The Search for an Anti-Acne Soap

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MellonFriend

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Once I get some basic recipes under my belt, I would love to try and find a cold process soap to make for my sister who suffers from acne, face and body. She has loved charcoal soap in the past so I definitely want it to include charcoal, but other than that she doesn't really have any preferences. Anyone have a "life-changing" acne fighting soap recipe? 😅
 

AAShillito

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This is a great recipe and I use sweet orange essential oil instead of tea tree bc I just can't stand the smell 🤢

 

amd

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For me, changing to an animal fat soap (tallow or lard, doesn't seem to matter to my face) made a huge difference. Vegan soaps tend send my skin back to my teenage years - or back a decade before I discovered handmade soap.

Handmade soap didn't seem to make a difference for my daughter though (teenager), so we went to a dermatologist. Besides an oral prescription (which she took for 3 days), and two topical prescriptions, they also told my daughter to use CeRave wash with benzoyl peroxide. She started being lazy a few months ago and stopped using the topical Rx, the wash alone once a day (second wash for the day she uses handmade soap) is enough to manage her acne.
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I only mention this because acne is a tough situation, and handmade soap isn't always the answer. Sometimes you need the extra benefits of good commercial formulations.
 

Nona'sFarm

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I have had good success with a 15% Neem oil soap. Also, helpful has been an activated charcoal mask with kaolin clay and tamanu oil. Additionally, I found that drinking milk causes me to be prone to breakouts. So there could be a dietary trigger she is not aware of.
As others have suggested, salt bars have helped some people.
 

cmzaha

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This is a great recipe and I use sweet orange essential oil instead of tea tree bc I just can't stand the smell 🤢

I absolutely would not waste my money on that kit. Tamanu oil is an expensive waste in soap and all the properties of the wonderful Tamanu are lost in soap. It is an oil you want to use in a leave-in product.

I used to make a light salt bar with 20% neem oil that sold fantastically to girls with acne. I sold it as Trouble Friendly. It was the only "Salt Bar", that was only 20% salt and contained charcoal and low CO/PKO. I also made a Charcoal Soleseife bar that sold well, which was my only higher superfat, 11%, bar due to the high charcoal and 25% salt brine solution.
 

MellonFriend

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I absolutely would not waste my money on that kit. Tamanu oil is an expensive waste in soap and all the properties of the wonderful Tamanu are lost in soap. It is an oil you want to use in a leave-in product.

I used to make a light salt bar with 20% neem oil that sold fantastically to girls with acne. I sold it as Trouble Friendly. It was the only "Salt Bar", that was only 20% salt and contained charcoal and low CO/PKO. I also made a Charcoal Soleseife bar that sold well, which was my only higher superfat, 11%, bar due to the high charcoal and 25% salt brine solution.
That's the second time I've heard of an acne bar recipe with low CO/PKO. What's the thought process behind that? I would have thought you would want high levels of CO or PKO for their cleansing and bubbling powers.

I have had good success with a 15% Neem oil soap. Also, helpful has been an activated charcoal mask with kaolin clay and tamanu oil. Additionally, I found that drinking milk causes me to be prone to breakouts. So there could be a dietary trigger she is not aware of.
As others have suggested, salt bars have helped some people.
Well hopefully it's not milk because there's no way she would want to stop drinking that! 😅

I've been very interested in adding neem to my recipe for my sister. I have this gut feeling that it might be a good thing for her to try.
 

Arimara

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That's the second time I've heard of an acne bar recipe with low CO/PKO. What's the thought process behind that? I would have thought you would want high levels of CO or PKO for their cleansing and bubbling powers.


Well hopefully it's not milk because there's no way she would want to stop drinking that! 😅

I've been very interested in adding neem to my recipe for my sister. I have this gut feeling that it might be a good thing for her to try.
Not cmzaha but I can tell you that you do not want an overly harsh soap and you can get just that from either oils on their own. I can also tell you that when you use both oils together, they tend to play on each other's attributes very well. For me, I could use 15% at most of a combination of coconut and palm kernel oils and have a nice enough lather and PLENTY of cleansing (maybe a bit much for me).
 

artemis

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That's the second time I've heard of an acne bar recipe with low CO/PKO. What's the thought process behind that? I would have thought you would want high levels of CO or PKO for their cleansing and bubbling powers.
They make for a very stripping soap. If you remove too much of the natural oils from the skin, the body can "fight back" by producing even more, which can lead to more breakouts.
 

cmzaha

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Both Artemis and Arimara are correct, an overly cleansing soap will usually cause worse breakouts due to the oil glands overacting and creating more oil. In fact, some folks with acne do well with clay/oil face cleansers. I like to use PKO/CO split at 10-11% total with sorbitol at 1.1% total batch weight to help lather. Just to let you know Neem oil is a gentle oil. If you want to add in a little astringent factor you can use Grapeseed oil at 10-15% but beware it is a short-shelf life oil. I always use EDTA in combination with Sodium Gluconate at .5% each which helps with soap scum and slows rancidity. I also add in Rosemary Oleoresin (Roe) when I open my jug of Grapeseed oil.
 

