was pondering this exact thing when I stumbled across your article. I am a frugal shopper, but I am also a very adventurous cook. I shop at salvage stores. Usually the selection is amazing. Sometimes you find things you are not familiar with, but I buy and try. Awhile back I bought colloidal oatmeal. It closely resembled baby cereal..Was light and did not sink into warm water or milk. It tasted good and went well in the smoothies for my hubbys PEG tube. Plan to buy again if I ever see it. I think I could take fine ground whole oats and toast them a minute and use my mortar and pestal to come up with something similar. But for skin care maybe the baby cereal would work.
LisaLise said…
Hi Avotts - Interesting idea with the baby cereal. Thanks for sharing :)
Unknown said…
What about whole grain oat flour ? "Whole" gives the impression that the bran is still included
Bob's Red Mill makes it and specifically mentions that it includes the bran, the germ and the endosperm. Arrowhead Mills makes organic whole oat flour and I assume that whole means whole but they don't go out of their way to spell that out like Bob.
Anyway it seems to be the cheap, whole and lazy way to go so I'm giving one of them a go tonight for my itchy scalp. I'llcome back to say whether it was effective. Certainly cheaper than commercial lotions that contain 2 percent colloidal oatmeal and charge an additional 10 bucks to the price.
LisaLise said…
Hi Anna Christine - I'm pretty sure you can expect whole grain means whole grain. I hope you have a good outcome with your DIY idea - it probably will. :)
donna a said…
Oats are not GMO at this point but that does not mean the grower does not use pesticides on the plants. Many oat products contain trace particles of the pesticides the grower applied (Learned at the NOFA Conference this past summer) so it is always a good thing to chose organically grown so you are not being exposed to those nasty things!
LisaLise said…
Hi Donna - Thanks for sharing this info .
Anonymous said…
I tried adding colloidal oatmeal to a DIY cream but it seemed to give it a slightly grainy texture. I assumed it would be so soft that you wouldn’t be able to feel it if you rubbed the cream between your fingers but I could feel the fine particles which didn’t feel nice when rubbed of the skin. Any ideas on how to combat this issue?
LisaLise said…
Hey there Anon - A grainy feeling could be due to a couple of things: too much was added or the oatmeal you used was oat flour and not colloidal oatmeal. Did the cream change texture other than the graininess? What were the other ingredients in your cream? It's a bit hard to pinpoint the exact cause without knowing more.
Unknown said…
Well that was the kind of detail I LOVE! Lise you are amazing!! Based on that depth I am very interested in buying a couple of your ebooks! But can u please indulge me and tell me where u actually can buy the proper colloidal oatmeal to use for lotion crafting? I’d like to try it.

LisaLise said…
Hello Ursula - I am working on a post with information on this as we speak - Meantime, the best way to ensure you are getting the real deal is to contact your local cosmetics supplier and ask them if they can assure /document that they are selling real colloidal oatmeal and not oat flour. Best of luck!
Unknown said…
Lise I’m looking at the basic body butter and melt and pour body butter ebooks. Can u please tell me the difference? I’m looking for a face balm and over all hand balm?

Unknown said…
thank you Lise...I will wait for that blog post before I venture into the abyss!!
LisaLise said…
HI Ursula - If you check the descriptions, some of the e-books are stand-alone formulas from the book Working with Shea Butter. If you buy the shea butter book, you'll get all of the stand-alone formulas as well as a few extras. :)
LisaLise said…
HI Ursula - I'd recommend contacting the supplier regardless. It's always a good idea to have a personal contact you can get in touch with for product questions. :)
La Prairie Lady said…
Would it be better to use Hydrolyzed oat protein for cream and lotion in this case ?? I always add fine ground oatmeal in my soap.
LisaLise said…
Hi LaPrairie Lady - Hydrolized oat protein could most definitely be used in creams, but it is also possible to get a lump-free product with colloidal oats if you stay within the recommended dosage. Fine ground oatmeal in soap sounds absolutely lovely!
La Prairie Lady said…
With another way, if we add fine ground oat in water to make cream ?? we use hot water to make lotion or cream so, it become oat milk and we can filter this oat water through a sifter, you think ??
LisaLise said…
@LaPrairie Lady — I’d check with the manufacturer about this— there might me additional options or some limitations to this method. Alternatively you could try running a few of your own tests.
Anonymous said…
Hi Lise,

Thank you so much for your detailed explanation. If I can find a whole grain oat flour in supermarket, does it mean i am using oatmeal colloidal? I have just discovered this product and think of using this in my products.


