by Will Hatoum June 02, 2021 2 Comments
Oatmeal is great in your cereal bowl, your meatloaf and in your cookies, but oatmeal in your dog’s shampoo? Really?
Yes, really. In fact, oatmeal was for hundreds, even thousands of years known more for its many benefits in skincare than for its use as a food. Ancient writers like Ovid and Pliny the Elder even spoke of oatmeal’s many healing properties.
More recently, research has verified these properties and discovered even more, showing colloidal oatmeal to bear many benefits as an ingredient in personal care products.
That’s why you are seeing colloidal oatmeal in the ingredients list of everything from facial cremes and masks, to bath products and, yes, even to pet shampoo.
First off, a quick chemistry lesson. A colloid is one of three kinds of mixtures, the other two being a solution and a suspension. In colloids, a substance is evenly distributed through the solution and itself is so fine it cannot be seen by the human eye but it is not so small that it is the size of a molecule. If smaller than this, it is a solution, and if larger, a suspension.
So that’s the chemistry of it.
When it comes to colloidal oatmeal, this is oatmeal that has been ground up and processed via a dry method (read “really fine and advanced milling”) or a wet method (think of a chemistry set) to achieve an extremely fine particle size, fine enough to achieve a colloidal mixture as described above.
Great. So what is so special about colloidal oatmeal? We’ll answer that below.
While the skin soothing and softening benefits of oatmeal in skincare have long been known, not known was the reason why it worked so well — until now, thanks to #science. It turns out these benefits of colloidal oatmeal are the same for humans, animals, and, yes, even dogs.
That’s why you are finding colloidal oatmeal in skincare products for humans and in pet care products like shampoo for dogs.
Here are just four benefits of colloidal oatmeal in dog shampoo:
Just like people, often dogs suffering from dry, itchy skin or from other skin maladies have alkaline skin. Healthy skin on the contrary is naturally slightly acidic, the acidity aiding the skin in its function as a defense against disease.
Now while often dog owners seeing their dogs excessively scratching themselves turn to bathing their dogs to relieve their discomfort, they need to be careful as their pet shampoo can cause further irritation. This is because soap by its very nature is alkaline as well. By putting alkaline soap on alkaline skin, they are adding fuel to the fire. While soap is helpful in removing dirt and excess oil from your dog’s skin and coat, it may cause more dryness, further chemically imbalanced skin and more discomfort. For this reason, it’s important to use a shampoo that naturalizes your dog’s alkalinity and restores healthy pH levels to your dog’s skin.
Colloidal oatmeal does exactly that. As it is slightly acidic, it normalizes your dog’s high pH levels, helping to return your dog to comfort. That’s why you find colloidal oatmeal in shampoos like Soothe-N-Itch Dog Shampoo.
Oatmeal contains certain chemicals called saponins which are known for their cleansing and foaming power. Added to soaps and shampoos, saponins give soaps that thick, soothing lather that not only makes you feel like you are getting whatever you are washing clean but that actually do help lift that unwanted dirt and oil.
Colloidal oatmeal in dog shampoo does the same, helping to make the bathing experience soothing and enjoyable for you and your dog, all while naturally lifting away the oil and dirt causing your dog to itch so much.
Oats bear a special antioxidant compound unique only to oats. Called avenanthramides, as antioxidants these compounds not only limit skin damage caused by free-radicals, but they have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Basically, these compounds slow down a number of body-biochemical reactions responsible for inflammation, pain and discomfort.
Research indicates “colloidal oatmeal as a whole exhibits antioxidant and anti-irritant activities, further demonstrating its effectiveness in the treatment of scaling, dryness, and itch.”
That’s why you find colloidal oatmeal in our dog shampoo, as oatmeal, by its very nature, is soothing to inflamed skin. It essentially throws water on your dog’s fire.
While you could technically say giving your dog a bath is rehydrating him as you are presumably dousing him with loads of water, while, yes, you certainly are getting your dog wet, ironically, you actually could be drying his skin out.
As we mentioned above, soap intrinsically robs oil and moisture from the skin. It’s what it does when taking all of that unwanted dirt and grime away from your dog’s skin and coat. If your dog is already suffering from dry, itchy skin, the soap could make his skin drier and make his suffering worse.
What you want for your dog is shampoo that restores and maintains the moisture in your dog’s skin.
Enter colloidal oatmeal.
In colloidal oatmeal there is a high concentration of polysaccharides which lend to colloidal oatmeal’s viscosity and its ability to adhere to the skin. This layer, once on your dog’s skin, creates a moisture-loving, attracting and maintaining film, creating a protective, hydrating barrier for your dog’s skin. Your dog’s skin, once a dry and parched desert, is now a life-giving rainforest.
The oatmeal counteracts the drying effect of the detergent component and actually hydrates your dog’s skin. That is why you see it in dog shampoo.
So after reviewing all of these benefits of colloidal oatmeal, perhaps now you can understand why you find it in skincare products and even more, in dog shampoo.
With all of that said above about the wonders of colloidal oatmeal, as amazing as it is, it is not a cure-all and, in some cases, should definitely not be used.
For example, colloidal oatmeal shampoo should not be used with dogs suffering from certain skin infections like yeast infections. Oatmeal is a carbohydrate which quickly breaks down into sugar which yeast loves to eat. In such situations, colloidal oatmeal could make a bad infection worse.
So, if you are in doubt or your dog has a skin infection, talk to your veterinarian to see what she or he recommend concerning your particular pup.
To sum it up, colloidal oatmeal in dog shampoo adds to its cleansing power the healing, soothing and hydrating properties needed for a happy, healthy and comfortable puppy.
Need a shampoo like this for your furry friend? Check out our colloidal oatmeal-bearing Soothe-N-Itch Dog Shampoo!
Why is my dog scratching so much?
Chemistry LibreTexts Physical and Theoretical Chemistry - Colloid
Being pet lovers ourselves, we strongly believe that every pet deserves to live a long, healthy, and fulfilling life, and strive to help with all your pet needs, one challenge after another!
For that, quality is at the forefront of our minds, and our number one concern. That's why we only use 100% natural ingredients to make products that improve your dog's life. We only make products that our own pets love and use, and do rigorous testing to make sure our products have the highest quality!
January 11, 2020
Great news! I love oatmeal soap for me and lol forward to trying it on my brother’s pups, too. Thanks for the useful information!
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Love collodial oatmeal shampoo for our pup! She has super dry skin and our vet recommended it. This article was fantastic and very helpful.