A first date. A job interview. A dinner with friends. A parent-teacher conference. There are so many situations in everyday life when you want to make a good impression. Dandruff can make these situations uncomfortable—especially when someone cracks an insensitive joke about “snow” or pretends to dust off your shoulders with their hands.
Dandruff, of course, is not merely annoying or unsightly. A bad case of dandruff can be severely itchy and even painful. Large flakes of yellow dandruff, scaly and cracked skin, and a burning sensation can all accompany those tell-tale white flakes, and you may be at your wit’s end about how to get rid of it.
Pine tar soap for dandruff is an age-old remedy that many Packer’s Pine customers swear by, and their allegiance is often generations old. Because Packer’s Pine has been made in the USA continuously since 1869, we have a long line of fans who wouldn’t use anything but our pine tar soap to soothe and hydrate their itchy scalps.
The History of Pine Tar Soap
The use of pine tar soap for a variety of skin care needs goes back perhaps thousands of years. Pine tar was originally a product of Scandinavia, where it was used as a wood sealant and protectant. Pine tar is a byproduct of heating and compressing pine wood in specially made kilns. We now use it in skin preparations due to its antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties as well as its ability to hydrate skin while it soothes itch and irritation.
The Causes of Dandruff
- It’s cold outside, and it’s dry inside—Sometimes we underestimate the effect that the elements can have on our skin. In colder weather, our bodies require additional hydration as well as fat and increased nutrition in order to maintain our body temperature and equilibrium. In short, cold weather is simply harder on our systems all around. When you add the harshness of the winter cold to the drying effect of indoor heating on your skin, it’s no wonder that scalp conditions can crop up once the temperature drops.
- You have fungal overgrowth on your scalp—So we’ve established that cold weather can cause dandruff, but what if it’s the dead of summer, or you live in a warm, humid climate, and your scalp is flakier and itchier than ever? Don’t worry—we believe you. There is a form of dandruff that is caused by a fungus called Malassezia, and this can strike at any time of year. Malassezia fungus is a common microbe found on the scalp. This fungus feeds on scalp oils, leaving oleic acid in its place. If your body overreacts to oleic acid, it may attempt to rid itself of this acid by speeding up the process of skin renewal, which causes skin to turn over too quickly, creating flakes.
- Seborrheic dermatitis is affecting your scalp—This skin disorder commonly affects areas of the skin that have oil glands, particularly the scalp. It can cause itchiness, flaky skin, or a rash. Many people with seborrheic dermatitis go through periods of flareups, and after a time the condition recedes. Flareups can be triggered by cold weather, certain prescription drugs, hormonal changes, and stress.
- An allergic reaction is manifesting on your scalp—Any food or environmental contaminant may be the cause of an allergic reaction that causes dry or itchy skin. Talk to your allergist. An allergy test and/or elimination diet may help you get to the bottom of this.
- You have contact dermatitis—Here is another cause that may be difficult to pinpoint. Shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, mousse, or any other product applied to the hair should be considered as a potential cause. You may also want to consider your water source and whether it contains heavy metals or other contaminants; a shower head filter may be helpful.
- Your scalp is too oily—As mentioned above, fungi can get out of control when feeding on scalp oil. It may help to keep oil and, thus, fungal infections under control by washing frequently with Packer’s Pine Tar Shampoo.
- Stress—It seems like stress can manifest in nearly any symptom in the body, and dandruff is no exception. It’s important to make time every day to do stress-busting activities such as working out, meditation and deep breathing, walking your dog, or anything that relieves stress for you. Even 20 minutes per day can make a significant difference to your health.
Eczema and Psoriasis on the Scalp
These similar skin conditions can both affect the scalp, masquerading as dandruff or simply making it worse. However, there are a few differences that can help you to tell one from the other. Luckily, pine tar soap for dandruff is known to soothe and improve both of these conditions.
