In which areas does shea butter work particularly well?
Organic is and is becoming more and more of a trend. This starts with nutrition and is evident from skin and hair care to the manufacturers of cosmetic products. So naturalness is very important. A popular ingredient is shea butter. It is used for creams, hair care products and bath additives. Shea butter is a real all-rounder because, in addition to body care, it can even serve as a medicine. Numerous ingredients in shea butter have a wide variety of effects on our bodies. In this article we will take a closer look at shea butter and find out what effect it can achieve.
What is shea butter and where does it come from?
Many people have heard of it, but very few people know exactly what it is. Shea butter has its origins in Africa. It is made there from the fruit seeds of the shea tree. These trees grow mainly south of the Sahara and can live up to 300 years. These trees only bear the first fruit after 20 years of life. A basic distinction is made between two different types:
- Vitellaria paradoxa subsp. paradoxa (grows exclusively in West Africa)
- Vitellaria paradoxa subsp. nilotica (grows exclusively in East Africa)
The fruits are harvested between April and June every year. Only the kernels of the fruit can then be processed into unrefined shea butter. To do this, the kernels are roasted. In the second step, these are crushed with water to a brownish paste and boiled until the shea oil can be skimmed off. When the shea oil then cools down, the well-known shea butter is created. In this state, i.e. unrefined, it is yellowish. The white color is only available when it is further processed.
The unprocessed shea butter has a shelf life of several years. It can be stored at room temperature without any problems. This is because it is a natural product that does not contain any chemical ingredients or preservatives. But the refrigerator can also serve as a storage location to extend the shelf life even further.
What effect does shea butter have?
The great effectiveness of shea butter is thanks to the many valuable ingredients it contains. It is suitable for the care of all skin types as it contains the highest proportion of unsaponifiable components at 11%. It also contains a whole range of vitamins and minerals. In detail these would be:
- Beta carotene
- High amounts of triterpene alcohols and triterpenes
- Linolenic acid
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Palmitic acid
- Stearic acid
- Vitamin E
Thanks to these ingredients, shea butter has a variety of effects. Due to the vitamin E it contains, it is very skin-caring. It is immediately absorbed into the skin after application and cannot be washed off. All of its ingredients are well absorbed into the skin. It also has an insulating effect against environmental influences and can even play its part in the regeneration of cells. Shea butter is therefore also said to have an anti-aging effect as it counteracts the formation of wrinkles and thus the aging process. In Africa itself, people have always used it for skin care.
The allantoin it contains is anti-inflammatory and also has a supportive effect on wound healing. Shea butter is therefore also used for dry skin and skin prone to eczema. It can also provide relief for skin diseases such as psoriasis or neurodermatitis. (Also read: How does skin care work for neurodermatitis?)
In addition, shea butter also has natural sun protection. Although it doesn't replace sunscreen, it does offer slight protection from UV light. Shea butter is already contained in many cosmetic products. But it is refined shea butter. During further processing, shea butter loses important ingredients such as beta-carotene.
How does shea butter affect human skin?
As already mentioned, shea butter is very suitable for skin care. It is ideal for treating heavily stressed and dry skin. No matter whether for neurodermatitis, sunburn, joint pain or the treatment of scars. At a temperature of 28 degrees, shea butter begins to melt, making it easy to spread on the skin. It is also absorbed very quickly, so you can also apply it just before going to bed.
Shea butter is also very popular for combination skin. It is also often used for acne. It is anti-inflammatory and comedogenic, meaning it does not clog the pores of the skin. In this case, however, it should not be applied too thickly. Otherwise the skin will be unnecessarily burdened. When it comes to skin aging and anti-aging, you shouldn't expect miracles from shea butter. With regular use, small wrinkles can be reduced, but it cannot prevent the entire aging process.
How does shea butter react on scars and joints?
Anyone who suffers from rheumatism and therefore has painful joints can also help themselves with shea butter. The anti-inflammatory ingredients also have an effect on joint pain. The prerequisite for this is regular use. While applying the cream, the joints also receive a small massage, which is also beneficial. When it comes to hardened scar tissue, shea butter makes it softer and therefore more flexible and pliable. Scar pain is alleviated while at the same time adapting to the surrounding skin. Shea butter is also recommended during pregnancy to prevent tears in the tissue. Basically, the skin that is creamed with shea butter becomes more elastic and softer and stretch marks become less common.
Shea butter for hair and lips
During the cold season of the year, lips become dry and chapped. If you are struggling with this problem, you should try shea butter. This also provides moisture to the lips and supports wound healing. This leaves your lips velvety soft and gives them the care they need. Your natural shine returns and a barrier is formed against wind and weather to prevent dry lips in the future. Cosmetic products that help against dry skin can often also be used on damaged hair. This also applies to shea butter. Straw and split-end-plagued hair can be repaired with the help of this natural product. They regain a slight shine and feel nice and soft again.