African Black Soap: Benefits, History, Usage, Tips, & More
One of the most important parts of skincare is keeping ourselves clean so no dirt or residue sullies our pores. We all use soap daily, especially since we are taught from an early age to wash our hands and faces daily. Despite that education, some people are not as committed to their cleanliness routine or use the wrong products.
There are hundreds of soap brands from multiple companies. The different soaps use different formulas but are ultimately the same product across the different brands. Most soaps are made with chemical ingredients combined with natural compounds, but some popular soaps have ingredients designed to benefit the skin. Some of these soaps are more effective than others and have unique histories born from their place of origin.
One of the more interesting alternatives is African black soap, which most people in the Western world have never heard of. African black soap, despite its name, is not exclusive to Africa and is seeing increased use in America. It is not more widespread because not many people realize it exists, let alone that it is available for purchase.
Nevertheless, there might be other reasons to avoid African black soap, but the only way to know for sure is to delve into its history and effects. Fortunately, there is plenty to learn concerning this particular toiletry item that might have you reconsidering it.
What is African Black Soap?
As the name suggests, African black soap originated in Africa, specifically in Yoruba, Nigeria. Despite being created in Nigeria, the soap spread to Ghana, Africa, where it became much more widespread. Despite its Nigerian origins, the soap's popularity in Ghana led to it being rechristened as an "African" black soap. This has caused a little confusion among those who use the soap that might swear by the African name. Additionally, African black soap has several other names given to it by the native creators in Yoruba. Other names for African Black Soap include:
- Ose dudu
- Sabulun salo
- Ncha nkota
These phrases are all in the native Yoruba language, and all translate to a variation of "black soap," which is hardly surprising. The soap is named that way because it is a black soap bar. African black soap's distinct appearance comes from being made using ash and dried peel from plants native to Yoruba.
The recipes for African black soap vary since many are traditional recipes handed down within a specific group or family. However, the demand for the soap has led to mass production, and it has since become one of the most popular soaps in America. Typically, the creation of African black soap is as follows:
- Plant matter such as plantain skins, palm tree leaves, cocoa pods, and shea tree bark is dried in the sun and burned. The ash from the burned plant matter is harvested and provides the soap with alkali, which converts oils and fat.
- Next, the ash is mixed with water, fats, and oils (i.e., coconut oil or shea butter). This combination is cooked and hand-stirred for at least 24 hours before drying.
- Once dried, the soap is scooped from the bowl and left to cure.
The production of African black soap has since adopted modern tools and techniques to meet international demand. Nevertheless, the popularity of African black soap has made it a very important export for the Nigerian and African economies. That said, there is a big question about African black soap that you might not have considered. African black soap's popularity stems from its uses in skincare, which begs the question, "What benefits does it offer?"
What Are the Benefits of African Black Soap?
African black soap has seen a massive spike in popularity among Western customers, partially due to its exotic nature and color. That said, the soap possesses several traits that make it beneficial to the ones who use it, indicating its popularity has merit. African black soap's origins suggest it has a powerful composition of natural substances that can synergize with human physiology and biology.
After all, the soap is made using plant matter, which our bodies are naturally designed to assimilate for nutrients and health-bolstering effects. Additionally, African black soap is very strong, rivaling industrial soaps concerning cleansing ability. This means African black soap is a highly effective product that can cleanse and enhance the health of our skin.
Several benefits associated with African black soap have cemented its place in the hearts of dozens. The main benefit is that African black soap is an antibacterial substance that reinforces its cleansing effects beyond the scope of most chemical soaps. Some studies have shown that African black soap can remove more bacteria than its chemical-based rivals.
Despite its strength, African black soap is considered gentle enough to be used on the face, hands, and body without irritating them. As a result, African black soap is viable for people with sensitive skin who need a heavy-duty cleanser. African black soap's ability to cleanse the skin of bacteria is not unique to the soap, but its ability to outperform chemical cleansers gives it distinction as a natural alternative to chemical soaps.
Even more important is that it appears safe for all skin types despite its powerful cleansing abilities. People with dry or sensitive skin cannot use certain chemical cleansers or enhanced natural cleansers because of added fragrances or lotions. If the African black soap you purchase is labeled "unscented," it will not harm those skin types.
The same principle applies to people with oily skin since the soap will not add excess sebum or strip normal concentrations. African black soap's benefits go beyond its ability to cleanse the skin since it contains several nutrients inherited from the plant matter and oils used to create it.