Psoriasis on the scalp is marked by patches of scaly, sometimes itchy skin that are bordered by a red ring. Psoriasis flareups may come and go depending on stress, environmental factors, and sun exposure. Psoriasis sufferers note that exposure to the sun often helps their skin. That’s because UV light can inhibit the overgrowth of abnormal skin cells that are implicated in the disease. This may be why pine tar soap has proven helpful in controlling psoriasis; pine tar has anti-mitotic action, meaning that it may reduce DNA synthesis of the abnormal cells, promoting a return to healthy skin.
Eczema is slightly different. It has the potential to cause far more itch than psoriasis, and it usually does not respond well to heat and sunlight. Still, our customers have found pine tar soap to be useful for eczema as it is anti-fungal and anti-itch. Plus, it has antiseptic properties, so it is helpful in keeping skin clean of bacteria that can infiltrate open, weeping sores.
Packer’s Pine Tar Soap for Dandruff Every Day
Dandruff can be a year round problem, as we’ve outlined above. And the embarrassing flakes that show up on your shoulders are only the beginning. It’s the itching that can really drive you crazy, and that’s what needs to be treated. This is exactly why we created our unique pine tar shampoo.
Packer’s Pine Tar Shampoo has the same itch-fighting properties as our bar soap and body wash. Because pine tar is known to be antifungal and antimicrobial as well as hydrating, customers report that they will not use any other shampoo for dry scalp once they’ve tried Packer’s Pine. We have created a strong but gentle formula that is designed for daily use. So we recommend this shampoo not only when you have an acute case of dandruff, but we advise customers to go on using it every day once their scalp condition has healed in order to prevent dandruff from coming back.
Why Does Pine Tar Soap Work for Dandruff?
When you think of dandruff, pine tar might not be the first thing that comes to mind. There are popular mass market dandruff-fighting shampoos and scalp preparations that everyone knows about. Whether or not they actually work is a matter for experimentation. Here at Packer’s Pine, we know that many people are left frustrated when these shampoos don’t work—and even leave their scalp feeling worse off than before.
Not everyone has heard of pine tar soap for dandruff. Those who try it, however, often become customers for life. They may not know how it works, but they clearly know the difference between a head full of itchy flakes and a clean, fresh, calm scalp.
Pine tar is a natural substance that is made similar to the way artisans made it hundreds of years ago. Pine tar is a sticky, viscous substance that remains when pine wood is heated in a kiln to extremely high temperatures. We often forget how powerful plant byproducts can be, but our ancestors knew well that pine tar could be used to ward off insects, protect wooden ships and furniture, and as a natural steroidal substance.
When pine tar is applied to skin abnormalities, the results can often be surprising. This natural substance has properties that are considered to be antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, and anti-pruritic/anti-itch. A clear benefit to natural products is that all of their component parts are intact and in the balance that nature intended them to be. We believe that these are some of the reasons that our pine tar soap is so effective for dandruff.
Here are some of the compounds found in pine tar and their effect on skin:
Phenol—Phenol has disinfectant and antifungal properties. It gives pine tar soap and shampoo their cleaning power and may help dandruff that is caused by a fungal issue.
Turpentine—Many people are familiar with the use of turpentine as a paint thinner. It may surprise you to find out that turpentine is a natural byproduct of heating pine wood to a very high degree. It contributes to pine tar soap’s antifungal and antimicrobial benefits.
Rosin—Everyone likes the idea of natural soap, until they use it and find that it doesn’t make that satisfying lather the way their old soap did. Rosin, a natural component of pine tar, gives our soap a natural lather so you get that sudsy feeling—along with the extra exposure to the suds for your itchy, scaly, irritated skin problems.
Toulene—Also naturally occurring in pine tar, Toulene carries the piney, smoky scent of pine tar, bringing you back to childhood camping trips or cabin retreats. Most people find that the scent of pine tar fades fairly quickly post bath or shower—but it sure is nice to enjoy the smoky scent of pine tar while it lasts!
