The Benefits of Shea Butter

Shea butter, also called Butyrospermum parkii, is renowned for its numerous and remarkable skincare qualities. It is widely used in cosmetics and skincare products all around the world.

This amazing butter is derived from the nut of the Shea tree which can be found widely across the African continent. The butter is the main source of income for many people there. It is believed that this product goes back to early civilisations and was even used by Queen Cleopatra. 

Types of Shea Butter

Raw/unrefined Shea butter tends to vary in colour from ivory to a yellowish or light green. It has a nutty scent, is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins A, E & F. It is extracted without using chemicals or heat.

Refined Shea butter can be white in colour and odourless. Because of the heat used in the extraction method, many of the butter’s benefits are lost.

When it comes to skin care benefits unrefined Shea butter has the ability to address and improve numerous skin and health conditions. Here are some of its amazing benefits:

Great Moisturiser 

An emollient rich in fatty acids (such as stearic, oleic, palmitic and linoleic acid) unrefined Shea butter is great for softening and hydrating. It absorbs easily into the skin, leaving it radiant, healthy and feeling beautifully smooth.

Anti-inflammatory Properties 

Studies have shown that the vitamins A & F in Shea butter can assist in reducing joint and rheumatism pain. The cinnamic acid in the butter can relieve skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and itchy skin. The butter can also be used to treat cuts, bruises and rashes.

Suitable for all skin types

What’s great about Shea butter is that it’s completely safe for everyone including those with sensitive skin, babies and pregnant moms. It can also assist in the healing of diaper rash due to its anti-fungal properties. 

Anti-aging Properties

The antioxidants and vitamins found in Shea butter work to improve skin elasticity, slow down premature aging, reduce wrinkles and facial lines and promote healthy skin cell growth. They also encourage collagen production and keep skin nourished and radiant. 

Helps with Stretch Marks

Vitamin A helps to increase elasticity in the skin while the moisturising and hydrating qualities can lighten and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Daily use can help maintain the health of the skin. 

Lip care

During the cold winter months, Shea butter is a perfect go-to lip balm, provide moisture and nutrients to dry and chapped lips.

Hair and Scalp

Besides its many wonderful benefits for the skin, Shea butter is also widely used to moisturise the hair and scalp. It helps to protect hair from daily wear and tear and heat styling which can often leave hair dry and brittle. It also offers the scalp defence against dandruff and itchiness.

Shea butter might be expected to make hair heavy and greasy but on the contrary leaves it soft and silky. It also helps to mend split ends and strengthen hair roots.

UV Protection

Many sunscreens are filled with chemicals that can be harmful to the skin. Shea butter however acts as a natural sunscreen due to the cinnamic acid content. Though the SPF can range from 6 – 10, it stills provides protection in a natural way.