Shea butter is a skin superfood that comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea (Karite) tree. It offers mild UV protection and provides the skin with the much needed fatty acids and the nutrients necessary for collagen production.
Shea butter has been used in Africa and many other locations for years to improve skin and hair. It also has a long history of medicinal use, such as in wound care and even treating leprosy. Shea butter is made from fat extracted from shea tree nuts and is known for its smooth consistency and moisturizing powers. Let’s be real, that’s a strong perk when it comes to self care.
It’s also not uncommon in this part of the world to eat shea as well, much as we use palm oil in products. There’s differing opinions on whether or not it’s healthy to eat, and since some studies suggest that ingesting shea butter may interfere with the digestion of other proteins, I use it externally only.
Shea butter has a range of uses from a natural moisturizer to treatment for certain skin conditions, such as eczema, rashes, and insect bites. Here are a few of its uses:
The concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in shea makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturizing for skin. It is often used to remedy dry skin and to help protect the skin’s natural oils.
A study found that due to its cinnamic acid and other natural properties, shea butter was anti-inflammatory. One compound in particular, lupeol cinnamate, was found to reduce skin inflammation and even potentially help avoid skin mutations. This also makes it beneficial for some people with acne.
Shea 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.
Shea butter works like an emollient. It might help soften or smooth dry skin. Shea butter also contains substances that can reduce skin swelling. This might help treat conditions associated with skin swelling such as eczema.
Suffering from acne or eczema? Raw shea butter can help! This potent moisturizer is readily absorbed into your skin without clogging your pores. Acne is often caused by hair follicles or pores becoming infected with bacteria or becoming inflamed. Shea butter to the rescue with its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Before using the shea butter it is recommended that you first use a cleanser. This will shed residue on your skin such as oil and dead skin. Once your skin has been cleansed, apply a thin layer of shea butter to the breakout prone areas using a sponge. If you use your fingers, you will be exposing your skin to the risks of further breakouts, because your fingers bring bacteria to your face. It is also recommended that you leave the shea butter on your skin overnight, as it should be on your skin for at least 8 hours. Shea butter works by absorbing into the skin, providing moisture without clogging the skin further.
Shea butter is one of the most versatile natural beauty ingredients and I use it daily in some way or form. I’ve used it for years in everything from my homemade lotion bars and original body butter to lip balms and healing salves as well as hair moisturizer, and rubbing oils for massages. Some of my favorite uses for shea butter:
If you start the process of taking care of your skin early, to naturally heal dry skin, scrapes, burns and bruises your skin will be much better off in the future as you grow older.
By the time you’re a young adult, understanding the proper way to take care of your skin should be pretty easy. You can purchase our organic shea butter here.