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Tabiano Sulfur Spa Soap
Deep cleaning, lightly-scented soap. Made with water from the therapeutic sulfur springs of Salsomaggiore Terme, Italy. Glycerine base, and also contains naturally antibacterial tea tree oil. (more info)
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Since the 1600s the mineral springs of Tabiano in Salsomaggiore Terme in Northern Italy has been renowned for its healing properties. High levels of sulfur at these springs make the waters particularly effective for skin ailments, and “taking the waters” at Tabiano was a beloved pastime of the wilting Italian aristocracy.
This soap (of the same name) is made with water from the spring, encapsulating some of the benefits of sitting in a pool of hot sulfuric water. At 10%, sulfur is known to naturally treat things like acne and skin allergies, but this soap has a mild 1% content — a maintenance level, just enough sulfur to provide a refreshing, squeaky clean for healthy (but dirty) skin, rather than a harsh curative dose.
Melaleuca leaf oil, also known as tea tree, is anecdotally believed to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties when applied topically, contributing to the soap’s cleansing powers.
Tabiano soap is scented lightly with the natural, camphoric scent of Melaleuca, and a few dashes of other oils. The end result is more medicinal than perfume-y — and the sulfur level is low enough so there are no devilish sulfuric odors to worry about.
Use Tabiano as you normally would a hand or bath soap: wet and rub. Its abilities really shine when you’re particularly filthy: after playing a game of soccer, working in the garden, or a long day of travel on public transportation.
The family of Vittorio Pignacca, who sold his first bar of soap in 1898, has been making Supersapone Tabiano since the early 1900s. It was a time of innovation and experimentation in soap science, when soap and cleanliness was drifting from a luxury of the rich to a practice for every man, woman and child (and along with it, the demise of the influenza-laden handshake).
Riding on an 1833 study praising the benefits of sulfur by one Tommaso Antonio Catullo, a naturalist, Vittorio formulated Tabiano soap. A hundred years later, Supersapone Tabiano has barely changed its bright art deco box, but continuing research on the part of Vittorio’s descendants (and a loyal buying public) has transformed this little sulfur soap into an entire line of beneficial body products that’s still backed by modern science.
Global Handwashing Day, World Health Organization
UWA Tea Tree Oil Research Group
A good read about a dark time in a spa town: Summer in Baden-Baden by Leonid Tsypskin, Google Books
4.4 oz (125 g)
–Melaleuca viridiflora leaf oil
Salsomagiorre Terme, Italy