Thanks and regards,
渺渺 said…
Hi Lise,

Thanks so much for sharing! I love oatmeal colloidal so much but it's not easy to get it in my country. Recently I found a brand called Bob's Red Mill does have a product "whole grain oat flour". May I use it as oatmeal colloidal? as it should contains the brans & other benefits...

Thank you so much.
Kelly K
LisaLise said…
HI Unknown. You will not find colloidal oatmeal in supermarkets (at least not the ones I've visited). You'll need to buy this from a cosmetics ingredients supplier. :)
LisaLise said…
HI kelly K - Thanks for your question. I'm afraid milled oat flour is not the same as colloidal oats, but if it contains the bran then you are getting all the benefits. Nothing for it but to give it a try - but make SMALL batches and test. Best of luck!
Anonymous said…
Hi there,

Do you know which method "wet or dry way" is superior? Sometimes I feel like using water/steam could deplete some of those awesome nutrients. Thanks! Great post also, I appreciate your research and educating me.
LisaLise said…
Hey there Kay - Thanks for your comment! I am not sure either process is superior to the other. I do know the wet process is used by some of the folks who helped me with information for this post and also happen to be among the largest (if not THE largest) producer of oat products to the entire industry.
Unknown said…
Oh my goodness what have i stumbled into? i was just looking to make a soap to help solve my itchy chihuahua and thought of adding oatmeal - will it need to be colloidal oatmeal for a soap ingredient do you think? anyone have a recipe for a soothing soap i can make?
LisaLise said…
Hey there Unknown - I'm sure I have seen many soaps with the addition of oats. I don't think you need to use colloidal for soap. You could use ground oats. There is a post on this blog that explains how. Enjoy!
Jdawgswife said…
Avena sativa is the same thing as old fashioned oats. When you google or research that inci name you also get quaket oats oatmeal. So long atory short over half the ingredients we formulate skincare with is edible or our bodies naturally produce it anyway . Colidol oats are the same thing as old fashioned bran otmeal finley grinded and then just sifted to get the powder. The powder is the same thing that suppliers are charging triple for. Research and science shows this just like aloe, green tea, etc.
LisaLise said…
HI Jdawgswife - Thanks for your comment. You are correct in that the source is the same, but the processing of it makes the difference. As I write in the article, if you can't get the particle size small enough WITH the bran, it looses the beneficial components and can't be incorporated into an emulsion without lumping. :)
Anonymous said…
Thank you, Lise! This is the best stuff for eczema, and I always wondered why it was so relatively pricy. Still worth it.
LisaLise said…
Hey there Anon — Thanks for your comment. It does help to understand the pricing when the process is explained in detail. I learned a lot while researching and writing this article. :)
Weena Pradhan said…
Hi Lise Andersen ! Am so glad I came across your blog. I have the traditional whole oats at home and I find it a pain to cook them. So I decided to use them for my skincare. I have ground them as fine as I could at home in a processor. I intend to use the ground oats in face masks, scrubs and packs, DIY of course. I am not a formulator. So is it good enough for my purpose ? I may also use it a foot soak or a foot bath. I await your inputs :)
Weena Pradhan
LisaLise said…
Hello Weena - thank you for your kind words. You can use our own finely ground oats for face masks and scrubs and foot soak without problem. Enjoy :)
Robin said…
I've been wondering about this for years as well! My approach is going to be something no one else has mentioned trying I believe. I am going to take quick oats since they are precooked and dry, and put them in a blender or food processor to try to get a fine colloidal powder. If that doesn't work well, I want to try the baby cereal (whole grain bnb if I can find it!) and blend it as well. Thanks for the onfo!
LisaLise said…
Hi Robin — you are a creative thinker! I wonder if the oats you are thinking of using have additives — do check the label. I’d live to hear how this turns out for you :)
Jackie said…
Hi Lise!