KimW

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I feel for your sister and it's so kind of you to think of her in this helpful way! I've said this in a similar post - plain water. No soap. No "toner". No OTC lotion - only an oil like jojoba or argan oil or meadowfoam. 30 days. See what happens.

Also really like what @amd has said above and I think she rightly summarized treating the problem of acne.

I'll only add, to slightly echo what amd has said, that there are different types of acne, and some really can only be lessened or cleared with medication from a dermatologist.
 

MellonFriend

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Thank you all for the advice! I really appreciate all of you taking the time to help me out. I know this is such a case by case subject. We'll just have to play around with different recipes to see what helps.

Another question regarding the CO/PKO situation: I see in a lot of recipes for salt bars that the levels of coconut oil tend to be higher due to the anti-lathering properties of the salt. Is this a circumstance where you would want higher coconut oil? Also--I know that lye calculator numbers aren't always 100% reliable to how the soap will actually be-- but, if I had a high level of cleansing power, could I combat those with higher levels of conditioning oils so it wouldn't be so stripping?
 

Michele Howie

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That's the second time I've heard of an acne bar recipe with low CO/PKO. What's the thought process behind that? I would have thought you would want high levels of CO or PKO for their cleansing and bubbling powers.


Well hopefully it's not milk because there's no way she would want to stop drinking that! 😅

I've been very interested in adding neem to my recipe for my sister. I have this gut feeling that it might be a good thing for her to try.
35 years ago my dermatologist said, "lay off the animal dairy". ( I had horrendous breakouts )...I did. it was a HUGE improvement. ( especially to a girl who wants to look their best to boys and their girlfriend's)
inflammation from the naturally occurring components in animal dairy ( to build big strong babies not humans) wreaks havoc on humans. The body responds and it is easy to see when it's on our skin.
PMS all but disappeared. Went through menopause with absolutely no hot flashes. It's a good weird. It would be cool for a researcher / chemist to ID the inflammatory components besides the casein. ( bad under eye bruising and snotty sinuses when I do break down and have dairy....mmmm pizza)
 

MellonFriend

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This is very interesting! It's just not realistic for her to stop eating dairy products, though. I raise dairy goats for my household, and make cheese and ice cream and there is no way she would give up those things for better complexion. She's not that concerned with her appearance that she would sacrifice her happiness with food.

Thank you for your input though, maybe it will help someone in the future that ends up on this thread. 😉
 
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Angie Gail

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I'm 44 and still have breakouts. I have very oily skin but I can keep it mostly under control and only rarely will a pimple get through. FYI, not really soap related, but there are many causes for acne including diet, hormones, and hygiene. Oily skin should only be washed twice a day as overwashing will dry your skin and cause it to overcompensate by producing more oil. Don't use harsh scrubs but instead use more mild exfoliation (something like a wash with beads in it like Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit facial scrub) and only use once a day or 3-4 times per week if you have sensitive skin. Oily skin does generally still need a moisturizer too so don't skip that step. Just use a light, mattifying lotion. I love Oil of Olay Age Defying Daily Renewal Cream. I realized years ago that it wasn't primarily hormones (I'm a woman) causing my acne but diet. Peanuts, cashews, and regular whole cow's milk make me breakout badly so I avoid those. Also I'm allergic to Tea Tree Oil. It's in many skincare/face products but it makes me breakout in big lumps. I've tried almost everything under the sun including prescription pills/face products and over the counter and what works best for me is 2.5% benzoyl peroxide (I get mine from acne.org). Most OTC benzoyl peroxide is 5% or 10% and those are too drying for most people; the 2.5% works just as well but without being so harsh on skin.

Hope this is helpful!
 

Oliveandash

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This is very interesting! It's just not realistic for her to stop eating dairy products, though. I raise dairy goats for my household, and make cheese and ice cream and there is no way she would give up those things for better complexion. She's not that concerned with her appearance that she would sacrifice her happiness with food.

Thank you for your input though, maybe it will help someone in the future that ends up on this thread. 😉
I dont eat any dairy products and feel and have much better skin because of it. Before I went off it I thought I could never do without things like cheese and ice cream, but after it’s gone for a while you really don’t even think about missing it. We don’t drink milk or dairy naturally as adult humans, and I don’t think it’s healthy to consume another species milk at any stage in life.
 

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