- African black soap for acne may help keep skin healthy and control breakouts.
- Traditional, raw African black soap acts as a natural exfoliant.
- African black soap contains ingredients like the ashes of palm leaves or plantain skins, coconut oil, shea butter and palm oil.
- Many of the ingredients in African black soap fight inflammation and help control the skin’s natural oil production.
Many people use African black soap for acne in their skin care routines. This hand-made, plant-based soap is widely said to address a number of other skin conditions, as well.
For many, African black soap is a natural solution for controlling breakouts, addressing inflammation and reducing excess oil in the skin.
What Is African Black Soap?
African black soap is a traditional, West African soap. It is made from a mixture of plant ash and other natural, plant-based ingredients. This type of soap is safe for all skin types.
For people with acne, African black soap may be an effective treatment. That’s because it not only nourishes the skin; it also has antibacterial properties that may help fight Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacteria that causes acne.
Ingredients in African black soap
African black soap is made using the ashes of plantain skins or palm leaves, which are then combined with palm oil and cocoa pod powder. Some African black soap formulations contain honey, shea butter or coconut oil.
African black soap contains some or all of the following nutrient-rich ingredients, depending on the blend:
- Cocoa pods are high in antioxidants and help to soften skin
- Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids and is a moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial powerhouse
- Ingredients derived from palm leaves, such as palm oil and palm kernel oil, are hydrating and antioxidant-rich
- Plantain skins are rich in iron, plus vitamins A and E
- Shea butter is an emollient, moisturizing, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory ingredient
Some African black soap contains other ingredients, like essential oils, aloe vera or oatmeal. The ingredients also may vary based on the region where the soap is made. Certain plant-based ingredients like plantains only grow in specific regions of Africa, such as Central and Western, but may not be available in other areas.
Best African Black Soap for Acne
The different formulations of African black soap depend on the region of Africa in which they’re made. Ingredient combinations vary by region, depending on what ingredients are available.
Shea butter and coconut oil appear to be the most beneficial ingredients in African black soap for acne because of their anti-inflammatory properties. The texture of Africian black soap also exfoliates the skin, which encourages cell turnover.
Raw African black soap
Raw African black soap is traditionally made from unprocessed ingredients. Because of how it’s made, raw African black soap is darker in color. It’s also coarser in texture because the raw ingredients haven’t been processed and refined. Raw African black soap is naturally exfoliating because of its texture–a result of raw unrefined ingredients.
Raw African black soap is commonly made by women in Africa who have harvested local plants to make the soap. It is then exported to be sold via fair trade.
Benefits of African Black Soap for Acne
African black soap is beneficial for many people with acne-prone skin. Caring properly for your skin can help to soothe existing papules and pustules, and may help to prevent or reduce the severity of acne breakouts in the future.
In addition to anti-inflammatory ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter, plus antioxidants, African black soap may help to fight inflammation. African black soap is also high in antioxidant-rich vitamin A and vitamin E, which could be helpful for people who experience inflammatory acne.
Kills acne-causing bacteria
African black soap has antimicrobial attributes, and it may help to kill P. acnes bacteria that causes acne. This type of soap has been shown to reduce bacteria like Bacillus spp, Corynebacterium spp, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus.
The texture of African black soap helps to exfoliate skin, encourages new skin cell growth and rejuvenates skin. Because this type of soap helps to remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, it may also help minimize the appearance of fine lines and mild acne scars.
Removes excess oil
African black soap can help to remove excess oil from the skin, resulting in fewer future breakouts. It doesn’t add oils to your skin, and doesn’t strip the natural oils. Because of this, it may help to balance the production of oil in your skin.
How to Use African Black Soap for Acne
It’s simple to incorporate African black soap for acne into your daily skin care routine. You may replace your usual facial cleanser with African black soap, but do so with care. Because of its rough texture, this type of soap may be irritating to the skin.
If you choose to use raw African black soap to exfoliate, do so with care. Rubbing the bar directly on your face could cause irritation, so be careful not to scrub your skin.
You may want a smooth soap bar instead. To smooth the surface of your soap, run it under a little lukewarm warm water and rub it gently.
If you want to avoid putting the bar directly on your skin, you can rub it on a warm, wet washcloth before gently massaging your face.
To use African black soap:
- Apply lukewarm water to a washcloth or your hands
- Moisten your bar of African black soap
- Gently apply the soap to your skin
- Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water
- Use a toner to rebalance your skin’s pH; allow to dry
- Apply your moisturizer of choice to maximize the soap’s hydrating properties
Side Effects and Risk Factors
African black soap is generally appropriate for any skin type. It’s important to use it correctly to avoid adverse events.
Some common side effects of African black soap include:
- Dry skin
- Irritated skin
Although African black soap is appropriate for all skin types, some skin types may be more prone to experiencing side effects. People with rosacea or highly sensitive skin are more likely to develop adverse reactions.
Before washing your face with African black soap, patch-test a small area of skin to check for sensitivity or allergic reaction. Discontinue use and contact your doctor if you develop a rash or skin irritation.
Can African black soap make acne worse?
If you experience worse acne symptoms after using African black soap, you may be having an adverse reaction to the soap. Discontinue use and see your doctor to determine what to do next.
African black soap for acne could be an ideal natural treatment for some people experiencing breakouts. It helps to keep the skin healthy by controlling oil production, exfoliating, and moisturizing.
Although African black soap is considered appropriate for all skin types, use any new skin care product with caution. Patch test a small area of skin before applying to your face.
It’s possible to experience some mild side effects such as dry skin, irritation, peeling, flaking and skin rash. People with sensitive skin and conditions like rosacea are at a higher risk of adverse events. If you experience side effects after using African black soap, stop using and consult your dermatologist.
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