Shea butter for skin: Benefits and side effects

Shea butter for skin

What is Shea Butter?     

Shea butter comes from the nut of the karite tree (Vitellaria Paradoxa). It is found in Africa. This tree produces fruits that are used to make butter, but the fruit contains little oil. The nuts are gathered, and the oil is extracted from them. 

Shea butter is a pale yellow coloured cream-like substance with a buttery smell. It has a solid consistency at room temperature, but when warmed up it melts. Shea butter has a rich and luxurious consistency and texture.

Shea butter is a vegetable fat that has been used in traditional skincare for centuries by various ethnic communities in Africa. In fact, many people in West Africa believe that Vitellaria paradoxa trees are sacred.

The shea nut contains about 44% butterfat, 18% protein, 25% carbohydrates, 5% ash and 2% fiber. Shea butter has been reported to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antibacterial and wound healing properties. The healing properties of shea butter have also been confirmed in several studies.

Published research has shown that the application of shea butter on wounds dramatically accelerates wound healing, reduces inflammation and improves the cosmetic appearance of the wound.

The natural fat content in shea butter makes it an excellent moisturizer and skin protectant. It’s also an exceptional emollient for rough, dry skin and hair.

Shea butter has been used for centuries to treat dry and itchy scalp or dandruff. It provides sufficient moisture for dry and damaged hair. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that keep scalp infections at bay.

Make sure you don’t have a hair texture that is prone to grease and buildup because shea butter can potentially make your condition worse. 

The naturally high amount of unsaponifiables in shea butter gives skin a healthier appearance as it helps to nourish, tone and elasticize the skin.

6 Beauty Benefits of Shea Butter 

Shea butter is a staple in the kitchen of many African women because it can be applied to the hair to provide moisture and shine.

Shea butter is a natural moisturizer that can be used for a number of beauty-related skin issues. Similar to coconut oil, shea butter absorbs into the skin and leaves it feeling soft and healthy. 

If you want to get the best out of your shea butter, ensure you are using shea butter that has been refined. Unrefined shea butter doesn’t have any added preservatives and so may go rancid over time.

Here are some of the beauty benefits of shea butter:

  • Protects Against Sun Damage

  • Shea butter has been used for skin care since ancient times. It is often used in the African, American community and it's very popular for healing skin wounds and protecting damaged skin from the sun. 

  • Boosts Skin Elasticity

  • The beauty benefits of shea butter for the skin include boosting elasticity and promoting a healthy glow. Many people use shea butter for the healing effects it can have on the skin and for its ability to soothe rashes.

  • Prevents Aging Effects

  • Shea butter can reduce signs of aging, such as wrinkles, dark spots and age spots. It also helps to soothe dry, cracked and itchy skin. 

    The nutrients found in shea butter can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, heal burns, scars and other skin blemishes, boost elasticity and promote a healthy glowing complexion.

  • Combats Dry Skin

  • Applying a shea butter face pack is also a great way to combat dry skin. Because it has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, applying shea butter will reduce your chances of developing acne or pimples.

  • Promotes Cell Regeneration

  • Shea butter has moisturizing and antioxidant properties that help in promoting cell regeneration. With the right moisture balance on the surface of your skin, the cell regeneration process speeds up and the epidermis remains free from dead skin cells. 

  • Reduces the Appearance of Scars

  • Shea butter stops keloid fibroblasts while encouraging healthy cell growth to take its place. This helps in speeding up the healing process and reduces the appearance of stretch marks and scars on the skin.

    Possible Side Effects of Shea Butter

    Shea butter is derived from the nuts of the shea tree. It is similar to cocoa butter but has a couple of extra benefits aside from protecting your skin.

    One of these benefits is its ability to regenerate the skin, which is due to the presence of antioxidants. Yet, this doesn’t mean you should go overboard with it if you are suffering from skin conditions like acne or eczema.

    A few cases of allergic reaction to shea butter have been reported in those with eczema. There have also been reports of diarrhoea, vomiting and even death with the ingestion of pure shea butter, usually by mistake by children.

    Dermatologists recommend that people should use shea butter on the skin only when necessary and under certain conditions. Skin irritation is among the possible side effects of shea butter.

    However, most people can use this ingredient without any issues.

    Take Away

    Shea butter, extracted from the nut of the African tree that shares its name, has been consumed for hundreds of years in West Africa. It has a light, nutty fragrance and a buttery texture.

    To get the most out of your shea butter, keep it in a cool, dark place and try to avoid exposure to heat and light. Refined shea butter should last at least 18 months.

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