African Black Soap – “A Many Splendored Thing!”

On my quest to complete holistic living, I’ve come across a “not-so-hidden” treasure!  So I just had to share my experience with the world!

AFRICAN BLACK SOAP!!!!!  (Imagine me screaming that to the mountain tops!  Ha!)

African black soap has totally become my single ‘go-to’ cleansing item that I use from head to toe, LITERALLY!  No longer do I purchase commercially manufactured body washes, facial cleansers, or shampoos!  This stuff is totally like killing 3 birds with 1 stone! (Sound awesome doesn’t it?!)

So let’s take a deeper look into this ALL NATURAL wonder…

What is African Black Soap?

Black soap, also known as African black soap (anago soap, alata simena, and dudu-osun), is made from the ash of locally harvested plants and barks such as plantain, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves, and shea tree bark. First the leaves and bark are sun-dried and then roasted in a kettle or pot at an even, constant temperature, which is important to ensure color, texture, and smell. Then water and various oils – palm oil, coconut oil, palm kernel oil (including shea butter and cocoa pod powder) – are added to the mixture and stirred for at least a day. After that, the “soap” is left to set for two weeks to cure.

maxresdefault-1Oftentimes the soap is made by women and is fair-traded, though not always. Black soap is traditionally made in west Africa, typically Ghana, from secret recipes. Different tribes and communities have adopted their own specific (secret) blend of oils and cooking techniques, which can be seen in the different color variations among black soap. The ash itself was often used to heal cuts. Varieties of black soap actually made in Africa tend to be pure, while soaps made in Europe or the United States sometimes have added artificial ingredients.  This is why all of our black soaps are of Ghanaian origin.

African black soap is quite soft and has an organic shape. And although it doesn’t have the prettiest of appearances, the texture of the soap is pretty delicate and has a naturally pleasant smell that isn’t too strong at all. It isn’t oily at all and can be used on the body, face, and hair. The plantain skins give the soap Vitamins A & E, and iron. Because the soap has the highest shea butter content of any soap, it  also offers UV protection. Some people with caffeine sensitivities may need to test out soap that contains cocoa pods, as there is some evidence that the caffeine can be transmitted through contact with the skin.

So What’s So Great About It?

African black soap is quite beneficial, but it is strange that it hasn’t been that popular, until recently, when more people started to explore more natural ways of caring for their hair and skin. It’s naturally rich in vitamins A and E, natural cleansers, and iron. It helps in relieving skin irritation, eczema, dry skin, acne, and other skin problems. Anyone can use this soap. There is no restriction of ethnicity for men or women. Black soap has long been used to heal problem skin. It’s good for thinning fine lines, evening out dark spots, eczema, razor bumps, and eliminating blemishes.

It is also used to lightly exfoliate (another sweet treat for your skin) and give you healthier looking skin. The soap can be used on your body or hair and works for oily skin, dry skin, skin rashes, scalp irritations, body odors, and is good for sensitive skin.

Health Benefits and Medical Uses of African Black Soap

African black soap, of course, is applied externally to the body.  Again, its major ingredients are cocoa pods, palm tree leaves, shea tree bark, and plantain. This means that African black soap will have a combination of health benefits of these individual substances. Some of the major benefits are described below. However, before you start using African black soap, you should always ask your physician for advice and not to rely on any information on the net. Do not use this product unless your doctor gave you his or her consent.

Antioxidant Properties

Research has proven that the cocoa beans in African black soap have a great number of antioxidant properties in them. The antioxidant concentration of cocoa beans is up to 10. This equals three times more antioxidants present in green tea! You would also be surprised to know that cocoa beans have almost 10 times more antioxidants than blueberries. Blueberries have about 60 or 61 antioxidants, whereas cocoa beans have about 621 antioxidants present in them.

free-radicals-vs-antioxidants_These antioxidants are extremely beneficial for the body as a whole. They protect the body against damage to the cells and against different cancer types. The antioxidants are also beneficial against the free radicals present in the body. ANever it’s important to note that the free radicals in the body greatly outnumber the antioxidants in the body. So a continuous supply of antioxidants is necessary from the outside to maintain this balance. Antioxidants remove the free radicals from the blood stream. Antioxidants also produce many skin benefits. Different reactive species of oxygen cause damage to the skin. These reactive forms damage proteins and DNA and may even cause skin cancer. Antioxidants help in protecting the skin from reactive species of oxygen. Antioxidants are also beneficial for the immune functioning of the body. Different memory problems, eye problems, heart problems, and mood disorders are also countered by antioxidants.

Who knew the benefits of soap could run that deep?!

But it doesn’t stop there…

Growth & Development

African black soap helps in the proper growth and development of the body due to the presence of palm tree leaves in it. Children should especially use African black soap, as they are in their developmental stage. The different proteins and organic compounds present in palm trees are extremely beneficial for the proper growth of the body.

Naturally Relieve Sunburn

African black soap can naturally relieve sunburn. Sunburn is actually the result of overexposure to sun radiation, which damages the living tissues of the skin. The ultraviolet radiation present in the sun is responsible for causing sunburns. These same ultraviolet radiations also are the major cause of skin tumors.

