If you’re on the roller coaster of psoriasis, or have been in the past, you know how stressful and painful the journey can be. Just when you think it’s under control, a stressful event like a job loss or an unexpected family event can cause a flare up, and you’re back to square one. And the treatments that worked during the last flare up may not work again. It can be disheartening to say the least.
If you’ve never used pine tar soap for psoriasis, we encourage you to give it a try. While pine tar soap is not considered to be a cure for psoriasis, it may help to inhibit the production of diseased psoriatic cells at the same time that it soothes the inflammation and hydrates the skin’s surface. And when your skin is in remission, it may help to prevent flare ups. In your battle against psoriasis, pine tar soap is a strong weapon.
Pine Tar—An Age-Old Remedy for Skin
The history of pine tar as a medicinal goes back thousands of years. It is traditionally obtained by heating pine wood to extremely high temperatures and collecting the thick, sappy resin that results. Hippocrates described his use of it more than 2,000 years ago. Due to its waxy nature, it was used in Scandinavia as a boat wood sealant and is still used as a wood treatment today. It can buffer the wood from outside elements and seal in moisture. Perhaps even more impressively, it is used in farming operations to prevent hoof disease in horses and cattle.
As a preparation in human skin care, it goes back at least 100 years and can currently be found in toothpaste, deodorant, soap and shampoo. Pine tar soap for psoriasis is a favorite among our long-term customers, who find that it is useful as a daily preventative as well as a treatment bar. Our shower gel doubles as a bath treatment, so those with psoriasis covering a good deal of their skin surface can benefit from soaking up the healing qualities of pine tar.
Types of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease which causes the body to target healthy cells as intruders and attack them. It causes red, inflamed skin with raised, flaky, silvery white patches referred to as scales. Psoriasis can take on different appearances and manifestations. It can be red/black and scaly or spotty and flush with the skin. Scales may be thin, thick, or nonexistent. Psoriasis may even affect fingernails and toenails.
Here are a few of the most common types:
Plaque psoriasis—Upwards of 80 percent of psoriasis cases are classified as plaque psoriasis. It’s itchy, scaly, red or purple in color depending on skin type, and tends to affect the left and right sides of the body relatively symmetrically.
Guttate psoriasis—This form of psoriasis presents as red, scaly, tear-drop shaped spots that are much thinner than plaque psoriasis scales. It can affect most parts of the body, but it doesn’t appear on palms, feet, or nails.
Inverse psoriasis—Inverse or intertriginous psoriasis is a form of the disease that appears in the folds of skin—under the breasts, in the armpits, in the groin area, etc. It is usually painful and itchy. Friction and sweat can make the condition worse. Inverse psoriasis generally does not have scales and is often present in those with other forms of psoriasis.
Sebopsoriasis—This type of psoriasis is similar to seborrheic dermatitis. It most often appears on the scalp and face and presents as a bumpy, itchy plaque, yet it can make skin oily as well. Sebopsoriasis flakes are yellowish and greasy.
What Causes Psoriasis?
As mentioned above, psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack its own healthy cells and tissue.
Psoriasis can affect the entire body or just limited areas. Commonly affected areas include elbows and knees, palms and feet, the scalp, fingernails and toenails, and even your face and inside your mouth.
Scientists have begun to understand psoriasis as part of a more global metabolic disease, in part because it so often presents with other diseases and disorders. Psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other disorders are often related to psoriasis. The good news is that treating one or more of these can help your psoriasis, and vice versa.
Drugs That Treat Psoriasis
Treating psoriasis is a complex undertaking that may require combining treatments and changing them up when your first or second protocol isn’t working. A synthetic vitamin D cream is often prescribed in conjunction with a steroid cream or UV light therapy.
For severe cases of psoriasis, biologics that are made with living cells may be helpful, although they are not as well known or understood as steroidal treatment. In order for treatment to be successful, it is vital to take your medication as directed every single day.
Over time, the body may create antibodies to a particular treatment and attack it, thereby creating resistance and the need to switch medications.
