Shea butter is derived from the kernels of the shea tree’s fruits, and the shea tree has been nicknamed “Tree of Life”, thanks to its ability to heal many skin and hair problems, issues and conditions. Because of its great moisturizing and softening benefits, shea butter is also called “Mother’s Nature Conditioner”.
Shea butter is actually skin superfood that nourishes skin and deal with problems such as dryness, dark spots, blemishes, wrinkles, stretch marks, and discoloration. Shea butter also boosts collagen producttion, and promotes skin cell regeneration, without clogging pores.
Shea butter creates barrier on skin that protects it from harsh enviromental elements. Shea buuter supports skin elasticity and suppleness, and inceases circulation. It can be also used in hair care because it nourishes from root to the tip, repairs damage, protects against brittleness and dryness, without leaving a sticky residue.
Rich in Vitamins A, E and F, Shea Butter is a natural emollient that nourishes skin to promote its clarity and health. Whether skin is dry or oily, Shea Butter balances its oil production without clogging pores. It melts at body temperature and is known to soothe and hydrate mature skin as well as skin that has been damaged by the harsh effects of the elements. Its Cinnamic Acid content provides skin with a degree of protection against the sun, acting as a natural sun screen. Individuals with acne, eczema, rashes, or psoriasis can use Shea Butter for relief from their skin conditions without experiencing the side effects commonly associated with traditional treatments, which can have abrasive effects on skin. Gentle enough for the most sensitive skin, Shea Butter has even been used traditionally for baby care.
The word Shea is derived from the word S’í, the Bambara name given to the tree in Mali. Throughout Africa, the continent of its origin, it goes by many other names, including Kade or Kadanya in the Hausa language, Ori in some parts of West Africa, and Karité in the Wolof language of Senegal.
In some of Africa’s poorest regions, the Shea tree has become important to the economy and to the livelihood. In these places, Shea Butter is most commonly known as ‘Women’s Gold,’ due to the fact that Shea Butter production is the source of income for many women in Africa. The women use Shea Butter to purchase food, clothing, personal items, and to afford an education, among other purposes.
According to historical sources, the use of Shea Butter has even been traced back to Egypt as far back as the first century at the time of Queen Cleopatra, when it was used largely in skin care products. Ancient accounts tell the story of Cleopatra demanding that large jars full of Shea Butter accompany her on all her travels so that she could apply the smooth, hydrating, soothing, and rejuvenating butter to her skin daily.
The uses of Shea Butter are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include massage oils and balms, cleansing oils, lotions, creams, facial serums, soaps, lip balms, lipsticks, shampoos and other hair care products, and ointments or salves.
Side effects and risks
Shea butter is an incredibly low-risk topical ingredient. Allergic reactions to shea butter are rare. Even people who are allergic to tree nuts, the family that shea nuts belong to, have a low risk of reaction to shea butter on their face.
Reasons to use shea butter in your skincare routine
If you have dry, dull skin, shea butter may become your new best friend. It helps retain moisture by forming a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, which reduces the loss of water and keeps your skin hydrated. Shea butter moisturizes hair, too. By conditioning the scalp, it can also reduce dandruff, and it can make hair stronger and prevent breakage.
It’s safe for all skin types
Shea butter is technically a tree nut product. But unlike most tree nut products, it’s very low in the proteins that can trigger allergies. There’s no medical literature documenting an allergy to topical shea butter. It also doesn’t contain chemical irritants.
Thanks to the fact that it contains both vitamins E and A, shea butter is also beneficial in treating irritated skin, sensitive or not. You can use it to soothe dry patches, windburn, sunburn, abrasions, even diaper rashes on babies.
It eases inflammation
Shea butter slows the production of inflammatory cells that contribute to irritation and skin conditions, so if you struggle with chronic skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis, the fatty acids in shea butter will help ease inflammation. Because shea butter penetrates the skin quickly, you’ll feel relief sooner rather than later.
It makes you look younger
The vitamin A and E in shea butter can do more than soothe skin. They can also make you appear more youthful. Shea butter also helps promote cell regeneration, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also boosts collagen production, and gives you the plump look. We all love plump look, don’t we?
It won’t make your skin oily
Shea butter contains high levels of linoleic acid and oleic acid. These two acids balance each other out. That means shea butter is easy for your skin to fully absorb and won’t make your skin look oily after application.
How to use shea butter?
Shea butter can be used on its own, but it’s just as commonly used as an ingredient in cosmetics. It is best incorporated into a moisturiser with other ingredients so it’s easier to spread, since it’s usually a thick solid at room temperature.
You can apply shea butter directly to your skin and hair, as a conditioner or on the ends of your hair. For the face, it may be best to use at night as it can be tricky to apply makeup over it. Wherever you’re applying it though, remember a little goes a long way.
Shea butter is full of essential nutrients that can enhance your natural complexion and help you glow from the inside out. Although it’s considered safe every skin type, many products containing shea butter have other ingredients mixed in.
If you experience any side effects that you suspect are connected to a shea butter product, discontinue use and see a doctor or other healthcare provider.
If you would like to make your own products with shea butter, start with this easy and simple, but powerful and moisturizing shea butter balm.
- 1/4 cup shea butter
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon beeswax (or soy wax)
Combine the ingredients in a microwave-safe glass container. Microwave to gently heat up the shea butter and beeswax. Pour into a 4 to 5-ounce glass jar and let cool. Stir again. Use on dry areas. It’s great for the knees, elbows, and can even be used to treat and prevent chapped lips.