One of the trickiest questions I’ve ever had to deal with when writing about stretch marks is, what’s the best soap for stretch marks? It might not seem like such a complicated subject, but when you think about it, we’re essentially looking at injured skin when we talk about stretch marks.
Naturally, you have to be extra careful with this damaged skin – the wrong sort of soap can irritate the skin and make the situation worse, so in this article, we’ll be looking at some of the best soaps out there for your tiger stripes.
Why Is Soap So Important When It Comes to Stretch Marks?
Well, it’s no secret that we all have to wash. This becomes doubly important when dealing with an injury or scar. And that’s what stretch marks are, essentially. Scars. So the first main reason you want to use a good soap is to get dirt and bacteria out of the stretch mark to avoid an infection or worsening of the scar.
Furthermore, the right sort of soap that uses the correct ingredients will cleanse and protect and encourage the regrowth of healthy, new layers of skin. Healthy, restorative ingredients will also work to remove dead skin cells, which often make the stretch marks look worse than they are. In this sense, soap can be gold for removing your tiger stripes, especially when used together with a proper exfoliating routine for stretch marks. What you want to remember here is, the sooner we get rid of the damaged skin, the better.
So these are the two main reasons you want to make sure you pick the right soap for your stretch marks:
- nurturing and encouraging the growth of new cells;
- removing old, damaged cells.
Can I Pick the Wrong Soap for My Marks?
Definitely. The same is true for any skin, practically. Your skin has a specific pH level, and depending on that, you will want to choose a soap that correctly balances your pH, without stripping your skin of its natural oils, and without clogging it.
One of the biggest problems people with stretch marks face when it comes to soap is that they opt for a good, thorough one that is too rough for their damaged skin. While cleansing it of dirt, this soap will also strip away moisture, drying out your skin. And stretch marks already mean dry skin. By preventing your body from producing collagen and elastin and renewing the skin layers, a harsh soap will worsen your stretch marks and possibly leave worse scars than they normally would.
Another issue when using the wrong soap for stretch marks is that, again, by picking one that’s too rough, you risk getting a rash on what is already sensitive skin. Likewise, soaps that use artificial fragrance can irritate your stretch marks and cause more damage.
Is There A Right Soap for Tiger Stripes? What Is Black African Soap?
Black African soap is one of the most highly touted “remedies” for stretch marks, particularly new, red ones. Why is that? Well, it’s got quite a few benefits to its name.
- First of all, black soap is fragrance-free. Granted, it may not smell as nice as you expect, but at the same time, this means it’s safe for all skin types and that you don’t risk a rash or infection.
- It has potent anti-bacterial properties. It will keep your stretch marks clean and protected from any potential infection.
- It’s highly moisturizing and contains a lot of shea butter. Black soap is a powerful moisturizer and works to nurture your sensitive skin. As we all know, shea butter for stretch marks is one of the oldest (and most reliable) tricks in the book!
- It’s a natural exfoliator. Raw black soap tends towards a rougher texture than the soap bars you’re probably accustomed to. Thus, by scrubbing your skin directly with the black soap, you’re essentially cleansing and removing dead skin at the same time.
- It encourages collagen production. With elastin, collagen is one of the main reasons your skin is firm and bouncy (or why it’s not). The coconut oil and shea butter within the black soap don’t strip your skin of moisture and encourage it to produce collagen, which in time helps rebuild your damaged, stretch-marked skin.
But what gives African soap this myriad of benefits? Why is it that you keep hearing great things about using black African soap for stretch marks?
Well, it’s thanks to its all-natural star-studded ingredient list. With black soap, you’ve got shea butter, coconut oil, palm oil, plantain bark (a good source of vitamins A and E), and other palm tree leaf derivatives. These ingredients are anti-bacterial and cleansing, while not being too rough on the skin, thus attaining the perfect balance of clean and moisturized. This allows your skin to remain clear of bacteria, but also regrow itself.
What are The Best Soaps for Stretch Marks
Luffa Soap Bar by Puretural
Best for Exfoliation
This innovative product serves both as cleansers and an exfoliator. It’s a luffa sponge for stretch marks that gently scrubs away dead skin while cleaning away bacteria and dirt.
- Natural, healthy ingredients (honey and lemongrass/turmeric/charcoal and others, depending on what you choose);
- Removes dead skin;
- A calming, gently nourishing product;
- In time, it has a lightening effect;
- Doesn’t strip skin of natural oils.
- It’s pretty pricey for a soap bar;
- There are no detailed customer reviews (though it did get some 5 stars with no comment!).
This luffa soap seems to have great potential. I like the double action, especially since cleansing and exfoliating are vital to getting healthy, bouncy skin. What’s more, Puretural also offers other natural products for stretch marks, so that’s also worth a look!
Ambi Black Soap
Best for Budget
Aside from the already mentioned benefits of black soap, the Ambi variant also contains Aloe Vera, known for its soothing and hydrating effects, so that’s a definite plus!