Too much tanning and excessively using hot saunas can cause, and make your more susceptible to, sunburns and can also increase the risk of skin cancer. While tanning is relaxing and gives your body the hue of your choice, it’s dangerous too and caution should be observed while tanning. If you’ve suffered a skin burn after a tanning session at the beach, African black soap is the best thing you can try.

The plaintain present in African Black soap is quite beneficial against sunburns. Just take our African black soap and gently apply it to the affected area. The anti-inflammatory properties present in African black soap will help against the rashes and antibacterial properties will help against itching.

Helpful Against Insect Bites

mosquitoInsect bites are more common than you think. They can cause irritation in the affected area. Some stings can be really painful and start an allergic reaction. Some biting insects include mosquitoes, fleas, bedbugs, and midges. Some insects like hornets and wasps have an extremely painful sting. The sting of many insects contain venom which causes irritation.

The part of the skin bitten by insect becomes quite red and swollen. The venom can also cause red marks and itchiness on the skin. This can be quit painful but is harmless. You will feel pain on the affected area for a few days. The severity of an insect bite usually varies and depends on the sensitivity of the person and the type of insect.

Star ingredients like cocoa and plantain in African back soap decrease the itching and the soreness that comes along with insect bites. Thus, the whole skin heals quickly.

Quick Healing of Wounds

African black soap helps in the quick healing of different wounds present on the skin. Allantoin (a naturally ocurring nitrogenous compound used as a skin conditioning agent) in African black soap acts as a germicide and has antibacterial properties in it. Thus, it helps in quick healing and it also fastens the process of synthesis of skin cells.

Reduce Scarring

The ingredients present in African black soap reduce scarring. Scars are the tissues which replace the normal skin in case of skin injury. A scar is formed after the healing of a wound on the skin. Scarring is part of the natural healing process of the body. Although it’s something that’s naturally produced, these scars pose a great cosmetic problem. Most scars don’t go away easily. One way to deal with them is to go for expensive surgeries. But why go for that when you’ve got something as simple and inexpensive as African black soap?

Again, the plaintain present in African black soap reduces the scarring and helps in healthy skin growth and regeneration. This reduces the chances no the appearance of scarring and blemishes on the skin.

Beneficial Against Rosacea

Use of African black soap helps tackle a lot of inflammatory skin conditions. One such inflammatory condition is rosacea. Rosacea is a skin condition which causes dilated blood vessels and redness on facial skin and causes swelling. Rosacea can affect a person at any age, whether young or old. There are four subtypes of rosacea and three of these are related to the skin. This condition should be treated at once because it can cause destructive consequences when left untreated. The use of steroids can cause further damage.

Once again, the plaintain and palm tree leaves present in African black soap are extremely helpful against these inflammatory conditions. The healing and regeneration of the cells is also reduced, which prevents the spreading of the infection.

Blemish-free Skin

img_5028Blemish is a skin condition whose main characteristics are pimples, scars, and oily skin. The problem with blemishes is that they can cause you to become uncomfortable with your appearance. Like me, if you’ve had this problem at some point during your life, you know how difficult it can be to tackle.

The main thing which plays a role in blemishes are genetics. Experts have the view that about 80% of the blemishes are genetic. Another important factor which can cause blemishes is cigarette smoking. Mostly the face, chest, and back are affected by acne. But it can also affect other areas like your legs. The blemishes are usually caused during the puberty phase. There are many treatments of blemishes available and one of these treatments is the use of African black soap.

The ingredients present in African black soap produce blemish free skin! The reason for this is that this soap has anti-scarring and anti-inflammatory properties in it. This soap can be used on regular basis if a person has acne and blemishes. It helps to keep the skin glowing.

Hair Shampoo/Rinse – Helpful Against Dandruff

img_5027African black soap can also be used as a hair rinse. Butter Me Up!’s rinse is mixed with a bit of vinegar, and after adding a little water on your hair, you’ll discover that our African black soap makes an excellent shampoo/rinse. This is quite helpful for people facing hair thinning and loss, and even problems with dandruff.

Dandruff is the fungal infection of the scalp. The problem with dandruff isn’t that it’s contagious; the main problem is that it cause a lot of embarrassment. It has been observed that dandruff affects almost half of the population in the USA. The age doesn’t matter. It can affect anyone at any age.

The severity of dandruff tends to changes with the passage of time, but it can become extremely harsh during the winter season. One thing that you should remember is that dandruff can only be controlled. It can never be totally cured. The main symptom of dandruff is itchiness in the head region. Some other symptoms are red and greasy patches of skin. It’s also important to consider that there can be a number of causes of dandruff, like dry skin, not shampooing often, and sometimes shampooing too often.

Dandruff can easily be controlled. You should try using our African black soap instead of using typical shampoo brands. The plaintain present in African black soap is hair friendly. The soap also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which give relief against dandruff.

