Whether or not you have dry skin, you'll love the benefits of shea butter. It can also rebalance oily and combination skin. This butter is solid and very thick at room temperature, but has a creamy, rich consistency that makes it ideal to use as a natural eye cream, lip balm or body butter.
With other unique properties, shea butter does more than moisturize. It offers vital health benefits like being anti-inflammatory and delivering anti-aging fatty acids directly to the skin.
What is shea butter?
Shea butter is a fat produced from the seeds and kernels of the shea tree. It is a tree native to West Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Its butter has been used for centuries across the continent for its skin and hair benefits.
While cocoa butter is hard at body temperature and coconut oil is liquid, shea butter falls somewhere in between because it begins to melt when you touch it. This unique quality makes it easier to handle than other moisturizers. In addition, it is absorbed quickly by the skin and does not stain clothes.
Shea butter has a strong smell of honey and hazelnut. It's due to the cinnamic acid when you open the lid. (Don't worry, you won't feel like shea for the rest of the day after using it.)
What are the benefits of pure shea butter?
Shea butter is more than just butter for dry skin. It is rich in nutrients and can help treat certain skin conditions when part of a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of its benefits:
● Moisturizes : The concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in shea butter makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturizing for the skin. It remedies dry skin and helps protect the skin's natural oils.
● Reduces inflammation: Due to the presence of cinnamic acid and other natural properties, shea butter is an excellent anti-inflammatory. One compound, specifically lupeol cinnamate, reduces skin inflammation and even potentially helps prevent skin mutations. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for treating acne.
● Smoothes the skin: shea helps the natural production of collagen and nourishes the skin to prevent dryness. With long-term use, many people notice a softening and tightening of the skin as well as a reduction in wrinkles.
● Penetrates the skin: numerous studies show that it is particularly effective at penetrating the skin and contains 60% fat, which makes it very emollient (similar to the way almond and jojoba oil polishes the skin.) It is rich in essential fatty acids, which help build the skin barrier.
● Provides Essential Fatty Acids: What makes shea butter unique is the fatty acid profile. In addition to cinnamic acid, shea contains oleic, stearic, linoleic, palmitic, arachidic and linolenic acid. Together, these elements make it the perfect stimulant for cell regeneration.
● Offers UV protection: it can offer slight UV protection, up to approximately SPF 6.
● Provides Vitamins A and E : Rich in these nutrients, the skin's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can also help fight dermatitis and psoriasis.
● Reduces joint pain: A 2016 study found it relieves symptoms of osteoarthritis in rats and protects cartilage from destruction and degeneration.
More good news: shea butter is also ideal for children and babies! A 2015 pediatric study showed that a shea butter eczema cream worked just as well as standard ceramide products. Plus, it has a high compliance rate, which means kids shouldn't be afraid to use it.
Shea butter is also the ally of pregnant women to prevent the appearance of stretch marks or to reduce them.
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