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It seems everywhere we turn, there’s a new natural product that promises incredible results. We’ve said it before (and we’ll happily say it again), natural products can be great, but they’re not necessarily the best and they’re not necessarily safer than products with so-called “chemicals.”
The New-Oriental Panacea Herbal Medication Soap by Oripan ($14.99, amazon.com) is an all natural, chemical free herbal face and body bar soap. In addition to cleansing pores, it claims to assist in healing of acne, reduce itching due to eczema, psoriasis and many other skin irritations.
So does this natural bar soap hold up? Overall, I liked the ingredients, though I’m not sure how powerful they are for cleansing, and I found the powdery feeling the soap leaves behind to be a little unpleasant.
Palm Oil: Rich in Vitamin E
Palm oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fruit Elaeis guineensis. It is a great source of vitamin E, which is known to be an antioxidant that helps protect and repair skin. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals formed by the body when oxygen is used. Free radicals are one of the culprits responsible for the cancer and the aging process. Below the epidermis is a thick layer called the dermis, it consists of a network of elastin and collagen that gives skin a smooth appearance. Over years, amount of collagen in the dermis declines and both collagen and elastin are cross-linked with other fibers giving a saggy or wrinkly appearance (Cornell Center for Materials Research: An NSF MRSEC).
Something interesting that was not noted on the packaging, palm oil may also have anti-skin tumor effects. A study examined 12-O-Tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA), an oxidant that promotes tumorigenesis (formation of tumors) and the anti-tumor effects of palm oil. The experiment examined the effects of mice treated solely with TPA and mice treated with palm oil one hour before being treated with TPA. The take home message of the study suggests pre-application of palm oil may be inhibiting early biochemical responses of tumor production (National Center for Biotechnology Information).
Propolis: Full of Benefits
Propolis is made by honeybees through a combination of resin of beeswax, bark, leaves, and nectar. It is known to contain all known vitamins except vitamin K (Universidad Francisco Marroquin). Propolis is made up of over 300 constituents but only a handful of them have experimental evidence of biological activity (Apidologie).
Beeswax being one of the constituents of propolis, is especially good for dry skin. It reduces itching, due to Eczema, Psoriasis, Dermatitis and many other skin irritations. In one study on patients with eczema using a mixture of honey, olive oil, and beeswax, researchers found that 80 percent of Eczema patients showed improvements in itching, scaling and oozing, and 63 percent of participants showed significant improvements (Complementary Therapies in Medicine).
Additionally, propolis is used to heal wounds, act as an anti inflammatory, and an anti-viral. One study applied propolis to minor burns and observed the same healing effects as people treated with silver sulfadiazine, a prescribed ointment (University of Maryland Medical Center). Also, an anti-viral study concluded viral entry of HIV-1 was inhibited in CD4 lymphocytes (Journal of Ethnopharmacology). The study focused on flavenoids, moronic acid derivatives and caffeic acid and concluded all of the listed compounds possess anti HIV-1 activity.
Jojoba Oil: Perfect for Thirsty Skin
Jojoba Oil is also known as Simmondsia chinensis. It was mainly produced to replace sperm whale oil which has been banned since the 1970’s. The benefits on Jojoba oil are similar to sperm whale oil. Jojoba oil is easily extracted from Jojoba nuts, and its properties make it even better! It is easily absorbed into the skin and is resistant to evaporation, which makes it ideal as a natural moisturizer to combat dry skin (Space Coast Health Institute).
Jojoba oil in this cleanser utilizes the idea of the Oil Cleansing Method. The idea behind it is that “like dissolves like,” and jojoba, which is similar to sebum found in human skin, could help to clean skin. In addition to acting as a natural moisturizer, Jojoba oil maintains the outer layer and natural oils of the skin that keeps skin hydrated (Harvard Health Publications).
Personal Use and Opinion
After Oripan sent us New-Oriental Panacea Herbal Medication Soap by Oripan and I checked out the ingredients, I was excited to try it out. The bar soap has a distinct, strong, powder floral scent and had a silky lather when a little bit of water was added. I used it as a body and facial cleanser as indicated on the box and it was smooth when applied. After rinsing, I had a chalky feel to my skin which was disappointing. I think that some people might find the chalky feeling to be rather unpleasant.
All in all, New-Oriental Panacea Herbal Medication Soap by Oripan is good if you are looking for a natural bar soap with plenty of vitamin E and antioxidants. Propolis has many beneficial properties; it contains beeswax, which is known to reduce skin irritations, and flavenoids, which act as an anti microbial agent among others. New-Oriental Panacea Herbal Medication Soap by Oripan is a great mild cleanser with the addition of Jojoba oil. Overall, I liked it, but I didn’t enjoy the powdery feeling after using it.