Many of us are aware of the beauty and health benefits of natural oils such as Jojoba oil, Olive oil or Almond oil. But there is one more natural oil which is powered with nourishing and moisturizing properties which many of us are not aware of. I am talking about Shea Butter, which has recently come into limelight because of its beauty benefits. It has secured a prominent place in the beauty industry and is being used in many skin care products such as creams, lotions, moisturizers as well as in hair care products such as shampoos and conditioners. Shea Butter is not only known for its beauty benefits, but it is also well known for its health benefits. Keep reading to know more about Shea Butter.
What Is Shea Butter?
Shea Butter is derived from the seeds of the fruit of Shea tree also known as Karite tree which is the native of Africa. The fruit of Shea tree has nuts inside them from which Shea Butter is extracted, which is solid at room temperature. These nuts are treated to extract a light coloured, fatty substance known as Shea Butter. The nuts which are obtained from Shea tree are shelled, grilled and then pounded. It is then boiled in a vat of water for a couple of hours to obtain Shea Butter which is loaded with skin-nourishing nutrients that makes your skin soft, smooth and well-nourished.
The main components of Shea Butter include linoleic acid, oleic acid and stearic acid which are responsible for Shea Butter to get absorbed into the skin easily. Centuries ago, Africans had started using Shea Butter to enhance the beauty of their skin and hair by utilizing it. The Vitamins and Fatty Acids which are present in high concentrations in Shea Butter are responsible for its moisturizing, conditioning and nourishing properties.
Types Of Shea Butter
Shea Butter helps to condition, smooth out, moisturise and nourish your skin as well as your hair which makes it an integral ingredient in most of the skincare and hair care products. Due to its beauty benefits, Shea Butter is used in many moisturizers, creams, lotions, shampoos and conditioners. It is interesting to know that 2 types of Shea Butter are available to us.
1. Raw Shea Butter
Raw Shea Butter is considered to be the purest and natural form of Shea Butter which is not processed. As this Shea Butter is not processed, all the essential nutrients such as Vitamins, Minerals and Fatty Acids are retained in their natural form. The raw Shea Butter extracted from the Shea tree nuts, undergoes filtration through clay, cheese cloth. The Shea Butter hence obtained, is melted into moulds and sold as bars or sticks. Unrefined shea butter is extracted without adding any preservatives or other ingredients. This allows it to retain all its natural properties. Unrefined Shea Butter is usually a shade of light beige or yellow and has an earthy, nutty smell.
2. Refined Shea Butter
Refined Shea Butter is known to be the processed form of Shea Butter. After filtration, it undergoes the process of deodorizing by airing or by treating it with other chemicals and the final process is bleaching which results in a white Shea Butter. But the Shea Butter which is obtained after undergoing a lot of chemical processing has got lesser nutritional value.
Thus, raw Shea Butter is known to be packed with essential nutrients which are known to be good for improving the texture and appearance of your skin and hair. Organic Shea Butter is also available in the market, which is grown naturally and the nuts are harvested manually. It is known to be the raw or unrefined version of Shea Butter as it has not undergone any chemical processing. Shea Butter is classified into different grades (i.e from A to F) according to their quality, A-grade being the most superior because of the higher concentration of cinnamic acid which is responsible for the healing property of Shea Butter.
Skin Care Benefits of Shea Butter
Shea Butter is packed with skin-nourishing components such as Vitamin A, E, F and fatty acids such as linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, arachidic acid, stearic acid and phenolic compounds which helps to keep your skin well-nourished, hydrated. Let’s have a look at some of the skincare benefits of Shea Butter.
1. Keeps Your Skin Hydrated
The emollient property of Shea Butter is attributed to the high concentration of fatty acids which helps to attract moisture and locks the moisture, thereby helping to retain the moisture for long. It is very beneficial in treating dry and cracked skin as it gets absorbed into the skin easily without clogging the pores making it soft and smooth.
2. Possesses Anti-Ageing Properties
Shea Butter is known to be rich in Vitamin A and E, these antioxidants fight free radicals responsible for causing wrinkles and fine lines. It boosts the production of collagen which increases the elasticity of your skin, thereby making it soft, supple and more youthful. Vitamin A and E help to increase the texture and appearance of your skin by increasing blood circulation and promoting cell regeneration.
3. Treats Acne And Pimples
Shea Butter is rich in fatty acids such as linoleic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid. Its unique combination helps in getting rid of excess oil from the pores of your skin. Shea Butter does not dry out your skin but instead locks the moisture in the outer layer. It helps to maintain the oil balance of your skin thus preventing breakouts.
4. Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory Property
The anti-inflammatory property of Shea Butter has a soothing action on the dry and itchy skin. Shea Butter inhibits the production of cytokines and other inflammatory cells, thus effectively reducing inflammation of the skin. Shea Butter is very effective in treating various skin conditions such as sunburns, skin rashes, eczema, dermatitis, minor cuts and wounds.
5. Restores The Elasticity Of The Skin
The essential nutrients such as vitamins and fatty acids found in Shea Butter are responsible for increasing the elasticity of the skin. Shea Butter contains triterpenes which are chemical compounds known to inhibit the destruction of collagen fibre, thereby increasing the elasticity of the skin and making it plump and more youthful.
