A few years ago, on a trip to Japan, I began to notice an itchy patch on my hand. With every flight it worsened, sometimes even cracking and bleeding. My teammates called it my “dinosaur hand.”
After a particularly hectic period of travel, the patch began to spread all over my body. My dermatologist put me on a steady course of oral and topical steroids, strengthening the prescription with every visit. But the problem persisted.
Out of desperation, I wondered if the 200-year-old beauty transcript that inspired me to create TATCHA might have any references on how to treat severely dry, itchy skin. Intrigued by a reference to natural indigo plants, I started researching further, and soon became fascinated by the plant’s storied history and — more importantly — the extract’s potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Recently published medical research into indigo’s rich actives, indirubin and tryptanthrin, showed they helped soothe prostaglandins beneath the skin, halting the inflammatory response and allowing the skin to begin healing itself. I was excited to begin experimenting with the powerful botanical.
We received the blue powder from the grower and passed it along to our chemist. I asked him to add it to our Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream, so that I could test it on my hands. He told me I was crazy, and I would soon learn why.
Back in San Francisco we received a small white lab jar, a sample of the Indigo treatment. When I opened it, I was shocked at the deep blue color - the reason our chemist had been hesitant. Trusting in the wisdom of our book, I coated it on my hand and covered it with a bandage. I felt immediate relief and was finally able to sleep through the night without waking up in an itchy haze, something I had not experienced with the steroids.
In the morning, I removed the bandage and washed my hand, rinsing away the remaining blue tint. To my astonishment, I could clearly see the healing process had begun. This encouraged me enough to apply the cream for another two weeks, and my eczema faded away. Moreover, it has yet to reappear.
We decided we had to bring the treatment to life, and in order to maintain the integrity and efficacy of the indigo extract, we decided to keep the natural blue color too.
Because this balm is unlike anything you may have encountered, I wanted to offer a few tips and tricks from my experience to help you maximize the benefit.
- The Soothing Renewal Treatment is not an anti-aging face cream. It is perfectly safe to use on the face if you’d like, but does have a slight medicinal smell and will leave skin tinged ever-so-slightly blue.
- We have heard some anecdotes that, if a flare is felt early enough, the treatment is effective at pre-empting the eczema. I have personally found the treatment to be more effective on some types of eczema breakouts than others.
- We have carefully tested the treatment for eczema, and there is recent medical research indicating indigo’s success in treating psoriasis. Anecdotally, we have heard of good results for various inflammations in the skin outside of those two conditions, but we are always seeking feedback.
I would love to hear your own experiences with the Soothing Renewal Treatment, so please don’t hesitate to share your story or reach out with questions.
Chief Treasure Hunter
published January 2014
Photo 1: Showing my hand to our chemists and thanking them for their amazing work. Below, my 'dinosaur hand' before and after using the Indigo Soothing Renewal Treatment.