I read your blog months ago when I bought aveeno and was wondering what colloidal oatmeal was- interesting read it was too :). Now that I have bought actual oatmeal and used it to soothe inflamed sensitive skin areas in a bath for the first time and found out useful, I wonder: does colloidal oatmeal have any benefits that ground or even whole oatmeal doesn't? For bath/face masks purposes.

I assume that because it's the bran that has the good stuff, there's no need to grind it, unless it's for practical purposes like using it in creams and other cosmetic applications, so that you arent applying clumps of oatmeal as moisturizer lol..

What do you think? Would love to get your thoughts! :)
LisaLise said…
HI Jackie - great question! If you are using oatmeal for bath, then whole oatmeal (where the bran is included) offers the same benefits as colloidal oatmeal. What makes colloidal oatmeal special is the particle size which allows it to remain suspended in a solution (lotion, cream etc) . You are right about the bran having all the good stuff, so if it is for a bath and you want to save on cleanup, put your whole oats into a nylon sock or muslin bag and tie shut, then toss the 'bag' in the bath and squeeze it a few times in the water to release the bran goodness :)

Flower said…
What a great post!! There's a fascinating YouTube channel by a dermatologist named Dr. Dray who said how colloidal oats are an underappreciated ingredient that the drugstore skincare brand Aveeno likes using. She buys the Aveeno colloidal oats packets, mixes with water, then dips a plain sheet mask in it. Optionally following that with a different plain mask I forget the name of that's firmer to I guess help the oats absorb more.

I'm excited reading this article and comments to learn that something like Bob's Red Mill whole oat flour can give the same benefits without needing to pay extra for the particle-shrinking process that makes whole oats so-called "colloidal!" And unless mixing oats into a lotion or cream, sounds like that flour is all that's needed! I haven't checked prices but imagine the flour is cheaper than say Aveeno powder.

I've been looking at my itchy, dry skin dog and thinking if there is a quicker and more travel-friendly way than baths or masks to get whole grain oats on him...and on me (dry, itchy skin). Like a toner or leave-in conditioner. Maybe fill a container with lukewarm water, put a mesh bag of whole grain oat flour or colloidal oats in it awhile, then spray or dab it on. Rinsing off if needed. May be messy though, hence why Dr. Dray used a sheet mask. I wonder what oat milk is...just oats soaked in water? Or I see why colloidal oats in a lotion or cream could be handy but I'm guessing you can't just mix them into your favorite moisturizer?

I'm also thinking about how to involve milk such as cruelty-free, organic, clean Greek yogurt...and honey...and turneric...along with the oats. A mask of course could do that. Maybe green tea involved too? Creative wheels spinning here.
LisaLise said…
Hey there Flower - thanks for your comment. Note that there is a difference between oat FLOUR and ground oats. The flour does not contain the bran and that's where all the good stuff is. It sounds like your creative wheels are definitely spinning and I foresee a bit of experimentation in your near future. Enjoy!
Angela Lomax said…
Hi there this is fascinating stuff. Much more complicated than i expected. My dear fried a U Tuber, broke her humerous/arm in three places. We both take medications for pain which dry our skin. Now LesleyAnne is unable to bathe. Would the Aveeno moisturizer be of help to her

