Monday, September 09, 2013

Coal tar anyone?

It seems I am behind the times - as so often is the case - in my liking for a proper bar of soap to wash my hands. My children all prefer liquid soap and judging by the diminished choice in Sainsburys, so does the majority of its customers.

I've been using Palmolive for years but recently I've noticed it's not as soapy as it used to be. Either the soap has changed or the local authority/water board has, without telling me, started sneakily adding chlorine to water making it hard. I suspect the former is more likely.

So, today, in the supermarket I dithered between the few remaining choices. In the end I opted for Dove (with added moisturiser) and a bar of Pears see-through soap, but while I was there I had to have a sniff of the Wrights Coal Tar soap - excuse my foible. For some reason I mostly associate it with Great-auntie Lottie who lived in Air Balloon Road (and isn't that a wonderful place to go on holiday?) in Bristol. 

Puzzling over why anyone would want to wash with coal tar, which sounds thoroughly unpleasant, I did a bit of browsing. It seems that coal tar is a very effective treatment for psoriasis and generally is good for the skin - which I can believe: it smells as if it would scrub you clean. However the EU in its wisdom has declared it unfit for human use unless medically prescribed. So today we have Wright's traditional soap with coal tar fragrance. (I believe it now contains tea tree oil for its antiseptic properties.)

It wasn't always thus though.


Furtheron said...

My Grandma always had that. We've gone over anti-bacterial liquid soap in the kitchen.

Liz said...

Yes, in the kitchen we use squeezy soap too . Husband doesn't like it though in the bath - he uses soap to wash not shower gel or anything new-fangled like that!

Leslie: said...

I use the liquid in the kitchen and downstairs loo but bar soap in the bath & shower. Palmolive, Dove, Jergens, or Pears.

Liz said...

Similar brands then, leslie. I'm not including the very expensive ones obviously!

Robyn Lee said...

I remember coal tar soap from way back. Unfortunately, I have to be careful what I use to wash with otherwise I come up in a very uncomfortable itchy rash. People tend to look at me sideways if I'm continuously, although trying to be unobtrusive about it, scratching.

Ole Phat Stu said...

Liz, try the hand made (in the Black Forest) soaps from :-)

Their email is

They don't appear to have an english web page, but I think the pretty twin girls who work in their shop in Bad Wildbad speak English :-)

SWMBO particularly liked the rose and the lavender soaps.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

My hubby has to have a bar of soap in the bathroom , and likes Pears soap , ,, or which ever one takes his fancy.

I prefer liquid soap the way forward :-)

Liz said...

As I said, robyn, coal tar is good for skin complaints.

Sounds expensive, stu! Though undoubtedly lovely.

Husband has to have a bar of soap in the shower, anne. No gel for him!