Shea Butter, famous for skin-care, healthy diets and popular flavours, is basically fat extracted from shea tree’s nuts that are found in Africa. It is one of the central ingredients in multiple cosmetic products and is also used in food preparations in African countries. It is used often as a substitute to cocoa butter but the taste is noticeably different. Battery suddenly found in the Savanna belt of West Africa from Senegal in the west to Sudan in the East.
The foothills of Ethiopian highland are also filled with their trees. About 21 countries in total across the African continent have plantations of shea trees. Although shea butter is solid at room it melts at body temperature. It is one of the most widely used commodities for creating moisturizers, lip balms, skin treatment products, and other cosmetics. It is known for its regenerative, medicinal and healing properties.
Shea butter can be classified into 5 different categories suggested by the United States agency for international development and other interested companies:
Category A consists of the raw unrefined shea butter that is extracted using water.
Category B deals with the refined shea butter.
Category C contains highly refined shea butter that is extracted with solvents like hexane.
Category D is known as the lowest uncontaminated grade.
Category E has shea butter with contaminants.
Shea Butter Uses:
Shea butter is widely used for the cosmetics industry for hair and skin related products. this is also helpful and widely used by soap makers and massage are manufacturers due to the presence of unsaponifiable which result in sifter soaps. In countries like Benin, Shea butter is also used as cooking oil or waterproofing wax for hairdressing, for candle making, and also as an ingredient in medicinal ointments. History dates back to a time when the makers of traditional African percussion instruments use shea butter to increase the durability of the wood and leather tuning straps.
Shea Butter Benefits for Health:
Shea butter is indeed a wonderful product. Extracted from the shea tree, it is a fat-rich oil which is unparalleled when it comes to health benefits. It is used in a lot of different forms, like shampoos, lotions and moisturizers. Being rich in vitamins A and E, it has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which make it great for the skin. Apart from that it is also great in curing a number of health issues. And there is no better way to look after your health apart from purely organic and natural tasty edible shea butter that will make you forget what a lot of unhealthy practices brought into your life.
- Muscle Aches: Massaging shea butter on the area of the body experiencing muscle pain has been found to be extremely effective in soothing the skin and relieving the area off of the pain. Even though there has been no concrete scientific research or study to affirm the claim, shea butter has been used for a very long time in Africa to help with muscle soreness and aches. In areas where inflammation caused by muscular ailments or overexertion, has led to muscular pain, it has been seen that shea butter has been successful in reducing the swelling and the pain.
- Arthritis: Arthritis is one of the most painful chronic ailments that comes with old age or obesity. It results in joint pains and causes serious disruption of movement. Unsaponifiable shea butter contains triterpenes which have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Using shea butter has been found to help with the pain and swelling in arthritis patients. Even though there has been no formal research-based proof of shea butter being helpful for arthritis, it is considered that the triterpenes have a lot to do with its effects.
- Cholesterol: High cholesterol is a common problem in the 21st century. Adding shea butter into your diet can help in reducing the cholesterol levels in your blood.Shea butter contains stearic acid, a saturated fatty acid that reduces lipoprotein and plasma cholesterol levels, and hence helps in controlling the cholesterol in your blood. This has been used by people in Africa for a very long time.
- Rheumatism: Rheumatism is a disease that causes joint pains, stiffness and inflammations. It can also cause muscles and fibrous tissues to swell and hurt. Given that shea oil is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it can be applied to the areas affected by or showing signs of rheumatism, to help with the pain and swelling. It is extremely effective against rheumatism because of the fact that rheumatism is essentially an inflammatory disease and there is practically nothing better than shea butter, to treat it.
- Nasal Congestion and Inflammation:Shea butter works wonders when it comes to treating nasal congestions and inflammations. Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties and applying some of it inside the nostrils helps to reduce the inflammation and clear out the congestion. Studies have found that shea butter works extremely fast in case of nasal blockages and congestions.
- Treatment of Diarrhea: Diarrhea is a common illness which almost everybody is familiar with. It can be caused by a lot of factors and it also has a lot of different ways of being treated. Traditionally, however shea butter has been used by the people of Africa to treat diarrhea and recently shea butter is being added to dietary supplements and aid products for treatment of diarrhea.
- Insect Bitesand Wound: Shea butter contains a variety of phytonutrients that come in handy while treating a wide range of cuts, scratches and wounds. It also contains moisturizing properties which helps it to get absorbed into the skin and repair the damaged cells by supplying essential nutrients and increasing microcirculation. It also contains high amounts of vitamin A, which makes it a handy weapon against insect bites and skin allergies. It also disinfects and soothes the skin with its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Even infections caused by insect bites can be cured by applying shea butter on the affected area.