- Able to fade away scars and old, white stretch marks;
- Healthy ingredients;
- Powerful moisturizer;
- Great reviews.
- Contains Tocopheryl Acetate, which might not be suitable for pregnancy;
- Some complained about it, leaving a residue on the skin.
Overall, the good far outweighed the bad for this soap bar. What’s more, I’d recommend also investing in their lightening products if you’re struggling with bright stretch marks.
MSM Herbal Moisturizing Bar
Best for ingredients
Although a tad is pricier than the previous product, I love the natural ingredients in this one.
- Free of additives and artificial fragrance;
- Full of vitamins (A, C, and E – all-important for restoring skin);
- Soothes red skin;
- For some, it was drying;
- The one on Amazon may be counterfeit.
Honestly, I feel this soap is worth a try, if only for the great ingredient list (including shea, Aloe, etc.). It seems to be nurturing and not too drying, which should be just right for stretch marks!
Pure Kojic Acid Soap
Best for Lightening Marks
What immediately caught my eye about this one is that it’s free of dangerous chemicals, so immediately a bonus point for that!
- Efficiently lightens skin and marks;
- Also excellent for blemishes;
- Evens out stretch mark appearance.
- Very drying;
- Should be avoided while pregnant.
While Kojic Acid is an infamous natural lightener, it’s generally not recommended to use while pregnant/breastfeeding. This soap contains a lot of it, which makes it a very strong soap, which will in turn dry out your skin and might prove counterproductive for stretch marks.
Dudu-osun Black Soap
Best Black Soap
Once again, we’re already looking at the many benefits of black soap for this one.
- Aside from the traditional black soap ingredients, it also contains lime/lemon extracts, which are natural skin lighteners and exfoliants;
- A lot of great reviews;
- Works on old stretch marks;
- Also clears up blemishes;
- Quite pricey;
- Drying, so may not be suited for sensitive skin.
Overall, this seems to be your best option so far if you’re looking to try African black soap for your marks!
Mother’s Special Blend Cocoa Butter Soap
Best for Pregnancy
This one’s an interesting addition to our list, as it contains cocoa butter, which is also deeply nourishing and well-suited for stretch marks.
- Won’t strip natural oils;
- Soothing for damaged skin;
- Great, hydrating natural ingredients (glycerin, olive oil, etc.);
- Safe for pregnancy;
- Reasonable price.
- Some didn’t like the smell;
- Doesn’t last too long.
From what I’ve seen, I’d say this natural soap bar may be your best bet if you’re looking for something to use while pregnant and nursing, to moisturize and cleanse your skin.
Turmeric Herbal Soap by Plantlife
I love turmeric’s addition in this one, as this Indian spice is one of nature’s most potent anti-bacterial agents.
- All-natural ingredients, including olive and coconut oil;
- Works on sensitive skin;
- Doesn’t have lye, so it’s gentler than most soaps;
- Can also be used on the face.
- Can be too drying for some;
- Some didn’t like the smell;
- Some still felt unclean after use.
Overall, I’m impressed by the potent natural ingredients, but would encourage you to read up on turmeric’s benefits for skin and decide if this is for you or not!
Black Soap with Shea Butter
What immediately stands out is that this product is perfect for people with sensitive skin, who’ve noted their skin feels soft after use!
- Unbeatable price;
- Gently exfoliates;
- Leaves skin feeling smooth.
- Contains fragrance, as well as other dangerous/drying ingredients like sodium chloride (salt) and titanium dioxide, which is a sunscreen dangerous for pregnancy.
I was looking forward to recommending this, and while I appreciate that it’s cheap, I do feel the extra few dollars are worth it for buying a natural soap-free of dangerous stuff.
Deluxe Stretch Mark Soap
I like this one because it’s specifically targeted at stretch marks and brings an interesting addition to the mix: argan oil.
- Some healthy, natural ingredients;
- One review said it did diminish stretch marks.
- No longer available anywhere online;
- Few reviews on Amazon;
- Also contains unpleasant ingredients like sodium chloride.
So all in all, if you manage to find one of these, you might want to give it a try. However, I’d say the info available if too sparse to provide a full review.
Lush Massage Soap Bar
Best for Massage
Lush is one of the most well-loved and one of the best soap manufacturers on the market today.
- Full of natural healthy ingredients like orange oil and lavender oil;
- Soothing effect;
- Melts into the skin and can be used to massage the affected area;
- Doesn’t feel greasy;
- Great for dry, chapped skin as well.
- Melts too fast depending on climate;
- Some got a rash from it.
I would recommend this both for its cleansing aspects and even more for the potent moisturizers involved!
Conclusion – Top Picks
Overall, I loved most of the soap bars in this review and would highly recommend most. I particularly loved the Lush Massage Bar for its unique concept, the Mother’s Special soap for my pregnant readers, and the Dudu-osun Black Soap for those looking to try this African concept!