Starting the day with a bowl of oatmeal is healthy and easy. But what about introducing oats into your bath time? Oatmeal is super soothing, is packed with vital minerals to help replenish skin, calms any inflammation, and prevents breakouts, explains celebrity facialist and author of Glow From Within, Joana Vargas. That makes it a great choice for a calming bath to combat skin irritation from sunburn, bug bites, acne, and even eczema.
Oatmeal contains phenols, compounds that are both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory [source]. It has been used for treating itching and irritated skin for centuries and is currently added to moisturizers and cosmetics. Research has shown that the flavonoids in oats protect the skin from some UV A rays [source] and help to restore the skin’s natural barrier [source].
It helps rehydrate dry skin, makes a gentle scrub to remove dead skin cells, and has natural saponins that cleanse and absorb dirt and oil, making soap unnecessary [source]. If that’s what your skin is longing for these days, scroll down for some of our favorite oatmeal bath recipes.
8 Oatmeal Bath Recipes
One note about using oatmeal in the bath. You can grind up old fashioned oats in a food processor or coffee grinder to get a fine powder. But, used too often, this might eventually clog your drain. (In my experience, an occasional oatmeal bath has been fine.)
If you’re worried about clogs, make a sachet with whole oats instead. Cut one leg of a clean pair of old pantyhose at the calf. Fill the sachet with whole oats and tie it closed. Drop the sachet into warm bathwater and squeeze to release the milky oat liquid.
1. Sunburn Relief Oatmeal Bath
When you get that familiar stinging sensation from being out in the sun too long, nothing sounds better than submerging your whole body in cool water. Whole milk can calm the residual heat from the sunburn while its proteins soothe skin irritation. The combination of milk and oatmeal in lukewarm water will help reduce the inflammation in overheated skin.
- Tepid water
- 2 cups old fashioned oats, uncooked
- 1 cup whole milk
Make a pantyhose sachet with 2 cups of oats. After filling a bathtub with tepid water, add the milk first and then the oatmeal stocking. Squeeze the sock to release the oatmeal liquid into the bath and soak for 15–20 minutes.
Drink plenty of water as sunburns can dehydrate skin. After the bath, follow with aloe vera gel or our cooling cucumber lotion to help heal parched, damaged skin.
2. Moisturizing Cucumber + Oatmeal Bath
- 1 cucumber, pureed
- 1 cup old fashioned oats, ground
- ½ cup baking soda
Cucumber contains silica, an ingredient that boosts moisture and elasticity, notes Vargas. “I encourage my clients to eat a salad with plenty to keep skin young and supple—it’s also awesome for puffiness,” she says.
To soothe skin and help restore its moisture, puree 1 large cucumber in a blender (or chop it finely) and strain through cheesecloth into a tub of cool or warm water, depending on your preference. Add 1 cup of ground oatmeal and ½ cup of baking soda. The baking soda can help get rid of blackheads when mixed with water. “You can put the mixture on the nose after a shower, and all the blackheads come right out,” says Vargas.
3. Itch-Soother Chamomile + Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal is very soothing for itchy skin. If you have eczema or another kind of rash, this bath can really help soothe the urge to scratch. Chamomile adds another calming element, but be careful—if you have a ragweed allergy or sensitivity, leave the chamomile out.
Place the oats and dried chamomile into a pantyhose sachet. Put it into a tub of warm water (not too hot!) and get in. Squeeze the sock to release the oatmeal liquid into the bath. For extra healing benefits, squeeze the bag while gently rubbing it over your skin.
4. Coconut Milk + Oatmeal Bath Soak
Anti-inflammatory oatmeal combines with coconut milk’s vitamin E and lauric acid to add moisture and calm dry skin.
- ½ cup oats, ground
- 1 cup coconut milk (or a whole can)
- 1 tablespoon honey
Combine ground oats with coconut milk and stir in the honey. Add the mixture to a warm bath and soak for 15–30 minutes.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar Oatmeal Bath
There are lots of reasons to add apple cider vinegar to your bath, as it is one of those natural cures for all sorts of skin troubles. “You can dab ACV on breakouts and use it to rinse away flakes on your scalp,” says Vargas. “It instantly soothes the raw, inflamed feeling on the scalp. And with regular use, it will help the skin heal and renew. I recommend using it after every hair wash, all winter.”
Use ACV with oats to soak sunburned, itchy, or irritated skin for 30 minutes to speed healing and help calm the redness.
Make a sachet with the oats. Pour the apple cider vinegar into a warm bath, and submerge the sachet in the warm water. Soak for 30 minutes.
6. Sleepytime Lavender + Oatmeal Bath Soak
Try this simple soak that adds a dash of calming lavender scent for extra relaxation.
In a blender, pulse 1 cup of oats until finely ground into powder. Add baking soda and stir in the drops of lavender essential oil. Pour into the warm bath, then climb in and soak for 30 minutes.
7. Silky Skin Baking Soda + Oatmeal bath
Baking soda baths are wonderful skin soothers, too, making them the perfect complement to oats. “Small amounts of baking soda can be used in a gentle cleanser to add more of a manual exfoliation and should be rinsed thoroughly off the skin,” says celebrity esthetician Joshua Ross of SkinLab in Los Angeles.
Baking soda is alkaline, making the water feel silky and soothing without feeling outright slippery on your skin.
- 1 cup oats, ground
- 1/2 cup baking soda
Combine ground oats and baking soda in a sealed container. Draw a warm bath (as cool as you can stand), and add 1 cup of the baking soda-oats mixture. Relax in the bath for no more than 30 minutes. Then generously apply a healing moisturizer like aloe or coconut oil to still-damp skin when you get out.
8. Achy Muscle Oatmeal Bath
Combine oatmeal with Epsom salts to target tired, achy muscles. Magnesium relaxes the body while reducing soreness.
Make a sachet with the oats. Draw a warm bath and add the Epsom salts, then toss in the sachet. Soak for 30 minutes.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified pediatrician who has more than 20 years of practice experience. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
8 Soothing Oatmeal Baths
These soothing oatmeal baths are a great choice for calming skin irritation from sunburn, bug bites, and even eczema.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Bath and Body
Keyword: bath soak, oatmeal
Yield: 1 bath
Sunburn Relief Oatmeal Bath
Moisturizing Cucumber + Oatmeal Bath
Itch-Soother Chamomile + Oatmeal Bath
Coconut Milk + Oatmeal Bath Soak
Apple Cider Vinegar Oatmeal Bath
Sleepytime Lavender + Oatmeal Bath Soak
Silky Skin Baking Soda + Oatmeal bath
Combine the ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to a cloth sachet if using whole oats or toss directly in the tub if using ground oats.
Relax in the bath for no more than 30 minutes and then generously apply a healing moisturizer like aloe or coconut oil.
You can grind up old fashioned oats in a food processor or coffee grinder to get a fine powder. But, used too often, this might eventually clog your drain. (In my experience, an occasional oatmeal bath has been fine.)
If you’re worried about clogs, make a sachet with whole oats instead. Cut one leg of a clean pair of old pantyhose at the calf. Fill the sachet with whole oats and tie it closed. Drop the sachet into warm bath water and squeeze to release the milky oat liquid.