A Recipe for an Herbal Acne Treatment Bar Soap

bar soap

Acne can seem like a curse…

…or a battle that leaves us searching for a cure and trying tons of commercially-prepared remedies that promise treatment.

The belief that pharmaceutical antibiotics, harsh chemicals, and synthetic hormones are necessary to treat acne is simply untrue.

In addition to diet modification (more fresh, less processed foods), there are several all-natural, herbal remedies that are super effective in clear up your skin.

Herbs that Heal

Of the many all-natural and “old-wives’ tale” remedies used to treat acne…herbs often work the best to heal facial blemishes.

A few of my favorite included:

No doubt there are many others — such as lemon balm, chamomile, calendula, rosemary, and yarrow — that have amazing properties as well!

Yet my experience in combining these herbs has been amazing!

Herbal Acne Treatment Bar Soap Recipe

I can honestly say that no other facial cleanser has had the power of this bar soap.

Note :: You may purchase this bar soap handmade here.

Utilizing the healing and detoxifying properties of neem oil, castor oil, and tea tree — coupled with the skin-loving herbs of thyme, burdock root, comfrey, and nettles — acne has little hope against this stuff!

Get ready to blast your blemish-prone skin!


-10 ounces olive oil infused with dried thyme, burdock root, comfrey, and nettles
-10 ounces coconut oil
-2 ounces castor oil
-6 ounces Neem oil
-3 ounces Palm oil, or grass-fed tallow (just be sure to run the recipe through the lye calculator if using tallow instead of palm)
-2 ounces beeswax

-4.5 ounces of lye
-10 ounces of water

-1 ounce tea tree oil
-1 ounce peppermint essential oil

*Please Note: All measurements are by weight using a small digital kitchen scale.
*Read my posts by clicking this link or this link for more details on my hot processed soap-making method.
1. Measure the lye and water — each in separate bowls — using a kitchen scale. Note: Always run your recipe through a lye calculator to be sure that you are using the proper amount of oils, lye, and liquid.

2. Carefully combine the lye and water by pouring the lye into the water (never pour the water into the lye) and stir liquid until lye is completely dissolved. The liquid is caustic and not to be touched in anyway. The outside of the bowl will be extremely hot as well. Note: Be careful when working with lye and follow all of the recommended precautions. Note: What I’m trying to say is, I can not be held responsible for any craziness, mishaps, explosions, etc. that may happen when making this recipe.

3. Allow the lye mixture to stay under a vent and cool down while you prepare the oils.

4. Measure all oils, by using a kitchen scale, and pour into a pot. Note: Use the herbal oil infusion methods that I share in this post as a guide when creating your own herb infused olive oil for this recipe.

5. Warm oils and beeswax on low heat until all are melted.

6. Pour melted oils into a crock pot. Be sure the crock pot is on the lowest setting. Note: Do not allow the oils to get to hot.

7. Add the lye/water mixture to the oils in the crock pot and stir. Note: Any equipment the lye touches needs to be neutralized in a mixture of vinegar, soap, and water. Vinegar will neutralize the lye.

After a brief stir, grab your stick blender and get to work! Blend the oils, lye, and water in the crock pot for at least 3-5 minutes. We are working toward ”trace.”

 9. Blend until the mixture becomes a thick, pudding like consistency.

10. Once the mixture is pudding-like, cover the crock pot and “cook” the soap for approximately 1 hour.

11. By the end, the mixture should have folded in on itself and it should be somewhat transparent. Turn off the crock pot.

12. Prepare your molds. Note: I just use a standard glass loaf pan lined with parchment paper and it’s always worked perfectlyPost Update: I have switched to using these silicon loaf pans and LOVE them!

13. Add the essential oils just prior to pouring your soap into the molds.

14. Spoon soap mixture into molds. Allow soap to cool and harden for 24 hours.

15. Remove from mold on to cutting board and cut into 1 inch thick bars.

16. Place bars on a tray with good airflow so that they can harden further. Because we are using the hot processed method of soap-making with this recipe…feel free to go ahead and use your first bar!!!


