Shea Butter For the Skin + Other Benefits & Side Effects

Why Shea butter continues to be the best natural oil to use on the skin

Shea Butter For the Skin + Other Benefits & Side Effects

Shea butter which goes by other names including Shea tree and bambouk is one of the most valuable tree extracts that has been used over the years for different purposes. The gains of the product range from hair care to skin care. In some instances, the purest form of it is even used internally.

With so many benefits already known today, it is interesting to know just how much you can use the butter for your own needs. To do this though, it helps to understand the exact merits, different usage and potential side effects if any. This way, you can efficiently maximise the tree's extract without any worries.

Before investing in a product, natural or chemically processed, it is crucial that you conduct some research and do some tests to ascertain its safe usage. First things first, understanding what Shea butter will help you make the right decision when it comes to adopting its use.

This is a fat extract from the seeds of a tree that is found in tropical East African and West African countries. Usually, it is used in its natural and purest forms and in fewer instances, it is included in cosmetics and other beauty related products because of its many gains.

Understanding the butter

As earlier mentioned, this product is extracted from the Shea tree which is indigenous to certain African countries, more so in the tropics. It is obtained from two kernels of the tree’s seed.

Once the kernel is obtained, it is crushed into powder form and then put into a pan of water and brought to boiling. This melts the butter which in turn floats on water and solidifies upon cooling.

The separation from other impurities thus happens naturally leading to the purest form of the product. This is probably the safest form of it since it has no additives whatsoever.

Many people have been known to make use of this pure butter for different things.

Generally, it has been applied to soothe arthritis, treat eczema, fix itchy skin, muscle soreness, reduce acne, soothe inflamed skin, heal insect bites and burns, treat rashes, treat infections such as scabies and fade out scars, treat sinus infection when used internally, fix skin breakage problems as well as dry skin and heal wounds just to mention a few. Some communities use Shea butter for cooking while manufacturing companies use it as part of the ingredients in certain beauty products. To appreciate the product more, the following are a few ways on how some of the benefits come about.

1. Treatment of Eczema

Shea butter can penetrate the skin because of the components and oils it contains. This way, it has a significant impact on the moisturising of the skin. When used on affected skin, it increases moisture content thus minimising the irritation on the surface. With increased skin hydration, patients are ly to enjoy a better quality of life.

2. Excellent nose de-congesting agent

This is a benefit that most people that suffer from nasal congestion appreciate. Since it is a natural remedy, it is preferred. Using the butter as a topical application whenever your nose is congested due to a common cold or arthritis works wonders.

3. Excellent soother of dry, injured and ageing skins

This nut oil can fix most skin dryness problems. This is because it contains stearic and oleic acids which are also behind the oil’s moisturising effects. This explains why most beauty companies make use of the butter in their products. Its moisturising ability is exemplary.

4. Perfect anti-inflammatory

With allergies, exposure to UV rays, burns and other environmental issues, it is easy for one to be affected and inflamed. Fortunately, this butter contains lupeol which is responsible for bringing down any form of inflammation.

5. Slows down and reduces ageing

As the skin oxidises, its cell degenerate and as such the process of ageing happens naturally. While this is something that must occur to everyone at one point or another, it is ly to be hastened by environmental factors such as exposure to UV light and stress not to mention poor diet.

Shea butter contains certain antioxidants which may come in handy when it comes to slowing down the oxidation process of the skin. The vitamin E and phenolic compounds in the seed oil make it a perfect solution for all ageing people. At least, you are afforded a chance to age gracefully.

6. Prevention of split ends

We cannot complete the uses of this butter without mentioning its magical effect on the hair. Regular use of this product in your hair treatment will help turn things around.

You will experience less split ends, and as such, your hair volume will increase. The components naturally required to boost hair growth are all found in this seed oil.

These include oleic, palmitic and linoleic acids.

READ ALSO: Health benefits of shea butter

While not much is known about Shea butter’s side effects, it is possible that a few effects exist. It helps to note that the purest form of it has no side effects which could be the reasons why it is more expensive considering the procedure used to process it.

On the other hand, refined forms of the butter, most of which are found in cosmetic products may have side effects. One of the anticipated effects could be over bleeding. The presence of stearic acid could mean that people with blood issues should stay away from the product.

