Pine tar is made by heating the resin from pine trees in a closed container, which causes it to liquefy and become tar-like. The resulting product is dark brown or black in color and has a distinct smell that is often described as “earthy” or “woodsy”.
Pine tar has been used since ancient times for the preservation of wood. It was commonly used to protect wooden items from water damage and for waterproofing boats and ships.
For over a century, topical products containing pine tar have been manufactured and used around the world to treat ailments like psoriasis and eczema.
In recent years, the use of pine tar has expanded to include personal care products such as soap and shampoo—which may contain up to 2.3% pine tar. In this blog post, we’ll examine some of the benefits of using pine tar soap.
1. Helps treat atopic dermatitis or eczema
Eczema is a skin condition that affects a large number of people around the world. It is characterized by inflammation, itching, and redness—all of which can make it painful and uncomfortable.
Bathing with pine tar soap is often recommended as a remedy for people suffering from eczema because of its ability to reduce itching. Pine tar soap contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, and may be partly responsible for this effect.
In addition, pine tar contains resin, which has antiseptic properties. This means that it can help prevent infection in areas where the skin is broken or damaged, which is common in eczema patients.
2. Helps treat psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by the formation of red, itchy, and scaly patches on the skin. While there is no cure for psoriasis, there are treatments available to help reduce its symptoms. One such treatment is the use of tar soap, specifically pine tar soap.
Pine tar soap has been found to have antiproliferative and keratinisation properties, which can help reduce the proliferation of skin cells that contribute to the buildup of psoriasis plaques, thereby reducing the severity of symptoms. Research published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology supports the use of tar-based products for treating psoriasis.
3. For dandruff and other scalp conditions
Pine tar soap is an effective and natural remedy for dandruff and other scalp conditions. Studies have shown that pine tar is effective against pityrosporum ovale, a type of yeast that can cause dandruff and other scalp conditions.
In Turkey, pine tar has been used topically for the treatment of Alopecia, a condition characterized by hair loss.
4. As an insect repellent and for mosquitoes
Pine tar soap has a strong odor that repels insects such as ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes. You can use it on your skin or clothing to keep pests from coming near you—the smell of pine tar is not appealing to pests.
Before World War II, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended the use of pine tar soap as an insect repellent because it was both effective and pleasant smelling. Pine tar is effective at repelling insects because it contains aromatic hydrocarbons. These compounds give pine tar its strong smell, but also make it an excellent insect repellent!
5. Helps to soothe poison ivy and oak
Urushiol oil is present on the leaves, stems, and roots of poison ivy, oak, and sumac plants, and can cause severe itching, redness, and blisters on the skin. Pine tar soap helps to neutralize this oil, reducing the severity of the reaction and providing relief from itching and discomfort.
Because pine tar soap removes the oil that causes poison ivy, it can help prevent future outbreaks if you regularly use it to bathe. The ingredient is often included in soaps made to treat poison ivy symptoms.
6. It may help remove dead skin cells
If your skin is dry and flaky, using pine tar soap may help slough off dead cells—without the need for loofahs or scrubs. Pine tar is also a natural antiseptic and can help to fight off infections. This makes it an excellent choice for those who want to get rid of acne or other blemishes on their face.
In conclusion, pine tar soap is an effective treatment for combating bacterial infections and decreasing inflammation in the skin. It can be used to treat a wide range of conditions including eczema and seborrhoeic dermatitis.
Dermatologists generally consider pine tar soap to be safe and effective for use, but you should always follow the advice of your own doctor or dermatologist if you have questions about whether it is right for you.