Shea butter ranks as one of the premier skin care ingredients in the cosmetic industry. Native to the African subcontinent, it is extracted from the nut of its eponymous tree and used to make moisturizers and lotions. Some local cultures in the western part of this continent also use it for edible purposes. Shea butter benefits, especially for people with sensitive skin. It acts as an emollient that hydrates and softens the skin, and thus helps reduce dryness and rashes. This explains why it is a major ingredient in top-of-the-line moisturizing skincare products.
What is Shea butter?
Shea butter is extracted from the shea tree’s kernels, which are native to West Africa. The former occurs as a natural and edible fatty substance that is whitish in color. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, and its high nutritional content explains why it is so preferred among the local African cultures.
Types: This nut-based nutrient is available in two types: refined and unrefined. Its unrefined and natural avatar is the purest one and is considered the most nutritious. Refined shea butter, however, undergoes filtration and deodorization processes. This reduces some of its nutrients but makes the butter more suitable for instant use.
Did you know? Archaeologists have discovered evidence of this butter being produced using indigenous means as early as the 14th century.
Shea butter Benefits for skin
Most skincare experts advise using toxin-free skincare products to treat issues of sensitive skin types- like seasonal dryness or excessive oiliness- during different times of the year. This naturally moisturizing ingredient fits the bill nicely because of its high nutritional content.
The following pointers describe some of the most popular shea butter benefits for skin care:
1. Moisturizes the skin
As the name suggests, it is a buttery substance with high fatty acid content. Shea butter has a high concentration of linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids. Together with the emollients, these natural oils strengthen the lipid barrier and trap moisture, preventing the skin from drying out.
2. Heals chapped lips
Shea butter works great for the lips. It enriches them with moisturization and vitamins, thus healing dry and chapped lips. Its lightweight texture further ensures that the finish is neither greasy nor sticky.
3. Soothes irritation
It has anti-inflammatory properties that cause the inflamed cells to heal faster. This helps soothe the inflammation caused by skin conditions like eczema. It also reduces the irritation caused by razor cuts and insect bites.
4. Heals sunburns
Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce the redness and discomfort caused by sunburn. It also helps the skin cells regenerate faster.
5. Slows down signs of aging
Shea butter is rich in vitamins A and E. It also has antioxidants that protect the skin from free radicals, thus slowing down signs of premature aging. It also boosts collagen production, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
6. Restores elasticity
Vitamin F, which can be found in abundance in shea butter, helps maintain the skin’s elasticity. It also prevents sagging and thus makes the skin more elastic.
7. Reduces acne
The unique composition of fatty acids helps control the sebum production in the skin cells. Thus using shea butter on the face helps keep pores from clogging and prevents breakouts.
8. Minimizes stretch marks and scars
The high concentration of vitamin E encourages the regeneration of new skin cells. It stops the scar tissues from coming back, thus reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars.
9. Evens skin tone
The butter’s hydrating properties and ability to accelerate the cell regeneration process fade out dark spots and reduce hyperpigmentation (or other forms of discoloration).
10. Nourishes the skin
Shea butter is loaded with fatty acids and vitamins. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that strengthen the skin from within and make it more resilient to external triggers.
Safe for all skin types
In its purest form, shea butter is usually considered safe for all skin types. And since it is a natural substance, the content of its proteins responsible for triggering allergies is very low, and research has not shown any severe reaction with continued topical applications.
However, combined with other ingredients, there is always a slight chance of skin irritation or other reactions. It is used to make moisturizers, lip balms, hand and face creams, and body lotion. It thus makes sense to check for the ingredients listed on the product before making a buying decision. And if you do notice a reaction, you should promptly consult a doctor or dermatologist.
Countless generations of African natives have acknowledged the shea butter benefits of their respective skin care regimens. With a history spanning hundreds of years, it surely fits the bill of being a safe and gentle skincare product.
If you are looking for such a skincare product, we recommend our Vitamin C Hand Cream with Vitamin C and Shea Butter for Intense Moisturization. Enriched with Vitamin C and Glycerin, it is a lightweight and fast-absorbing cream that offers up to ten times more moisturization and kills 99% germs.
You may also opt for our Original Orange Body Lotion for Kids with Orange & Shea Butter if you want to buy something for your children. It gently nourishes their tender skin and makes it softer and more supple. This lotion also comes enriched with olive butter and coconut oil, reducing oxidative stress.
Here are some of the most common questions about shea butter
- What does shea butter do for my skin?
and maintains the balance of natural oils to keep the skin free from breakouts. Shea butter also reduces stretch marks and slows down premature signs of aging.
- Does shea butter lighten skin?
Shea butter has a high concentration of vitamin E, which helps promote the regeneration of new skin cells that potentially helps repair damage and discoloration, thus brightening skin from within.
- Can shea butter darken skin?
No, shea butter doesn’t darken the skin. On the contrary, since it promotes the growth of new skin cells, it can help reduce discoloration and provide an even skin tone.
- What are the different uses of shea butter?
Shea butter has multiple uses – as a moisturizer, lip balm, hand and face cream, or body lotion. It can be used in hair care to soothe an inflamed scalp.
- Can shea butter clear dark spots?
Thanks to its ability to hydrate skin and boost cell regeneration, shea butter can help to lessen the appearance of dark spots and other discoloration.
- Can shea butter clear pimples?
Yes. Among the many shea butter benefits for skin is its ability to balance the natural oils and keep pores from clogging and its antibacterial properties that help prevent pimples.
- How long does it take shea butter to work on the face?
Shea butter can take up to three months to soften and soothe skin and around six months to reduce scarring with regular use.
- How can shea butter make your skin glow?
Shea butter's benefits are varied, but it hydrates and nourishes skin, promoting skin health and reducing blemishes and signs of premature aging. This results in a natural, healthy glow.