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Pine tar soap may be useful in alleviating the symptoms associated with psoriasis, extreme eczema, and other various skin conditions. The ingredient that gives it this reputation is pine tar, which is a sticky material derived from pine wood. While this soap may have curative properties, some pine tar can contain creosote or other harmful chemicals. These may have no adverse effects on some people, while others may experience rashes or other skin ailments. For those with sensitive skin, it may be advantageous to locate pine tar soap that does not contain any harmful chemicals, or to even make their own soap at home.
When pine is exposed to high heat in a low oxygen environment, charcoal and pine tar are the result. The quality and chemical composition of the pine tar depends largely on the composition of the original wood, and the conditions under which it was heated. For instance, exposure to smoke from the heat source may result in harmful chemicals forming in the tar. Pine tar is also used as a sealant, a roofing material, and even as an antiseptic for use on the hooves of cattle and horses. The positive effect it seems to have on conditions like psoriasis and eczema are what makes it attractive as a component in soap.
Pine tar soap can be purchased commercially or made at home. There are a number of commercially-available products, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Some varieties of pine tar soap will lather better than others, while some may contain undesirable ingredients, like creosote. People using it for skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, or those with sensitive skin may want to craft their own soap, or look for commercial brands that don't contain the sorts of chemicals or additives that might irritate skin.
Making pine tar soap at home in small quantities is a relatively simple process that generally involves mixing several ingredients under heat, and then pouring the mixture into a mold. Some of the ingredients necessary to make pine tar soap include oil, pine tar, lard, and lye. Since pine tar can be used as an antiseptic for horse hooves, it can often be found at feed stores, while the other ingredients should be more widely available. The process may be difficult for those who have never made soap before, though it is a sure way for those with sensitive skin to obtain soap that is free of any harsh chemicals.