Lye Soap Use #12 – Acne

Rough cut lye soap made over an open fire

rough lye soap made over a fire

I’ve heard several customers say they, their family member, or their friend found lye soap helped with acne. People tell me of their grandma’s handing them a bar of handmade lye soap as a teenager when those first break-outs show up.

I can personally attest that handmade soap has made a big difference in the skin of all our children, no matter their skin-type. So what makes lye soap particularly good for acne? Well there’s several ways lye soap, and other handmade soaps, could be helping, here’s my theories:

First, traditional lye soap can be harsh, as I’ve explained in this previous post. Being harsh, also means it’s drying. So grandma’s lye soap could’ve been helping just by drying out that teenage skin, pulling off the excess oils.

Conversely, a lye soap recipe that’s balanced well is gentle. Lye soap contains no colors, no perfumes, no additives of any kind. Just plain, pure, white soap. Often oily skin just needs a good, pure soap to clean it well and not irritate it further. That’s exactly what a gentle lye, or handmade soap would do.

Airman Basic Weber, before flying off for Basic Military Training

Just before boarding plane for Basic Training

But even better is a handmade soap formulated for acne! And that’s where my 2nd born, Airman Basic comes in.

(Those of you know him are sworn to secrecy. He must never know his mother plastered his story all across the world wide web. If you agree, you may read further. ;)

Severe acne runs on my husband’s side of the family. The kind that comes with boils and cysts and leaves permanent scarring. We promised ourselves that the minute our children showed signs of acne, we would act quickly.

So I was prepared.

With what? Believe it or not, my Poison Ivy Soap.

My Airman is our only child, so far, who’s struggled with acne. And I immediately put him on a Poison Ivy Soap regimen. He washed with it morning and night, especially at night. If he did what mom told him, his skin was visibly clearer by the second day. It worked so well, he began asking for it when he got a break-out.

Poison Ivy Soap

Poison Ivy Soap

You did note he asked for a skin-care product? In my experience that’s quite momentous…a teenage boy asking for soap.

So why did this soap work? It’s the gentleness of pure handmade soap combined with acne, fungal, and viral fighting additives. This soap is packed with clay, witch hazel, plantain, chickweed, no extra oils or butters, tea tree essential oil, plus more. For my teenagers, and for many of my customers, this has been the magic combination to keep break-outs at bay.

Now whether my son was headed for terrible acne like his father’s, I don’t know. We never got there. I’m giving my Poison Ivy Soap at least a little credit for that.

Mother Lydia's Oat & Milk Soap

Mother Lydia's Oat & Milk Soap

For people who are bit spooked to try Poison Ivy Soap, I encourage them to try Mother Lydia’s Oat & Milk Soap first. Often an oatmeal soap is enough to take care of a mild case of acne. It’s the gentlest bar I make and I have customers bringing me wonderful stories about what it does for all kinds of skin.

But if you are dealing with a hard case of full-blown acne, give some Poison Ivy Soap a try. Compared to many of the over-the-counter treatments, you’ll be saving some money and much kinder to your skin.

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20 Responses to Lye Soap Use #12 – Acne

  1. s.thompson says:

    I have a lot of skin breakouts which soap do you recommend?

    • I would start with an unscented, uncolored gentle bar, like my Mother Lydia’s Oat & Milk. Often breakouts are made worse or even caused by the synthetics in our skin care products. I always encourage my customers to take out all irritants and possible allergens with their face soap first. If your break-outs are from high oil production, then I would try a clay soap like my Poison Ivy Soap which also includes Witch Hazel, another traditional treatment for acne. Also take a look at your diet. Make sure you’re getting enough water and you’re making healthy food choices. I hope this helps. If you have further questions, feel free to ask!

  2. C. J says:

    Interested n ur soaps. Especially lye soap.
    was also wondering if its safe to bathe my dog n it. He has minor skin irritations. THANK YOU :)

    • Yes, it is safe to bathe your dog in lye soap as long as it is not a very harsh one. I bathe mine in lye soap or pine tar soap all the time. But, as with any skin product, test it first on a small patch of skin to make sure your dog doesn’t react to it.

  3. Holly says:

    Just a quick question. I just discovered lye soap useage for an acne treatment. My 14 year old son has been suffering with acne for about a year and we’ve tried the big name treatments that aren’t working. Can you give more info about what to us in addition to lye soap to help clear up the face? Or is it best just to use soap and water twice a day? Thanks so much.

    • I’ve had this question often since writing this post. I personally recommend either pine tar, oat & milk, or poison ivy soaps rather than lye soap for acne. And yes, I recommend just soap. My boys had the best luck with poison ivy soap and it is the strongest of those I recommend. Pine tar soap is the traditional choice. Oat & Milk is the gentlest. Whichever soap you choose, night time application is the most important. In addition to the soap, they need to keep their hands off their face and drink plenty of water. With teenagers…easier said than done. :)

  4. Mary Elizabeth says:

    I am in my mid-20s and have been struggling with adult acne for the past year and had tried just about everything on the market from the dermatologist recommended Cetaphil to ProActiv. I recently purchased the the Oatmeal and Goats Milk soap and the Pine Tar soap from this website and it has really worked wonders for me. I use the pine tar before bed and the oatmeal in the morning so I don’t overdo it but it has really worked fantastically for me and I am so excited about it! Thank you Beth!!!

  5. Pingback: Re-visiting Lye Soap and Acne | Appalachian Heritage Soaps & Sundries

  6. India Gray says:

    Does lye soap help stretchmarks?

  7. Paige says:

    Just wondering if you can buy the oatmeal and goat oats soap in just a single bar or does it only come in bulk? Thanks.

  8. Susan Skinner says:

    I was excited to find your site, and would like to buy Both Soaps listed above to try on my kids. I clicked the link, and was told it was sold out. May I buy directly from you?

  9. Susan Friesen says:

    What do you suggest for boils? Lye soap or poison ivy soap?

    • I would recommend poison ivy soap or black drawing salve. Poison ivy soap is good for excess oil production. Black drawing salve is a traditional remedy to draw infection out of boils.

  10. Rin says:

    Hi! I recently bought the Poison Ivy soap and I was wondering how you’d suggest washing one’s face with it?

  11. where can I find black drawing salve

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