Oatmeal is more than just a cereal that helps lower high cholesterol. Your skin’s surface will also enjoy a bowl of this nutritious grain. Oatmeal contains avenanthramides, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that soothe itchy, dry and irritated skin. Oatmeal is also great for acne-prone skin because it may absorb oil from the skin’s surface. All of which makes oatmeal a perfect ingredient for facial masks. The first three masks are fine for most skin types, and are typically safe even for those with sensitive skin (although it’s always a good idea to chat with your derm before trying a new product or treatment, especially if you have existing skin concerns). Meet the Expert

  • Jordan C. Carqueville, MD, is president of the Chicago Dermatological Society and medical director at The Derm Institute of Chicago.
  • Dr. Natalie Yin is a board-certified dermatologist at U.S. Dermatology Partners practicing in Colorado.

Keep scrolling for some of the best oatmeal face masks to soothe and improve skin. Watch Now: 3 DIY Oatmeal Face Masks

Instant Oatmeal Mask for All Skin Types

Viktoryia Vinnikava / EyeEm / Getty Images You actually can use instant oatmeal for this mask if you’d like—just make sure it doesn’t have any flavoring and other additives. (If you’re not sure, get plain oats). Oatmeal is good for treating inflammation and skin redness. You can also use colloidal oatmeal (oatmeal ground to a fine flour). «Colloidal oatmeal, which is a fine powder of ground oats, has been shown to enhance the skin barrier, improving moisturization,» says Dr. Jordan Carqueville, a Chicago-area dermatologist. «It is used for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown in studies to provide symptom relief of dry skin and eczema. It can be used for both children and adults to reduce dryness and scaling of the skin.» Oatmeal flakes are also easier to use for homemade exfoliating scrubs than large granules. Directions: Cook one serving of oatmeal. Allow to cool (you can also use slightly warm, but never hot). Apply to the affected areas. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with cool water.*

Oatmeal & Honey Face Mask for All Skin Types

Tetra Images / Getty Images As board-certified dermatologist Dr. Natalie Yin explains, oatmeal «has a decades-long history of being used for a variety of skin conditions.» «Colloidal oatmeal has been shown to not only have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties but also reduce itch and promote the integrity of the skin barrier,» Yin says. «For this reason, colloidal oatmeal has been shown to be helpful as adjunctive therapy in eczema patients who often have compromised skin barriers and altered skin microbiome composition.»
Honey is a great humectant to hydrate the skin and lock in moisture, and also has antibacterial properties. Ingredients

  • 1 serving oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Directions: Cook one serving of oatmeal. Add two tablespoons of honey to hot oatmeal. Allow the oatmeal to cool and then apply to the face. Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with tepid water.

Apple & Oatmeal Exfoliating Mask for All Skin Types

Larry Washburn / Getty Images Apple is antioxidant-rich. It also contains an AHA called malic acid, which removes dead skin cells. Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties, soothes irritated skin and is good for sensitive skin. Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • Few drops of rosewater

Directions: Mix 2 tablespoons applesauce (you can also cut, peel and core a ½ medium-sized apple and puree in a food processor), 1 tablespoon honey, and 2 tablespoons oatmeal together, with a few drops of rose water. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with tepid water.

Oatmeal Face Mask for Acne-Prone Skin

Jordi Salas / Getty Images According to Yin, «while colloidal oatmeal has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties and may function as an effective cleanser due to its rich saponin composition, the data surrounding the use of CO to treat acne is not robust. «Baking soda is often used to gently exfoliate dead skin cells, however, and may also help open and deep cleanse pores, clearing away blackheads and absorbing excess oil from the skin. Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Water (just enough to make a paste)

Directions: Grind two tablespoons of oatmeal in a blender or food processor. Add one teaspoon of baking soda to the oatmeal with enough water to make a paste. Apply the oatmeal paste onto clean, dry face. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water.

Oatmeal Face Mask for Oily Skin

PeopleImages/Getty Images The ingredients in this mask are all healing, and for various reasons. Lemon is an astringent, and vitamin C is great for skin brightening and diminishing dark marks from acne and skin discolorations. Vinegar is acidic and has antiseptic properties, which gets rid of bacteria. It might also help restore the skin’s pH balance. Some people use white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar, but white wine vinegar is milder. Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons colloidal oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions: Combine ingredients into a paste. Apply to clean face, massaging gently in circular motions. Leave on no more than five minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Oatmeal-Yogurt Face Mask for Oily/Combination Skin

Johner Images / Getty Images As Carqueville notes, this mask will work best with colloidal oatmeal, which is perfectly safe to use yourself. «Colloidal oatmeal is FDA approved for over the counter skin care. The side effect profile is minimal, and it is rare to have an allergic reaction to colloidal oatmeal,» she says. Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup cooked oatmeal
  • 2-3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions: Mix the yogurt, oatmeal, and honey. Apply to face and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with cool water.

