Benefits and side effects of African Black Soap

Benefits and side effects of African Black Soap
September 22, 2015 4:05 PM

This article features a detailed description of benefits and side effects of African Black Soap. You will also learn what African Black Soap actually is and how it is used in your household and in medicine.

What is African black soap?

African black soap is quite beneficial but it is strange that it isn’t that much popular. It is 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.

African black soap is made from the ashes of the barks and plants that are locally harvested such as plantain, palm tree leaves and shea tree bark. The leaves and barks are dried in the sun first of all. They are roasted in a kettle or a pot after that at a constant temperature. It is essential that the temperature is kept constant so that the soap develops a specific smells, color and texture. Then water and other oils like palm oil and coconut oil are added into the mixture which is mixed for about one day. The soap is then left untouched for about two weeks. The soap is mostly made by women but it isn’t always the case. The main place where black soap is made is Ghana in West Africa. Different communities have formed their own specific cooking techniques and this makes a great variation among the black soaps. Cuts can be healed from the ash of the soap. The black soap varieties made in Africa are quite pure while some artificial ingredients are added to those prepared in US and Europe.

African black soap is quite soft and has an organic shape. The texture of the soap is quite delicate and has a natural smell. It isn’t oily at all and can be used on body, face and hair. The place where it is most commonly found is Ghana. But it is also present in some other areas. Some other words used for this soap are Anago Samina and Alata Samina which are the words derived from the Twi language in northern Ghana.

What is African black soap used for?

The African black soap can be used for a variety of purposes like washing hair, hands, face and for bathing purposes. You should use it two to four times with hot water. You should dry the area with a wash cloth after that. You can also apply refined shea butter as a moisturizer. Use it daily for about a week and you will see amazing differences in your skin.

Health benefits and medical uses of African black soap

African black soap is applied to the body. 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.

Important notice: This article does not replace medical advice and before you start using African black soap you should always seek approval of your doctor. Do not use this product unless your doctor gave you his or her consent.

Antioxidant properties

African black soap contains cocoa beans in it. Research has proven that cocoa beans have great number of antioxidant properties in them (1). The antioxidant concentration of cocoa beans is up to 10. This equals three times more antioxidants present in green tea and twice the antioxidants present in red wine. 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.

These antioxidants are quite 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 quite beneficial against the free radicals present in the body. Mostly 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 cause damage to the skin 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.

Growth and 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 quite beneficial for the proper growth of the body.

Naturally relieve sunburns

African black soap can naturally relieve sunburns. Sunburn is actually the result of sun radiations which damage the living tissues of the skin. It is caused by the overexposure to sun. The ultraviolent radiations present in the sun are responsible for causing sunburns. The ultraviolent radiation present in the sun also are the major cause of skin tumors.

Too much tanning and excessively using hot saunas can predispose you sunburns and can also increase the risk of skin cancer. While tanning is relaxing and gives your body the tinge of your choice, but 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 the African black soap and gently apply it to the affected region. The anti-inflammatory properties present in African black soap will help against the rashes and antibacterial properties will help against itching. (2)

Helpful against insect bites

Insect bites are more common than you think. They can cause irritation in the affected region. Some stings can be quite 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.

Certain ingredients like cocoa and plantain are preset in African back soap which decrease the itching and the soreness which 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 of 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.

Reducing 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, but these scars pose a great cosmetic problem. These scars don’t go away easily and might make you a social outcast. One way to deal with them is to go for expensive surgeries. But why go for that when you’ve something as simple and inexpensive as African black soap?

The plaintain present in African black soap reduces the scarring and helps in healthy skin growth and regeneration. This reduces the chances 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 of every 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 cause destructive consequences when left untreated. The use of steroids can cause further damage.

The plaintain and palm tree leaves present in African black soap are quite 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

Blemish is a skin condition whose main characteristics are pimples, scars, and greasy skin. The problem with blemishes is that they don’t look aesthetically good. If you had this problem at some point during your life, you would how difficult it is to go in gathers and meet your friends when you’ve these little monsters all over your face.

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 regions like 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 skin produce a 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 rinse

African black soap can be used as hair rinse. You have to mix a bit of vinegar and little water on your hair along with African black soap to make an excellent rinse. This is quite helpful for people facing hair fall.

Helpful against dandruff

Dandruff is the fungal infection of the scalp. The problem with dandruff isn’t that it is 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 dandruff severity changes with the passage of time and it becomes 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. 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 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.

Stretch marks reduced

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 thigs, hip, breast and 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 (3).

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 and they may also be itching. 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 African black soap.

Cocoa present in African black soap is helpful in reducing the stretch marks. Pregnant women should especially use African reduce marks to reduce the stretch marks developed due to pregnancy. There have been many cases where women have told that there stretch marks were reduced due to African black soap. You should buy it from the market and try it yourself if you are still not convinced.

Reducing inflammation

These days, people think of inflammation as something simple. But it is 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 genetic it is considered as 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 wary of inflammatory reactions in his 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 inflammation.  

The 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. People with acne can also benefit from African black soap.


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 (4). The dry skin is protected.

Side effects of African black soap

The previous section of the article mentioned the benefits of African black soap. This section of the article will mention some major side effects of African back soap. Some major side effects of African black soap are mentioned below:

Damage to gastrointestinal system

Some people have reported to experience gastrointestinal side effects by the use of African Black soap. Experts believe that this is due to the cocoa present in African black 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.


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 African black soap. The website says that people face increase in energy and alertness by cocoa (5). 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 be wary about using African black soap. Some major effects include problem 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 make 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

Now let us see how to use African black soap. People 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 impurities and excessive oils present in African black soap. The pH levels of the skin become normal after a few days. Sometimes, the soap can cause a burning sensation. This effect will be gone after some time. You should apply 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 the soap. You can choose other black soaps which contain shea butter. This is best for dry skin types.
You should try using less soap if you have a dry skin. Use it only once a day if you have a sensitive skin.
You should use a moisturizer or a drying cream afterwards when your skin becomes dry. This is especially helpful during the winter season.
People with oily skin should have no trouble with African black soap. The reason is that this soap is especially designed for 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 a moisturizer of some kind like coconut oil or almond oil.



This detailed post featured practical information on benefits, side effects and uses of African black soap. While this soap seems to be quite beneficial for our body it also has some side effects and you should not use it without prior consent of your physician.

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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Medical student, 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
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Published: September 22, 2015 4:05 PM
Next scheduled update: September 22, 2017 4:05 PM
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