Shea butter is an all-natural product that has many benefits in cosmetic and medicinal applications. It is a common ingredient in skin soaps, hair shampoos, and many other products. Because it is organic, it is considered healthier than the chemicals that are used to replicate the effects of Shea butter.
What is Shea butter?
Shea butter is a natural fat that is extracted from the nut of the Shea tree native to Africa. The fat is extracted from the nut by first crushing and then roasting it. The nuts are then ground into a fine paste and the oil is separated by kneading the mixture.
Historically, this was done by older women in African tribes and the process required grueling work. Shea butter has a bit of romanticism attached to it, perhaps because of this unique origin and history. Shea butter liquefies at body temperature and is absorbed into the hair and skin without leaving an oily residue.
Shea butter benefits for hair
Shea butter is a highly effective moisturizer and therefore is best suited for dry and brittle hair. It has been used for centuries in Africa to condition and moisturize the Afro hairstyle.
Hair that has been damaged by heat or color treatment is helped greatly by the application of Shea butter. Many commercial hair care products include Shea butter as an active ingredient for this reason.
Pure Shea butter can also be massaged directly into the hair for exceptional moisturizing results. The Shea butter is absorbed into the hair without leaving an oily residue.
Shea butter benefits for skin
Because of its amazing moisturizing effect, Shea butter is a wonderful application to dry, chapped, and burned skin. It also has natural anti-inflammatory properties which help to soothe sunburns and rashes. Many skin lotions use all-natural Shea butter as one of its primary active ingredients.
Shea butter has benefits for acne, too
Many sufferers of acne report that their symptoms are alleviated by the application of shea butter lotions and creams. Although it produces oily skin, the trigger for acne is often skin that is to dry which causes the body to produce chemicals which lead to acne. Although Shea butter is not considered one of the front line treatments of acne, many people find it helpful.
Medicinal benefits of Shea butter
Shea butter also has some other medicinal benefits, as well. As mentioned, it has anti-inflammatory properties that are useful for many skin conditions. It is also used in some locations as a natural sunblock lotion, although the efficacy of this use is questionable. Shea butter is also used as a treatment for nasal congestion and used to treat joint pain in many parts of Africa.
Use an all natural Shea butter product for best results
To get the most benefits out of Shea butter, you will want to use a product that is as close to 100% natural as you can get. Some products advertise the presence of Shea butter for marketing, but when you examine the list of ingredients you will find that the amount of Shea butter included in the product is actually too low to be affected.