- Dermatitis, Psoriasis, and Eczema: If you have itchy, flaky or patchy skin, chances are that that is caused due to Dermatitis, Eczema or Psoriasis. Considering the fact that shea butter works wonders as a moisturizer due to its humectant and efficacious emollient properties. It is also used to help with swelling and itching because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Shea butter is widely recommended as a moisturizing agent and even a cure for a number of skin related ailments, by a number of doctors and it has been used for the same for a long time.
- UV Protection: Shea Butter contains Cinnamic Acid, which is great for UV protection. Depending on how good the butter is, the SPF can range from 5- 10. It is essentially a natural sunscreen and provides slightly variable levels of protection from the ultraviolet radiations of the sun, depending on the quality of the butter. However, despite it providing protection from the UV rays, it is advisable to use shea butter along with other sunscreens, because it has a relatively low SPF that might not be able to provide enough protection alone, considering the depleting ozone layer. It can also be used to soothe the skin after long periods of exposure to the sun and also helps in reversing the oxidative damage from the sun.
Shea Butter Benefits for Skin:
Shea butter is popular almost due to the cosmetic products and skin-care brands that boast about its many benefits. It can be directly consumed as an edible butter, or can be used as ointment, cream, moisturizer, and so on. Among the commonly known facts, here are a few ways it helps you skin to be the best as ever:
- Nourishes Dry Skin: The emollient and humectant properties of shea butter makes it an amazing moisturizer for the face and body. It makes sure the skin remains hydrated for long enough while the skin is able to retain the moisture. It is widely used for softening the skin on hands and feet and make it supple. this miraculously does not clock the pores but penetrates the skin easily and is extraordinarily effective for dry skin. It is widely used to heal cracked heels, dry cuticles, and rough patches on skin. While shea butter is present in many moisturizers, we buy you can also use it directly by buying tubs full of shea butter and applying it directly during the colder months.
- Cures Skin Inflammation: Shea butter is overall extremely good for your skin. It also has several derivatives of cinnamic acid which as you might not know is basically the anti-inflammatory acid for your skin. Thus, Shea butter too acts an anti-inflammatory agent if applied regularly. The inflammatory compounds of the skin are decreased and skin conditions and improved. Since the general inflammations happen due to dermatitis and rosacea, it can easily be alleviated using shea butter on the affected area. Even sunburns, rashes, cuts, and scrapes which can often result in swelling can be cured using this butter.
- Anti-aging: If you see you will find that every anti-aging cream consists of shea butter because it is considered one of the best anti-aging agents for the skin. This has the capacity of stimulating the production of collagen which is basically the youthful scaffolding protein in the skin. It also has vitamins A and b so that the skin stays nourished radiant and supple. It has evidently reduced to wrinkles and facial lines when used regularly. The anti-aging properties can also be attributed somewhat to its functionality because these overall increases the blood circulation to the skin and promotes cell renewal. The free radicals that often damage the skin are fought against by antioxidants that are released by the vitamins along with catechins. These radicals are generally found in pollutants, irritants, and daily dust along with will UV sun ray. As mentioned before the cinnamic acid plays a very major role as the fat prevents damage from the pollutants and gives the skin and overall antioxidant boost.
- Restores Elasticity: The fact that shea butter is non saponifiable has been quite established in previous points. This matter along with vitamin F act as vital ingredients in order to maintain the skin’s elasticity. Applying this butter regularly restores the natural elasticity of your skin. It also results in hydrating and keeping the skin healthy. It makes sure the skin soft and beautiful always along. In long-term the restored elasticity of the skin also makes sure there are less wrinkles, facial lines, and blemishes.
- Takes Care of Acne and Blemishes:Shea butter is popular for its medicinal and healing qualities due to the presence of various fatty acids and plant sterols like oleic, palmitic, linolenic acids and stearic. The insoluble components do not undergo saponification which is basically converting into soap on coming in contact with alkali. Thus, it is non saponifiable and better than other nut oils and fats, and has a great healing potential. Among the various qualities and categories of shea butter, the unrefined raw one is the most effective in curing skin rashes, skin peeling, tanning, scars, stretch marks, frost bites, burns, athlete’s foot, insect bites, stings, and acne. This can be directly used or even medicines and ointments with shea butter in them are widely available.
