Shea butter comes from processing nuts from the shea tree. They are known to be native to West Africa and a big percentage of shea comes from that region. Not only is used in cooking but also used for the glow up of the skin and hair.
Shea butter gains its popularity by being safe for every skin type and being very low in proteins which can trigger allergies.
Adds moisture to your skin
Shea butter can be used as a natural moisturiser.
Shea butter works wonderfully to soften and moisturise the skin. It forms a protective layer on the skin and helps retaining moisture which ensures the skin to keep it soft and hydrated.
Moreover, shea butter contains several types of fatty acids (linoleic, palmitic, stearic acids) that contribute to the skin’s natural barrier improvement.
When shea butter is applied topically to the skin, these fatty acids help “refatting” the skin barrier, contributing to its softness, environmental protection, and hydration.
2. Anti-aging benefits
a) Contains natural antioxidants which makes shea butter anti-aging
Shea butter naturally contains antioxidants including vitamin A and E. These antioxidant agents protect the skin against free radicals’ damage that can lead to premature aging (such as fine lines and wrinkles).
b) Boosts collagen production
According to this study triterpenes present in shea butter boost collagen production in skin. Triterpenes are deactivating collagen fiber destruction in skin, they have collagen enhancing and regenerating properties.
According to this study , shea butter contains triterpenes that help with cell migration, collagen deposition and cell proliferation.
Shea butter help minimising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while leading to a plumper, softer looking skin
3. Anti-inflammatory properties
Shea better is proven to prevent and treat inflammatory skin conditions (acne, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis…).
Shea butter contains anti-inflammatory agents such as cinnamic acid and fatty acids that can sooth inflammatory skin conditions.
When topically applied to the skin, shea butter triggers inflammatory cells such as cytokines to slow their production.
According to this study shea butter has antibacterial properties which can also heal acne conditions.
Plus, this study also demonstrates that Vitellaria paradoxa tree (shea tree) has also antibacterial properties, which could mean that it has acne fighting properties.
Why is it important to hydrate your skin when it already seems oily? When an acne-prone skin is dry, it tends to overproduce sebum which can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Shea butter cancels this vicious cycle by deeply hydrating the skin, thanks to its rich compositions in several kinds of fatty acids which help clear skin of excess sebum. So, there is a natural restoration of the natural balance of oils in your skin, which can prevent formation of acne from the beginning.
Nevertheless the American Academy of Dermatology Association suggests to not use products containing shea butter on your face, back, or chest because they say that it can clog pores, and clogged pores can lead to acne.
According to this study, shea butter can heal eczema (atopic dermatitis) just as efficiently as medicated creams.
4. Sunburns + sun protection
Shea butter can be beneficial for superficial (first-degree) skin burns such as sunburn.
Shea butter naturally contains antioxidants such as Ferulic acid which help soothe sunburns and repair the UV-damaged skin moisture barrier.
Thanks to its rich content of fatty acids such as linoleic acid, shea butter forms a protective layer of moisture barrier on top of the skin acting against hydration loss which boosts the process of healing caused by sunburn.
This scientific article states that shea butter is known to have an SPF value between 6-10.
Shea butter can naturally give you some added sun protection.
5. Stretch marks, scarring, wound healing
Shea Butter is known to treat scars, stretch marks, and heal wounds thanks to its rich fatty-acid levels that help to improve scar-healing process.
This butter is also known encourage healthy cell growth. It can even prevent scar tissue (keloid) from reproducing according to this study.
6. Strengthen skin barrier
According to this study, topical application of shea butter increase skin thickness. Shea butter triterpenes protects and improves skin barrier.
7. It has antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties
– Antibacterial properties:
According to this study shea butter has antibacterial properties.
This study demonstrates that shea butter has also antifungal properties.
Suitable for every skin type
Shea butter is suitable for oily skin, dry skin, normal skin, and sensitive skin
Shea butter is rich in linoleic acid and oleic acid. These two balances each other and make it easy for your skin to absorb it while deeply hydrating it.
Shea butter works as an emollient, which means that it traps moisture in your skin.
Shea butter is also a gentle natural product which is also suitable for sensitive skins.
Shea butter is considered pretty safe. Even people who have tree nut allergies are normally able to use shea butter on topical application to the skin, since it is known not to trigger nut allergies.
Even though Unrefined Shea butter is healthier compared to refined ones, it contains a latex/protein that people with Type B Latex allergies might react to.
However, even if shea butter is known to be very low on proteins that can trigger allergies, always seek a medical advice when in doubt.
Shea butter should preferably be stored slightly below room temperature, making it stay solid and easier to apply and spread.
How to choose
TO get the most benefits from shea butter, it is advised to purchase an unrefined and raw one. Grade A being the purest form of shea butter, and F being the least pure out of them.