Black soap, also referred to as African black soap or dudu osun, is a type of soap made in Africa. There are a number of health benefits associated with this particular soap, but in this age of antibacterial soaps and hand cleansers, people sometimes wonder just how effective regular soap and water can be.
Black soap ranges in color from a brown to a dark, charcoal black. It contains elements such as shea butter, cocoa butter, palm oil, palm kernel oil and a lye component called potash. The potash is what gives the black soap its distinctive color. This soap is not made in Western countries, so it's best to make sure the soap is authentic.
Black soap is not antibacterial soap. It's just natural soap. However, when you wash with natural soap and water, the soap and the scrubbing action lifts dirt and bacteria off of your skin. The soap captures the lifted dirt and bacteria and it's washed away from your skin, leaving it clean.
Antibacterial soap usually contains an element called triclosan. This component breaks down the cell walls of bacteria and makes it harder for the bacteria to spread. Black soap, and regular soap in general, lacks this component, so it won't stop leftover bacteria from spreading. However, it can still wash away bacteria.
African black soap may not have an antibacterial component, but it does clean pores deeply. The depth that black soap reaches helps it get as much bacteria and dirt as possible, and the moisturizer in it helps to keep the skin from drying out while the washing takes place.
Because African black soap isn't made in the West, many companies will try to make imitations of it. However, these knockoffs look like regular, hard soap that's been dyed black. These soaps have a variety of added components, including scent, which make them different from the natural components found in real black soap.