Shea butter is a natural plant based oil that is derived from the nut of the Karité shea tree that is indigenous to Africa. Raw, unrefined shea butter has a creamy colour and a very distinctive smell. It contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and E, as well as essential fatty acids. Throughout history, shea butter has been used for its moisturising, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
Shea butter is an ingredient that is used in body moisturizing creams for its ability to hydrate the skin. It is rapidly absorbed into the skin, with good water-binding properties and is similar to some of the natural moisturisers that are produced by the sebaceous glands in your skin. For these reasons, shea butter is an effective active that can be used to treat dry skin conditions such as eczema and dry scalp. Unrefined shea butter also has therapeutic healing benefits that can keep your skin moist and supple, whereas processed shea butter loses these properties. Further studies have shown that unrefined shea butter can reverse dry skin in about 3 days.
In addition to its softening and moisturising properties, shea butter has natural anti-inflammatory properties. It can be applied topically to the skin and has been known to heal scrapes and cutes, soothe sunburn and rashes, as well as ease muscle pain from fatigue and arthritis. The essential fatty acids found in shea butter help lubricate and protect your skin’s cellular membrane which helps protect against the cell weakening effects of inflammation. Rather uniquely though, shea butter contains a substance called cinnamic acid, which can help target and reduce inflammation in the skin, and is best used when applied directly onto muscles and joints.
Shea butter is widely known as an effective anti-aging ingredient in the skincare industry. It contains vitamins A, C and E that help reduce the physical signs of ageing, as well as combating harmful free radicals that can cause the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Studies have shown that, shea butter helps rebuild and rejuvenate collagen, resulting in clearer, brighter and younger looking skin. All of the substances found in shea butter, including its anti-inflammatory qualities, work together to maintain the elasticity and suppleness of the skin.