Why You Want Our Eczema Ointments To Be Brown

Can you tell which one of these ointments was NOT crafted by Zi Zai Dermatology?

Can you tell which one of these ointments was NOT crafted by Zi Zai Dermatology?

The lovely thing about Zi Zai Dermatology is that we are a small company and we have total control over how we craft our products.  As a skilled herbalist in Chinese Medicine, I take the formulation of our products very seriously.  I formulate them on paper, make them by hand, then test them for efficacy in my own clinic before I allow them to be purchased by other practitioners or the public.  And I am always looking to make them better. Recently I came across a few interesting product reviews of our EczeHerbal Ointments that inspired me to write this post.  I want to clarify a few things for you so that you better understand why our ointments are crafted the way they are.

Why Are Zi Zai Ointments Brown?

Most customers expect ointments to be somewhat clear or light yellow in color.  None of Zi Zai’s ointments are light and clear.  Our ointments are rather dark in color: red, green, or most commonly, some shade of brown.  This is on purpose.  I realize it can be a nuisance if the ointment gets on clothing or fabric furniture or bed linens before it completely soaks into the skin.  But the color of our ointments comes from the herbs that we infuse into the oils. Darker ointments tend to mean that more herbal constituents have been imparted into the oil.  This makes for a stronger medicine.  You want our ointment to have this color because it means it has more healing herbs in it.

Why Are There Bits of Herbs In Zi Zai Ointments?

Most customers who haven’t yet tried Zi Zai Dermatology ointments are used to ointments that are clear with no particulates.  We used to make all of our ointments that way by filtering out all herbal material before making the infused oils into ointment.  But last year, for one batch of eczema ointments, we decided to see what happens when we leave the powdered herbs in the final product.  You know what we got?  Significantly improved clinical results!  I understand that some customers are initially displeased with our thicker ointments that have specks of herbs in them.  But you cannot argue with better performance.  If ointments with little herby bits are more effective to help your skin, then I’m leaving those bits in there for your benefit.

Why Are Zi Zai Ointments So Stiff/Soft?

I have heard from some customers that our ointments are too firm.  I have also heard from other customers that our ointments are too soft.  Aah, we cannot please everyone at the same time, obviously. We have a specific formula for how much beeswax or candelilla wax is added to our ointments – we add the same amount to each batch.  We want the final product to be firm enough that it does not melt into liquid during shipping or in warmer climates.  We want it soft enough that it is easy to get out of the jar and that it glides smoothly onto the skin.  Waxes become more firm in colder temperatures, so in the winter, you may find the ointment is a bit stiff and maybe a little harder to scrape out of the jar.  In the summer, or if you live in a warm climate like Florida or Singapore, you may find the ointment gets quite soft.  We have tried to find that happy middle ground where the consistency of the product isn’t one extreme or the other most of the time.  Also keep in mind that candelilla wax, which is used in our vegan ointments, is more brittle than beeswax and gives the final product a less smooth consistency than beeswax.  This is simply the nature of the ingredients.

 A New Ointment Option

We have recently made a new version of eczema ointment that we are currently testing out in our Fort Collins clinic.  We have taken the same herbal ingredients of our current EczeHerbal Ointments and infused them into coconut oil to make a salve that is easier to spread to over large areas of skin and absorbs more readily. Now, you don’t always want the salve to absorb so quickly – you want the herbal oil to remain in contact with the more superficial layers of the epidermis for as long as possible in many cases.  This is why we use ointments/salves instead of just herb-infused oils to ease the symptoms of some skin diseases.  So we are testing our new coconut oil salves to see if they are as effective as they can be and to determine packaging for shipping.  Unrefined virgin coconut oil melts at 76 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will be liquid during shipping most of the year.  This will be a problem if we don’t choose effective packaging.  Once we perfect this new eczema product, we will announce it here and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, so be sure to follow us on social media as well.

Tags: atopic dermatitis, atopic eczema, beeswax allergy, Chinese herbal medicine, dermatology, eczema, herbal medicine

Topics: Chinese Medicine, Eczema, Herbs for Skin Care

Publish Date: September 2, 2014     *Articles may include updates since original publishing.

About the Author ()

Diana Hermann is a licensed acupuncturist and board certified in Chinese Herbal Medicine. She received her Master Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland, OR and trained in China at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Diana treats patients in her Fort Collins, Colorado clinic and hand crafts herbal skin care products for her company Zi Zai Dermatology. In 2015, she completed the Diploma In Chinese Medicine Dermatology program from Avicenna in London, UK.

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  1. Joyce says:

    I have eczema, rosacea, dermatitis and one of those people who can’t use coconut oil because it makes my symptoms worse. Just thought I’d make a comment because I know im not the only one with this problem. So hopefully you continue selling old formulas. I’ve never tried your creams but thought you’d find this comment useful for you.

    • Excellent point, Joyce. Yes, we will continue to sell our regular ointments IN ADDITION to the EczeHerbal Coconut Oil. In fact, we intend to introduce more ointment options in the coming year (2017). One of the problems with using topical substances in the treatment of eczema (specifically atopic eczema) is that patients can develop hypersensitivity responses to substances over time. So it is important to “chop and change” (as one of my teachers would say) – rotate through different products used externally on the skin so these sensitivities have less of a risk of developing.

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