Many products for the treatment and maintenance of black skin originated in Africa through tribal knowledge passed down through medicine men, shamans and priests. During the dynasties of Egypt, products such as cosmetics, creams and make-up were used by men and women on a daily basis. These products in different forms still exist, and many share common ingredients.
Shea butter is a balm that originates from the karate nut tree, found in West and Central Africa. When applied in a circular motion, the balm seeps into the pores and provides the skin extra protection, lending a lasting sheen to the skin. Shea butter provides solutions for black skin with eczema, extreme dryness, blackheads, acne or unbalanced skin tone.
Cocoa butter is a cream-coloured substance extracted from cacao seeds, also called cocoa beans. Cocoa butter's many uses include chocolate, cosmetics, soap and tanning oils, but its main use pertaining to black skin care is for moisturising the skin to help keep it soft and vibrant looking. When cocoa butter is applied to the skin, it melts instantly and absorbs. Cocoa butter can help skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema. Cocoa butter is highly effective when used in dry climates, because it retains moisture that may be lacking in a dry environment.
Black soap is made from plants and barks found in West Africa, such as the plantain, palm-tree leaves, shea-tree bark and cocoa pods. When applied, the soap penetrates the pores of the skin, specialising in fighting rashes, removing dead skin and unclogging pores. Black soap is effective against eczema, acne, dark spots, razor bumps and eliminating blemishes.
Most African-American men suffer from shaving bumps as a result of the hair curling back into the skin. This can cause skin irritation if not treated correctly. Aloe extract is a liquid extract from the aloe plant that contains the compound vitamin E, which is good for skin health. When applied after shaving, aloe extract penetrates the skin, preventing ingrown hairs from curling up into the skin. Aloe extract is also effective against razor cuts to the skin. Many African-American men buy aloe-based shaving products or buy an aloe plant and use the extract directly from the plant on their skin.
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