The health benefits of Shea butter on skin and hair have been identified since ancient times. That is why Shea butter is one of the top most natural moisturizers. It heals skin conditions such as dry skin, stretch marks, acne, rashes and eczema.
Shea butter is also a good natural remedy for various hair conditions such as dandruff and dry hair. It makes your hair soft, shiny and thick. Shea Butter is now widely used in many skin and hair beauty products.
What is shea butter?
Shea butter is a triglyceride fat extracted from native African shea trees (Vitellaria paradoxa). It is mainly used in the cosmetic industry as a moisturizer. Shea butter is edible and extensively used in the chocolate industry as a replacement for cocoa butter. Africans use it in cooking certain foods.
Shea butter contains the following fatty acids
- Oleic acid: 40-60%
- Stearic acid: 20-50%
- Linoleic acid: 3-11%
- Palmitic acid: 2-9 %
Raw unrefined Shea butter is yellow in color. Colors of refined Shea butter range from ivory to white depending on the extent of refinement.
Why Shea Butter is Good for Skin and Hair
The antioxidants Vitamin A and Vitamin E in Shea butter are very useful to your skin and hair.
Vitamin A in shea butter promotes skin cell production and growth by stimulating fibroblasts - the cells that are responsible for developing tissues that keep your skin firm and healthy it also protects the skin against infections.
Vitamin E in shea butter provides moisturising effect and neutralizes the free radicals that cause oxidative stresses. Studies have shown that cinnamic acid esters in shea fat help to prevent skin damage due to ultraviolet radiations.
Shea butter has a high non-saponifiable fraction of the oil as compared to other nut oils. This makes it easy to get absorbed by the skin and helps the skill to heal faster. . Most other oils which have a high saponifiable fraction turn to soap when come in contact with alkalinity.
7 Health Benefit of Shea Butter
Shea butter offers multiple health benefits on topical use on your skin and hair. It is an edible oil but we will discuss the topical uses as that is the way it is most widely used.
1. Moisturizes Dry Skin
Shea butter is one of the best skin moisturizers for your entire body. The other one is coconut oil. You can use shea butter alone or in combination with coconut oil to moisturise your skin daily.
It is great for dry and dehydrated skin. Shea butter nourishes your skin and keeps it hydrated for a long period.
- apply shea butter after a shower on your entire body
- leave it there throughout the day
During the day apply it once again on your cracked heels, dry cuticles and other rough patches of your skin. It is an excellent moisturizer during the winter.
2. Treats Acne And Blemishes
Shea butter is an excellent natural treatment for acne. The non-saponifiable fraction of shea butter doesn't clog the pores but get absorbed by the skin clearing the proes.
The fatty acids and sterols in shea butter do the real job to only heal acne but also avoid acne scars.
- Wash your face and dab it dry
- Apply shea butter ;
- leave it on for 30 minutes
- rinse with lukewarm water
- do it twice daily
3. Reduces Skin Inflammation
Sunburns, rashes, minor cuts and skin swellings can also be healed with it.
- apply shea butter twice daily
- leave it on for 20-30 minutes
- Rinse with slightly warm water
4. Anti-Aging Agent
Raw unrefined shea butter softens the skin and reduces wrinkles by tissue cell regeneration. It boosts collagen production too.
- Wash your face with warm water and dab it dry with a cotton towel
- Apply shea butter twice daily on your skin for the best results.
- Leave it on your skin
5. Repairs Damaged Hair
Shea butter moisturizes and nourishes your hair. It is an excellent tonic for your dry and rough hair. Chemical treatments and heat treatments such as straighteners , curlers and perms make your hair dry and brittle. Even the harsh sun and winter dryness can have an adverse effect on nourishments of your hair.
It is best to use shea butter alone or with coconut oil. You can add a few drops of lavender oil.
- Take a teaspoon of shea butter in your palms and rub it make it warm
- Massage on your hair. Take more if required
- Leave it on for 30 minutes
- rinse your hair with mild natural shampoo
6. Prevents Hair Loss
The fatty acids in shea butter are great nourishing elements for your hair and scalp. They make your hair follicle strong and reduce hair loss. With regular use of shea butter you will get shiny and thick hair growth.
- Apply a teaspoon or more of shea butter on your scalp and hair
- Leave it overnight
- Rinse with natural shampoo in the morning
7. Soothes Dry And Itchy Scalp
Shea butter moisturizes your dry and itchy scalp as well as hair to not only get rid of the itch and dandruff but also improve hair health and appearance.
- take a tablespoon of shea butter in your hand and rub it make it slightly warm
- Massage it thoroughly on your scalp and hair
- Leave it on for 20-30 minutes
- Rinse, shampoo and condition with natural products
Precautions and Tips
Shea butter comes in different grades. The best is unrefined shea butter classified as grade A. It doesn't have any major side effects but take the following precautions before use.
- Test shea butter on a small portion of your skin on hand before use If you are generally allergic to nut oils
- Buy raw unrefined shea butter as the refined one is not as good for your skin and hair
- Ensure that it is unflavoured and unscented
- Check its shelf life before buying. Unrefined shea butter has maximum shelf life of 18 months.
- Store it out of direct light or heat to avoid getting it rancid
You can make natural lip balms with shea butter beeswax and coconut oil mixed in equal quantities and stored in a glass jar.