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June 2017 SOTM - Botanical Acne Soap

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When I was growing up my older teenage sister suffered miserably for years from acute acne. I can still visualize her crying and holding her face in pain and shame. If anything touched her face it would set off another blast of tears and agony for her. Plus she was left with facial scars no teenage girl (or anybody) deserves or wants and hides in embarrassment. All the prescription medications, creams, and acne washes she used did little to nothing to help her.


My memories of her pain and suffering led me to research and develop a natural soap that would help alleviate some of the conditions associated with acne prone skin.  This is a soap and not a cure for acne-- but my answer to help with the sensitivity and gentle cleansing that acne sufferers need for their very special sensitive skin condition.


So if you are looking for an alternative to the harsh chemical laden over the counter acne medications and want to go more natural here is my recipe for acne soap.


The ingredients and formulations I chose are from my own research and development of this soap. Information is based on the Ingredient descriptions and claims presented strictly through the various sources I researched. I included a generalized version to give you an idea of why I chose them for this soap recipe.


The oils I chose are mineral rich and gentle on skin. Olive and sunflower oils are high in skin loving oleic and linoleic fatty acids. They also produce a mild soap high in natural vitamins A & E and give skin ultra gentle cleansing. Neem oil and Shea Butter are known for their skin healing properties. I used Babassu and PKO in place of Coconut Oil for those that are allergic to coconut. I added castor for its deep moisturizing abilities. It also produces a very desirable creaminess to lather that I love. Together they produce a hard  bar of soap with plenty of fluffy bubbles.


The combination of soaping oils, botanicals, clays, essential oils, aloe, etc. produce a soap that is mild, gentle, and highly conditioning and moisturizing. It also is antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory. All properties that are essential for very sensitive acne prone skin.




I soap at room temperature. For this recipe I used a 5% superfat setting in soapcalc with a 33% lye concentration.


SOAP OILS: (56oz Oil Recipe - makes approx 18 - 4oz bars)

Olive Oil  30%               -  16.8 oz (476.27 gms)

Neem Seed Oil  15%     -  8.4 oz (238.14 gms)

Palm Kernal Oil   15%   -  8.4 oz (238.14 gms)

Sunflower Oil  10%       -  5.6 oz (158.76 gms)

Babassu Oil  10%         -  5.6 oz (158.76 gms)

Shea Butter  10%         -  5.6 oz (158.76 gms)

Castor Oil  10%            -  5.6 oz (158.76 gms)


LYE SOLUTION & LIQUIDS: (15.58oz liquid needed for recipe - I rounded to 16oz)

I used aloe vera juice in this recipe as my total liquid because it has wonderful skin soothing abilities for dry, sensitive, itchy and irritated skin.


Aloe Vera juice  -  16 oz chilled

NaOH Lye  -  7.67 oz (217.55 gms)


NOTE: as always run the recipe through your preferred soap calculator. I used soapcalc.



Botanical extracts are rich in antioxidents that may help protect skin from damaging free radicals, reduce scars and promote skin repair, tone & stimulate microcirculation. Mineral rich earthen clays help remineralize skin and draw out impurities and toxins from pores for healthier skin function. I chose sea clay and bentonite as these two continuously popped up as the best earthen clays to use for acne prone skin.)


2 oz  -  Green Tea Extract

1 tbs  -  Sea Clay

1 tbs  -  Bentonite Clay

1 tbs  -  Comfrey Leaf powder



Acne essential oil blend is formulated for its skin purification, repair, deep cleansing, toning, and astringent properties.


1 oz Tea Tree

.5 oz Lavender

.5 oz Geranium

.5 oz Lemon



Prepare your soaping oils. Gently melt your solid oils and add them to your liquid oils.  Neem oil has a very rich earthy garlic scent and will turn the soap a pretty amber color.




Once I have blended all my soaping oils in my bowl I go ahead and put in ALL of my additives and my acne essential oil blend in with the oils.


Clays and botanicals I use:





Acne EOs:




And the Green Tea extract:




Once you have added all your ingredients together in your soaping bowl use a stick blender or hand whisk to blend them all together.


Next add your lye solution. I used aloe vera juice as my total liquid. I refridgerate it ahead of time so it will be cold when I mix in the lye:





I prepared my lye solution ahead of time so it would be cooled and ready to use.


Pictured is my lye Solution mixed and ready to go:





Add the room temperature lye solution to your soaping bowl with the mixed oils. Then using a stick blender or hand whisk emulsify the batter.


Continue to blend the soap batter until it reaches trace.


Pictured below is emulsified soap batter using a stick blender:





Once the soap batter has reached trace, pour it all into your soaping mold. Scrape out any left in the bowl with a rubber spatula and add to your mold.


The batter will be a deep amber green from the clay, comfrey leaf, and neem oil combination. It should have an earthy, herbacious scent with a hint of garlic from the Neem oil. Don't worry, the neem oil scent will mellow with a good 6-8 week cure.


I like to texture my top to make it pretty. Soap in the mold with textured top:





Let your soap sit overnight in a covered mold to saponify. I usually cut mine the following day after about an 18-24 hour period of saponifying. Then I cut it up and set it aside on my curing rack. It will continue to fully saponify over the next couple of days.


I like to cure mine for about 6-8 weeks or longer before use.


Pictured below are some fresh cut soap. Enjoy!









Acne Soap3.jpg

Edited by Candybee
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I love the way you always describe your ingredients and give the reasons why you use them.  Thank you for another great tutorial Candy!

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Yea....Soap of The Month Time!!! Wow Candybee!!! This recipe sounds DIVINE, I love the color of your soap and love the tutorial! All of these soap ingredients sound so soothing and just wonderful! Who wouldn't want to TOTALLY bathe in a soap made with such a recipe like this?  I will have to try this. Thank you so much for sharing! :)

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Me too, I love how you explain why you chose those oils and

what they do. I know it takes time to put this together, thanks for sharing this with us ! 

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