8 Top Skin Care Benefits of African Black Soap

Close-up of cocoa pods on tree, Kochi, Kerala, India
Exotica.im/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

African black soap is revered by many for having skin nourishing benefits due to a potential abundance of antioxidants. The soap is usually 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 meant for extra moisturizing properties (some black soap is more potent than others and can be drying).

There are a variety of African black soaps on the market today that provide the benefits listed below. One of our favorites is Shea Moisture African Black Soap. We recommend it because it is made with certified organic ingredients, is all-natural, and comes in a bar soap form.

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Bar Soap
SheaMoisture African Black Soap $4

How exactly does African black soap help the skin? Read on for eight ways it may benefit the skin, plus more about its common ingredients.

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.

Improves Skin Tone

Many users report that black soap firms and tones skin and improves skin texture, for more supple and glowing skin. 

Fades Skin Discolorations 

Black soap may help even out and fade brown spots and discolorations.

Reduces Inflammation and Skin Irritations

Black soap may help reduce inflammation and skin irritations, soothing dry and irritated skin and relieving dry patches, rashes and red areas. 

Helps to Heal Problem Skin

It may ease the symptoms of skin conditions like acne. Users have said that black soap helps lessen, treat, and clear their acne, and gets rid of their blackheads, psoriasis and eczema.

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.

Alleviates Razor Bumps

It is often used by men when shaving because of its high shea butter content meant to protect the skin. 


The ashes in black soap may provide exfoliating properties to remove dead skin cells, potentially improving fine lines, softening, and rejuvenating 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, contains antioxidants, and has 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 fight 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 repair 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 the appearance of wrinkles. It is also a good for treatment of acne scars because it is non-comedogenic and has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant 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 damage 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, which has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. 

Coconut oil has fatty acids that work to reinforce the skin’s lipid barrier and lock in moisture. Coconut oil may also help repair skin damage, dry skin and eczema, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It has cleansing and antibacterial properties, which make it useful for removing grime and makeup, and, when combined with other ingredients, it works as a natural deodorant.

Article Sources
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