Oh wow, I thought you could absorb some vitamins or nutrients through the skin potentially. I hear that different fats and oils have different penetrative properties, I thought perhaps those that are known to go deeper and incorporate more fully into the skin could bring some benefits along with them. I appreciate your helpfulness, I've been really impressed by the whole community on here in general.It's no problem at all. There is more than plenty of soap to go around, so it defeats the purpose of not encouraging or providing you with the information you need to be the best that you can be.
Yes, no, maybe. Soap...no; it's simply not on the skin long enough...along with the whole caustic soda and saponification. And while lotions are a leave-on products thus you can get the benefit, you also have to remember that they are also 70%-80% water which means that the benefit has been by 70%-80%...actually more because there are other other ingredients. To take @DeeAnna's example of honey just a step further...we know that honey has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be put on wounds to promote rapid and improved healing...my Grandma used it all the time. But if I add a bunch of water to it, the only thing it's good for is sweet tea.
And there is a big difference between ingesting something, and putting it on your skin. Our skin is composed of three layers...the Epidermis, Dermis and Subcutaneous Layer. Pretty much everyone we put on our skin never makes it past the Epidermis and that is because the Epidermis is a natural barrier. It's what protects us against germs and other nasties, it's why washing our hands with soap and water is so beneficial. Orange Juice contains a ton of Vitamin C, but even if I fill the tub with it and soak in it for three hours, I will not get any benefit. I need to actually ingest it.
As for preserving some of the beneficial properties of ingredients known to be helpful on the skin, then perhaps a waterless balm may work? I think tallow doesn't spoil quickly when left out at room conditions, maybe mixing it with a stable soft oil and mixing in some dried ingredients might do.