Shea Butter Skin And Hair Care BenefitsShea Butter is only found in the tropics of Africa. It is extracted from the nuts of the Shea-Karite tree which begins to bear fruit after about 15 years; and can take up to 30 years to bear a quality crop of nuts with a high content of irremovable fatty acid. It is this irremovable fatty acid that gives Shea Butter its unique healing properties and makes it far superior to cocoa butter and other vegetable butters. Traditionally, Shea Butter was extracted by people who picked the nuts, cracked them, grilled them and pounded them. They were boiled in water for hours until the Shea Butter rose to the surface. It was then scooped into gourds and left to cool and set. Shea Butter is solid at room temperature although it quickly liquefies right around body temperature. This Shea Butter is called unrefined Shea Butter or raw Shea Butter. Since Shea Butter is an all natural product, it can vary widely in quality, appearance and smell depending on where it is produced from and how it is refined or extracted.
How Should Shea Butter Smell?
Shea Butter has a natural smell, which is not unpleasant to most people. The smell of raw or lightly refined West African Shea varies from nutty to similar to Crisco or shortening. Over time the smell of the Shea Butter will diminish. If an unrefined Shea Butter has almost no smell, it is probably getting old. Shea Butter should not stink, not matter how old it is. It is possible for Shea Butter to go rancid. If it does, do not use it. If you do not like the smell of natural, raw Shea Butter, you can purchase more highly refined Shea Butter that has been Deodorized and filtered through clay.
The traditional use of the butter is to reduce the appearance of fine lines, scars and stretch marks, and to ease a variety of skin irritations, such as psoriasis, eczema and sunburn. Makers of cosmetics also mix this natural substance with other botanical ingredients. Shea butter is ideal for the topical application of cosmetic and medicinal formulas, because it melts on contact and is readily absorbed into the skin, without leaving a greasy residue.
Shea Butter Uses
Shea Butter is often used as a base for medical ointments, and has been claimed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Shea Butter is also claimed to be effective treatment for the following conditions: fading scars, eczema, burns, rashes, dry skin (moisturizer), sun burn, skin peeling, dark spots, skin discolorations, blemishes, wrinkles, soften skin, chapped lips, stretch marks (pregnancy), wrinkles, hair luster and irritation from psoriasis.
Shea Butter is effective in at least four categories: Anti Aging, Healing Aide, Prevention, Skin Protection.
It has been clinically shown to provide benefits. Here are some of the benefits of Shea Butter for the skin:
• Great for daily moisturizing of the face and body (face and body)
• Relieving dry skin
• Moisturizing a dry scalp
• Soothing minor rashes, including diaper rash
• Minimize skin peeling after sunburn
• Healing blemishes and wrinkles
• Relieving itching due to dryness
• Soothing sunburn
• Can be used prior to shaving to minimize razor burn
• Treat small skin wounds
• Soften and heal cracking skin
• Soften callouses on feet, especially heels
• Prevent stretch marks from pregnancy
• Healing minor burns
• Treating mild to moderate eczema
• Protect the skin (especially lips) from sun and wind
• Smooth out skin tone
• Prevent or minimize blemishes and scarring
• Stop scalp irritation due to dryness or chemical processing such as dying or relaxers
• Preventing bumps after shaving
• Treating acne (especially when used with African Black Soap)
• Easily absorbed (non-comedogenic). Absorbs without blocking pores
• Maintains and restroes skin's natural elasticity
• Brings shine luster to hair
Shea Butter Benefit Skin
Shea Butter is like food for the skin containing Vitamins A, E and F. Vitamins A and E help the skin keep itself healthy. These vitamins are especially important when it comes to helping sun damaged skin heal. Vitamins A, E and F assist in staving off premature wrinkles and facial lines. Vitamin F serves to protect the skin as well as help it heal. It soothes rough, dry or chapped skin and helps soften dry or damaged hair. Shea Butter is high in unsaponifiables (a type of fat). Shea Butter will contain somewhere between 7-12% unsaponifiables. To put that in perspective, avocado oil, a well known skin conditioner, has between 2-6%. It is this amount of unsaponifiables that is a contributing factor to Shea Butter being able to treat so many conditions. Because Shea Butter easily penetrates the skin allowing the skin to breathe and not clogging pores it can deliver it's nutritional payload better than other man-made moisturizers. Shea Butter also naturally contains cinnamic acid, a natural sun screen. It actually does provide some degree of protection from the sun's harmful rays (still wear a sunblock though). Shea Butter is a natural anti-inflammatory making it useful in treating things like rheumatism.
Shea Butter Benefits Hair
Shea Butter provides moisture to dry or damaged hair from the roots to the very tips, repairing and protecting against weather damage, dryness and brittleness. It also absorbs quickly and completely into the scalp to rehydrate without clogging pores. It is particularly beneficial for processed and heat-treated hair. It is an excellent treatment for dry scalp. It restores luster to damaged hair. For this reason, Shea Butter is an excellent ingredient in hair moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners.
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