August 16, 2011
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Black soap, or African Black Soap, has been used for generations as a natural remedy for acne, eczema, body odor, and to alleviate oily skin. Its many uses include using it as a body soap for cleansing or lathering and using it as a shampoo–all with the main goal of using a natural product to keep skin looking its best.
Natural black soap originated in West Africa. Alata Samina, as it is called locally, is typically a combination of the cocoa pod (husk), plantain skins, coconut oil, palm oil and essential oils. Used for generations, black soap and its benefits have been a staple for the relief of skin blemishes and everyday hygiene. Although its roots are in Africa, black soap is now sold across the world and on the Internet, used by people of all backgrounds.
Natural Black Soap is a brownish/black color and soft to the touch. Because it’s natural and unscented, it has more of an earthy scent, which is also beneficial for skin types that are irritated by fragrance. According to http://www.info-ghana.com/black_soap.html, it’s the only soap in the world that does not require lye but lathers more than any other soap without the cancer-causing laurel sulphate.
This multipurpose, all-natural soap is used for issues ranging from rashes to dandruff. Although it’s most commonly used to keep skin blemish-free, other uses include as a shampoo, body soap and face wash.
Natural black soap works for all skin types, from rough to sensitive, and is said to keep skin smooth and hydrated–but without increasing oily skin for those prone to it. It helps work against premature signs of aging and wrinkles, alleviates bumps and spots, is great for removing makeup, and is good for deep cleaning without drying out or irritating skin.
Black soap should never be all black in color. If you come across a product on the market that claims to be “natural” black soap and it’s not brown in color, it’s dyed and therefore doesn’t have the same benefits as natural black soap. Additionally, the fake black soap is hard in texture, whereas natural black soap is soft. The fake soap doesn’t contain all of the natural ingredients and can stain clothes.
Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter