Pine tar has been used throughout history, in shipbuilding and later in animal husbandry as it was discovered to have antimicrobial attributes. Now, pine tar is growing in popularity again as its beneficial properties are being rediscovered. It is now used in a variety of applications, including shampoos and soaps.
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Pine tar is a very sticky, black substance derived from burning pine wood under extreme heat. It was once used to treat wounds on farm animals, because of its antiseptic nature. Now it's used primarily as a wood treatment, such as on ships and railroad ties, but also in the tree-cutting industry, as a seal for fresh cuts to the wood. Pine tar can also be found in roofing products and certain paints. Thanks to its skin-soothing properties, pine tar is now being used in soaps, shampoos and oils, and even prescribed by some doctors for medicinal purposes.
Pine tar is helpful for treating numerous problems, including psoriasis. It is known for helping specifically with the scaling associated with psoriasis, helping your body slow the rapid build-up of skin that causes the scales. Pine tar helps the skin return to normal. Its anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing attributes make pine tar soap ideal for the treatment of eczema, hives, acne, insect bites, dandruff, contact dermatitis and seborrhoea. It also helps dry out blistery rashes such as poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Pine tar soap usually starts to work in about two weeks, although it can take much longer to reap the full benefits.
Pine tar soaps are also said to have moisturising benefits because of the pine oil. Many people tout its antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which help to make this soap a good deodoriser and odour blocker, for smelly areas from armpits to feet. Its antiseptic features make it helpful for basic first aid cleaning, such as for bug bites and minor scrapes.
The biggest factor to consider when using a pine tar soap is the smell. Although a few people have reported enjoying the smell, most people find it bitter and acrid. It can even be strong enough to bother those around you. In this case, you may want to "try before you buy." Smell the package and see if it's something that you--and others--will consider pleasant.
Making Pine Tar Soap
There are many fine brands of pine tar soap on the market, including some made in small batches by soap artisans. But you can also make your own soap. Pine tar is readily available online at animal supply shops and some soap making supply houses. You may also find it available through beauty supply shops. Making the soap is as simple as adding the correct amount of pine tar to your mixture. It should be noted that this is not for everyone. Making pine tar soap involves the process of lye soap making, which can be complex and hazardous. You also must make sure to achieve the correct ratio of pine tar to soap mixture, or your finished product will be far too harsh for your skin.
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