It is also important to caution people on medication that could trigger bleeding to avoid the use of the natural oil for the period that they are under medication.

In the end, a lot more research ought’s to be conducted to ascertain if there are any negative implications of using this substance. Whenever possible, is advisable, however, to stick to the natural form of the substance.

While this type of Shea butter may be costly, its benefits are worth the investment. You may also have to deal with the distinctive lousy smell of the natural butter extract. Focus on the gains, and you will be good to go.

Disclaimer

The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content including text, graphics, images, and information contained on or available through this page is for general information purposes only.

READ ALSO:

Source: https://www.tuko.co.ke/295461-shea-butter-uses-benefits-side-effects.html

21 Shea Butter Benefits and Uses

Shea Butter For the Skin + Other Benefits & Side Effects

You all know I’m a fan of using olive oil on skin and hair, but another all-star natural moisturizer for these uses and more around the home is shea butter. (Something about the name just even sounds luxurious, doesn’t it?)

This luxurious butter is very thick and solid at room temperature but has a buttery rich consistency that makes it ideal for use as a natural eye cream, lip balm, or body butter. Many studies show that it is especially good at penetrating the skin and contains 60% fat, making it highly emollient.

Thanks to some other special properties, shea butter does more than moisturize … it delivers key anti-inflammatory and anti-aging fatty acids right into the skin.

What Is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a skin superfood that comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea (Karite) tree. It may offer mild UV protection (up to 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 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.

It’s also not uncommon in that 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 Benefits

  • Moisturizing: 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.
  • 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 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.

The good news is, it’s great to use on kids and babies too!

Ways to Use Shea Butter

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.

Some of my favorite uses for shea butter:

TIP: If the shea butter is too thick for what you’re trying to do, melt it over very low heat and then use. Do not let it get close to boiling or you will lose beneficial properties. You can also emulsify it with other oils using the technique in my lotion recipe.

What Kind of Shea Butter Is Better?

There is a huge variation in the quality of shea butter depending on the manufacturer, so if you’ve tried shea butter before and haven’t d it, it may have been the brand.

The American Shea Butter Institute warns that one of the main healing components in shea butter, cinnamic acid, is less present in inferior brands. They have issued classifications of different grades of quality, and the best grade with the highest cinnamic acid content is Grade A.

I only use raw, unrefined, Grade A shea butter. There are many refined ones that are odor free and bleached to be completely white, but the refining process removes some of the beneficial properties.

Which to Buy

I order this one and have had great results, but good shea butter brands can also be found at many local health food stores. When it comes to choosing a better butter, just look for one that is:

  • raw/unrefined
  • unbleached
  • organic
  • Grade A

Caution: Before Using

If you get unrefined shea butter, that means it has not been filtered and may contain trace particles of the shea nut.

I often gently heat my shea butter until it just melts and then pour through a cheesecloth or strainer to remove any particles.

Once strained, I pour it into these (or any) silicone molds in pre-measured amounts (tablespoons, 1/4 cup, etc.) so that it is ready to use for natural beauty recipes.

Storing Shea Butter

I’m only comfortable using this butter externally. Ask a doc or dermatologist before using, especially with underlying skin conditions. Those with nut allergies should avoid or check with an allergist.

Store shea butter direct light or heat. Several sources suggest shea butter may go rancid or expire within 12-24 months, but since it has so many uses I never have a jar of it that long. Leave it out on your bathroom counter and watch it disappear!

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Scott Soerries, MD, Family Physician and Medical Director of SteadyMD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Ever used shea butter? How did it work for you? 

Source: https://wellnessmama.com/27324/shea-butter-benefits/

Shea Butter Benefits for Skin Repair and Even Hair

Shea Butter For the Skin + Other Benefits & Side Effects

What is shea butter? It’s a substance commonly used in cosmetic and natural skin care products. Full of all-natural vitamin A, 100 percent pure, unrefined, raw shea butter can improve numerous skin conditions such as blemishes and wrinkles, stretch mark prevention during pregnancy, muscle fatigue, dermatitis, and radiation treatments for certain medical problems.