Love this article. Very informative. I was going to grin. But obviously i would never be able to finely grind enough. Kindest regards Angela
LisaLise said…
Hi Angela , thanks for your kind words. Oh dear about the broken arm! I can't even begin to imagine how uncomfortable it must be. If you are able to bathe, you can use normal rolled oats - pop a handful into an old nylon sock, tie shut and pop the sock into the tub. Squeeze a few times when in the water -- this will provide just as much skin soothing as colloidal oats because rolled oats includes the bran. I don't know the moisturizer you mention (I have been making my own products so long I barely have the opportunity to try commercially made products). Hope this was of some help :)
Fanny said…
Hi! This is a great post! Do you recommend a specific online supplier that has been vetted and we know sells the correct product? This answer may already be in the comments and i haven’t gotten a
Chance to sift through them all yet. Thanks!
LisaLise said…
HI Fanny - This is a great question – I have been trying to create a list but this is the kind of thing that takes a lot of time as many suppliers want to help out but have to do their own digging before they can even answer me back. Some don't answer back at all, so in short: I don't have a list and at this time am not able to give you an absolute-with-certainty answer. Sorry-- I am a little disappointed this kind of thing isn't getting more awareness but it's apparently not interesting enough to enough people.
Fanny said…
That is a shame. I guess there's a small subset of people who actually want to know that what they are getting is what they think they are getting. Thanks!
Ron said…
Glad to hear that oats are non-GM which I believe can be called "natural". Natural food usually receives pesticide sprays so you may want to make confirm that the oats are certified organic.
Thank you all for your information.
P.S. I'm searching for a recipe to cure / relieve my 1-year-old grandson's eczema. It is raw /red where he is scratching. Any help with soothing and or curing recipes is greatly appreciated. Thank you,
(less The It would be a good idea
LisaLise said…
Hi Ron — Thanks for your comment. So sorry to hear your grandson is suffering so. I hope he is being seen to by a doctor. If it is acute and you are looking for some immediate temporary relief, the classic rolled oats (regular kind from a supermarket) in a sock or bag and dropped into the (tepid) bathwater helps relieve even the most sensitive and itchy skin. Squeeze the bag several times and leave it in the water while your grandson is bathing. Best of luck.
Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for your research and care! As a psoriasis and eczema sufferer, I hope this is helpful......


This was forwarded to me by a nutritionalist https://secretingredientsmovement.com/secret-ingredients-free-showing/?utm_expid=.NhpUJQgwS7mWotJ8sw9aTg.0&utm_referrer=
LisaLise said…
Thank you for your comment Anon. I did have a look at the links you sent and then did a bit more digging. At first glance this looks quite unsettling and I can see why you would be concerned.

When I am presented with information of this sort, I instinctively examine the source and then do some more digging from there. While a lot of other sites/blogs have parroted this 'information', it appears none of them have researched how factual or complete any of it is.

My impression is that this is a snippet of information taken out of context with the sole purpose of creating fear and doubt. In short; it is misinformation. Personally, I find this kind of behavior reprehensible - particularly when it is done with full deliberation (such as one sees from sites like the EWG).

Sorry for the speech/rant, but I felt you deserved a detailed answer. I realize it is incredibly difficult to know what to trust and who to believe sometimes, and we don't all have time to research EVERYTHING we read - me included. At any rate: thank you for bringing this to my attention.
Anonymous said…
Hi Lisa,
If I grind up oat bran (just the bran) am I getting all the benefits? I'm looking at this one: https://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-oat-bran.html
Thanks in advance for answering my question.
LisaLise said…
Hi Alison - what a fab question! If you can buy oat bran, then you are getting 100% all the good stuff right there - go for it! I had a look at the link and to me it looks like something worth giving a go. :)
tashahunter said…
Just a bit more insight into the non GMO Question.
There are some smaller mills who grow their own grain and process it themselves.
They are sometimes bio-dynaic farmers.
There are oat grain seeds that are indeed organic never mind what you see on line.
The bio-dynamic (usually European or Russian) farmers are the sources you need for this. They are all seriously passionate about the quality in food.
The trouble with larger mills is the fungicides used in the storage facilities of the oat (and other) grains.
I've seen what the amazing results are when animals are fed these organic bio-dynaic grains and it is just breath taking the difference.
Check out your local Waldorf School or Kimberton Hills Farm (online) for more information of what is in your area.
If there are any specific questions I may be reached at tashahunter@protonmail.com
There is much to learn.
Vera said…
Hi Lisa))))thank you so much for your blog!
I see many anhydrous products with colloidal oatmeal(like eczema salves)and I don't understand why?? If I am right it works magically only in emulsions? Can you explain it to me?))))

