A simple ingredient with a not-so-simple name, Avena sativa is better known as the humble oat. Used in everything from haircare to hand cream, Avena sativa packs a punch when it comes to nourishing dry and irritated skin.
The chances are, if you suffer from the dreaded itch that comes with dry, sensitive skin, you’ll have already come across a product that lists Avena sativa amongst its active ingredients, but how does adding oats to skincare work, and does it live up to the hype?
Let’s find out.
What Is Avena Sativa?
Avena sativa is the Latin name for a species of grass known as common oat. When the plant matures, its seeds become the oats that you buy from the supermarket, but if it is harvested while the plant is still green, its leaves and stem can be used to create oat straw extract. The extract is naturally high in iron, zinc, manganese and antioxidants, as well as having a number of reported health benefits.
Avena sativa is available as a tincture, powder or capsule, and is often added into moisturisers for its soothing effect on the skin. The mature oats can also be used in skincare, being ground down to create a fine powder known as colloidal oatmeal.
How Does It Work?
It’s believed that oat straw extract may have a range of benefits to the body, including improving blood flow, boosting brain function and even stabilising mood. But while those aspects are still being studied, what we do know is that Avena sativa works wonders for dry and itchy skin.
Oat straw extract contains a particular group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which have been found to reduce inflammation both internally and on the surface of the skin. In addition, many skincare products combine the extract with colloidal oatmeal, which has its own skin-benefits.
Colloidal oatmeal creates a barrier on the skin to protect it against irritants and also contains water-binding polysaccharides and hydrocolloids which bind moisture to the skin and offer emollient properties. This moisturises dry skin and helps to maintain the skin’s natural pH balance.
Who Can Benefit From Using Avena Sativa?
As Avena sativa is a gentle, natural product which is well-tolerated, it can be used safely for all skin types. However, anyone who suffers from dry, itchy skin, and particularly those who struggle with eczema, will find Avena sativa particularly beneficial.
While there are many products that fight the inflammation of dry and sensitive skin, not many can relieve the accompanying itch. With some moisturisers gentle enough for use on infants, a cream that combines colloidal oatmeal and oat straw extract is a lifesaver for soothing itchy skin, even during a flare.
What Products Contain Avena Sativa?
Avena sativa can come under a range of names, depending on the type of product used. When searching for it in your ingredient list, look for oat straw (stem) or oat kernel (seeds). Here are just a few of the products you’ll find Avena sativa in:
With its moisture-locking properties, its no surprise that oats make a fantastic ingredient for hair care, as in this Weleda Oat Replenishing Shampoo. Nourishing the delicate skin on the scalp and bringing hydration to dry, brittle hair, this shampoo strengthens hair from root to tip.
Is there anything worse than the feeling of razor burn? With oat kernel extract, Lab Series Razor Burn Relief Ultra soothes irritated skin and calms redness, while aiding the skins natural healing process. Best of all, it’s fragrance-free so it can be used by anyone unlucky enough to be dealing with razor induced itching.
For a creamy moisturiser which deeply soothes and hydrates, Givenchy Hydra Sparkling Velvet Luminescence Moisturizing Cream is a great choice. With oat extract and hyaluronic acid, the cream offers superior hydration for smoother, brighter skin.