Does Oatmeal Really Help Treat Sunburn?

Taking care of your skin in the sun is just a case of lathering on that sunscreen and giving yourself an ample amount of breaks in the shade. But if you do end up being caught out without proper protection and receive a nasty bit of sunburn, things can start to get a little complicated. Most people reach for an after sun lotion to relieve their discomfort, which usually contains an ample amount of aloe-vera gel to cool the burn and keep your skin moisturized. But if you haven't got any bottles lying around, there are actually quite a lot of home remedies that can subdue the itchy, burning sensation just as well.

Yogurt is a common home remedy, as the probiotics infused within can "restore the skin's barrier" and reduce the size of blistering (via Good To). Chamomile tea is also recommended as it has been shown to reduce inflammation (via The Dyrt), so long as you make sure to let the tea cool and use it on a cold compress.

One strange outlier in the home remedy market is oatmeal, which is probably the last thing you'd think to reach for when a bad case of sunburn strikes. But surprisingly the mighty oat can do a lot of good for damaged skin, and here's why.

Oatmeal is both soothing and moisturizing

Oatmeal contains anti-inflammatory properties, which is why brands like Aveeno utilise it in their moisturisers. According to the brand, oatmeal-based products can balance "the bacterial ecosystem on your skin" as well as moisturise. It can also create a protective barrier to guard against bacteria and UV rays, and will stick to "dirt and dead skin cells to allow them to be washed away more easily".

As dermatology expert Iris Hansen explains, oats "contain a range of compounds, including proteins, enzymes, lipids, and carbohydrates" which ultimately form "a skincare dream team, soothing, moisturising, and protecting your skin."

So how do you go about using oatmeal as an after sun treatment? It's as simple as drawing a bath. All you've got to do is fill your tub with cool water and pour some oats in. As Class Pass notes, while some people like the oatmeal to float freely around the water, you can also use a tea strainer or put the oats in a cheesecloth so you avoid clogging your drain.