An oatmeal bath is a warm bath in which oatmeal is added to the water. Though any type of oatmeal can be used, it is generally best to choose oatmeal that has been ground more finely so it interacts best with the water. This type of bath is used for relaxation purposes, as well as to soothe itchy skin irritations. Poison ivy or poison oak, for example, might feel better if treated in this type of soothing bath. Dry skin, eczema, or chicken pox can also be temporarily relieved with a warm oatmeal bath. Keep in mind that very hot water can irritate the skin, so it is best just to run the bath with lukewarm water to prevent further itching.
One benefit to an oatmeal bath is that it is safe for people of all ages, including babies, and can be a great way to help babies who are suffering from dry skin without needing to apply lotions that can include strong chemicals. For older teens or adults, additional ingredients can be added to an oatmeal bath to make it more soothing and relaxing. Epsom salts can help to soothe sore muscles, for example, while scented lavender oil can help to increase feelings of relaxation.
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Specific instructions for making an oatmeal bath can be found by searching online, but it is pretty hard to get it wrong. Simply run some water in the tub, sprinkle in the oatmeal, and continue running water to the desired height. It should look slightly milky; if not, just add a bit more oatmeal. If an individual prefers not to sprinkle the oatmeal directly into the water, another option is to put it into a mesh bag similar to a large tea bag, and allow it to soak into the water that way. Soak in the tub for as long as desired; generally 20 to 30 minutes, then pat the skin dry. Patting the skin instead of rubbing can help to prevent the skin from becoming itchy again.
Additional lotion can be applied after the bath, but it may not be necessary, because the oatmeal is very moisturizing. Because it is so gentle on the skin, some people find that taking multiple oatmeal baths per day can be helpful for painful skin conditions, such as eczema. Some people even add some milk to the water for its moisturizing properties. An oatmeal bath is one of the simplest and easiest ways to treat the skin without using chemicals.