No matter where you go, no matter where you shop, you’ve seen some kind of Shea Butter. You’ve certainly heard it called “the best of what nature has to offer” but you don’t really know why. Is it just a marketing gimming? Could one simple product offer that many benefits? What actually is Shea Butter?
Shea Butter, Where Do You Come From?
Sometimes referred to as “women’s gold” in Africa—because so many women are employed in its production—shea butter is a cream-colored fatty substance made from the nuts of Karite trees—also called trees of life. Not cultivated, these trees grow only in the wild Sub-Saharan Africa. They can take up to 50 years to mature and live up to 300 years!
Shea Butter’s skin care and healing properties were first harnessed thousands of years ago, in Ancient Egypt. Accounts from as early as Cleopatra’s Egypt speak of caravans bearing clay jars of valuable shea butter for cosmetic use.
7 Health And Beauty Benefits Of Shea Butter
While Africans have known for thousands of years, Western countries are just beginning to recognize the considerable health and beauty benefits of shea butter. Here are only a few of them:
The concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in Shea butter makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturizing for skin. It is often used to help protect the skin’s natural oils and it is the perfect remedy for winter skin. A drop or two in your bath will feel like an instant moisture injection.
“I lather my entire body, including my scalp, from head to toe with raw African shea butter. It’s a routine that I’ve been doing for at least 15 years. I often tell people I have a shea-butter robe J I did it my entire pregnancy. My mother is worked up [with stretch marks] and I’m her only child. I was worried because it’s hereditary. But I have no stretch marks. It’s amazing.” Amber Rose
2) Skin Protection
It contains cinnamic acid, a chemical that blocks some ultraviolet rays from the sun. When the pure butter is applied to the hands or face, it takes a while to soak in so it provides a barrier against irritation from wind, cold, and irritation from friction and harsh soaps and detergents.
“I started using African shea butter oil for the winter time because it’s good for windburn and super dry skin. My cheeks have started to get red and discolored in the cold, and it seems to be working.” Lindsay Walsh
3) Skin Soothing
Shea butter aids in the skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic and linolenic acids that protect and nourish the skin to prevent drying. With long term use, many people report skin softening and strengthening as well as wrinkle reduction.
Karite butter could also heal your skin. Its high fat content makes it an effective and soothing salve for minor cuts and burns—like surn burns or razor cuts—, and it is very effective in treating chapped lips, feet, and hands.
4) Hair Care
Shea oil is rich in stearic and oleic fatty acids. It doesn’t saponify in the soap-making process, which leaves the oils free to moisturize and protect skin and hair. That’s why it is used in shampoos to repair damaged hair and reduce dandruff.
“Shea butter make your curl pattern come out much more defined.” Andrea Thomas
For centuries, Shea Butter has been used as a medicinal ointment to treat joint pain, muscle ache, bruising and swelling.
In 2010, results from a clinical test shows that Shea Butter contains triterpenes compounds that exhibits significant anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour activity. It helps to reduce joint inflammation while improving circulation.
If you have muscle soreness after a strenuous exercise, apply Shea Butter generously over the affected area—it may take a few hours to a full day before you notice the reduction in pain. For good joint health maintenance, apply Shea Butter on your muscles and joint before and after your exercise. This will help reduce muscle fatigue and pain.
6) Nasal Decongestant
For blocked nose or nasal congestion, rub Shea Butter into and around your nose. Apply onto your chest as well. You should feel better pretty fast.
The shea tree nuts are naturally rich in vitamins and minerals. Inside the fruit is a seed rich in the mixture of edible oils and fats—the shea butter—a crucial nutritional resource for millions of rural households.
Raw African Shea butter is very high in antioxidants, vitamin E and essential fatty acids that help keep your cells young and properly lubricated. When ingested instead of applied topically, those same therapeutic compounds go to work inside your body.
So get a little adventurous! Try something outside the box and consider using Shea butter as a super food. Remember to source your Shea consciously and make sure it’s 100% pure, unrefined, raw and organic.
Knowing that something is so pure and clean that you can eat it is great confirmation that putting it on your skin is safe to do as well. Why use chemical laden lotions that can make you sick if swallowed when you can use a pure and clean plant butter that has a history of use as a food? After all, what you put on your skin eventually ends up in your blood.