-If you are new to soap-making I strongly suggest you read through these very informative articles and find what will work for you:

-I would also recommend borrowing a few of these books from the library if you really find yourself wanting to know more:

Where to Buy Soap-Making Supplies

Looking for the raw materials mentioned in this post?

I purchase lye, sodium hydroxide, online through Amazon.com (this sodium hydroxide is PERFECT for soap-making and I love this company)

I also highly recommend Mountain Rose Herbs for all of your Bulk Herbs and Natural Products for Healthy, Natural Living needs!

Be sure not to miss a post, click this link to receive my free eBook and Frugally Sustainable tips by email.

acne bar soap by roots + reverie

Herbal Blemish Bar Soap, $12, by Roots + Reverie via Etsy

Not ready to take the dive into soap-making?
This soap — and many other lovely handmade goodies —
may be purchased from my dear friend over @ Roots + Reverie
by clicking this link.


  1. Donna Crawford says:

    Question: I don’t really like working with palm. Mainly because I don’t have a local supplier. Are there any substitutions that might work here? Tried various recipes for my sons acne but not much success. This one is a little different. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Great question Donna! I’d suggest simply increasing the amounts of olive and coconut oil in substitution of the palm oil.

    • Bentenite clay is also good for pulling toxins out of pores and clarifying the skin. Plantain will pull everything to the surface of the skin, but that will also mean additional break-outs for a week or two In the long run the skin will be smoother and have far less break-outs because pores are finally able to heal from within.

  2. Hi Andrea!

    Thanks for posting this recipe. Where do you buy your neem oil at? I looked a few months back for it and couldn’t find it online. Also, any chance of making a soap making video? I enjoy your other videos so much and seeing someone make soap would really help me get a feel for what I would be doing. Lastly, when you mix your lye and water do you mix it in a glass, metal or plastic container? I’ve heard you aren’t supposed to use glass since it could get too hot & shatter, yet I see people putting it in glass…..I am confused. Thanks!

    • I use a throw away cup to measure the lye, then a canning jar to measure the liquid and then pour the lye into it. It’s never ever shattered. It is kinda hot tho. I use a rag to pick up the jar when pouring.

    • Hello,

      I measure my lye in an old yogurt container. I measure my water in a plastic pitcher which is clearly marked for soap. I mix my lye solution in the pitcher ass well.

      I like that it is tall and has a handle. Plus no fear of shattering!

  3. Johanna Averillo says:

    My daughter can not use coconut oil or anything with coconut in.
    Have you ant suggestions, of what to replace it with.
    Thanks for the great post.

    • The research that I’ve done has shown that palm kernal oil may be a goid substitute for coconut oil. I use it in my Eczema Soap recipe and it works well.

  4. Dee Huffman says:

    What do you think about substituting Shea butter for the palm oil? Since palm is a hard oil and increasing the other oils could result in a much softer bar. Shea is very healing. But do you think it might work against the herbal mixture you’ve created to help with acne. My teen daughter suffers with this problem and I would love to make a bar soap for her to use. Dee

    • Donna Crawford says:

      I’ve would try that but I’m one of the few sensitive to shea! So many great recipes call for it too. I’ve also heard of subbing lard or crisco for the palm for some hardening.

  5. I have a question as well. Where do you get your lye from? Do you make it yourself? I can not find lye here in central Texas and someone even told me I had to have some sort of license to get it. Is this true?

    • We buy it from a local Ace Hardware store.

    • Donna Crawford says:

      If you have any sort of old fashioned, local grocery store or hardware store that’s the place to look. I was paying $10/lb from amazon when I spotted at my local grocery, 2 mins from my house, for $2/lb in the drain cleaning section. That’s one reason I don’t use palm. If I’m going to make my own soaps, lotions, etc. I want it to be cost effective and prefer local purchasing. I can find all the olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, lard, etc. at my regular stores at very reasonable costs. But not palm. I do make exceptions for the essential oils! I can find very few locally. 🙁

    • Lowe’s has it in plumbing. It’s labeled as Drain Cleaner, but clearly says 100% lye on the label.

