DIY Skincare: Oatmeal Cleanser, The Discovery

Have you ever had any experience with dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin is quite different from having dry skin. When skin is dehydrated, it is usually irritated to the point where the barrier function of your skin is compromised and moisture escapes. When this happens, your skin feels dry and rough to the touch, even scaly. Irritated skin usually comes with redness, itchiness and sometimes, when you put some skincare products on it, you may even feel some burning sensation.

My skin has always been oily so it came as a big surprise to me that I suddenly suffered from dehydrated skin. I know what could cause skin to become dehydrated – repeated contacts with harsh ingredients (such as alcohol), exposure to harsh climates, allergy, eczema and stress, to name a few – but I never actually singled out what could be the exact reason why. Apart from moving to a new place, I almost didn’t change any of routines, so I had no idea why I came from having relatively problem-free skin to very problematic skin!

Anyway, it was about 2 months ago that I started to notice the changes. Every morning, after I finished washing my face with my regular face cleanser, my skin started to look red and it felt slightly itchy. I’ve always had problems with some mild redness, so I ignored it and continued with my moisturizer, which usually soothed my skin and tone down the redness. But when I did apply my moisturizer, I felt some burning sensation and the redness did not disappear. As the day progressed, my skin kept on feeling drier and drier and became very very itchy! When I touched my skin, I could feel how rough and scaly it was, which really scared me. I tried putting on some “safe” cream during the day (product containing no alcohol or fragrance) thinking it could provide extra hydration, but it irritated my skin even more. I also tried putting on some thick night cream and hydrating mask, but it didn’t help. The next morning, I still woke up with dehydrated and hyper sensitive skin.

This is how my skin looked like during one of the worst days I had (no makeup)

So I was in such dilemma. The itchiness and “tautness” I felt was making me feel very uncomfortable, but I was scared of putting anything on my skin because I didn’t want to aggrave the problem even more. I couldn’t put on any makeup either, if I had to go out and meet people, the only thing I could manage was to put on a thin layer of powder foundation, gel blush, mascara and lipstick. Even if I tried using liquid foundation, because my skin was severely dry, the foundation wouldn’t sink into my skin and it just sat on top of it, making the dry patches look even more pronounced. I felt miserable.

Anyway, I was planning to visit a doctor because the problem didn’t seem to want to go away on its own, but before I did that, I sent out a few tweets about this condition. Someone who followed me pointed out that maybe I should try the oatmeal cleanser and she told me to go to FD forums to read more about it. I slapped my forehead. Of course! Female Daily Forums has a very resourceful Homemade Skincare Remedy thread I’ve ever read on, how could I forget? Immediately I logged on and read the thread again from start to finish. Apart from seeking info from our beloved forum, I also visited Bubz Beauty blog. She had a similar problem, probably even worse, and this oatmeal cleanser did not only recover her skin but also making it look clear, healthy and glowy!

I actually have read about the benefits of oatmeal for our skin, it just never occurred to me that you could actually apply it directly to your skin just as it is. Oatmeal can relieve and soothe extra dry skin, remove impurities from skin, as well as serving as a mild exfoliant to remove built up dead skin cells, so our skin can appear smoother and brighter. Even more fantastic thing about oatmeal is, the protein in it leaves a protective barrier on the skin, which helps prevent water loss so the skin can stay moisturized.

So without giving it a second thought, and feeling a bit desperate anyway, I immediately tried it the next morning. I used instant rolled oats (Quaker Oats) which I had lying around in my kitchen cabinet. I was glad to know that the first time I used it as a cleanser, it didn’t burn my skin. In fact, I was surprised to find how soft and supple my skin felt only after that first time use. Pretty amazing! I applied some moisturizer afterwards feeling a bit cautious. It still felt a little hot on my skin when I spread the cream around my face, but not as bad as before. My skin also felt less itchy throughout the day.

I continued using this cleanser every morning and every night for the next 2 weeks. Just after 3-4 days, the itchiness and redness started to reduce dramatically. After the first week, I no longer felt that burning sensation everytime I put on my skincare and I could even start to wear my foundation again! By the end of the second week, I could say that my problem was completely gone. My skin recovered nicely and returned to its normal state. I had no more itchiness and dryness, and though I still had some redness, it is very mild compared to before. It even came with some impressive bonuses too. My skin feels more supple, clearer and brighter. I had a stubborn pimple mark on my right cheek that has completely disappeared now ever since I started using oatmeal cleanser. As if that’s not enough, I also noticed that the milia that I’ve collected over the years on my under eye area are starting to disappear too!

This is how my skin looked like after about 2 weeks of using oatmeal cleanser (also no makeup on).

I have never felt more satisfied with the result of a new skincare routine! And to think that all it took was something so readily available and cheap!

So now, even after my skin has recovered, I still use oatmeal as my daily facial cleanser in the morning. A few things I should add though; during this recovery period, I only used moisturizer that contains 25% shea butter specially formulated for dry or dehydrated skin. I didn’t use any toner or serum, or any other product which I suspected contained some irritants. I still used my regular eye cream, which thankfully never caused any problem even when my skin was at its worst. But I didn’t use any sunscreen for the first week and tried to stay away from the sun as much as I could. But after I felt that it was safe to start using sunscreen again – meaning I didn’t feel the stinging or burning sensation anymore – I went back to my regular sunscreen habit. I would also like to stress that if you try this cleanser and you find that your problems do not get any better or get even worse, please go to your doctor immediately.

Lastly, I know some of you probably have this question in mind: how do I apply oatmeal as a cleanser? I will answer it in my next article, with step by step pictures! Please stick around for that!