Best regards,Vera
LisaLise said…
Hi Vera . Colloidal oatmeal is very soothing for sensitive and dry skin. It doesn't just work in emulsions. You can add oats to a bath and get wonderfully soothing and calming results. Put regular rolled oats into a nylon sock and tie it shut and pop it into a bath. Same effect. :)
Alia said…
Great post Lisa! How about balm or butter, can I add colloidal oatmeal? Since it soluble in water is it a must that colloidal oatmeal only works in water based skincare?
LisaLise said…
Hey there Alia - I suppose you could add colloidal oatmeal to an anhydrous solution, but I would probably tend to reach for oat kernel oil instead - it has fabulous properties. :)
Unknown said…
Oh, wow, this is great. Your exhaustive research is impressive. Sometimes going down those rabbit holes can be very time consuming but having real answers is important. So, first, thank you. All of this information, including your answers to comments, is very useful, and you have professional /resources unavailable to many of us.
I landed here by looking up hydrolyzed oats vs colloidal oatmeal, trying to determine if the oat milk I bought at the store would be soothing for my itchy cat. Ingredients list hydrolyzed oats, period. I soak oats in water often for its soothing properties, strain and keep in the fridge for a few days. None on hand, and remembered the carton of oat milk in the pantry. Yay, a quick fix and less messy. I might make some oat milk ice cubes. Thanks again, from Austin.
LisaLise said…
Hello in Austin - thanks for your kind comment and for sharing this tip! :)
Paul T. said…
Hi Lisa,
Great blog about the benefits of oatmeal baths.
My eldest daughter had serious skin problems as a baby, oatmeal baths really helped her.
I'm a farmer in Ireland and do hope to bring to the market organic colloidal oatmeal powder. Any help or tips would be much appreciated.

Thanking you,
LisaLise said…
HI Paul,

Thanks so much for your kind comment. I love that you want to bring an organic colloidal oatmeal to the market and wish you the very best of luck with it! Please feel to contact me again when you have your product ready. There's a contact page at LisaLise.com -- please refer to this blog post (to jog my memory) :D
Travis said…
Hi Lisa,

Is it possible to add colloidal oatmeal to below?:
1. Hydrosol
2. Pure lipid oil

So far I have only seen this to be used in lotion/cream.
LisaLise said…
HI Travis. You ask a very good question! I have mainly worked with colloidal oats in balms, lotions and emulsions. As it is a colloid it should be ok in very small amounts, but I'm thinking it might create a cloudiness in a hydrosol. As for adding to oil, it's not going to dissolve and will need careful dispersion. If you give it a go I'd love to hear how it turns out for you.
Hala Alhorany said…
This is an awesome article Lisa.. Thanks so much.
LisaLise said…
Hello Hala -- thanks so much for your kind comment
Doug said…
I am a semi-professional formulator, as in I formulate products for sale. I am looking to add colloidal oatmeal to an emulsion. We all know that oats is one of the worlds most perfect foods. This holds true for mankind, animal kind, and of course microbe kind. Your article did not touch on the difficulties incurred with preserving this kind of microbe food into an emulsion. In the process of gathering your data, did you come up with any preservation techniques that did not involve parabens or Formaldehyde Releasers? All the professional chemist I have communicated with said that was the only way to preserve this 'perfect food'.

Sidebar: The finest grind I have found is at: https://www.makeyourown.buzz/colloidal-oatmeal/
33 micron.

