Ancient soap supports A HEALTHY SKIN BARRIER

A natural soap made by Syrian refugees living in Turkey using a recipe that’s hundreds of years old. It’s a sto that’s compelling even before the benefits are explained.


Sabun olive oil soap, aka savon d’Alep, makes you feel good in many ways. It naturally cleanses and moisturise­s your skin, helps with problems like eczema and psoriasis and is more sustainabl­e than massproduc­ed products packaged in plastic. What’s more, it gives you the warm feeling of knowing you’re helping a refugee family from Syria.

Originatin­g from the ancient city of Aleppo, Sabun is made with just five ingredient­s – olive oil, bay laurel oil, water, salt and lye. It’s golden brown on the outside and jade green on the inside, a result of the nine-month ageing process that makes Sabun less alkaline than ordinary soap, and therefore better for maintainin­g your skin barrier.

In New Zealand, Sabun is imported and distribute­d by Alison Hollier. Here’s the story behind Alison’s discovery of Sabun.

“While I was living in the Middle East, a friend gave me some Sabun because I had eczema. At first I found the smell unusual, but I quickly got over that because my skin improved so much after using it. When I returned to New Zealand,

I began importing Sabun to help people with unhappy skin.”

Who’s Sabun good for?

• People with eczema, psoriasis or atopic dermatitis: Sabun helps with skin barrier dysfunctio­n, which is the root cause of itchy skin conditions.

• Dry skin su erers: Skin barrier dysfunctio­n is also the cause of dry skin, so switching from shower gel to Sabun could really make a di erence.

• People with excessivel­y oily skin: Over-production of skin oil happens when skin is overwashed, becoming “squeaky clean”. Sabun cleanses gently without excessive lather to support the skin’s acid mantle, which helps to minimise oil production.

• Older people with fragile skin: Old skin is thin, so it needs cleansing that also moisturise­s.

• Babies and children: Brand new skin also benefits from the gentle care of Sabun.

How can you use Sabun?

Sabun can replace any product you currently use for cleansing your body or hair. Rub it on your washcloth for a moisturisi­ng all-over clean in the shower; use it instead of shampoo for a gentle hair wash; rub it on stains before clothes go into the wash; use it instead of shaving foam; and, if you’re a true minimalist, try it on your toothbrush. Sabun has a number of devotees who use it as a non-plastic toothpaste alternativ­e.

The test of true Sabun soap

As is often the case with iconic products, there are copycats making fake Sabun. So how can you tell if your Sabun soap is the real deal? Easy! In a basin of water, Sabun naturally floats – a result of tiny air bubbles trapped in the soap during the manufactur­ing process.

Sabun is available at health food stores, organic stores, selected pharmacies or at

Damp walls, slippery floors, misty mirrors and peeling paint are all caused by shower steam. Steam is created when warm, moist air and cold air mix, and over time, it can negatively a ect not only the bathroom but the adjoining room. Damp presents the ideal conditions for fungi and bacteria to grow, potentiall­y leading to serious health problems like allergies and eczema.

According to the Energy E iciency and Conservati­on Authority (EECA), the average shower releases 1.5 litres of moisture into the air. To prevent this, the EECA recommends putting a lid on your shower to avoid dampness.

Showerdome® is an innovative product that prevents steam forming in the bathroom. A clever New Zealand invention from engineer Ken Evans, Showerdome® acts as a barrier between warm and cold air in the bathroom, which means no steam. It’s also New Zealand owned and operated, and all products are manufactur­ed in Evans’ hometown of Tauranga. A ordable and stylish, Showerdome® is a clear acrylic dome manufactur­ed in a range of shapes and sizes that simply attaches to your shower cubicle to prevent steam formation. Research conducted by a New Zealand university shows that Showerdome®, when used correctly, can pay for itself within two years.

Katherine Douglas is no stranger to the phrase ‘take a chill pill’. She’s worked in the family business, Douglas Pharmaceut­icals, for most of her career and heads up the marketing and product developmen­t for Clinicians and BraveFace.

The latter is a range of herbal supplement­s designed to tackle stress and worry from every angle, and while a chill pill is an imaginary medicinal pill with a calming, relaxing e ect*, there is nothing make believe about the soothing e ects of BraveFace’s formulatio­ns.

For starters, BraveFace uses liquid herbs at therapeuti­c doses. “Unfortunat­ely, in our industry you can make claims on a product without having enough of the active ingredient in the formulatio­n to achieve the desired result,” she explains. “Our research team dove into the evidence behind each of our ingredient­s and calculated exactly how much of it we need.”

When Douglas was developing BraveFace, she had no idea its launch would coincide with the start of a global pandemic.

Pre-pandemic she’d noticed more and more people talking about how they were experienci­ng anxious feelings – including herself – so when one of the naturopath­s she worked with mentioned she was getting amazing results dispensing liquid passionflo­wer for its calming e ects, she decided to investigat­e.

After two years of research working with naturopath­s, scientists, researcher­s, formulator­s and regulators, BraveFace’s launch was indeed timely.

A three-part system, BraveFace comprises CoolHead day spray, HeadRest night drops and LiveCalm daily capsules.

“The hero ingredient of our CoolHead and HeadRest formulatio­ns is passionflo­wer. It is a powerful herb that has been used traditiona­lly for decades for its calming e ect and as sleep support. It is clinically proven to have anxiolytic and calming e ects due to its ability to calm the nervous system,” says Douglas. “We also added gotu kola into our CoolHead day spray to help support focus, as research showed that focus is a key concern when people are experienci­ng stress. It acts as a brain tonic and supports memory and cognition.

“In our LiveCalm formulatio­n, we used adaptogeni­c herbs ashwagandh­a and holy basil. They help our bodies adapt to stress by normalisin­g the cortisol stress hormone. It helps us get out of fight or flight mode and into rest and digest.”

Receiving feedback from customers is her favourite part of the job. “When someone writes to us to say ‘I slept for eight hours for the first time in years’ or ‘I finally feel on top of my stress levels’ thanks to one of our products, it’s so rewarding.

I also think it’s pretty amazing that nature so often has the answers to our health concerns if we just know where to look.”

People’s attitudes towards natural health supplement­s is night and day from when she started in the industry. “I often get told by sceptics ‘it’s just the placebo e ect’. The interestin­g thing is that around 30 per cent of any medication, natural or prescripti­on is placebo. So yes, this is a factor but our evidence suggests that the benefits go beyond placebo and frankly, if you are getting the desired result, isn’t that what matters?”

Her tips for selecting a quality supplement include checking the back of the pack to see if a brand is listing the excipients (everything else that is in a supplement that is not the active ingredient­s). “If they aren’t it’s probably not because they don’t have them but because they are hiding them. Hot tip – liquids and capsules require less processing than other formats,” she says. “I have noticed a big trend towards ‘excipient free’, ‘filler free’ or ‘preservati­ve free’ which sounds great but in reality, it’s not always best and excipients are not always bad. Excipients are often an important part of a formulatio­n to get the product functionin­g as it should. For example, it is very hard to manufactur­e capsules without a flowing agent or the product cracks, and in liquids it is important to use a preservati­ve system to prevent the product from growing yeast and mould.”

And check a brand is disclosing its excipients (they don’t have to) and the types used. “We use excipients derived from wood pulp and rice hulls, for example.”

Look for brands that are formulatin­g at therapeuti­c doses and try to avoid novel formats such as gummies. As yummy as they are, often they can’t fit enough of the active ingredient inside to have a therapeuti­c e ect.

Upfront with Katherine Douglas, founder of stress-busting BraveFace.

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 ?? ?? Master Sabun maker Muhammed Baghdadi
Master Sabun maker Muhammed Baghdadi
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