African black soap is revered for having skin nourishing benefits due to an abundance of antioxidants. The soap is made from the ashes of plantain skin, cocoa pod and palm leaves, and palm oil from leaves or kernels. Some additional ingredients, depending on the makers of the soap, could be honey to soften skin and shea butter or cocoa butter for extra moisturizing properties (some black soap is more potent than others and can be drying).
8 Ways African Black Soap Benefits the Skin:
1. Protects Against Photo Aging
Antioxidants in black soap protect the skin from free radical damage, which is a cause of premature skin aging, wrinkles and facial lines.
2. Improves Skin Tone
Black soap firms and tones skin and improves skin texture, for more supple and glowing skin.
3. Fades Skin Discolorations
Black soap helps even out and fade brown spots and discolorations.
4. Reduces Inflammation and Skin Irritations
Black soap helps reduce inflammation and skin irritations. It is soothing on dry and irritated skin, relieving dry patches, rashes and red areas.
5. Helps to Heal Problem Skin
6. Has Deep Cleansing Action
Black soap has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and is great for deep pore cleansing. It also is effective at removing makeup because of the oils and butters.
7. It Alleviates Razor Bumps
It is often used by men during shaving because of the high shea butter content, which protects the skin.
8. It’s an Effective Exfoliant
The ashes in black soap provide exfoliating properties to remove dead skin cells and thereby improve fine lines, soften and rejuvenate rough skin.
More about the common ingredients in black soap:
Plantain skins and leaves have a high concentration of iron and vitamins A and E. Vitamin E helps with tissue structure, is healing and helps moisturize the skin improving texture and tone. Vitamin A benefits collagen production. Allantoin in the leaves of plantain stimulates the growth of new skin cells.
Cocoa powder softens and firms the skin and has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to fight against free radicals, repair damaged skin and renew skin cells.
Cocoa butter is a natural fat extracted from the cacao bean. It’s been used for years as a moisturizer. It has vitamins A and E to fight against environmental damage and therefore the signs of aging. It helps the skin retain moisture and improves elasticity. Cocoa butter is also said to improve the appearance of stretch marks. It has also been used to ease skin conditions like rashes, eczema and psoriasis.
Shea butter (karite butter) made from the nuts of the karite tree, also has vitamins A and E to strengthen skin and repairs damage. It has been used to heal burns, sores and scars, and to treat psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. It helps promote cell renewal and diminish appearance of wrinkles. It is also a good for treatment of acne scars because it is non-comedogenic and has anti-microbial properties.
Palm oil is rich in antioxidants and two forms of vitamin E tocopherol and tocotrienol, which is useful in the treatment of acne and eczema and reduces cell damaged caused by environmental toxins and free radicals.
Palm kernel oil is extracted from the fruit seeds of the African palm tree. It is high in lauric acid giving it anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Coconut oil The fatty acids in coconut oil work to reinforce the skin’s lipid barrier and lock in moisture. Coconut oil is also helpful for repairing skin damage, dry skin and eczema, and to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It has cleansing and antibacterial properties, which makes it useful for removing grime and makeup, and when combined with other ingredients works as a natural deodorant.