African black soap is a gentle, all-natural skin and hair cleanser made strictly from plant materials and natural oils. Unlike man-made chemically based soaps which are often too harsh and dry your skin, African black soap softens and nourishes your skin leaving you smooth and clean. Treehugger.com explains that black soap includes iron, vitamin A and vitamin E because of the plantains used in the soap-making process. According to Info-Ghana, black soap is the only soap in the world that's made without lye.
Uses of African Black Soap
African black soap contains shea butter, which moisturizes skin but doesn't clog pores. Shea butter gives the soap some UV-protection properties, but not enough to replace your usual sunscreen. According to Organic Spa Magazine, the soap may fade skin discoloration and dark spots. The soap cleanses gently, so it's ideal for people with rosacea, rashes, dryness and other skin conditions. African black soap contains plantain extract, which has antibacterial properties that may help treat acne breakouts. Some people use the soap as a shampoo or mild makeup remover.
How African Black Soap is Made
African black soap is traditionally made in western part of the African continent in countries such as Ghana and Togo. The process begins by harvesting and sun-drying palm leaves, cocoa pods and the bark from shea and plantain trees. This material is then roasted into ashes in a kettle at a constant temperature, throughout this process natural oils, such as coconut and palm are mixed. The soap then cures for two weeks before it's ready to use.
African Black Soap vs Acne
Black soap looks, feels and smells different from the soaps we're used to in the United States. These soaps tend to be softer in texture and have an earthy smell. Their dark color results from being made with ashes from plants, explains Africa Imports. This traditional African soap offers plenty of benefits for the skin and hair, and has proven to be effective in treating acne.
Black soap is often used to remove excess oils from the skin. It also soothes several types of skin irritations, such as razor burn, rashes and eczema, says Treehugger.com. The shea tree products in black soap also offer some UV protection. Africa Imports says black soap may also be used as a shampoo.
Effects on Acne
According to Healthline, acne is caused by glands in the skin that produce too much oil. Because black soap is known for clearing oils from the skin, this helps to treat and prevent acne. Furthermore, the irritated skin can cause acne breakouts to worsen. Black soap can be used to soothe skin irritations and lessen the effects of a breakout.
LovetoKnow.com warns that black soap may absorb moisture from the air due to its high glycerin content. To prevent it from becoming too soft, keep black soap in a sealed plastic bag or container when not in use. Also, there may be some caffeine in black soap because it's made with cocoa pods, says Treehugger.com. Because caffeine may be absorbed through the skin, those who have caffeine sensitivities should carefully test the product before beginning regular use.