LisaLise said…
Hi Doug - Great question. The short answer is yes, it is possible, but the long answer contains a whole lot of 'it depends'. It depends on the formula and other ingredients and even packaging can factor in. Colloidal oatmeal can definitely be added to an emulsion and preserved as you describe. Try doing an online search for products containing colloidal oats and check the ingredients list for the preservatives they are using. I know there are 'green' companies making and selling products with colloidal oatmeal that have properly preserved formulations. It might be a good starting point as you will get an idea of what others are using. Best of luck with it :)
Thanks for this article; very interesting! I've been wanting to add oats to my soap recipe and found one that suggested adding Colloidal oatmeal.
I think I'm just going to add ground oats and Rice Bran oil as there doesn't seem much point to spend out on something ground fine when I want the texture?
Also, we were always told as kinds to cook our veg minimally as the vitamins are destroyed through boiling...so the point that they are boiled perplexes me. What are your thoughts on this please?
LisaLise said…
HI Tracy - Adding ground oats to soap has been done for many years and does - like you say - provide a great texture. The boiling of the oatmeal to achieve colloidal oats is part of the extraction process.
Unknown said…
Hello LisaLise, I'd just like to say thank you so much for this post. I have a tendency to get hives in the summer, and so I was looking for the ingredients to have a bath with. I came across this article, and now know I can just use my rolled outs in my pantry in a stocking and pop it into a tub with warm water, thank you SO much! This will save me so much money this summer. Thanks from Micky in New Zealand!
LisaLise said…
Hey there Micky - Thanks so much for your kind words. I love the 'bath socks' idea :)
Tessy said…
Hey Lisa!

I plan on making some balms and wanted to test out two methods
1) making an oatmeal extract with glycerine
2) finely grinding the oatmeal and slowly dispersing it in the oil

Do I have to use a preservative if I add the glycerine extract as the only hydrous ingredient in an otherwise anhydrous balm? I.e. all oils except the glycerine extract with constant mixing etc? Hope that makes sense 🙂
LisaLise said…
HI Tessy - Your ideas sound interesting. Without knowing the proportions, it's hard to answer you about a preservative. My book on making Glycerites has calculation charts for self preserving as well as glycerites with added preservatives -- if you have the book, check the guidelines there. :)
Acceptable said…
"Colloid" comes from the Greek word κολλα (kolla) meaning "glue". An oatmeal starch paste is colloidal in that sense.
LisaLise said…
HI Metta - Thanks so much for sharing!
Unknown said…
Hello LisaLise! I'm more than thrilled to have found this post as I was really struggling to understand exactly what you so thoughtfully researched and explained. Question for you - if the actives are contained in oat bran, could colloidal oatmeal be made from 100% bran assuming the necessary particle size could be achieved commercially?
LisaLise said…
Hi Unknown - Thanks so much for your kind words. As the bran is where the good stuff is, I would expect colloidal oatmeal made purely from the bran would be even more full of actives.
Anonymous said…
Hi Lisa, your article is very informative, I have a question, by any chance do you have a list of Colloidal Oatmeal manufacturers in the US?


LisaLise said…
Hey there Anon -- I do believe you also contacted me through my website and received a reply. :D
Unknown said…
This is very helpful article - thank you. I go back to this every once in a while when I get confused with different terms and need to check something. I happened to find whole grain oat flour that contains the bran too (apparently it is quite common here in Finland). It apparently has the same fiber content than some of our rolled oats/ oat flakes. Love the fact that I don't have to process rolled oats by myself. I'm doing some reading and playing with different type of oats.
LisaLise said…
Hey there Unknown -- So glad to be of help :)
Jacob said…
"Well, 15 microns is the same as 0.01 mm in size"

That's not true.
LisaLise said…
Hi Jacob -- thanks for your input -- you are correct and I have now corrected the text in the post.
Unknown said…
I’m curious if you’ve ever considered using an infant oatmeal, what would the difference be between how finely its ground for babies and colloidal oatmeal? Thanks
LisaLise said…
HI Unknown -- what a great question! I haven't ever looked into this but I imagine it could work if you check the ingredients label-- the contents should be only oatmeal -- no additives at all.
Nessa said…
I was calling around locating Maggie Ghanem, I saw she wa mentioned here but I called the number from the link and said she retired? anyone know where she is
Thought she owned Formulator sample shop
LisaLise said…
Hi Nessa

You could be correct — this post is from 2017 so it’s quite possible Maggie Ghanem has retired — thanks for bringing it to my attention