What is Shea Butter?
Shea Butter is a skin superfood that comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea (Karite) tree and that is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F. It offers UV protection (it is SPF ~6) and provides the skin with essential fatty acids and the nutrients necessary for collagen production. Shea butter has been used in Africa and other countries for years to improve skin and hair.
Shea Butter Benefits
- Moisturizing: The concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in Shea butter 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.
- Reduces Inflammation: A 2010 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.
- Skin Smoothing: 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.
Shea Butter Uses
Shea butter is one of the most versatile natural beauty ingredients and I use it daily in some form. I’ve used it for years in everything from my homemade lotion bars and original magnesium body butter to homemade lip balms and healing salves.
What Kind of Shea Butter is Best?
I only use raw, unrefined Grade A Shea Butter. There are many refined Shea butters that are odor free and bleached to be completely white, but the refining process removes some of the beneficial properties.
Just look for one that is:
- Grade A
Shea butter is for external use only. Ask a doc or dermatologist before using, especially with underlying skin conditions. Those with nut allergies should avoid or check with an allergist.