Lifestyle Habits That May Improve Psoriasis
There may often seem to be no rhyme or reason to your psoriasis symptoms. Most psoriasis sufferers try different habits and lifestyle tweaks to see what may improve and worsen their skin. You can never be sure when relief may be around the corner, so it’s important to experiment to find out what sort of improvements you can make.
Stop smoking—Cigarette smoke has been directly proven to make psoriasis worse. Even secondhand smoke has a negative effect.
Exercise—Regular exercise helps all of the factors that contribute to systemic diseases like psoriasis. Bringing down blood pressure, improving diabetes, and controlling metabolism will all help your psoriasis, and exercise is vital to all of these.
Manage stress—Anxiety and depression fuel inflammation in the body, and inflammation is a major factor in psoriasis. Cutting out harmful relationships, doing yoga and meditation, spending time outdoors, and volunteering your time and energy are all helpful ways to create balance and optimism.
Eat healthy—We all know this is important, so why is it so hard? Making small changes will create results and encourage you to keep making healthier choices. You could start by banning trans-fat from your pantry. Or replace sugary snacks with fruit and smoothies. Or take a healthy cooking class to learn new techniques and recipes. If you make it fun, the results will come far more effortlessly.
Cut alcohol intake—Alcohol is another inflammatory substance. Your body is already taxed in working against the inflammation, so making its job even harder by forcing it to break down and eliminate alcohol is compounding the situation even further.
Get out in the sun—UV therapy is a time-tested treatment that improves many patients’ psoriasis. Sunlight, of course, is a cheap and easy alternative.
Use pine tar soap daily—The antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory properties of pine tar make pine tar soap for psoriasis the natural choice for your daily shower or bath. Pine tar has also been shown to inhibit DNA synthesis of diseased cells, which may be a factor in pine tar soap’s effectiveness against psoriasis and other skin conditions.
Work on gut health—Studies continue to pile up about the importance of gut health to the health of practically every system in the body. Removing food irritants, using probiotics, and eating clean may help your psoriasis over time.
Apple cider vinegar—Apple cider vinegar seems to be useful in treating a vast array of skin abnormalities. It is too harsh for cracked skin, so try soaking a limited area in a tub of water and apple cider vinegar before adding it to your bath.
The Skin-Clearing Ingredients in Pine Tar Soap
If you’ve heard about pine tar soap for psoriasis, you may be wondering why it can be so effective. And while you may feel like you’ve tried just about everything, pine tar soap is a little different.
Because pine tar is a completely natural product, the anti-pruritic (or anti-itch), antiseptic, and antifungal properties it offers are in synergistic balance with each other. In other words, the components in pine tar are in their natural composition and ratios. This is nature’s brew, not an extract created in a laboratory. Our customers report feeling an unusual sense of cleanliness along with skin that is moisturized and protected after using pine tar soap. This is particularly important in psoriasis, which can sometimes cause dryness, itching, and greasiness all at once.
You can rest assured the extensive studies have shown pine tar soap to have few if any negative side effects when applied to the skin.
Here are the main components of pine tar:
Phenol—Phenol acts as a disinfectant and fungicide, purifying skin in combination with the other ingredients, but never stripping it.
Turpentine—Most of us know turpentine as a paint thinner, but in the naturally occurring quantity found in pine tar, it has antiseptic qualities that are readily used by the skin. A similar component found in tea tree oil may also be helpful for skin conditions.
Rosin—Rosin is a naturally occurring component of pine tar that creates an enticing soapy lather. Synthetic soaps use sodium lauryl sulfate, a toxic surfactant that can cause eye and skin irritation. Because our pine tar soap does not use sodium lauryl sulfate or other caustic ingredients, we can say that our products are safe without harming animals to prove it. That is, our products are 100 percent cruelty free.
Toulene—Toulene carries the woodsy fragrance of pine tar that our long-time customers know and love. You won’t go around smelling like a campfire all day long, though! Once your skin has dried, the famous Packer’s Pine scent will fade quite quickly.