  6. Can someone make for me, and I’ll buy from them? 🙂

  7. Do you have to use lye??? are they any other healthy substitutes?
    also, as above comment where do you get yours???
    thanks… planing to attempt it.. ..but want to take out lye….
    appreciated much!

    • IWONTLYE says:

      Dear Amina, I would recommend you stay far away from soap making. As in preferably the next state. But if you feel that you have to, And only if you otherwise insist on putting your hands to it, I would suggest red wine vinegar as the healthiest substitute for lye in soap making. Some say regular vinegar would suffice but I would say red wine vinegar would trump that as a healthy alternative. To get a sufficient amount of acid for successful hydrolysis of oils the magic ratio is 3 parts oil to 1 part (remember) red wine vinegar. This is an ancient soaping method called the vinaigrette method. It does have a long curing time and oils might separate so regular stirring might be needed. Remember when grandma said she’d wash your mouth with soap. This methods product is also edible and therefore the healthiest alternative for when grandma’s threats need to be put in practice. Remember! Absolutely no soaping for you… BUT if you HAVE to… Only this method will give you satisfactory results. Certainly the healthiest.

  8. linda clark says:

    what oil could I substitute for palm oil? palm oil is being grown in plantations and then clear cut, leaving large tropical areas in danger of soil erosion and water pollution. the area is left vulnerable to insects and disease due to lack of biodiversity.

  9. Andrea please I love CpHp all I do!

  10. Andrea is “Nettle” in your recipe the same as Nettle Leaf?

    Thanks, Jan

  11. I want to try this and am ordering the supplies at this time. I am not familiar with how to infuse the herbs into the oil & comfrey leaf is not available from the site I am ordering, could I substitue the comfrey root instead, or should I shop elsewhere for the comfrey? Please let me know how much of these herbs to how much oil & how long does it take to get the proper amnt infused? I am looking forward to helping my preteens with this wonderful recipe. Thank you for posting.

  12. Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a long time via email. I just wanted to let you know I’ve added your button to a list on my blog of blogs I enjoy reading!

    Blue Eyed Beauty Blog

  13. thanks for the great post. i will to try nettle. i hope it really work because i have try several herb like this but seen no result . thanks for sharing.

  14. Definitely bought some from your etsy store! Love the idea and the recipe, but I’m terrible with making these sort of things. Thanks for the post though and I can’t wait to try my bar!

  15. Can you please let us know when you have more available for purchase? Thank you!!!!

  16. Brenda Stary says:

    Hi! love your posts! I live in green bay wi. I own a bead store and do not have the time right now to make this but was wondering if you actually sell it? I woud love to purchase some for my grandaughter! thank you!

  17. I made some great soap a couple of weeks ago using Crisco (soybean oil), Wesson Oil (also soybean) and olive oil. I used coconut oil and Vitamin E oil for superfatting, but castor, grapeseed, almond or jojaba oil will work in place of the coconut oil. I love crockpot soap!

  18. Hi there Andrea! I’m so excited to try out this recipe 🙂 Two questions: Any way to include shea butter in this? And what about including .5 ounce of wintergreen oil, for the benefits of salicylic acid for acne treatment (might help mask the neem more too!)? Thanks for your wonderful recipes.

  19. I was also thinking of adding activated charcoal and bentonite clay…

  20. Thank you, I have been searching for info about this subject matter for a
    long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far.

  21. Don´t you leave the soap to “sleep” for a while? As far as I know soap gets better with age and should sleep at least 6 months to 1 year after it is cooked in a dry airy space, being turned over once in a while.

  22. How big is the loaf pan you use for this?

  23. Palm oil can clog pores. Beeswax does not let the skin breath. Peppermint EO (unless terpineless) can irritate the skin.
    I would suggest making a gentle soap of noncomedogenic oils with bulgarian lavender and perhaps a bit of rosemary – both good skin essential oils. Unless you have really bad acne, you won’t need tea tree oil.