Why is shea butter good for your skin? Shea butter, also called Butyrospermum parkii, is extremely moisturizing and very hydrating. When applied to the skin, it provides immediate softness and smoothness. But there’s even more proven benefits of shea butter.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a study indicating that shea nuts and shea fat (shea butter) constitute a significant source of anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor promoting compounds. Another study from the American Journal of Life Sciences claims that shea butter boosts collagen production, demonstrating some major anti-aging potential.

Shea Butter Composition

Raw shea butter is rich in stearic, oleic acids and benefit-rich vitamin E and vitamin A. The oil from the fruit of the shea tree contains about 45–50 percent oleic acid, 30–41 percent stearic acid, 5–9 percent palmitic acid and 4–5 percent linoleic acid. The best shea butter is extracted using cold-pressed methods without added chemicals or preservatives.

Butyrospermum parkii is smooth in texture and does not liquefy at room temperatures; however, it will soften in your hands, making it easy to apply. Containing vitamins A and E, it has relatively high amounts of saturated fatty acids ( MCT oil) when compared to other plant-sourced lipids, such as grape seed oil, olive oil and canola oil.

The Food and Drug Administration includes shea nut oil on its list of direct food substances affirmed at Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). While it is more common in beauty products, shea butter is also found in a variety of confections and chocolate as a cocoa butter substitute.”

1. Anti-inflammatory Skin Moisturizer

Shea butter for face and body moisturizing is by far one of this natural ingredient’s top uses. Too many skin care products contain unhealthy synthetic ingredients. In contrast, Butyrospermum parkii is a natural ingredient that acts as an amazing skin conditioning agent.

Plus, it’s anti-inflammatory too! A study published in the Journal of Oleo Science reports that shea nuts and shea fat (shea butter) help to reduce inflammation. In addition, both shea nuts and butter have anti-tumor promoting compounds called cinnamate esters (which are also found in cinnamon).

According to the Truth In Aging, shea butter’s

function as a dermal conditioner is two fold. Firstly, it helps retain moisture and lessen the loss of water by forming a barrier on the skin’s surface.

Secondly, it also works to reduce the appearance of rough patches and dry flakes on the skin.

Many prefer this ingredient as a moisturizer because of its content of unsaponifiable fats — meaning that, un other fatty oils, it does not turn into soap when in the presence of a potent alkali, thus retaining its moisturizing abilities.

2. Provides Anti-Aging Properties

Retaining the skin’s natural moisture content is a high priority if you want to reduce the visible signs of aging and Butyrospermum parkii is an excellent moisturizer.

Raw shea butter can encourage tissue cell regeneration and softening of the skin, which can help to decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The American Journal of Life Sciences reported a clinical study involving 30 volunteers in which shea butter diminished various signs of aging.

In another clinical study for dry, delicate or aging skin, 49 volunteers applied shea butter twice daily and discovered that it prevented photo aging. It’s no wonder that you can often find shea butter in many natural anti-aging facial products,

3. Moisturizes Both Scalp and Hair

You can also use shea butter for hair and scalp conditions.

 When used topically, it helps to seal in moisture, conditioning the scalp, alleviating dandruff and providing overall protection from harsh climates — much how coconut oil works for hair.

Is shea butter or coconut oil better for your skin? Both are excellent natural moisturizers and you can use either one on your skin, scalp or hair improve your health and appearance.

Gently warm the shea butter to soften it and rub it thoroughly throughout your hair and scalp. For best results, leave on for 20–30 minutes. Then, rinse, shampoo and condition as normal. In addition to the moisturizing shea butter benefits for hair and scalp, the butter can also  provide volume when applied to just the roots when styling.

4. Relieves Windburn, Sunburn and Winter Dry Skin

Raw shea butter is perfect to help eliminate that itchy winter skin. Its moisturizing qualities penetrate deep into the skin, offering more moisturizing benefits while preventing windburn. It’s perfect for cracked and dry heels, hands, rough elbows and knees.

Shea butter is a much healthier, nourishing choice because most sunscreens are filled with noxious chemicals that penetrate the skin and enter our bodies.

While the SPF of this sunscreen is only about 6, it can provide some protection in a more natural way and is perfect underneath makeup.

