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Author Biography:

Allison B. Vought  is an inventive scientist and educator specializing in natural cosmetic formulation and short-run, private label skincare. Since 2005, she has worked as chief cosmetic formulator, business consultant and CEO of various skin care companies. Allison is the co-founder of AliMar, LLC, (www.alimarlabs.com ) a private label manufacturer specializing in ultra-low minimums, as well as co-founder of the Vegan skincare line.



Formulating With Oats
By Allison B. Vought Friday, October 23, 2015
The oat (Avena sativa), is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, also called oat(s). While oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal or in baked goods, one of the most common uses is as livestock feed. The oldest oat grains were found in Egypt about 2000 BC. Oats were introduced to North America at the beginning of the 17th century.

Colloidal oatmeal has a long history of beneficial use in skincare. It is a natural ingredient that has an excellent safety record and has demonstrated efficacy for the treatment of atopic dermatitis (AD), psoriasis, drug-induced rash and other skin conditions. Recent studies showed that oatmeal-containing personal care products had very low irritant potential as well as a very low allergenic sensitization potential. (1,2)

In 2003, the US FDA approved colloidal oatmeal as a skin monograph ingredient for the temporary protection and relief of minor skin irritation and itching. Colloidal oatmeal, made by finely milling dehulled oats to a powder, contains a concentrated starch-protein fraction of the oat grain. Colloidal oatmeal contains starch (65-85%), proteins (15-20%), lipids (3-11%), fiber (5%) and beta-glucans (5%). This lipid content is much higher than in other cereal grains, with unsaturated triglycerides, being the most abundant lipids. Colloidal oatmeal can also act as a skin buffer, restoring the normal pH of the skin. (3)

The phenolic compounds avenanthramides, ferulic and caffeic acids (and others) in oat flour have antioxidant activity and protect the lipids from oxidation. Avenanthramides also possess anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties. Saponins are also present in oats and have a soap-like action, making oats a beneficial additive in cleansers and soap making. (4)

Beta-D-glucan (a polysaccharide) binds water, forming a film that functions to hold moisture in the outermost layer of skin. Alpha-tocopherol, also present in oats, exhibits anti-inflammatory and anti-photodamage effects. These qualities make oats a useful antioxidant additive in sunscreens and other sun-care products. (5)

Moisturizers that soothe itching, hydrate, protect and restore the skin barrier provide an essential function in the management of the skin ailment known as atopic dermatitis (AD). They may be the first line of defense in mild cases or with more severe instances, may complement prescription medications to help reduce the use of common steroidal treatments.

Some patients on chemotherapy can develop skin issues such as rashes or sores, which can interrupt the continuation of their treatment until the skin has healed. In a study of 10 patients, treatment with an oat-infused lotion resulted in a complete clearing of the skin in 6 patients and a partial response in the remainder. (6)

Studies have continually shown that Avena sativa based products significantly decrease skin dryness, itch and irritation, improving quality of life in those with mild to severe dermatitis. While these facts and studies are useful for formulators, it is also important to remember that using these claims as outlined in the FDA monograph does classify your product as an Over The Counter (OTC) drug. To avoid your product being classified as misbranded, these claims should be avoided or your product should comply with current FDA guidelines for OTC monographs including special labeling guidelines for Over The Counter drug products.

References: 
  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20865844
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3508548/
  3. http://www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/98fr/060403b.htm
  4. Sur R, Nigam A, Grote D, Liebel F, Southall MD. Avenanthramides, polyphenols from oats, exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-itch activity. Arch Dermatol Res. 2008;300(10):569–574.
  5. Kurtz ES, et al. J Drugs Dermatol. 2007;6(2):167-70.
  6. Cerio R, et al. J Drugs Dermatol. 2010;9(9):1116-20.


 
 
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