Also called urticaria, hives are red welts on your skin that are often quite itchy. They can appear anywhere on your body. Taking a bath with colloidal oatmeal may help moisturize and soothe inflamed skin.
With the help of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, oatmeal
- loratadine (Claritin)
- cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
To help with itch relief, your doctor might also recommend home remedies such as an oatmeal bath. This treatment uses colloidal oatmeal that’s finely ground for easy mixing into warm bathwater.
You can buy pre-made colloidal oatmeal in stores or online. You can also purchase regular oatmeal from the grocery store and grind it to a fine powder yourself with a blender or food processor.
If you put some of the powder into a glass of water and see that the water is turning white, you know you’ve ground the oatmeal enough.
Then, follow these steps to make the bath:
- Fill a clean bathtub with warm water. Be sure the water isn’t hot since temperature extremes can make hives worse.
- Pour about 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal under the stream of water coming from the faucet — this helps mix the oatmeal into the water. The amount you add may change depending on the size of your tub.
- Once the tub is at your desired level, give the water a quick stir to mix in all the oatmeal. The water should look milky and have a silky feel.
Your doctor will have a recommended length of time you should stay in the bath. Generally, soaking for 15 minutes can be really soothing to the skin. Staying in the water too long can actually dry out the skin and make inflammation worse.
When getting into and out of the tub, remember that the colloidal oats can make the tub exceptionally slippery. When you’re done, use a soft towel to blot and pat yourself dry — rubbing can further irritate your sensitive skin.
Some advocates of natural healing suggest that adding other ingredients to an oatmeal bath will improve the experience and suggest including:
The benefits of these additions aren’t backed by peer-reviewed literature or clinical studies, so check with your doctor before changing the recipe for a standard oatmeal bath. Extra ingredients could aggravate your condition, and some people might actually be allergic to ingredients like lavender or olive oil.
When experiencing the itchiness of hives, many people find relief by soaking in a colloidal oatmeal bath.
Before trying this approach for itch relief, check with your doctor to ensure that the colloidal oats will help and not aggravate your condition.
If your doctor approves, you can buy colloidal oatmeal, or you can easily make it yourself.