Oats have been used for centuries on skin due to their soothing and healing properties. They are also a good source of beta glucan. Beta glucan, found in oat extract, is a complex carbohydrate known for its potent macrophage stimulating activity. Topical administration of beta glucan enhances wound healing by increasing macrophage infiltration into the wound area, and by stimulating tissue granulation, collagen deposition, re-epithelization, and tensile strength. The effect of beta glucan on wound repair also involves macrophage release of wound growth factors with subsequent modulation of fibroblast activity, which includes collagen biosynthesis. During wound healing, beta glucan stimulates both type I and III collagen production by activating fibroblasts, all of which increases wound tensile strength. It has also been shown that avenanthramides, a type of phytoalexin found in oats, have significant antioxidant activities, as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminic, and anti-pruritic activities.
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