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 traditionally made in Africa. The countries in the western part of the continent, such as Ghana and Togo, have been known for producing and using this product. Typically, women make black soap. Many are involved with fair trade agreements to sell their products in other countries, says Treehugger.com.
African black soap uses only natural ingredients. The leaves and bark from palm trees, shea trees, plantains and cocoa pods are turned to ashes. Water, coconut oil and palm oil are added to the mixture as well. 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.
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.
Ashley Henshaw is a writer based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on the websites of The Huffington Post, "USA Today" and "The San Francisco Chronicle," among others. Henshaw received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Loyola University Chicago.