It’s really a shea butter moisturizer and sunscreen in one! Butyrospermum parkii is also great for applying if you do get a sunburn. 

5. May Reduce Stretch Marks

How do you get rid of stretch marks? While many believe that Retin-A and laser treatments are the only way to diminish stretch marks, raw shea butter may help with its natural vitamin A content.

Because of its amazing healing properties and hydrating qualities, shea butter may possibly reduce the appearance of stretch marks and other scarring.

Some people also use it to naturally improve the appearance of cellulite by smoothing and softening the skin.

6. Prevents Diaper Rash for Babies

Shea butter makes a great diaper rash ointment for your baby because of its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties that can help fight off yeast. Raw shea butter can help improve blood circulation promoting cell regeneration while providing improved collagen production.

Both cell regeneration and collagen production are important to healing diaper rashes quickly. Since most children are exposed to a large number of chemicals through the numerous products found on the shelf, this is the perfect DIY diaper rash solution to help avoid those chemicals and ensure comfort and rapid healing for your baby.   

Uses

Wondering how to use shea butter on face, hair and maybe even in your next meal? You can actually use shea butter instead of dairy butter or olive oil in recipes. And it’s super easy to make your own skin care products right at home. Raw shea butter is gentle enough to use daily and is perfect for many uses from facial creams and body lotions to lip balms and even shaving cream.

These awesome shea butter recipes will give you plenty of ideas for how to use this natural ingredient. Check out this roundup of potential shea butter uses:

Types of Shea Butter

It’s important to purchase only high-quality premium raw pure shea butter so that you get the most benefits.

The American Shea Butter Institute notes that shea butter contains the ingredient cinnamic acid, an anti-inflammatory agent, which is a substance closely related to the same cinnamon you find in your kitchen cabinet.

The less pure the shea butter, the less cinnamic acid present; therefore, the shea butter benefits greatly decrease.

Looked for unrefined shea butter that has a beige color and nutty aroma. Refined shea butter is chemically altered, which takes away the majority of its inherently good properties and it also makes it white in color. Also, many shea butters have added ingredients, such as synthetic fragrances, and these unhealthy additives can dilute the benefits greatly.

Where to Buy

Wondering where to buy shea butter? You can easily find pure, organic shea butter at your local health food store or online. Always look for raw/unrefined and organic to ensure you getting the best quality. You can look for shea butter in facial and body care products. There’s also shea butter soap and body wash, too.

How to Store

Always store your shea butter away from heat and light. If you have unrefined shea butter, it’s typically recommended that you store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It’s recommended that shea butter is used within 18 months of extraction from the seed, as beneficial properties may diminish over time.  

In the colder months, you’ll notice that the butter will harder and in the warmer months, it will be softer, which are both normal.

Precautions and Potential Side Effects of Shea Butter Usage

Shea butter is generally considered a safe and effective natural moisturizer. Some people are allergic to tree nuts, and that can include nuts from the shea tree. However, there are no well-documented allergic reactions to the butter from the tree. In food amounts, it’s generally considered safe as well. 

Final Thoughts

  • Shea butter (Butyrospermum parkii) comes from the shea tree which is native to Central Africa.
  • It is a very popular natural moisturizing agent that is commonly found in cosmetic products.
  • Pure butyrospermum parkii is also used in food and can be substituted for other oils or butter in recipes.
  • You can find unrefined and organic Butyrospermum parkii at your local health store or online and use it in DIY skincare recipes the ones provided here.
  • Butyrospermum parkii is known for its ability to moisturize skin and even encourage collagen production, making it a great choice for a natural anti-aging ingredient whether you buy natural beauty products or make your own.

Source: https://draxe.com/nutrition/raw-shea-butter/

SHEA BUTTER

Shea Butter For the Skin + Other Benefits & Side Effects
Shea butter is a seed fat that comes from the shea tree. The shea tree is found in East and West tropical Africa. The shea butter comes from two oily kernels within the shea tree seed. After the kernel is removed from the seed, it is ground into a powder and boiled in water.

The butter then rises to the top of the water and becomes solid.

