What exactly is pine tar?
Tar is the sticky, black stuff that comes from the bottom of your shoe when you walk on the road after a tar repair… right? Well, not quite! That tar is a different kind of tar—coal tar. Pine tar is actually made from pine trees!
Pine trees produce sap, which is made into pine tar. It has been used in medicine for more than 2000 years to treat various skin conditions. In modern times, it's produced by burning pine tree stumps in kilns. The heat makes a dark golden-colored paste that's high in resin. This product goes through further processing to remove toxic phenol levels and carcinogenic components that were once a concern.
How it works to heal skin
Pine tar helps to heal cuts and scratches faster, soothe irritated skin, and protect your body from infection.
Pine trees have an amazing ability to fight off infection no matter what happens to them in nature thanks to the sap that comes out when they get damaged. That sap contains antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and other healing properties that help the tree heal itself quickly.
That same sap is what makes pine tar so powerful for people too—it helps us cleanse our wounds and protect them from further damage by fighting off bacteria or fungus that could cause further irritation or worse.
Naturally healing eczema and psoriasis
When you are suffering from eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis or any other itchy, flakey or inflamed skin condition, it can be very difficult to find relief. You probably have tried many different methods to treat your skin but to no avail.
Most notable is Pine Tar’s use for eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and other dry itchy flaky or inflamed skin conditions. It provides immediate soothing benefits once applied to relieve itching, discomfort and irritation. Pine tar heals skin by reducing inflammation, DNA synthesis and mitotic activity. These properties help to support a return to the natural process of keratinization.
Pine tar also contains antimicrobial agents like polyphenols which help fight off bacteria and fungus. Along with this, it has an antiseptic effect on the skin due to its high content of phenols, resins and organic acids.
The skin has many layers, the outermost of which is called the stratum corneum. This layer of skin serves as a barrier to protect you from irritants, allergens and pathogens. It also protects your body from water loss and dehydration.
The stratum corneum is made up of dead skin cells that are rich in keratin. Keratin is a fibrous protein that makes up the outer layer of our hair, nails and skin. Keratinization is the process by which the skin's outer layer hardens to protect a specific area, and is important as many skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis have a connection to abnormal keratinization as well as altered immunity and inflammation.
This explains why skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis have flaky, scaley patches. Areas of high contact are more common and are more likely to be areas of repeated trauma or abrasion. The outer layer of the skin is damaged in some types of dermatitis. The natural barrier of your skin against irritation and environmental stressors is weakened, resulting in increased irritation in the area.
Applications of pine tar can help to bring moisture and protection to the area. In the case of psoriasis, pine tar can aid in the reduction of inflammation, plaque formation, and the removal of scales by slowing the growth of skin cells.