Shea butter is an off-white or ivory-coloured fat extracted from the nut of the African Shea tree. It is widely used in cosmetics as a moisturizer, salve or lotion. Shea butter is edible and is used in food preparation in Africa.
The main components of shea butter include oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, etc. The colour of unrefined shea butter depends on the shea nuts used; therefore you will not be able to determine the authenticity or quality of Shea butter based strictly on its colour.
Unrefined shea butter maintains its nutty scent, beige colour and healing properties. Refined Shea butter has been chemically altered to remove shea butter’s natural scent.
The end result is an odourless, white butter that may be aesthetically appealing, but lacks the true moisturizing, healing, and nutritive properties of true traditional Shea butter. Below are some benefits of Shea butter you should know:
Shea butter acts as a natural sunscreen by providing protection against the ultraviolet radiations of the sun, although the level of protection offered may be variable.
It is considered as the best skin care for winter and after-sun care as it provides the extra moisture, nutrients and protection needed by your skin during the cold season and summer.
Shea butter contains plant antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E, as well as catechins. Vitamins A and E protect the cells from free radicals and environmental damage.
Shea butter has several derivatives of cinnamic acid that exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. Research has proven that in addition to its anti-inflammatory benefits, lupeol cinnamate found in Shea butter prevents the development of tumors.
Shea butter is considered as one of the best anti-aging and moisturizing agents for the skin. It stimulates the production of collagen. Vitamins A and E found in this butter keep the skin supple, nourished, and radiant, and prevent premature wrinkles and facial lines.
Makes Your Hair Happy
Shea butter is used in many hair care products and with good reason. It seals in moisture, defines curl, conditions the scalp, alleviates dandruff and decreases frizz.
The high-quality shea butter will diminish the appearance of wrinkles after four to six weeks of use. Research also suggests that the application of shea butter to the skin results in a brighter complexion and visibly reduced wrinkles.
Shea butter is known for its healing properties that can be attributed to the presence of several fatty acids and plant sterols such as oleic, palmitic, stearic and linolenic acids.
Raw, unrefined shea butter is effective in curing skin rashes, skin peeling after tanning, scars, burns, athletes’ foot, insect bites and stings, arthritis, and muscle fatigue. It is often used as a base in medicinal ointments due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
It has been used since ages for the treatment of scars, eczema, blemishes, skin discolourations, chapped lips, stretch marks, dark spots, and in reducing the irritation caused by psoriasis.
Fades Stretch Marks
While authorities like the Mayo Clinic and Baby Center note that the only way to really diminish stretch marks is with Retin-A or laser treatments, there are many testimonies across the web of people who swear by the power of shea butter for helping in this endeavour.