    • IWONTLYE says:

      Dear Delores Boone,

      Unless you are amphibian I very much doubt the need that you might have to breathe through your skin. Please also note that SOAP is a wash off product and that people do not cast themselves within bars of soap although I might appreciate the sight of some such casting. The saponification product of palm oil is soluble in water (soap) and does wash away in water. As the product of this recipe is not palm oil or a beeswax wrap I think … That… Essentially you thought too much. But thanks for the effort.

  24. Awesome things here. I am very glad to look your post. Thanks a lot and I’m having a look ahead to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?

  25. If Lye is caustic, why would you use it in a soap?…I am new to tryin to make my own soaps but would love to make this for my teenage son. He has chemical sensitivities so I am thinking lye is going to have a bad effect on him. I know when I have bought all natural Grandmas Lye Soap my skin starts to burn after 2 days of using it…When any soap recipes call for Lye is there someting else you could use in place of it?

    • You cannot make soap without lye. It is the reaction between the oils and lye that makes soap. Not sure why that brand would burn your skin as I’ve never tried it myself. Any real soap has lye though (perhaps listed as sodium hydroxide or soaponified oils of….). Anything without it is generally called by another name such as a big brand name “beauty bar”.

  26. My 13 yo dd has fair skin and red hair. She has a lot of black heads. Will your acne soap help with the blackheads or just pimples? Did I see that you see this product?

  27. Amy Rose says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I just made my first batch–so easy! Questions: My crockpot has a “keep warm” setting. Do I use that instead of “low?” (For infusing oils and for cooking the soap.) Also, are the essential oils really by weight or can/should they be 1 oz by volume? I put 1.33 fl oz each because that was about 1 oz-wt, and it seems really, really strong. My whole house smells very invigorating, haha.

  28. Do you have this soap ready made and for sale?

  29. how much of each herb do you use when you infuse for this recipe? thank you!

  30. Andrea,
    Thank you for this great recipe I can’t wait for the herbs to get here to try it. I have two teenagers and a niece to try it on. One question though I make most of my soap with goats milk because it is so healing and because my niece has very dry skin and suffers from eczema I was wondering if you could replace the water in this recipe with goats milk like I do the other cold process soaps or if since this was a hot process if it would mess up the results. Thank you in advance for you help.
    Sincerely yours,

    Andrea Sayer

  31. dolly danger says:

    I have made your other soap recipes before and love each one I tried. I have tried to make a soap based on this (herbal acne treatment) recipe two times and both times it has failed. I used coconut oil, castor oil, sunflower oil and olive oil infused with thyme (total oil wt 3.25 #), 3T coarse sea salt (added to lye water) and 3 T honey added at trace, one ounce of tea tree oil added after the cook. The first batch included neem oil but I was all out when I made this batch.
    Anyway, both times the soap came out flaky to the point of crumbling in my hand. I tried to rebatch the first batch TWO TIMES and I had the same problems. The latest batch will probably end up in the trash like the first one. I hate the thought of wasting my oils!
    What could be the problem? Aaarrrggghhhhhhh!!!

  32. Natural soaps works great for acne prone skins as well. Treating with a true natural soap is one of the best ways to keep your skin clear because it doesn’t contain the harsh chemical ingredients that damage and dry skin. 🙂

  33. Hi I am going to attempt this recipe, I purchased the herbs but having a hard time with the exact way I am Supposed to infuse the herbs. Could u please tell me how much of each herb I am supposed to use how much oil what kind of oil for how long do I infuse do I use the heat method or the sit on a shelf for weeks method…. Thank u

  34. allison says:

    Looks good! Can I do this cpop?

  35. Hi I been infusing my herbs for over. A month now and do I strain the herbs and throw away ?? And just use the oil ?? also when cooking the soap does it stay on low for the whole hr ..ty

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