Aloe Vera, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter & Black Soap – Natural African Gifts to Give You Great Skin

By Anita Greenwood

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is thought to have originated in North Africa and Cape Verde. Today, you can find it grown all over. Aloe Vera is especially popular in the Caribbean and you’ll often find Grandma or Aunty reaching for a stem of aloe vera for any and every skin ailment! Aloe vera is an antibacterial agent and can help to fight spots if applied to the skin but can also be used for burns and cuts.

Aloe vera also has mild skin lightening properties. So it won’t lighten your skin by several shades but it will fade dark marks and help to even your skin tone. The best thing to do is to cut a stem of an aloe vera plant and scoop the inside out to use it directly on the skin. Not many people have aloe vera plants readily available so fortunately 100% aloe vera gel is available to buy.

Shea Butter

Shea butter hails from West Africa and comes from the seeds of the shea tree. Pure, unrefined shea butter is great for the skin. It is a great moisturizer and can also reduce stretch marks. It is quite rich so if you have sensitive skin you might not want to use it on your face but it is great on the rest of the body. Shea butter helps to fade skin discolorations and offers some natural protection from the sun. As if that wasn’t enough reason to use it, it is also great for filling in and preventing wrinkles!

Cocoa Butter

The largest producers of cocoa are Ivory Coast and Ghana in West Africa. With its lovely choclately scent, cocoa butter is a great skin moisturizer but it also works really well at evening the skin tone, fading dark marks and fading stretch marks. I’m talking about pure, unrefined cocoa butter, not that runny stuff you find in a bottle! Both cocoa butter and shea butter are really excellent for smoothing out the rough skin on the knees and elbows.

Black Soap

Black soap also comes from West Africa. It is made from plantain leaves, palm tree leaves, cocoa pods or other leaves. The leaves are burned and then water and oil is added. The oils can be coconut oil, shea butter, palm oil or cocoa butter. The process can take up to 2 weeks and recipes are passed down through generations. This means that different regions and tribes have their own ways of making black soap. Black soap is known as Ose Dudu in Nigeria – literally, ‘soap black’.

Black soap helps with acne, rashes and hyperpigmentation. It is not as drying as most soaps and can be used all over the body.

Nature has given us some great gifts to give us a beautiful complexion. These beauty tips have been passed down from generation to generation and are often the basis for popular skin products today.

Not sure which skin lightening product is right for you? Visit Black Skin Lightening for reviews of the best African American Skin Lighteners and natural products to fade dark marks and lighten your skin tone.

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