African black soap has anti-inflammatory characteristics that allow users to prevent irritation to the skin. The soap's anti-inflammatory properties result from the concentrations of vitamins A and E the soap inherited from its ingredients. These vitamins are proven antioxidants that reduce oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
The damage caused by free radicals can target the skin and cause irritation, inflammation, and scarring when left unattended. African black soap has the potential to counteract these molecules. Unfortunately, the soap's popularity and origins do not make it immune to potential side effects and issues that might cause more issues than they solve.
What Are the Side Effects of African Black Soap?
There are almost no products that are completely risk-free, and those that are seldom have anything to do with health. Nevertheless, risks and side effects are common in the health industry since almost every major medication and supplement carries some risk. African black soap is not an exception to this rule and has a few risk factors that users must consider before using it.
The first risk is that applying a new substance to your skin amplifies the risk of irritation to the skin since your body is not used to it. This can cause you to have a negative experience with the soap despite its potential as a cleansing tool that can help your skin. If you want to avoid irritating your skin during this adjustment period, you should start by limiting your use of the soap to once every couple of days.
After the initial adjustment period, you can gradually increase your use of the soap based on your complexion's tolerance to the substance. Unfortunately, there are more prevalent concerns for African black soap users to consider. The soap is lauded because it uses exclusively natural ingredients when produced properly. The problem is that natural, healthy substances can cause issues for certain people.
You may have an allergy to the soap or one of its ingredients, meaning you risk an allergic reaction if you do not assess the ingredients first. If you are allergic to African black soap, you might experience a rash or irritation in the area where you applied the soap. If you notice these symptoms after using it, discontinue use immediately and give your skin time to recover from the reaction.
Finally, raw African black soap has a rough texture. Despite the soap's gentle chemical composition, the physical bar can damage the skin due to its coarse texture. This can irritate the skin and, in extreme cases, possibly break the skin and cause bleeding. Avoiding this issue is as simple as using gentle, circular motions when applying the bar to your skin. Gentle movements reduce friction and can prevent irritation and damage, whereas rapid, strong movements increase the risk.
While African black soap can benefit your skin's health and cleanliness, the risks might be too high for certain people. If you have allergies or your skin is prone to breaking under friction, you might want to consider an alternative cleanser that does not require a physical bar.
Is There An Alternative?
African black soap is a powerful and beneficial cleanser that uses several natural substances. While its effects are impressive, they are not unique to the product. Other substances are more versatile and offer the same benefits with reduced risk.
One of the most common products used for skincare and health is Aloe vera, a succulent plant renowned for treating sunburns. Because treating sunburns is Aloe vera's most famous effect, many overlook its other benefits that can improve your skin's health and appearance. Aloe vera shares almost every benefit offered by African black soap and has a few that the latter lacks. As a result, products using Aloe vera might be more beneficial in the long run.
Aloe vera has a high antioxidant concentration belonging to a special family called polyphenols. The polyphenols in Aloe vera can fight free radicals and bacteria, meaning they can cleanse the skin and prevent oxidative damage. While African black soap has this effect, Aloe vera is usually sold in gel form, making it easier to apply and eliminating any physical risk of damaging your skin.
Additionally, you can use Aloe vera to accelerate the healing process if you have any injuries or wounds. Typically, Aloe vera specializes in healing sunburns and sores, but its antibacterial properties mean it can also prevent infection from another injury.
A review of 9 studies determined that subjects with 1st and 2nd-degree burns took less time to heal when they applied Aloe vera to the injury. Specifically, the healing period was reduced by 9 days, whereas the subjects in the control group needed an extra 9 days to recover fully. Combined with Aloe vera's cleansing effect, the subjects were at minimal risk of developing an infection from the burns. Therefore, Aloe vera-based products could be an excellent alternative if the side effects of African black soap concern you.
Finding the Right Blend
African black soap is an interesting commodity that has become a major sensation in America, though not everyone has heard of it. Nevertheless, this soap can offer superior cleansing compared to typical hand or body wash. The soap uses natural ingredients, so no harmful chemicals can overpower the exfoliating effects or damage the skin.
Unfortunately, the side effects can make using African black soap somewhat daunting and understandably drive some people away. Fortunately, Aloe vera products are a highly effective alternative with a little more variety than African black soap. The problem is finding an Aloe vera product designed to cleanse the skin.
We at Teami fully believe in the healing power of natural substances like African black soap and Aloe vera. That is why we have dedicated ourselves to cultivating a catalog of natural health and cosmetic products.
While African black soap is not on our list of products, we can help you acquire a specialized Aloe vera product designed to cleanse the skin. Our Gentle Superfood Liquid Cleanser uses Aloe vera and several other natural products that have proven benefits for the skin. We highly encourage you to visit our website if you want a gentle cleanser that will not cause physical pain. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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