People apply shea butter to the skin for acne, arthritis, burns, dandruff, inflamed skin, dry skin, eczema, insect bites, itch, muscle soreness, scaly and itchy skin (psoriasis), rash, a skin infection caused by mites (scabies), scars, sinus infection, skin breakages, stretch marks, wound healing, and wrinkled skin.

In foods, shea butter is used as a fat for cooking. In manufacturing, shea butter is used in cosmetic products.Shea butter works 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.

  • Hayfever caused by ragweed. Early research shows that applying shea butter to the inside of the nose as needed over 4 days clears the airways and improves breathing in adults and children who have congestion from hayfever. The airways appear to clear in as quickly as 30 seconds. Shea butter appears to improve congestion as effectively as certain nasal decongestant sprays.
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis). Early research shows that applying shea butter to the skin, alone or with other ingredients, improves symptoms of eczema in children and adolescents.
  • Acne.
  • Arthritis.
  • Burns.
  • Dandruff.
  • Inflamed skin.
  • Dry skin.
  • Insect bites.
  • Itch.
  • Muscle soreness.
  • Scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis).
  • Rash.
  • A skin infection caused by mites (scabies).
  • Scars.
  • Sinus infection.
  • Skin ulcers.
  • Stretch marks.
  • Wound healing.
  • Wrinkled skin.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate shea butter for these uses. Shea butter is LY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods.

Shea butter is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin appropriately, short-term. About 2-4 grams of shea butter has been applied to the inside of the nose safely for up to 4 days.

There isn't enough reliable information available to know if using shea butter long-term is safe.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Shea butter is LY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking shea butter in greater amounts if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Shea butter is LY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods. Shea butter is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin appropriately, short-term. About 2-4 grams of shea butter has been applied to the inside of the nose safely for up to 4 days.

The appropriate dose of shea butter depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions.

At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for shea butter (in children/in adults). Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important.

Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References

  • Akihisa T, Kojima N, Kikuchi T, et al. Anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive effects of triterpene cinnamates and acetates from shea fat. J Oleo Sci 2010;59(6):273-80. View abstract.
  • Berry, S. E., Miller, G. J., and Sanders, T. A. The solid fat content of stearic acid-rich fats determines their postprandial effects. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85(6):1486-1494. View abstract.
  • Di Vincenzo, D., Maranz, S., Serraiocco, A., Vito, R., Wiesman, Z., and Bianchi, G. Regional variation in shea butter lipid and triterpene composition in four African countries. J Agric Food Chem. 2005;53(19):7473-7479. View abstract.
  • Essengue Belibi S, Stechschulte D, Olson N. The use of Shea butter as an Emollient for Eczema. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2009;123(2):S41.
  • Itoh, T., Tamura, T., and Matsumoto, T. 24-Methylenedammarenol: a new triterpene alcohol from shea butter. Lipids 1975;10(12):808-813. View abstract.
  • Maranz, S. and Wiesman, Z. Influence of climate on the tocopherol content of shea butter. J Agric Food Chem 2004;52(10):2934-2937. View abstract.
  • Maranz, S., Wiesman, Z., and Garti, N. Phenolic constituents of shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) kernels. J Agric Food Chem 2003;51(21):6268-6273. View abstract.
  • Sanders, T. A. and Berry, S. E. Influence of stearic acid on postprandial lipemia and hemostatic function. Lipids 2005;40(12):1221-1227. View abstract.
  • Tella, A. Preliminary studies on nasal decongestant activity from the seed of the shea butter tree, Butyrospermum parkii. Br J Clin Pharmacol 1979;7(5):495-497. View abstract.
  • Tholstrup T, Marckmann P, Jespersen J, Sandstrom B. Fat high in stearic acid favorably affects blood lipids and factor VII coagulant activity in comparison with fats high in palmitic acid or high in myristic and lauric acids. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59:371-7. View abstract.
  • Tholstrup, T. Influence of stearic acid on hemostatic risk factors in humans. Lipids 2005;40(12):1229-1235. View abstract.
  • Title 21 – Food and Drugs. Part 184. Direct food substances affirmed as generally recognized as safe. Subpart B – Listings of specific substances affirmed as GRAS. Section 184.1702 – Sheanut oil. Available at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/CFR-2000-title21-vol3/CFR-2000-title21-vol3-sec184-1702
  • Akihisa T, Kojima N, Kikuchi T, et al. Anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive effects of triterpene cinnamates and acetates from shea fat. J Oleo Sci 2010;59(6):273-80. View abstract.
  • Berry, S. E., Miller, G. J., and Sanders, T. A. The solid fat content of stearic acid-rich fats determines their postprandial effects. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85(6):1486-1494. View abstract.
  • Di Vincenzo, D., Maranz, S., Serraiocco, A., Vito, R., Wiesman, Z., and Bianchi, G. Regional variation in shea butter lipid and triterpene composition in four African countries. J Agric Food Chem. 2005;53(19):7473-7479. View abstract.
  • Essengue Belibi S, Stechschulte D, Olson N. The use of Shea butter as an Emollient for Eczema. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2009;123(2):S41.
  • Hon KL, Tsang YC, Pong NH, et al. Patient acceptability, efficacy, and skin biophysiology of a cream and cleanser containing lipid complex with shea butter extract versus a ceramide product for eczema. Hong Kong Med J. 2015;21(5):417-25. View abstract.
  • Itoh, T., Tamura, T., and Matsumoto, T. 24-Methylenedammarenol: a new triterpene alcohol from shea butter. Lipids 1975;10(12):808-813. View abstract.
  • Jirabundansuk P, Ophaswongse S, Udompataikul M. Comparative trial of moisturizer containing spent grain wax, Butyrospermum parkii extract, Argania spinosa kernel oil vs. 1% hydrocortisone cream in the treatment of childhood atopic dermatitis. J Med Assoc Thai. 2014;97(8):820-6. View abstract.
  • Maranz, S. and Wiesman, Z. Influence of climate on the tocopherol content of shea butter. J Agric Food Chem 2004;52(10):2934-2937. View abstract.
  • Maranz, S., Wiesman, Z., and Garti, N. Phenolic constituents of shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) kernels. J Agric Food Chem 2003;51(21):6268-6273. View abstract.
  • Sanders, T. A. and Berry, S. E. Influence of stearic acid on postprandial lipemia and hemostatic function. Lipids 2005;40(12):1221-1227. View abstract.
  • Tella, A. Preliminary studies on nasal decongestant activity from the seed of the shea butter tree, Butyrospermum parkii. Br J Clin Pharmacol 1979;7(5):495-497. View abstract.
  • Tholstrup T, Marckmann P, Jespersen J, Sandstrom B. Fat high in stearic acid favorably affects blood lipids and factor VII coagulant activity in comparison with fats high in palmitic acid or high in myristic and lauric acids. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59:371-7. View abstract.
  • Tholstrup, T. Influence of stearic acid on hemostatic risk factors in humans. Lipids 2005;40(12):1229-1235. View abstract.
  • Title 21 – Food and Drugs. Part 184. Direct food substances affirmed as generally recognized as safe. Subpart B – Listings of specific substances affirmed as GRAS. Section 184.1702 – Sheanut oil. Available at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/CFR-2000-title21-vol3/CFR-2000-title21-vol3-sec184-1702

Source: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1512/shea-butter

28 Best Shea Butter Benefits For Skin, Hair And Health

Shea Butter For the Skin + Other Benefits & Side Effects

An oil rich in fats that is derived from the karite tree (also known as the shea tree) is your solution for many skin, health, and hair health issues.

 Fairly recently, this butter has gained huge popularity in the western world due to its widespread use in several beauty products, such as lotions, cosmetics, shampoos, and conditioners.

Let’s learn more about shea butter benefits, nutrition facts and much more.

If you are looking to find a great natural beauty product for your skin or hair, then shea butter is a wonderful choice. Read on!

Table Of Contents

Extracted from the nuts of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) that is native to Africa, shea butter is a fatty oil that exists as a solid at room temperature.

The Karite tree bears the fruits, and the nuts inside the fruits are of prime importance. These nuts are crushed, boiled, and manipulated to extract a light-colored fat, which is commonly referred to as shea butter.

The main components of shea butter include oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, etc. It gets absorbed quickly into the skin as it melts at body temperature.

