What Is Shea Butter?
The fatty oil extracted from the shea nuts (endemic to West Africa) are widely referred as shea butter due to its rich creamy consistency that turns solid at room temperature. Till date shea butter is obtained manually by a painstakingly tedious process where the shea nuts are first collected, cleaned and segregated and then crushed, boiled, purified and manipulated to obtain the off-white or ivory coloured butter. The high concentrations of fatty acids and vitamins in raw shea butter along with its potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, humectant and healing characteristics make it ideally beneficial for your skin, hair and health. It is used as an active ingredient in a wide range of cosmetic and skin care products.
Nutritional Value Of Shea Butter
|5g of shea butter kernels contain:|
|Calories||44 Cal / kcal|
|Dietary Fibre||0 gram|
|Total Fat||28 grams|
|Shea butter also contains a variety of enzymes and fatty acids like Octanoic acid, Decanoic acid, Dodecanoic acid, Tetradecanoic acid,Hexadecanoic acid, Octadecanoic acid, Palmitoleic acid as well as vitamins E, A and F.|
Benefits Of Shea Butter For Skin
1. Acts As An Excellent Emollient
One of the significant and most sought-after benefits of shea butter on face and body involves its effectiveness in moisturizing and providing hydration to dry, dehydrated and rough skin. The humectant properties in shea butter due to the presence of essential fats helps to lock in the skin‚Äôs natural moisture and offers nourishment to your skin cells. The fact that it can easily absorbed into your skin but not clog your skin pores, makes it an ideal choice to naturally soften your skin.
2. Protects Against Sun Exposure
Given the harsh weather conditions, using a sunblock is a must. But, as per conjectures, applying sunscreen on a regular basis can lead to skin cancer as they contain toxic chemicals. Shea butter is known to have an estimated sun protection factor of 6 that acts as a natural sunscreen and protects your skin against the harmful UV exposure. Using a layer of shea butter on your skin before you put on any store-bought sunblock provides added sun protection and also ensures the wellbeing of your skin.
3. Reduces Stretch Marks
Nobody wants stretch marks but sadly, most of us have to deal with it. Heredity, rapid weight gain/loss during and after pregnancy, hormonal changes throughout puberty ‚Äì there can be several factors that contribute to the formation of stretch marks. However, it is a known fact that proper moisturization can effectively help to reduce stretch marks and what better than shea butter for the task. Massaging shea butter on your stretch marks not only restore the natural elasticity of your skin but also encourages healthy cell growth, that helps to lighten stretch marks naturally.
4. Treats Skin Inflammations
The extensive anti-inflammatory properties in shea butter due to its cinnamic acid content, provides relief from redness and swelling on the face. Various skin conditions as well as rashes, cuts, sunburns and scrapes can lead to inflamed skin. Since shea butter can penetrate deep into the layers of your skin, it aids the process of healing and normalizes the skin faster. Applying shea butter is also very helpful in reducing puffiness and eye bags as it has a soothing effect that cuts down the inflammation around the sensitive area your eyes.
5. Heals Acne And Skin Rashes
The benefits of shea butter for acne and skin allergies lies in the fact that it contains strong antibacterial and healing properties. The fatty acids and oil-soluble components, especially linolenic acid in shea butter is said to prevent the formation of acne. The unique composition in shea butter restricts the overproduction of sebum and at the same time offers intense moisturization to your skin. Applying raw, unrefined shea butter acts as a brilliant remedy to heal acne rashes, scars, skin eruptions, frost bites, burns and hyperpigmentation.
6. Soothes Razor Irritation And Bumps
How often have you experienced redness, irritation and a sore sensation on your skin after shaving hair using a razor? Well whatever your answer might be, here‚Äôs an effective solution to this. Rather than applying commercial after-shave creams and gels, try shea butter to prevent the development of bumps and soothe razor irritation. Interestingly, this creamy butter can also be used as a part of your pre-shaving routine to smoothen your skin and hair so that it makes the whole process of shaving more convenient.
7. Prevents Signs Of Skin Aging
The high levels of oleic, linoleic, and stearic acids in shea butter helps to fight oxidative stress and at the same time stimulates the production of collagen in your skin. As a result, the natural youthfulness and elasticity of your skin is preserved, preventing the formation of premature wrinkles, age spots and fine lines on your face. Moreover, the strong antioxidants and vitamins present in shea butter help in regeneration of new skin cells, making your face appear smooth and radiant.
8. Works As A Natural Baby Care Product
It is always recommended to use baby care products that feels gentle and soft on the delicate skin of babies and are non-toxic in nature. Shea butter fulfils these criteria and forms a protective layer on their skin that prevents dust and other environmental contaminants from harming them. Mixing organic, unscented and pure shea butter to your baby‚Äôs bath water or simply massaging in on their sensitive skin will help to treat diaper rashes and keep their skin moisturised at all times.
9. Moisturizes Dry Chapped Lips
Finding that one perfect lip balm that can make you say goodbye to dry, peeling lips is a never-ending mission. But, thanks to the extensive hydrating and moisturising properties in shea butter, it acts as an ideal lip care remedy and helps to get rid of dry and chapped lips, even during harsh winters and dry weather conditions. The benefits of shea butter on lips isn‚Äôt just limited to reduce dryness as it also protects your lips from sun tan and cures lip discolouration.