Oatmeal Face Mask for Oily, Congested Skin

Rochelle Brock / Refinery29 for Getty Images If you can’t find oatmeal flakes, Carqueville says you can still try a DIY mask — just ensure you grind the oats first. «It is possible to grind whole oats at home, but the particle size may be larger than finely milled colloidal oatmeal, thereby limiting some of the effects,» she says. «One may consider using the colloidal oatmeal in baths or as a paste for a mask.» This mask is simple and requires ingredients you likely have at home already. Ingredients

  • ½ cup of cooked oatmeal, cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ mashed apple

Directions: Combine ingredients and apply to face. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Oatmeal Face Mask for Dry Skin

Westend61 / Getty Images «By reinforcing the skin barrier, colloidal oatmeal has demonstrated efficacy in retaining skin moisture and moisturizing dry skin. In fact, it was FDA approved in 2003 for its use as a ‘skin protectant,’ » says Yin. «With respect to its antimicrobial functions, CO contains saponins which are compounds with the ability to form soap-like foam when mixed with water.» Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oatmeal flakes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions: Mix together oats, lemon juice and honey. Apply to face. Rinse with warm water.

Oatmeal Face Mask for Dry & Mature Skin

deniskomarov/getty images This mask packs a one-two punch thanks to the oats and the bananas. Because of their anti-bacterial properties, bananas may help blemishes heal. Ingredients

  • ½ cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil
  • ½ mashed banana
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions: Combine ingredients and apply to face. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Oatmeal Face Mask for Inflamed Skin

PeopleImages / Getty Images Almond oil is good for aging and dry skin. Egg whites are meant to draw out excess oils and the yolk is meant to moisturize. Some people like to use just the egg whites in masks for skin toning. Key Ingredients Almond oil is a hydrator that is rich in vitamin D, vitamin E, and various minerals. It helps soothe the skin from irritation and protect it from UV radiation damage. Ingredients

  • ½ cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil

Directions Combine ingredients and apply to face. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water or remove the mask with a washcloth. Just make sure the washcloth isn’t too rough and gently wipe (don’t rub) off the mask, especially if you have sensitive skin. Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images. Earlier this week, Meghan Markle’s longtime hairdresser, George Northwood, finally broke his silence and came forward as the man behind the Duchess of Sussex’s messy bun for the past two years. The public reveal, made possible by Markle and Prince Harry’s decision to step down from their royal duties, marks one of the first times any member of Markle’s glam team has been able to reveal the inner workings of the royal’s routine. After reading the British Vogue interview with Northwood, my mind went to Markle’s facialist, London-based esthetician Nichola Joss, who prepped her skin for the royal wedding. The Duchess’ official skin-care routine has yet to be disclosed, but Joss did impart her general wisdom on me in an interview last January, and passed along a few DIY face mask recipes in the process. What better time than right now, when I’m makeup-free in self-imposed isolation during COVID-19, to test out Joss’ at-home tips? So, I got out some oats, honey, and a small mixing bowl and stirred up one of the face-mask concoctions Joss recommended to me last year. My experience with the simple at-home treatment, ahead.

The Reason

During my original interview with Joss, she told me why she loves a mix-it-yourself facial: You control exactly what ingredients you’re putting on your skin. «I think at-home face masks are amazing, and I fully endorse them,» she told me. «When you make a mask yourself, you know exactly what’s going on your skin.» There are a few specific pantry ingredients she’s particularly fond of. «Turmeric is an amazing ingredient with a lot of benefits. It’s calming and helps relieve inflammation and congestion, and you can mix in coconut oil, if your skin responds well to it,» she said. «Egg whites may help with brightening. But my favorite recipe is oats and honey mixed together — it makes for a quick, easy, gentle exfoliating mask.»

The Recipe

I’m sold on the «gentle exfoliating mask.» Plus, I already have the two pantry ingredients it calls for: oats and honey. The oats have to be cooked, so I basically make oatmeal, combining a cup of dry oats with equal parts water before nuking it in the microwave for a minute and a half. Then, I add two tablespoons of honey, stir it all up, wait for it to cool (so I don’t burn my face), and apply it. I leave the mask on for 15 minutes before washing it off.

The Experience

More than just being super simple, this recipe delivered more than enough mask to cover my face in a thick layer of lukewarm oats, so my sister partook in the homemade treatment, too. We both started with dry skin and spooned the mixture straight from the bowl to our faces. The application was, in a word, messy. Because oatmeal is lumpy by nature, it was hard to spread the mixture evenly without globs of gummy oats sliding off my chin. It wasn’t the most luxurious masking experience I’ve ever had — I looked like the victim of a cafeteria food fight during breakfast for lunch — but it felt pretty soothing, with zero stinging or tingling.

The Results

After washing my face with water from my kitchen sink (I didn’t want to put clumpy oatmeal down my bathroom drain) and drying it off, my skin definitely felt softer and a little more hydrated, too. It wasn’t a huge glow-up, like I get after a glycolic acid peel or deep moisturizing mask, but I definitely noticed that my cheeks looked more touchable afterwards, and my sister and I both received unsolicited compliments from my mom when she got home from the grocery store. If you’re looking for an at-home beauty treatment that’s cheap, easy, and doesn’t require you to leave your kitchen, it’s worth giving this gentle oats-and-honey face mask a shot. That said, I’d consider splurging on oat flour next time instead of rolled oats to cut down on the mess — which seems like the kind of discerning upgrade Meghan Markle would approve of.

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