Allergy to Oatmeal Skin Moisturizers

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Allergy to Oatmeal Skin Moisturizers

Various over-the-counter moisturizers, particularly Aveeno products, contain oat proteins typically referred to as colloidal (finely milled) oatmeal. According to various studies, oats are useful for treating skin inflammation, helping the skin retain moisture, and soothing the skin. However, for people allergic to oats, skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and contact dermatitis actually worsen with the use of oat-containing moisturizers.

A study published in 2007 assessed the rate of allergy to oats in children with atopic dermatitis. It found that nearly 20% of children had reactions on skin tests to oat proteins, and over 15% of these children experienced allergic reactions after eating oats. In addition, patch testing showed reactions to oat in 32% of children who used oat-containing moisturizers (and nearly 50% of children less than 2 years of age). Patch testing showed no reactions to oat in children who did not use oat-based moisturizers.

While colloidal oatmeal-containing moisturizers have been shown to help in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, some people (particularly children under 2 years of age) may be allergic to oats. Parents should be cautious when using these products for children with atopic dermatitis, especially for infants and toddlers. If you’re concerned that your child may be allergic to oats, or if his or her skin condition seems to be worsening despite the use of an oat-based moisturizer, you may want to see your doctor.

Find out more about good skin care techniques for atopic dermatitis.


Boussault P, Léauté-Labrèze C, Saubusse E, Maurice-Tison S, Perromat M, Roul S, Sarrat A, Taïeb A, Boralevi F. Oat Sensitization in Children with Atopic Dermatitis: Prevalence, Risks and Associated Factors. Allergy. 2007;62(11):1251-6.

Grimalt R, Mengeaud V, Cambazard F. The Steroid-Sparing Effect of an Emollient Therapy in Infants with Atopic Dermatitis: A Randomized Controlled Study. Dermatology. 2007;214(1):61-7.

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