The Wonders of Shea Butter
The Wonders of Shea Butter
This soft butter that melts onto the skin upon contact is a very versatile commodity that is used in skincare, haircare and in many many wellness industries in various ways. Shea Butter is a popular ingredient, yet there is much to learn of this butter.
Shea butter is extracted from the nut of the Shea Tree typically from Ghana, West Africa (although it is now being grown in other countries). Its texture is semi solid yet butter like at room temperature. Historically, the evidence of the use of shea butter goes back to as early as the 14th century. The fat of a shea nut is used in a number of ways. It is used as a substitute for cocoa butter sometimes mixed with other fats.. There are also popular artisan soaps that will have a mention of shea butter as one of their main ingredients.The most popular and widespread use of shea butter nowadays is in the cosmetic industry.
Shea butter is found in many forms:
- Raw – contains impurities, has a smoky smell.
- Unrefined – goes through a different filtering process than the raw type.
- Refined – is processed more than the above 2, has fewer nutrients.
- Ultra-refined – goes through the most extensive processing. Used most in cosmetics.
Raw or unrefined is what is mostly used in creating therapeutic butters, lotions or salves in the aromatherapy industry.
Shea butter contains high amounts of vitamins and fatty acids (such as linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids) making it an ideal moisturizer. When applied on the skin, the oils present in shea butter get absorbed in the skin very easily and efficiently, providing a protective barrier between the skin and the external surroundings. This beautiful item does not leave the skin oily at all. The various fatty oils present in shea butter ensure smooth absorption of it in the skin and stop oil production.
Shea butter is one of the very few products that are safe to apply on most, if not all, skin types. This is because the butter has a very low protein content, which is usually what is responsible for allergies in people.
Shea butter is rich in antioxidants. With high amounts of vitamins A and E, shea butter cleanses the skin completely. Having antioxidant properties makes shea butter efficient against aging issues faced by a lot of people these days. Shea butter helps in skin regeneration. It acts as a soothing agent on serious skin ailments such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and skin burns due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Shea butter is vegan and good for all skin types.
For haircare, Shea Butter can be used on the scalp or in the hair to stimulate hair growth, tame frizz and lock in moisture.
Shea butter should be stored and transported in cool conditions in any sort of air-tight container. Extremely hot or cold surroundings should be avoided as that can make the butter rancid.