Reduces Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are caused by the tearing of the superficial skin layers. They can become dim with the passage of time but never completely disappear. They are mainly caused due to fast weight changes and growth and are mostly affected by hormonal changes like puberty and bodybuilding. Stretch marks can also be formed on the belly during the last trimester of pregnancy. They can commonly occur on thighs, hips, breasts, and the lower back. Firstly, they appear in the form of reddish lines and change their color after sometime to a lighter range. The affected area might seem soft to touch.

Stretch marks are usually formed in the middle layer of the skin known as dermis and they are not formed until the dermis is fully functional. They sometimes pose a huge cosmetic problem ase they don’t look good on your skin. They may also be itchy. Again, you have two options here. Either you can go for expensive cosmetic cures,or you can choose some easy to use, inexpensive, and natural treatments that have no side effects. One such treatment is the use of our African black soap.

thc3a9rapies-micro-aiguilles-rouleau-c3a0-aiguilles-photos-avant-aprc3a8s-needle-roller-before-after-02Cocoa present in African black soap is helpful in reducing the stretch marks. Pregnant women should especially use African Black soap to reduce the stretch marks developed due to pregnancy. There have been many cases where women have declared that their stretch marks were reduced due to African black soap. You should buy it from Butter Me Up! Naturally and try it yourself if you are still not convinced. 🙂

Reduces Inflammation

These days, people think of inflammation as something simple. But it’s a complex response of the body to pathogens, irritants, and damaged cells. Inflammation is a response which involves the blood vessels and the immune system. The main purpose of inflammation is to eliminate cell injury and clear out the damaged tissues. The main signs of inflammation include swelling and redness. Inflammation is also genetic and is considered as a mechanism to the innate immunity.

Chronic inflammation can result in a number of nasty diseases like atherosclerosis, hay fever, and arthritis. A person should therefore be weary of inflammatory reactions in their body. Some major causes of inflammation include burns, physical injury, frost bite, and trauma. Above all, one thing that is the main cause of inflammation is our diet and lifestyle. Eating processed, fried, and junk foods add to the body’s inflammation.

This inflammation is reduced by the use African black soap. Shea bark has shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties in it and the soap also contains a compound called leupeol cinnamate, which reduces the inflammation and skin mutations.

Amazingly Moisturizing

The shea bark present in African black soap moisturizes the skin. There are a large number of fatty acids and vitamins in shea bark tree. As a result, dry skin is protected.

Side Effects of African Black Soap

The previous section of this post mentioned the benefits of African black soap. This section of the post will mention some side effects of African back soap, as mentioned below:

Damage to Gastrointestinal System

Some people have reported experiencing gastrointestinal side effects by the use of African Black soap. Experts believe that this is due to the cocoa present in the soap. People have complained of experiencing constipation and stomach upset. Breastfeeding women should avoid using this soap because it may cause harm to the baby and cause colic. A colic baby is quite healthy but he keeps on crying for no apparent reason. Experts believe that colic is associated with gastrointestinal problems.

Stimulation

You might face the issue of stimulation or excessive energy by the use of African black soap. This is again due to the presence of cocoa in the soap. The reason is that caffeine is present in cocoa, which makes a person alert. The caffeine is present in a small quantity, but people who are sensitive to caffeine should take precaution about using African black soap. Some side effects include problems in concentration levels, irritability, and nervousness. Too much caffeine can also cause extra heartbeats and hand tremors.

Allergic Reaction

The chances of getting an allergic reaction by using African black is a bit unlikely but this can’t be ruled out. The cocoa and plantain present in African black soap can make certain people a bit allergic to them. For example, people allergic to melon should avoid using African black soap. Some signs of the allergy caused by African black soap are itchiness, rash, difficulty in breathing, and tightness in throat or chest.

How to Use African Black Soap

img_5022People with oily skin will feel that their skin is dry and tight. This effect might not go away for a week. Experts say that this is due to the purity and excessive oils present in African black soap. The pH levels of the skin become normal after a few days. Sometimes the soap can even cause a burning sensation. This effect will be gone after some time. You should always do a “patch test” first before using the soap.  I suggest applying the soap on your elbows first before applying it to the face.

The following table will inform you how to use African black soap for dry and oily skin:

Dry skin Oily skin
Some people experience that their skin is dried out due to african black soap. For that reason, some of Butter Me Up!’s black soaps contain shea butter. This is best for dry skin types. You should try using less soap if you have dry skin. Use it only once a day if you have a sensitive skin. You should use one of our moisturizing butters afterwards when your skin becomes dry. This is especially helpful during the winter season. People with oily skin should have no trouble with our African black soap. The reason is that this soap is especially designed for acne prone and oily skin. It has natural exfoliating properties in it. The skin remains hydrate without adding much oil.  People with oily skin should also use one of our moisturizing butters after using the black soap.  Moisturizers like coconut oil or almond oil are best, and are some of the main ingredients in all of our products.

You should use black soap two to four times with hot water. Make sure to dry the area with a wash cloth after that. You should also apply one of our moisturizing butters as a last step to your skin cleansing routine. Use it daily for about a week and you will see amazing differences in your skin!!!

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