Shea butter is one of the top contenders for the best moisturizing ingredients to combat dry skin. That’s just one reason why you commonly see shea butter in various skin and hair care products. Shea butter exhibits many other health properties, though, including an ability to reduce premature wrinkles and soothe conditions like eczema.
What Is Shea Butter?
Extracted from the nuts of the African shea tree, shea butter is rich in fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants. Shea trees are native to West Africa, and most shea butter still comes from that region. Shea butter is basically a solid oil that contains five essential fatty acids, the most present of which are stearic and oleic acids. It also contains vitamins A, D, & E in addition to phytosterols and anti-inflammatory properties. The combination of these various components in shea butter makes it an excellent product to incorporate into your beauty routine. Learn more about how shea butter benefits your skin below.
Hydrate Your Skin
Shea butter is an emollient, meaning that it helps to seal moisture into the skin by filling in micro cracks. The essential fatty acids, including linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids, also assist with moisturizing the skin. The skin rapidly absorbs these fatty acids, which work to restore the lipids on the skin to create more moisture. According to dermatologists, it’s best to use shea butter within a few minutes of drying off after a shower/bath.
Promote Cell Regeneration
The body constantly makes new skin cells and gets rid of dead skin cells. Research states that you get rid of 30,000 to 40,000 old skin cells every day. The moisturizing and antioxidant properties of shea butter help promote the regeneration of new, healthy skin cells. When the skin has the right moisture balance on the surface, you have fewer dead skin cells in the way of fresh cell regeneration in the epidermis. Use shea butter to help promote this process!
Gentle For Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, you have probably experimented with many products that promised to soothe the skin. Unfortunately, the result of that experimentation was itchiness, rash, or general soreness. At the moment, there is no medical literature that documents an allergy to topical shea butter. Shea butter is gentle on all skin types, blending effortlessly into the skin to leave you with hydrated, moisturized skin. It doesn’t clog your pores or leave your skin looking oily after application.
Protect Skin From The Sun
Although shea butter is not a sunscreen replacement, it does offer mild protection against harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. The natural protective qualities make shea butter a great addition to other sun protection products. In addition to offering sun protection properties, shea butter is also beneficial for the after effects of sunburn. Due to the fatty acid and vitamin content, shea butter helps to soothe the skin, reduce inflammation, and accelerate the healing process.
Restoring the moisture balance on the scalp is one of the most effective ways to soothe a dry and itchy scalp. According to a 2018 review, shea butter may decrease the presence of dandruff flakes or reduce the risk of flare-ups. These benefits were enhanced when combined with other moisturizers. Many researchers also believe that the anti-fungal properties of shea butter may reduce dandruff. It helps to kill spores of fungi that cause both ringworm and athlete’s foot as well.
Reduce Skin Inflammation
The vitamins and antioxidants in shea butter offer relief to people suffering from inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea and eczema. Moisturizing with shea butter has been proven to reduce the severity of eczema symptoms, as it works to reduce dryness and relieve irritation. A small 2015 study monitored 25 participants with mild-to-moderate eczema. The results indicated that shea butter was able to alleviate the signs and symptoms of eczema. Researchers attribute this ability to the bioactive ingredients responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties.