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Laurel Oil Benefits Your Skin and the Planet

Traditional Aleppo soap has been a powerful tool for natural beauty and skincare regimens for centuries. Aleppo soap comprises just […]

Laurel Oil Benefits Your Skin and the Planet

Traditional Aleppo soap has been a powerful tool for natural beauty and skincare regimens for centuries. Aleppo soap comprises just […]

Traditional Aleppo soap has been a powerful tool for natural beauty and skincare regimens for centuries. Aleppo soap comprises just three natural ingredients: laurel oil, olive oil and water. While the skincare benefits of olive oil are well-known, laurel oil might be less familiar to many people. 

Laurel oil's long history as a powerful aid to health and beauty routines is supported by hard science, with many recent studies supporting its efficacy and environmental benefits.

Ancient roots, modern science

The use of laurel oil in traditional Aleppo soap can be traced back to the ancient city of Aleppo, Syria, where it was valued for its cleansing properties and therapeutic benefits. In antiquity, it was one of the only skin-safe, natural resources that effectively killed germs and bacteria. 

To this day, Aleppo soap remains one of the healthiest means of natural daily cleansing. Its benefits are backed by hard science, with recent studies supporting laurel oil's efficacy in protecting skin from oxidative stress1 and treating various skin conditions2 while being gentle on sensitive or inflamed skin.3

Why laurel oil?

Laurel oil is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that offer myriad benefits for the skin. These components work together to nourish, hydrate and protect the skin, making it a gentle yet effective cleanser. 

The benefits of laurel oil include the following:

  • Antibacterial and antifungal properties — Laurel oil is a powerhouse with antiseptic, antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Eastern dermatologists and naturopaths widely recommend it for treating various skin issues, from acne, eczema and psoriasis to rashes, cuts and burns.
  • Anti-inflammatory action — Inflammation is a common cause of many skin ailments.  Laurel oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated skin and reduce the skin’s redness or puffiness, making traditional Aleppo soap with laurel oil a gentle choice for those with sensitive or inflamed skin.
  • Rich in antioxidants — Exposure to environmental pollutants can stress the skin and contribute to premature aging. Laurel oil's antioxidant content helps neutralize these stressors, protecting against damage. Regular use of traditional Aleppo soap contributes to a youthful and radiant complexion.
  • Moisture retention — Laurel oil is renowned for maintaining the skin's moisture balance. Its fatty acid content helps lock in hydration, preventing dryness and promoting a supple complexion. As laurel oil provides a natural barrier against dehydrating factors, traditional Aleppo soap is particularly beneficial for individuals with dry or sensitive skin.

Works in harmony with the environment

Laurel oil is a wild-crafted ingredient, meaning it’s harvested by hand from wild plants in their native habitat, free from genetic modification. It is a biodegradable compound harvested from a sustainable crop.

Laurel oil is derived from berries harvested from the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis). Bay leaves are a common seasoning and are often used decoratively on wreaths. Once established, bay laurels are a sustainable crop that can live for hundreds of years. The trees grow with very little water and enhance biodiversity by harnessing the potential of an underutilized species.

Harvesting laurel oil reduces the ecological footprint associated with mass-produced synthetic soaps.

  • Biodegradable — Unlike most commercial soaps laden with synthetic chemicals and artificial ingredients, laurel oil is 100% biodegradable. When it eventually washes down the drain, it poses less harm to aquatic ecosystems (and doesn't damage your home's water pipes!).
  • Locally sourced and sustainable — The cultivation of laurel trees for oil production is rooted in sustainable agricultural practices. By supporting small-scale farmers and traditional methods, laurel oil contributes to the preservation of biodiversity and enhances the livelihoods of communities engaged in environmentally friendly farming.
  • Underused — Laurel oil is pressed from an indigenous Mediterranean forest plant, Laurus nobilis, one of Earth's very few underutilized species, meaning it has the capacity for broader ecological uses. Not only is this plant environmentally sustainable, it can be used more widely and has yet to reach its full ecological potential.

Since Laurus nobilis is less well-known as other herbs and spices, such as rosemary and thyme, there is less demand for it. The plant takes a long time to mature, making it less attractive to commercial growers looking for plants they can harvest more quickly

As we navigate the vast landscape of skincare options, the benefits of ancient, time-tested remedies reign supreme. With its proven moisturizing, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, laurel oil remains a cherished ingredient, offering a natural and effective solution for those seeking radiant and healthy skin while treading lightly on the Earth.

Guest writer: This piece was provided by Lowy's Soap founder, Ben Lowy. Lowy's traditional Aleppo Soap announced their Non-GMO Project verification in January, 2024.


1 Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, 2015

2 International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2012

3 Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2015

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