- Post Shaving Care: We are all used to shaving our body hair using razors, which, although is the more convenient and easy way out, is not exactly the best possible way for our skin. The razors can often result in skin irritation and redness due to fast use or maybe infection. Open even bumps arise after shaving as a result of the irritation and itchiness. Shea butter is an excellent medicine in these times because not only does it moisturize the itchy and irritated skin, it also acts as an anti-infection ointment and makes sure there is no serious harm. It is also recommended that you apply the shea butter about one day before shaving so that your skin and your hair is smooth and there is no trouble during shaving.
- Lip and Baby Care: Any amount of unrefined shea butter is an amazing natural moisturizer which is not only organic but also does not consist any chemicals or any preservatives, and thus is excellent for baby care. It is especially popular for the delicate and sensitive texture which is extraordinary for baby skin. For troubles like eczema or diaper rash on babies and toddlers, shea butter, direct or with ointments is a perfect choice for healing and caring. While we are at delicate skin, we should also consider the softest and the most delicate skin part of our bodies, that is our lips. The quality of being easily absorbable and providing extra moisture makes shea butter and amazing choice for lips during cold season as well as dry weather conditions. The nourishment it provides overall acts as a perfect lip balm and is extremely effective for dry and chapped lips. It forms a barrier on the lips and helps in retaining moisture for longer durations.
Shea Butter Benefits for Hair:
If there is one thing, we are all struggling and complaining about, it is our hair. We love it, yet that is barely enough to take care and make sure our hair stays in good health. With all the sunlight, pollution, hairstyling, everyday serums and shampoos, and all other procedures we force our hair to go through, they deserve pampering and care, as much as possible. After all, it is them that we brag about so much. And that is where shea butter comes handy because it is unparalleled when it comes to hair care and nourishment.
- Repairs Damaged Hair: We always intend to go through various kinds of chemical treatments for hair styling. This includes straightening, perming, curling, coloring, spa, etc. All of this result in stripping of the natural moisture from the hair because of rampant heat and chemical usage. Along with all of these in today’s world, the harsh weather, polluted environment, and dust particles that are around us also significantly decrease the quality of our hair and make it course, rough and dull. Adding up to all of these is the harsh sun rays because no matter how much sunscreen we use for our face we hardly ever use any for our hair. Shea butter comes to rescue from these problems as it significantly helps in restoring lost moisture and also protects the hair from harsh weather and pollutants. Shea butter also makes sure that the free harmful radicals in air and water do not ruin the health of your hair. It not only protects your hair from further damage but also make sure the damage has been done to your hair is slowly restored and repaired. The mildly low SPF that is present in this is sufficient to protect and preserve your hair from exposure to ultraviolet radiations and sun damage. You can either use this directly on your hair, can make your own DIY hair oil, or can use products containing Shea butter.
- Prevents Hair Lossand Cures Dandruff: Shea butter is also very helpful in preventing hair loss because it provides overall nutrition and nourishment to the hair as well as the scalp. It ensures that there is no extra oil but the scalp and the hair have sufficient moisturizer that will prevent any chance for dandruff or any other kind of fungal infection.
- Works on Dry and Itchy Scalp: There are fatty acids present in shea butter that are known for conditioning the scalp as well as the hair. It provides ample amount of nutrition to your hair and improves its health. It also contains anti-inflammatory qualities as we have discussed before and the rich fat present is completely absorbed by the skin. However, there is no greasy residuals or the pores do not get clogged. Thus, it not only provides relief from dry scalp but also makes sure the hair stays healthy and beautiful. The moisturizing and regenerative components of shea butter also helps in strengthening the hair strands to reduce breakage. This is rich in vitamin A and E and thus soothes dry hair and also mends the split ends.
- Conditions Hair and Helps in Controlling Curls: Since vitamin A and E are present in shea butter it is an amazing alternative to conditioners. It can easily replace your chemical conditioner. It is not only organic, extremely good for your hair in the long run, and natural, but also is environment friendly, as we all should try to be. It is hugely successful in locking the moisture within the scalp without making the hair greasy, heavy or sticky. It is also an amazing remedy for revitalization of brittle hair. Especially if you have long natural curls that you like flaunting but are unable to manage properly, shea butter is the best you can get. The non-greasy nature is able to control and spread the access all throughout the scalp making sure you have soft, silky, and luscious tresses.
Shea butter is essential in our lives in multiple ways. While it is true that this has range of qualities and advantages, you should always keep in mind that products like these are often proven to be allergic to certain people. Thus, do not try to use them directly without any allergy test. It is important that you look after your health before anything else and do not try to just blend in with any trend. Don’t buy low quality products from companies who do not have proper customer ratings and after purchase services. Read the instructions carefully and go to the composition, and make sure you do sufficient research before using any product. Hopefully Shea butter will be able to improve your health, hair, skin, and overall quality of life and make you satisfied with its components and qualities.