Shea butter products are popularly used by women all over the world. Soaps, lotions, moisturizers and other products made from pure Shea butter offer the soothing, protecting and healing properties of this natural product. Shea butter has been used by the Africans to heal ailments of the skin and scalp. Traditionally, Shea butter is used to treat dry skin, discoloration on the skin and to relieve pain and swelling of arthritis. What exactly is Shea butter? Find out the benefits of Shea butter products.
African Shea Butter
Shea Butter is extracted from the nuts of the Shea Karite tree. This tree is found in the tropical regions of West Africa. The fatty acids found in this extract offer unique properties that make it an excellent ingredient in various beauty products. The nuts of the Karite tree are picked, cracked, grilled and then pounded. They are then boiled for hours in water so as to extract the shea butter, which is then scooped out and left to cool.
It solidifies at room temperature and is ready to be used. Pure shea butter is white or ivory in color and does not smell unpleasant. Over a period of about two years, the healing properties of the shea butter are slowly lost. Shea butter is also used in food preparations in Africa. Shea butter benefit is mainly derived from its high content of non- saponifiable fatty acids (stearic and oleic acid). These fatty acids aid in maintaining the skin's moisture and elasticity. These lipids work on the epidermal cells and maintain a good balance.
African shea butter is extracted from almond sized nuts of the Shea Karite tree. This tree takes considerable time to develop and bear good quality fruit. Only after about 15 years, can you get the karite fruit. West Africa was the traditional home to the shea butter industry. These days you can find shea butter coming from East Africa too.
Shea Butter Benefits
The presence of fatty acids and vitamins favor quick skin healing and sun protection. Shea butter contains cinnamic acid, which protects the skin against the harmful UV rays of the sun. Shea butter has been known to work well against stretch marks. Shea butter benefits those suffering dry skin, dermatitis and sunburn. Since shea butter is well tolerated by the skin, it usually does not trigger off any allergic reactions. This makes it ideal for use by persons with sensitive skin.
The anti-aging benefits of shea butter have been recognized and there is a mind-boggling range of shea butter products available these days. In fact, Shea butter is used in Africa to purify and cleanse the external and internal body. The Vitamins A and E found in Shea butter help in keeping the skin supple and healthy. It also prevents premature wrinkles and facial lines. Vitamin F works as a rejuvenator. Rough and chapped skin is soothed and healed. Shea butter penetrates the skin easily and does not clog the pores.
Pure Shea Butter
Pure shea butter is extracted in three ways
Some prefer the nutty smell that pure shea butter exudes while others opt for the highly refined shea butter that has been filtered through clay and de-odorized. It is advisable to use products made from pure shea butter rather than those where chemicals such as hexane are used. Pure shea butter has a natural smell. If your shea butter does not have any smell, check to see if it has become too old or rancid. Shea butter need not be refrigerated.
Shea Butter Soap
The benefits of using shea butter soap are many. Since shea butter is non-toxic, soaps containing shea butter as a main ingredient are ideal for those with eczema, dermatitis and other skin conditions. Shea butter soaps can provide beneficial properties only if they contain a substantial amount of this natural product.
Shea butter soaps and other products increase tissue re-oxygenation as well as aid elimination of metabolic waste products. When combined with coconut oil, shea butter soaps soothe the skin. Since shea butter contains up to 11% unsaponifiable fats, it is an ideal ingredient for soap making.
Shea Butter Lotion
Shea butter lotions keep the skin well hydrated and supple. They can be used on the knees, hands, face and legs. Shea butter lotions are sometimes enhanced with aloe vera juice and cucumber extract and chamomile extract. Shea butter lotions protect the skin from sun damage and offer natural UV protection. They also promote tissue cell regeneration.
Shea butter lotions contain Vitamins A and E. This makes it ideal for older women who can use shea butter products to keep their skin supple and well guarded against the detrimental effects of environmental pollution and aging.
Shea Butter Product
Shea butter products have carved a niche market on account of widespread evidence of their soothing and beautifying benefits. Products made of shea butter are moisturizing and work wonders on the skin. The softening and anti-drying properties of shea butter products such as soaps, shampoos, lip balms, sun screens and body massage creams make them popular beauty-aids.
Shea butter contains natural latex and it is essential that persons suffering from latex allergies should test any shea butter product before using it. Shea butter shampoos benefit damaged hair. Shea butter has a restructuring effect on dry and fragile hair. Beware of products that claim to offer the benefits of shea butter and contain a mere hint of shea butter and are mixed with many other ingredients.