Is Shea Butter Good For Your Skin?

No one wants to have dry, flaky skin that feels tight or itchy. So many people look for ways to moisturize their skin, and shea butter is a great way to go. Its high concentration of fatty acids and vitamins make shea butter a perfect cosmetic ingredient for softening skin. The butter also has anti-inflammatory and healing attributes. Applying shea butter on your body, particularly on your face, can condition, tone, and soothe your complexion.

What is shea butter?

A look at why you should add shea butter to your skincare routine

This butter, which is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree, is a rich, cream-colored butter that has natural soothing and moisturizing properties. Derived from the nuts of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) that is native to Africa, shea butter is a fatty oil that exists as a solid at room temperature. The nuts are crushed, boiled, and pressed to extract a light-colored fat, commonly referred to as shea butter. The main ingredients of shea butter are oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, etc. It is easily assimilated into the skin as it melts at body temperature.

Shea butter is full of nutrients, like vitamin A, which has many healing properties and has been known to assist in treating blemishes, wrinkles, eczema, dermatitis, burns, and even stretch marks. It also has antioxidants like vitamin E, plus polyphenols and phytonutrients. These ingredients give shea butter an anti-inflammatory trait, which is why it works so well at moisturizing and soothing all types of skin.

While pure shea butter is excellent for hydrating most of your skin and is commonly used in body moisturizing creams, it should not be used on the face as it is very rich in fat and can make some people break out. If you want to use shea butter on your face, opt for products formulated especially for the face as they are noncomedogenic and avoid using pure shea butter.

Shea butter varieties: Refined versus Unrefined Shea Butter

Shea butter may be refined or unrefined.

Unrefined Shea

Unrefined shea is the purest form of the butter, which is the most natural and the least processed. Since it is extracted manually, it retains its vitamins, minerals, and other natural qualities. It is subjected to a basic filtration method utilizing clays, cheesecloth, etc. These can, however, slightly change the butteru2019s color, scent, and texture. It is melted, deposited into molds, and sold in the form of bars or sticks. Unrefined shea butter is further classified into grades ranging from A to F, with grade A being the best quality.

Refined Shea

Refined shea, on the other hand, is the processed form of this butter. Other than the filtration process, it also undergoes a deodorizing procedure by either airing or using chemicals. It is also bleached to make it whiter. Additives are added to give it a suitable scent and increase its shelf life of the butter. These processes make the butter whiter and very smooth. A major drawback of using the refined variant is that all the processing reduces its nutritional value.

Tips to keep in mind when purchasing Shea Butter

Keep these few pointers in mind when getting shea butter:

Go for the raw or unrefined version of shea butter. Make sure that the shea comes from a credible source or company that believes in ethics, fair trade, and is environment-friendly. Check the butteru2019s smell. It should be a bit nutty or earthy. Any plastic-like or chemical scent means that it is refined.

If possible, try on a small amount of shea butter on your arm before you get it. It should be soothing and moisturizing. As for the color, the unrefined version has a wide range. Make sure the butter you intend to purchase is not ivory-colored as a lighter color indicates that it has been bleached.

How to store shea butter?

The best way to store shea butter is to keep it in a cool place in an airtight container. Keep it out of the sun. Quite often, vitamin E is added to shea butter to extend its shelf life. On an average, pure shea butter has a shelf life of two years. If you detect an acidic or rancid smell, it might be time to discard it.

Benefits of using shea butter on the skin

Including shea butter into your regular skincare cycle will work wonders, here are some reasons why:

Shea butter moisturizes dry skin

Shea butter is an excellent moisturizer for both the face and the body. This is due to its fat contentu2019s emollient and humectant qualities. It traps the moisture keeping the skin hydrated for longer. Dehydrated and dry skin can become rough and scaly. Certain parts of the body can even crack due to dryness. It can also serve to soften the skin on your hands and feet and make it supple. It enters the skin easily, without clogging the pores, and is useful for dry skin. You can apply shea butter to heal cracked heels, dry cuticles, and rough spots on your skin or simply use it to moisturize your skin during the colder months.

Shea butter helps treat acne and skin blemishes

Shea butter is prized for its healing properties, which can be attributed to the presence of several fatty acids and plant sterols such as oleic, palmitic, stearic, and linolenic acids. These oil-soluble ingredients do not undergo saponification or get converted into soap by coming into contact with alkaline chemicals. The butter is more non-saponifiable than other nut oils and fats, thus giving it great healing potential. Raw, unrefined shea butter is useful in curing skin rashes, skin peeling after tanning, scars, stretch marks, frost bites, burns, athletes foot, insect bites and stings, and acne.