Its moisturizing and healing properties prove beneficial for many skin issues. It also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (to a certain extent) that can be utilized to treat many ailments.

Its similarity to many vegetable oils makes it suitable for ingestion (1).

Let’s look at the history of this rich nut butter before we delve into its beneficial properties and nutrition facts.

Back To TOC

History Of Shea Butter

The shea tree has naturally inhabited West Africa for centuries, stretching from Senegal to Sudan and up to the foothills of Ethiopia. African history documents mention jars of a rich butter used for skin and hair care being transported during Cleopatra’s reign. Even the Queen of Sheba is said to have used it!

The tree was used to make coffins for the early kings in Africa, and the butter extracted from the nuts was used for its healing and skin care properties. The tree is also considered sacred by many tribes in Africa. It is still extensively used in Africa to protect the skin and hair from the harsh sun and dry winds.

While kneading the extracted oil with the hand was popular earlier, advancements in technology have led to different methods, such as clay filtering and using hexane for the final extraction of shea butter. A few tribes also blend it with palm oil and use it for cooking purposes. This is mostly seen in Northern Nigeria.

Shea butter exhibits several health benefits and is used in a variety of cosmetics and medicinal formulas in combination with other botanical ingredients. Here’s why.

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Why Is Shea Butter Good?

Shea butter is often used in moisturizers, creams, lotions, and other emulsions for the skin and hair. It is rich in fats that make it an excellent emollient and skin moisturizing agent. Experiments also showed it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These can help reduce inflammatory skin diseases and the damage the skin and hair have undergone due to free radicals.

It also contains vitamins A and E, which not only keep the skin in optimal health but also protect it from being damaged by the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. These components give shea butter a mild sun protection factor (SPF). Vitamin E also soothes dry skin and improves the skin’s elasticity, making this butter a good anti-aging agent (2).

Now, when it comes to the types of shea butter available in the market, there are a handful of varieties. Raw or pure shea butter is the most natural form that is usually yellow or green.

It may contain a few impurities as it has not been processed at all and is sold right after extraction from the nuts. This raw version can be processed in different ways to yield different varieties of shea butter.

We shall discuss these below.

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Refined vs. Unrefined Shea Butter

Shea butter may be refined or unrefined. Unrefined shea butter is the purest form of shea butter, which is the most natural and the least processed.

Since it is extracted manually, it is able to retain its vitamins, minerals, and other natural properties. It is subjected to a basic filtration process using clays, cheesecloth, or other methods.

These can slightly alter the butter’s color, scent, and texture. It is melted, set into molds, and sold in the form of bars or sticks.

Unrefined shea butter is further categorized into grades ranging from A to F, with grade A being the best quality.

Refined shea butter, on the other hand, is the processed form. Apart from the filtration process, it also undergoes a deodorizing process by airing or usage of chemicals. It is also bleached to make the butter whiter.

Addition of additives is common to add a suitable scent and increase the shelf life (preservatives) of the butter. All of these processes make the butter white and very smooth.

A major disadvantage of using the refined version of shea butter is that all the processing it goes through reduces its nutritional value.

This refined version can be refined even further, which implies the involvement of more processes to make it even more smooth and white.

This is often done when shea butter needs to incorporated into cosmetics or skin care products. Quite a few of the nutritional benefits get destroyed after so many refining processes.

This type of shea butter is often referred to as ultra-refined or highly refined shea butter.

Some companies also market their shea butter as being organic. This is the unrefined version that has been grown and harvested using natural processes only. The healing and moisturizing properties of shea butter can be attributed to its nutritional value. Here is the nutritional data for shea butter.

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Shea Butter Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 5g shea butter kernels 20 Servings per 100 g 0.2 Servings per 1/8 cup (30ml 28g) *
Energy per 5g serving :
Calories44 Cal / kcalKilojoules 185kJ
NutrientsPer 1/8 cup (30ml)Per 100g
Energy1,023kJ(244Cal)3,700kJ (884Cal)
Protein0g0g
Fat Total28g99.9g
saturated12.9g46.6g
trans fat

Source: https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/best-benefits-of-shea-butter-for-skin-hair-and-health/

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