10. Helps To Cure Eczema And Dermatitis
The moisturising properties of shea butter makes it an impactful natural remedy to treat skin disorders like dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema as it helps to get rid of dry, scaly, itchy, flaky skin conditions. Applying a thick layer of this rich butter on your affected skin gives a similar effect as that of any medicated cream. Also, its powerful anti-inflammatory properties prevent flare-ups and eases red, irritated skin rashes without the use of unnecessary chemicals.
Benefits Of Shea Butter For Hair
1. Reduces Hair Fall
Overuse of chemical products, stress, pollution, lack of sleep, unhealthy eating habits, scalp disorders, reaction of medicines- the reasons for hair loss can be countless. Although, there are hundreds of remedies that treat hair fall, using shea butter acts as an easy, less time consuming, fuss free, cheap and more importantly effective answer to prevent hair fall. The vital nutrients present in shea butter helps to fight hair loss and improve the overall health of your scalp and hair. Moreover, there are multiple benefits of shea butter for hair growth as it promotes hair regeneration.
2. Conditions And Softens Hair
Shea butter acts as a luxurious hair conditioner and provides hydration and nourishment to your hair strands, making them appear silky, smooth and gorgeous. The vitamin E and essential fatty acids in shea butter adds shine to your curls as well as makes them feel moisturised and soft. You can use shea butter on your freshly washed hair as a leave in hair cr√®me to cut down frizz or apply a homemade shea butter hair mask twice a week to enhance your hair‚Äôs natural texture.
3. Treats Dry Itchy Scalp
The anti-inflammatory properties of shea butter are known to provide relief from scalp complaints that include scalp psoriasis, dandruff, itchiness, and scalp acne. Massaging shea butter on your dry, irritated and flaky scalp will help to reduce such disorders and keep your scalp moisturized throughout the day. Shea butter is extremely useful in balancing the oil in your scalp that can clog pores and leave a greasy residue behind. This rich shea nut extract gets easily absorbed into your scalp and can effectively treat cradle cap in infants.
4. Protects Hair From Environmental Pollutants
Shea butter possesses natural SPF of 6 and omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids that offers excellent protection to your tresses against the damaging sun rays. It also shields your hair strands from excessive artificial heat exposure when you are using hair straightens and hot brushes. Shea butter helps to prevent hair damage caused by harsh weather condition and restores the hair health of processed or colour treated hair. Prepare an easy DIY hair protection serum by combining shea butter with lavender or holy basil essential oil and coat your hair strands, from root to tip with this mixture.
5. Strengthens Hair Follicles
Shea butter is considered as a rich source of vitamins A and E that helps to strengthen your hair strands, preventing hair breakage and mending split ends. Using heating tools and chemical hair care products can make your tresses dry, brittle and weaken your hair follicles. Add a tablespoon of melted shea butter to any carrier oil such as coconut oil or castor oil and pamper yourself with a hot oil treatment once a week to repair damaged hair and make it stronger.
Shea Butter Benefits For Health
1. Helps To Cure Upset Stomach
One of the many traditional usage of shea butter includes its effectiveness in providing respite from various painful intestinal issues and their symptoms like diarrhoea and stomach ache. Shea butter when added to your diet, acts as a natural remedy for treating digestive complaints due to its medicinal properties. Thanks to the anti-diarrheal traits in shea butter, it is being used in several dietary-aid products to prevent diarrhoea and stomach upset.
2. Cuts Down The Risk Of Heart Disorders
40% of shea butter consists of a saturated fatty acid, called stearic acid that is known to reduce the risk of heart diseases as per recent studies. This stearic acid along with the saponin content, gives shea butter its anti-hypercholesterolemic ability that lowers the cholesterol levels in your body. Shea butter acts as a healthier alternative for margarine that contains harmful trans-fatty acids. Also, shea butter contains lupeol, a naturally occurring chemical that protects your heart and blood vessels against inflammations as well as reduces the lipoprotein (LDL).
3. Heals Insect Bites And Wounds
Thanks to the strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties in shea butter, it used to act as a traditional remedy to treat skin allergies, poison ivy and insect bites as well as provide instant relief from wounds, cuts, and abrasions. Shea butter possesses high proportion of vitamin A along with essential phytonutrients that easily penetrates into the subcutaneous layers of the skin and aids the healing process. Regular application of shea butter on your wounds and skin eruptions restricts the chances of developing infections and also enhances the cell repair function to prevent scarring. There are some benefits of using natural mosquito repellents which don't harm your body with any of the rashes and allergies caused by mosquitoes or any insects.
4. Treats Nasal Congestion And Inflammation
Overuse of nasal sprays to ease nasal congestion can lead to chronic sinusitis and other severe, long-term disorders. Incidentally, as per a 1979 study, shea butter may help to reduce nasal congestion, inflammation of the inner linings of your nasal passage and mucosal damage. It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that can offer effective results as a natural nasal decongestant. Just apply some shea butter in your nostrils using your finger to clear your blocked nostrils and get relief from sinusitis.
5. Provides Relief From Arthritis And Chronic Body Ache
Arthritic and rheumatic pain can hinder your day to activity and cause severe discomfort. Since centuries, unrefined, organic shea butter has been used as a natural medicinal ointment to treat the symptoms of arthritis like joint pain, muscle ache and chronic inflammations. The triterpenes compounds in shea butter are known to possess excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that relaxes your muscles and helps with stiffness. Massage your arthritis prone area with a generous amount of raw shea butter to alleviate muscle fatigue, soreness and chronic pain.
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