Shea butter is an extract of seeds of vitelleria paradoxa, a Karite tree (also known as Mangifolia) that is native to West Africa. The Karite tree bears fruits and nuts and inside these contain shea butter. Normally, the nuts are crushed and shea butter, which is usually yellow in colour, extracted from them. It is edible and has gained huge popularity of late due to its use in lotions and beauty products in the western world.
It is a versatile and extraordinary skin food that is naturally rich in Vitamin A, E and F. It has been used for many years in Africa and other countries to improve the skin when used externally. It is effective for healing many skin ailments such as scars, dry skin, eczema, stretch marks and even acne.
This article hopes to provide you with some additional information on the various health benefits that shea butter can provide.
Shea Butter For Skin
Shea butter is important for the skin because:
- It moisturizes the skin. It nourishes and moistures the skin due to the concentration of vitamins and fatty acids. It is, therefore, important for people with dry skin because it helps to protect the skins natural oils.
- It reduces inflammation. Studies that have been conducted show that shea butter is an anti-inflammatory. This is because of its’ cinnamic and other natural properties.
- It helps smooth your skin. Shea butter helps in the production of natural collagen. It also contains stearic, oleic, linolenic and palmitic acids which protect, nourish and prevent the skin from drying.
Shea Butter For Hair
Shea butter can also be used as a natural sunscreen and hair protectant as it has a low amount of SPF. This helps to protect the hair from the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. It coats the hair and therefore protects it from damage that is caused by blow drys, chemical hair treatments, straighteners etc. In addition, it also protects the hair from salts and chlorine that can be found in swimming pools.
Shea butter restores elasticity in the skin without clogging the pores of the skin. This helps the hair grow naturally without any hindrance or obstruction and therefore a faster growth. Shea butter for hair growth works, but even if that’s not a problem for you, you’d be pleased to know it also prevents hair breakages.
The best shea butter for hair (or for anything really) is a 100% pure and organic product. It is definitely worth spending a little more to get the highest quality for the best results. I personally go to Amazon and get the product with the most positive customer reviews.
Shea Butter For Wrinkles
Shea butter also has an anti-aging benefit. This is because of the collagen production which helps in the production of a youthful skin, keeping premature wrinkles away. Shea butter forms a protective barrier on the skin which shields the skin from harsh environmental factors such as strong winds and sunlight.
It also helps to fill in the wrinkles through different ways. It has vitamin A and E which are antioxidants. Vitamin A in particular increases the production of collagen and cellular turnover. On the other hand, Vitamin E ensures that everything is soft, nourished and smooth. It also has therapeutic fatty acids which help to keep the skin balanced and well nourished.
Shea butter not only keeps wrinkles away, but it also smoothens and softens existing ones.
Shea Butter For Scars
People can have scars due to a number of reasons. It could be as a result of acne when you were an adolescent, wounds or worse still second or third-degree burns. They can be irritating but Shea butter can help to get rid of them. One of its main ingredients that make it ideal to apply on skin scars is Vitamin E. It also has vitamin A which is an inflammatory agent and fatty acids which moisturise, heal and rejuvenate skin cells. It also has unique emollients which prevent clogging of the pores of the skin. All of these ingredients work differently on the scar. They can either diminish the appearance of the scars or initiate a healing process. To completely heal, you will require continued use.
Shea Butter For Acne
Raw shea butter can be used in the treatment of acne. This is a condition that many people suffer from especially in their teen years. Shea butter is ideal for acne because it is non-comedogenic (in English that means it does not clog pores). The healing component of shea butter is due to the presence of several fatty acids which are oil soluble . They are non-saponifiable (which means they do not dissolve in soap).
Raw shea butter is used because those that have chemicals will further irritate the skin. Before using though, ensure to wash your face with a medicated cleanser. This gets rid of all the residue on the skin such as oil and dead skin.
Shea Butter For Arthritis
In addition to its other amazing qualities, research has also shown that shea butter can be used in the treatment of arthritis. This is because of its anti-inflammatory properties. These properties help to relieve muscle and joint pain.
Shea Butter For Eczema
Shea butter is also known for helping people heal eczema. Eczema is a skin disease under the category of dermatitis. This is the inflammation or the irritation of the surface of the skin.
Use of Shea butter ensures that all the skin surface remains healthy. Shea butter can heal eczema because it contains important ingredients that include fatty acids, rich emollients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Symptoms of eczema begin to disappear almost immediately after using. Regular use of shea butter has also been known to get rid of eczema within a week. Its continued use also helps ensure that eczema will not return.
Shea butter for eczema works, but you should also check out some of the other home remedies for eczema such as coconut oil and jojoba oil. You could combine different natural treatments for eczema, such as Shea butter with coconut oil.
Shea Butter As A Lip Balm
Shea butter is well known for its moisturising qualities. It is easily absorbable. This makes it suitable for use as a lip balm because it does not leave any greasy marks. It helps to soften, condition and hydrate the lips. It also provides extra nutrients and moisture that are needed during the cold and dry seasons.
As it can be seen from the above, shea butter has a huge range of uses. These vary from skin softening and moisturising, wrinkle reduction , hair maintenance, eczema treatment to stretch mark treatment and many others. Its benefits are well known and accepted worldwide.