What is Shea Butter?
Shea butter is a natural plant-based oil. It has been treasured in West Africa for hundreds of years for its healing properties. It is considered a sacred tree and treated with particular respect. Growing up to 60 feet tall, the Shea trees does not flower before it is 20 years and can live up to 200 years.
Meeting T opened up a whole new world for me. OK, not entirely new, but I sort of started to notice at a deeper level. I’ve always been intrigued by natural things, raw ingredients if you wish, nama in Japanese depending on pronounciation (info from my Japanese friend M). And I’ve also always really liked the product Shea Butter.
Googling around I found this (very nice I must say) blog that posted info about Shea Butter that I found interesting – I thought you might too. So without further ado, let me introduce The Renaissance Lady. Thank you Renaissance Lady for this interesting post!
Unrefined Shea Butter is rich in Oleic, Stearic and Linoleic acids that help protect, nourish and keep the skin beautifully soft and moisturized. It is also rich in essential vitamins A, E and F. Vitamin F protects the skin, particularly from the suns harmful UV rays. It helps promote youthful skin, reduce fine lines and dryness. Vitamins A and E help maintain overall health of the skin and hair as well as nourish the skin and maintain blemish free skin. It almost works as a cleanser, with its cleansing abilities it penetrates the pores and expels clogged dirt and oil accumulation allowing the skin to breathe.
Some Skin benefits of Shea butter
Shea butter protects the skin from drying out: The butter remains solid at room temperature, but melts on the skin to form a non-greasy coating that effectively seals in the moisture. Applying Shea butter all over the body after a bath or a long swim will help keep the skin hydrated and soft. Alternatively, you can add a tablespoonful of butter into your warm bathwater before the final rinse. It will quickly melt and cover your body with a thin, protective layer of oil, but the best part is that it does not make the skin oily.
Healing Qualities: Shea butter is known for its healing properties that can be attributed to the presence of several fatty acids and plant sterols such as oleic, palmitic, stearic and linolenic acids. Raw, unrefined shea butter is effective in curing skin rashes, skin peeling after tanning, scars, stretch marks, frost bites, burns, athletes foot, insect bites and stings, arthritis, and muscle fatigue.
Antioxidant Qualities: Shea butter contains plant antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E, as well as catechins. The vitamins A and E protect the cells from free radicals and environmental damage. The cinnamic acid esters in the shea fat help in preventing skin damage from ultraviolet radiation.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Shea butter has several derivatives of cinnamic acid that exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. Research has proved that in addition to its anti-inflammatory benefits, lupeol cinnamate found in shea butter prevents the development of tumors. Its anti-inflammatory properties render it beneficial for the improvement of skin conditions.
Sun Protection: Shea butter may not replace your sunscreen, but it can provide some protection against UV exposure. Shea butter has been estimated to have a sun protection factor of 6 (SPF-6). It may not be sufficient for full sun exposure on a summer day, but may be enough for a quick trip outside when the sky is overcast. With rising concerns about the possibility of chemicals in sunscreens themselves causing skin cancer, it may be a good idea to apply Shea butter as base coat before applying another sunscreen on the skin. The anti-inflammatory action of the butter is even helpful in reducing burning and soreness after sun exposure.
Healing Agent: Shea butter has amazing healing properties. It is often used as a base in medicinal ointments due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used since ages for the treatment of scars, eczema, blemishes, skin discolorations, chapped lips, stretch marks, dark spots, and in reducing the irritation caused by psoriasis. Due to its high content of vitamin A, it is effective in promoting healing and disinfection, and soothes skin allergies like poison ivy and insect bites. Vitamin F acts as a rejuvenator for soothing and healing rough and chapped skin.
Anti-Ageing Benefits: Shea butter is considered as one of the best anti-aging and moisturizing agents for the skin. It stimulates the production of collagen, the youthful scaffolding protein in the skin. The vitamins A and E found in this butter keep the skin supple, nourished, and radiant, and prevent premature wrinkles and facial lines. Shea butter penetrates the skin easily, without clogging the pores, and is effective for dry skin.
Baby Care: Shea butter is an excellent natural moisturizer that is devoid of chemicals. Thus, it is ideal for baby care as besides being gentle and soft on the skin, it is specially adapted for the delicate and sensitive skin of babies. It can be used for after bath application on the skin and also for healing eczema or diaper rash on the skin of babies.
Lip Care: Shea butter is easily absorbed and provides extra moisture and nutrients that are needed during the cold season and dry weather. Thus, it acts as a perfect lip balm to protect your lips from cold and dry weather and is effective for treating dry and chapped lips.
Restores Skin Elasticity: The non-saponifiable matter and vitamin F in this butter are vital ingredients for maintaining the skin’s elasticity. Thus, the application of shea butter restores the elasticity of the skin and helps maintain an even skin tone, besides hydrating, softening and beautifying it.
Soothes Dry And Irritated Scalp: Shea butter is effective in soothing a dry, itchy scalp or dandruff. It possesses anti-inflammatory qualities and gets absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy residue or clogging the pores. Being rich in vitamins A and E, it soothes dryness, repairs breakage and mends split ends. Hence, it is extremely effective in providing relief from a dry scalp, dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
Moisturizer: The presence of vitamins A and E makes shea butter an excellent moisturizer to moisturize your hair from the roots to the tips. Thus, it can be used as a natural conditioner. It is highly effective in locking in moisture, without leaving the hair greasy or heavy. Shea butter has wide usage in curly hair treatments due to its emollient qualities. A number of chemical treatments like straighteners, perms, curlers, etc. are responsible for stripping off the natural moisture from the hair. Shea butter can help restore this lost moisture.
Hair Protection: Shea butter provides protection to the hair against the harmful free radicals in the air and water and harsh weather conditions. Moreover, shea butter has a low amount of SPF that is sufficient to protect the hair from sun damage caused due to the exposure to ultraviolet radiation and repairs the damage that has already been caused by the harsh weather and the sun. This is largely due to the fact that once absorbed, shea butter coats the hair shaft so that it is protected from a heat tool or any other damaging material being passed along the hair. This is particularly beneficial for processed or colored hair. It also protects the hair against salt and chlorine when applied before swimming.
Hair Softener: Shea butter is great for softening and revitalizing damaged and brittle hair. Due to its non-greasy nature, it helps to control and spread the excess oil in the scalp. Massaging the hair with generous amounts of shea butter can give soft and silky tresses. This benefit of shea butter is applicable for dry as well as fragile, curly hair. Shea butter should be applied twice a week for hair growth, improving the hair texture and moisturizing the hair.
Who is the designer behind Shea Butter?
OK, now we’ve read all these good things about Shea Butter. It is genuinely a fantastic product. Personally I love it. It works wonders for my skin. I use it during the cold months and my skin thanks me. Every day. And I would like to direct my gratitude to The Best Designer In The World – Mother Nature. Thank you Mother Nature for giving us an abundance of greatness.
Disclosure: Shea Butter information and pictures from The Renaissance Lady, Ivynat (all info from TRL and IN), Natural Homes and Vivian Holt Exclusives.