Shea butter helps lessen skin inflammation

The butter has some derivatives of cinnamic acid that show anti-inflammatory properties. These attributes make it helpful for the improvement of skin maladies that result from an increment in inflammatory compounds. Generalized inflammation flare-ups from conditions like dermatitis and rosacea can be mitigated by using shea butter on the afflicted area. Sunburns, rashes, cuts, and scrapes that can cause swelling can also be treated using this butter.

Shea butter is an anti-aging and anti-free radical agent

Shea butter is deemed one of the best anti-aging agents. It stimulates the production of collagen. Vitamins A and E keep the skin supple, nourished, and bright. If applied regularly, it diminishes wrinkles and also prevents premature wrinkles and facial lines. Its anti-aging traits can also be attributed to its capacity to increase circulation to the skin and promote cell regeneration.These vitamins, together with catechins, also have an antioxidant effect against free radicals that can harm the skin. These free radicals are usually found in pollutants. The sunu2019s UV rays can also increase the free radicals in our skin, which can easily harm the epidermal cells. The cinnamic acid esters in the fat prevent damage from them by giving your skin an antioxidant boost.

Shea butter relieves itchy and peeling skin

For itchy skin, both the moisturizing and the anti-inflammatory properties of the butter prove to be useful. Dryness can make your skin to start peel and/or become flaky which can also cause itching. The moisturizing fatty acids of shea butter can provide comfort by providing the skin with the oils it requires. If the itching is because of a skin condition like psoriasis, the anti-inflammatory action of shea butter works very well to ease it.

Shea butter restores skin elasticity

The non-saponifiable material and vitamin F in this butter are vital components for maintaining the skinu2019s elasticity. This butter also enhances the production of collagen in the skin. Thus, its application restores the natural buoyancy of the skin besides hydrating, softening, and beautifying it. Restored elasticity further guarantees reduced wrinkles and blemishes.

Shea butter can soothe irritation and bumps from shaving

Shaving hair with razors can often leave your skin red and itchy. It might even get bumps after shaving because of the irritation. Shea butter can help lessen this as it moisturizes and calms the irritated skin. You can also apply the shea a day before shaving to smoothen the epidermis and hair. This will make the shaving easier and quicker and doesnu2019t leave any irritated spots behind.

Shea butter can help lessen the look of stretch marks

Shea butter is usually used as a foundation in ointments or creams produced commercially for stretch mark treatment. This is because it can help prevent and diminish stretch marks formed while pregnant due to weight gain and/or weight loss. These marks form when the skin stretches beyond its elastic ability. Applying shea butter will renew the natural elasticity of the skin and also enhance collagen production since it is a natural emollient. Massaging the affected area with this skin healing butter can lighten stretch marks.

Shea butter relieves skin and diaper rash

Unrefined shea butter is an excellent natural moisturizer that is free of chemicals. Thus, it is perfect for baby care as it is gentle and soft on the skin, it is specially adapted for the delicate and sensitive skin of babies. It can be used after a bath and also utilized for healing eczema or diaper rash on the skin of babies and toddlers.

Shea butter makes an excellent lip care ingredient

Shea butter is easily absorbed and provides more moisture and nutrients that the lips require during cold and dry weather conditions. Thus, it is a perfect lip balm, effective for treating dry and chapped lips. When used, it forms a barrier on the lips and retains moisture.

Concerns about using shea butter

With topical application or ingestion of shea butter one may experience these side effects:

If you encounter either one of the above symptoms, stop applying shea butter immediately and see a doctor. Having an allergy to shea butter is not so common, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If you have never used shea butter before, it is advised to do a small patch test on a small area on the upper forearm.

Shea butter for the skin

Body Shea Butter Lotion

Melt the coconut oil and shea in a double boiler. Mix well and let it cool down for a couple of minutes. Add almond oil and mix well. Place this in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. The oils should start to solidify a little.nOnce the natural solidification process has started, whip the oil blend using a hand mixer or a kitchen aid mixer until you get a thick, creamy consistency. Transfer this whipped butter to an airtight container and keep it aside allowing it to set. Use as and when required to moisturize the body. You can also add essential oils of your choice in the almond oil step.

How to tighten skin?

To make our skin tighter, eat healthily, exfoliate your skin, limit UV exposure, and use

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