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Ordinary store-bought soaps can be too harsh or drying for your skin. African black soap is a gentle, all-natural alternative cleanser made only from plant materials. Proponents of African black soap say it does more than just keep you clean -- the suds are packed with skin-loving benefits, too.

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 the Soap is Made

African soap is traditionally made by harvesting and sun-drying palm leaves, cocoa pods and the bark from shea and plantain trees. This material is then roasted in a kettle at a constant temperature and mixed with oils, such as coconut and palm oil. The soap then cures for two weeks before it's ready to use.

About the Author

Melissa King

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.