6. Reduces Stretch Marks
Shea Butter is known to reduce stretch marks which are formed on the skin when the skin gets stretched beyond its capacity. Shea Butter helps to boost the production of collagen, thereby increasing the elasticity of the skin cells and its emollient property helps to keep your skin moisturized and well-nourished. Its healing and cell renewal properties help to restore the damaged skin cells and also promote the growth of new skin cells, there reducing stretch marks.
7. Soothes The Itchy And Peeling Skin
Shea Butter is well known for its emollient property due to which it is very effective in treating dry, itchy and peeling skin. It helps to keep your skin hydrated for a longer period of time and its anti-inflammatory property has a soothing effect on the inflamed and itchy skin. It helps to prevent dry skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.
8. Provides Relief Against Diaper Rashes
Raw or unrefined Shea Butter is packed with essential nutrients which help to keep your skin well-nourished and moisturized. It is equally effective on sensitive skin as well. Baby skin is known to be extremely delicate and sensitive. Babies are prone to frequent diaper rashes because of the continual usage of diapers. Shea Butter is very effective in treating these diaper rashes, as it helps to keep the baby’s skin moisturized and its anti-inflammatory property has a soothing effect on the inflamed skin. It can be applied to the baby’s skin after bath to heal diaper rashes and other dry skin conditions in babies.
9. Acts As A Remedy For Chapped Lips
Wind and dry weather conditions make your lips dry and chapped. Shea Butter can be effectively applied on the chapped lips to make your lips softer. Hence, it is used in many lip care balms as it helps to retain moisture for a longer time.
Unrefined Shea Butter is known to be beneficial for your skin as it retains all it natural ingredients in its original form. So if you want to harness all the skincare benefits of Shea Butter, then you should go for the raw or unrefined Shea Butter.
Hair Care Benefits Of Shea Butter
The moisturizing and nourishing properties of Shea Butter are not only applicable to skincare, but they are also equally effective in hair care as well. Let us have a quick look at some of the hair care benefits of Shea Butter
1. Keeps Your Strands Hydrated
The moisturizing property of Shea Butter helps to keep your strands hydrated for a longer period of time. It makes your dry and frizzy hair more manageable.
2. Fights Split Ends
Shea Butter is known for its nourishing and hydrating effect on the hair and scalp. It effectively controls dryness and adds strength to your strands, thus preventing split ends.
These are some of the hair care benefits of Shea Butter due to which it is extensively used in many shampoos, conditioners and hair serums. It helps to keep your hair well-nourished, soft, silky and shiny.
3. Soothes The Dry And Itchy Scalp
Excessive use of hair styling products can damage your hair and make your scalp dry and itchy. The anti-inflammatory property of Shea Butter has a soothing effect on the dry and itchy scalp. It helps to keep your scalp moisturized, thereby preventing dandruff and other skin conditions.
Health Benefits Of Shea Butter
Apart from the beauty benefits of Shea Butter, let us discuss the health care benefits of Shea Butter as it exhibits properties which are beneficial to your body as well. Let us have a look at some of the health care benefits of Shea Butter.
1. Provides Relief From Rheumatism
Pain and swelling in the joints, inflammation and stiffness are some of the common symptoms of rheumatism. The anti-inflammatory property of Shea Butter is very effective in treating symptoms of rheumatism.
2. Provides Relief Against Arthritis
Arthritis is commonly associated with ageing and being overweight which leads to pain and swelling in joints and Shea Butter is known to be very effective in treating arthritis. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory property of Shea Butter is very effective in treating arthritis.
3. Soothes Muscles Aches
Physical exertion and excessive workout can lead to aching muscles. Shea Butter is known to be effective in alleviating muscle ache, soreness and swelling because of its anti-inflammatory property.
4. Provides Relief From Nasal Congestion And Nasal Inflammation
Shea Butter is known to provide relief from nasal congestion and inflammation. Nasal congestion is caused due to the inflammation of the inner lining of the nostrils. Applying Shea Butter may help relieve congestion because it exhibits anti-inflammatory properties.
These are some of the healthcare benefits of Shea Butter which helps in the wellness of the human body..
Uses Of Shea Butter
Shea Butter is used extensively in many skincare and hair care products because of its moisturizing and nourishing properties. The cosmetic industry is flooded with products containing Shea Butter as its key ingredient. Today we are going to discuss how Shea Butter can be used at home to improve the texture and appearance of your skin and hair.
DIY For Skin- Shea Butter With Lavender Oil And Olive Oil
- Melt about 100g of Shea Butter using a double boiler method.
- Add 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil and few drops of Lavender Oil to the melted Shea Butter.
- Stir well and pour this mixture into an airtight container and freeze it for about 15 minutes.
- You will find that your mixture has solidified, now using a hand blender, blend it well to obtain a creamy texture.
- Your homemade Shea Butter Skin Nourishing Lotion is ready.
Apply it twice a day to get a soft, smooth and supple skin.
DIY For Hair- Shea Butter With Coconut Oil And Ylang Ylang Oil
- Take 1 cup of virgin coconut oil and ½ a cup of Shea Butter. Melt both the ingredients using a double boiler method.
- To this mixture add Ylang Ylang essential oil and place the contents in an ice bath.
- Blend it well using a hand blender until it attains a thick creamy texture.
- Transfer contents into a jar and use this mixture as a conditioner as and when required.
Side Effects Of Shea Butter
Shea Butter is generally known to be mild on your skin and quite safe for topical application. You can even use Shea Butter on sensitive skin, including the babies skin. There is no known side effect of Shea Butter.
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