At different points in life, we all face some skin related problems. These problems are generally acne, overtly dry skin, oily skin, blackheads, whiteheads etc. The first thing in our skin care routine is cleansing. This aspect of skin care is easier said than done. It is so because it requires the correct soap/cleanser, consistency in approach and regular reviews.

Generally the cleansers are available locally in stores in plenty. But the common features of all these soaps are that they may contain lots of chemical additives, can be very harsh for the skin, etc. This approach to skin care with general soaps is very rudimentary. The approach to skin care should be such that it becomes an integral part of our overall health care. We should not compromise on it. Keeping all these issues in mind, I decided to hunt for a cleanser which is natural, does not dry the skin, and with the least of chemical preservatives. Finally, I could lay my hands on a particular category of soap/cleanser which goes by the name of Black Soap.

What is a black soap?

Black soap is an all natural cleanser which has many more other benefits in addition to cleansing. It originated in Africa, but over a period of time different tribes have adopted their own specific ways of preparing it. These tribes have their own blend of raw material and oils and they use their own specific saponification techniques. Hence there is so much of the variation in the colors, looks and feel of the black soaps.
What is a black soap?
Why Black Soap is Different?

The black soap is different from other soaps because of its different Lye. In the case of almost all the normal soaps, the lye used for saponification process is sodium hydroxide but in black soap the Lye used is potassium carbonate. This particular Lye is derived from plant ashes and is considered to be very gentle on the skin compared to sodium hydroxide. The process of preparation of black soap is very traditional and time consuming. The recipe of the soap making is generally handed over from one generation to the other generation.

Medicinal Properties

Black soap inherently contains vitamin A, C and E from the natural sources. People who are sensitive to caffeine should use it with caution as cocoa pods are one of the ingredients used in black soap.

Where to Get It?

It is available at online stores in various varieties. It varies from authentic black African soap with a natural scent of ingredients to little modified versions with different kinds of scents. The non traditional varieties contain added ingredients also.

Special Qualities of a Black Soap

It is suitable for oily and acne prone skin because

It deep cleanses the skin.
Unclogs the pores.
Rehydrates the skin without stimulating more oil secretion.
Has very mild exfoliating properties.

It is good for dry skin because

It provides the proper moisture balance of the skin apart from cleaning.
Shea butter and coconut oil helps to smooth out the wrinkles.
It hydrates the skin.
Has skin calming and anti inflammatory properties.

General Qualities of a Black Soap

It evens the skin tone and reduces the sun damage.
It is very gentle and can be usedthe agedes
For the aged people also its effects are very soothing as it does not irritate the skin.
Works as a gentle cleanser for hair.

I have used it for some time and I am impressed by the results. I ordered mine from Amazon and it took almost two (2) weeks to arrive because it was not available in India at that time. Also, it is not readily available in local markets in countries other than its origin countries. If it is available in your country you should first smell and feel it for suitability before making a purchase.

So next time when you have to buy a cleanser or face wash, give it a try and I am sure it will not disappoint you

Written by Hina Alam

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