Potentially Toxic Ingredients in Mass Market Anti-Dandruff Treatments
Pick up a bottle of mass market dandruff shampoo or conditioner. You’re likely to find a long list of ingredients that can strip your skin, leaving already sensitive skin worse off than it was before. And common ingredients such as parabens can have a negative effect on your entire system. Should you really be putting up with harmful ingredients in a futile attempt to get rid of dandruff? Pine tar soap for dandruff contains natural active ingredients that promote healing of skin tissue without causing even more health problems.
Here are some ingredients to be aware of:
Synthetic Fragrances—Let’s consider this for a moment: If you’re suffering from a dry, itchy, painful, burning scalp, do you really need to add fragrance into the mix? We have nothing against personal care products that smell good, but at what cost does your shampoo smell like coconut or fruit or flowers? Synthetic fragrances are notorious for irritating skin. So if the label lists a generic “fragrance” as an ingredient, skip it to protect your already sensitive skin.
Phthalates—These compounds are often added to personal care products as stabilizers and to control the viscosity of the product. Unfortunately, they are endocrine disrupters—and they’re not always listed specifically on the label.
Urea and Formaldehyde—Yes, you read that right: formaldehyde. And urea is an ingredient that can release formaldehyde into the product as it ages. While these compounds may help to preserve some shampoos and conditioners, they can wind up causing allergic reactions and irritated skin. Doesn’t that seem counterproductive?
Triclosan—Triclosan, a potential toxin and skin irritant, may be added to personal care products to prevent bacterial growth. Of course, pine tar is naturally antibacterial, so there’s no need for synthetic preservatives in our products.
Selenium Sulfide—Many countries have banned this ingredient due to the toxic impact it may have in the kidneys and liver. In the US, however, you may find it lurking on your shampoo’s ingredient list.Parabens—Again, while this chemical may keep your shampoo clear of mold growth, it is also considered to be an endocrine disruptor.
Ways to Use Pine Tar Soap Shampoo to Improve Dandruff
Pre-treating your hair prior to using our pine tar soap for dandruff is an excellent way to get an additional boost of hydration or cleansing for your itchy scalp. Try these home remedies with ingredients most people will already have at home; otherwise they are easy to obtain.
- Pre-condition hair with olive oil and shea butter: An hour before shampooing, mix a tablespoon of olive oil with three tablespoons of shea butter and whip with a fork until you have a thick lotion. Apply to hair and wrap in a towel or plastic. Then rinse with Packer’s Pine Tar Shampoo. Unlike coconut oil, this mixture will rinse away easily, and after several applications and rinses, your scalp should feel soothed and hydrated.
- Try aspirin—Aspirin may aid in detoxifying your scalp. Crush two pills finely and add to Packer’s Pine Tar Shampoo. Shampoo gently and leave in for two minutes, then rinse.
- Use a baking soda mask—Baking soda has dozens of household uses—your grandmother probably knew many of these and used them all the time.
- Because baking soda is alkaline, it is good for killing germs, neutralizing odors, removing stains and oils, and as a mouthwash and toothpaste. You may also find that it helps your itchy, flaky scalp. Mix baking soda with water to form a paste, then apply the mixture to wet hair. Leave on for 5 to 10 minutes, then wash away with Packer’s Pine Tar Shampoo.
- Pre-treat with lemon juice—If your scalp isn’t irritated or covered in cracked skin, try adding lemon juice to water and running it through your hair to loosen flakes and prepare for shampooing with Packer’s Pine Tar Shampoo.
- Do an apple cider vinegar rinse—Mix three parts apple cider vinegar with one part olive oil and leave on hair for at least 20 minutes before shampooing.
- Mix tea tree oil into pine tar shampoo—Mix a couple of drops of tea tree oil into Packer’s Pine Tar Soap and wash thoroughly, being careful not to allow any of the lather to get into your eyes.
Always check with your healthcare provider when trying new remedies on scaly, open, or irritated skin.