The Benefits of Shea Butter
I am sure that most of you are familiar with shea butter and that many of you have used it from time to time but did you know quite how good it was for your skin and just how many healthy properties that it has?
If not, then this article might be of some interest-we will take a detailed look at just how useful that shea butter can be and exactly how it can help your beauty routine and give both your skin and hair a healthy boost.
What is Shea Butter?
Despite being very familiar with shea butter because of its prominent position in my bathroom, I had never really questioned where it came from. It is actually derived from nuts which grow on a tree native to certain parts of Africa called the Karite or Mangifolia tree.
The trees which grow wild along the African equatorial belt produce a fruit which contains a nut within which the shea butter is found. In order to extract the familiar butter, the nuts are crushed and then boiled to produce the solid fatty type oil that we know as shea butter.
As well as being used in numerous cosmetic products for the skin and hair, shea butter is edible and can be found in many cooking recipes.
The reason that shea butter is such a popular ingredient in beauty products and has become so popular around the world is that it contains many healthy chemical constituents that are just perfect for your skin and hair needs.
Among its many components, shea butter is a rich source of healthy fatty acids including oleic, linoleic and stearic acids which are absorbed quickly by the skin. It is available in both refined and unrefined form and unsurprisingly the raw and unrefined type of shea butter is considered far more beneficial because it retains far more of the essential and healthy minerals and vitamins.
Why Should you use Shea Butter?
If you have never used shea butter and you are thinking of doing so for the first time, then you are in for a treat. It has all the necessary healthy properties which makes it the perfect tonic for your skin and your hair.
Even if you already use shea butter, you might not know just how much it can do for you so this article will take a detailed look at its many benefits.
- Did you know for example that shea butter was an excellent source of natural antioxidants?
- Using shea butter can provide you with numerous healing antioxidants in the form of catechins, vitamin A and vitamin E.
- Shea butter also has excellent anti-inflammatory properties because of the presence of cinnamic acid. These anti-inflammatory abilities make it ideal for treating a variety of inflammatory skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Shea butter also exhibits healing properties because of the sterols and fatty acids such as oleic and linolenic acid.
Shea Butter Benefits for the Skin
1. For Acne and Psoriasis
She butter is an excellent natural treatment for inflammatory skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis because it is so rich in anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds. If you are considering using shea butter to treat your skin, be sure to get the unrefined kind because the chemicals in less pure forms of shea butter may serve to irritate the skin further.
- Before applying the shea butter to your skin, make sure that you cleanse the pores thoroughly with a good quality natural cleanser especially if you are prone to oily skin.
Many experts recommend cleansing the skin first with a cleanser containing salicylic acid but if that type of cleanser causes a reaction, shea butter soap is an excellent chemical free alternative which can help remove any excess oil and dirt from the pores.
Shea Butter is non Comedogenic (rates as a “0 – Will Not clog pores”) according to the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology.
2. To Heal the Skin
She butter has excellent general skin healing properties that can help treat a wide variety of problems that afflict the skin. It can help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks and even age marks and other blemishes. Because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, it can be applied to insect bites and minor wounds in order to relieve irritation and promote fast healing.
3. To Keep you Looking Younger
Shea butter has excellent anti-aging effects for your skin. It has antioxidant properties as well as being rich in vitamin A and E which help to keep the skin nourished, supple and radiant. When it is applied to your skin, shea butter helps to stimulate the skin’s collagen production which is important for the skin’s health and appearance.
It can also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other blemishes that we tend to acquire as we get older.
4. To Protect from Sun Damage
Shea butter can also be used to protect your body from ultraviolet rays though how well it acts to shield you from the sun is arguable. Proponents suggest that it is most effective when applied as an after sun treatment. It provides your skin with that extra moisture and nourishment that it needs to stay healthy following exposure to the sun’s rays. It is also a good option for the winter to prevent your skin from drying out.
5. To Tone the Skin
The vitamins and other constituents contained in shea butter are important to maintain the elasticity and strength of the skin. Shea butter not only helps hydrate and soften your skin but it can add elasticity making your skin look younger and more beautiful.
6. For the Lips
If you suffer from dry or chapped lips you can apply a little shea butter as a lip balm to protect your lips from damage. It absorbs readily into your lips and gives them the moisture and nutrition they need especially in cold or very dry weather.
Shea Butter for the Hair
1. To Moisturize Hair
Shea butter is an excellent natural choice to moisturize and condition your hair because of its healthy vitamin A and E content. It can moisturize your hair gently without leaving it feeling heavy and greasy. It is especially effective for people whose hair has become brittle and dry following perms or other chemical hair treatments.
2. To Protect Hair from Damage
This wonderful natural product can also protect your hair from the free radical damage inflicted by environmental toxins. It also possesses a small amount of sun protection factor which may be enough to prevent damage by exposure to UV rays.
It is absorbed very easily into the hair and the follicles and is able to coat the shafts of your hair protecting it from the root up. When applied before swimming, it can even protect against chlorine damage.
3. To Soften and Revitalize Hair
Massaging a generous amount of your shea butter into your hair can both soften it and bring it back to life. After applying your shea butter it will look and feel softer, healthier and livelier. If you want to treat your tired looking hair, try applying shea butter several times each week and you should soon notice quite a difference in the texture and appearance.
4. For the Scalp
As well as having so many uses for your hair, shea butter can also improve the health of your scalp. It is an effective natural treatment for dryness, itchiness and pesky dandruff. Its anti-inflammatory abilities as well as the soothing vitamins can help ease inflammation and add moisture to your scalp.
Shea Butter for Babies
Babies have very sensitive skin so it is important that you treat it very carefully and avoid any chemical laden products. Because shea butter is a totally natural product, it is a wonderful and completely safe option for babies and young children.
Assuming that you use the best quality unrefined shea butter, you can safely rub it into your baby’s skin to help treat diaper rash, eczema or any other form of skin irritation.