Extracted from the Karite tree, Shea butter is rich in healthy fats that are highly beneficial for hair, skin and overall health and wellbeing. Shea butter benefits the health of skin and hair in the most effective ways.
Shea butter has gained worldwide recognition over the time and is extensively used in cosmetic products like lotions, shampoos and moisturizer creams.
What is Shea butter?
Shea butter is derived from Shea nuts which are native to Africa. Shea butter is fatty oil that is solid at room temperature. The Shea nuts are crunched, steamed and worked upon to extract the fat which is referred to as the Shea butter.
The important components of the butter are stearic acid, oleic acid, and linoleic acid etc.The Shea butter melts when applied to the body and gets quickly absorbed into the epidermis. Its properties of healing and moisturization are highly beneficial for the health of skin and hair.
Shea butter is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory in nature and as such can be employed as a natural remedy for several ailments. Besides, Shea butter can be ingested as well because of its similarity of chemical composition with edible vegetable oils.
Nutritional Composition of Shea Butter
Shea butter benefits health because of its rich nutritional composition. Shea butter is rich in triterpene esters like tocopherols and cinnamic acid that protect the skin from toxic UV rays. Besides a high content of triterpenes, phytosterols and hydrocarbons like karitene, Shea butter also contains the following-
Essential Fatty Acids: The five healthy fatty acids contained in Shea butter include arachidic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid and palmitic acid. These fatty acids moisturize and nourish the skin and hair.
Phenolics: Phenolics are antioxidant in nature. Shea butter that is extracted naturally contains a high level of phenolics like catechins which make it extensively beneficial for the detoxification of the body.
Vitamin E: Tocopherol or Vitamin E, contained in Shea butter, nourish the skin(1) and hair and maintains their overall health.
Vitamins A and F: These two vitamins make Shea butter extremely effective in the treatment of skin diseases like psoriasis, premature aging(2), dermatitis, and eczema etc.
What are the general Shea Butter benefits and uses?
There are several different Shea butter uses.
- The butter is a natural sun blocker because of its high content of cinnamic acid.
- Its anti-inflammatory nature makes it useful in the natural treatment of rheumatoid arthritis(3).
- It is a highly effective moisturizer and anti-aging cream.
- It can be used to treat a number of skin issues like wrinkles, blemishes, sunburns, acne, eczema, insect bites, skin allergy, frostbite and more.
- Shea butter makes for a highly effective hair spa. It lowers the excessive secretion of oil and protects the scalp against dandruff.
Homemade Shea Butter Recipe
Shea butter benefits health in the best of ways. Here’s an amazingly easy Shea butter recipe to make a homemade Shea butter moisturizer in just 5 minutes.
- 10 tablespoons of raw and pure Shea butter
- 10 tablespoons of coconut or jojoba oil
- A few drops of lavender essential oil.
- You will need an electric blender and a glass bow.
- Take the Shea butter and coconut oil in a glass bowl.
- Mix them a little and then pour the mixture into the blender.
- Blend the oils until they become smooth and creamy.
- The blending should not exceed 2 minutes.
- Add the essential oil to the creamy mixture.
- And stir well until the fragrance gets evenly diffused.
- Your homemade Shea butter lotion cum moisturizer is ready for use.
20 Shea Butter Benefits in health, skincare and more
A handful of Shea butter benefits are elucidated below.
1. Moisturization of skin
The fatty acids of Shea butter make it humectants and emollient in nature. The butter moisturizes the skin and keeps it naturally hydrated. When the skin gets dehydrated it starts to blister and gradually cracks appear on the surface.
These cracks, when left untreated, become the passageways for bacteria into the body. Shea butter is the best natural remedy for dry and cracked skin.
Smear your cracked and chapped heels with Shea butter to heal the cracks in no time. Apply Shea butter to the rough patches, dry cuticles and on your hands to make them nourished and gentle.
Get More: How to get rid of Oily Skin
2. SheaButter for Acne
The plant sterols and fatty acids contained in Shea butter give it a moisturizing and healing nature. These components do not get saponified in contact with alkalis.
This nature of non-saponification lends Shea butter a flawless and potent healing ability. Raw and unrefined Shea butter is highly effectual in the natural treatment of acne, blemishes, rashes, stretch marks, sunburns(4) and aging spots.
More Resource: Home Remedies for Skin Pigmentation
3. Natural Treatment of Inflammation
The extracts of cinnamic acid are richly vested with anti-inflammatory properties. The skin conditions that result from inflammation can be effectively treated with Shea butter.
Apply the Shea butter lotion to the area of skin affected by inflammation like rosacea and dermatitis. Even, shea butter for scars is very effective. The anti-inflammatory properties of Shea butter make it an effectual natural treatment for rashes, skin cuts, and scrapes.
4. Shea Butter for Lips
Shea butter is known for its excellent properties of moisturization and nourishment. It gets easily absorbed into the skin and enriches it with vitamins and healthy fatty acids. This makes Shea butter a perfect natural lip care balm for the natural treatment of chapped and peeling lips.
The butter forms a thin and glossy film over the lips and locks in the natural moisture. Keep your lips nourished with Shea butter during winter to protect them from the dry and cold weather.
5. Prevention of Dandruff
Shea butter is highly effective in the treatment of flaky and dry scalp. The essential fatty acids get absorbed into the scalp and keep it nourished and moisturized without making your hair feel greasy.
The anti-inflammatory properties help in the curing of scalp psoriasis(5), scalp eczema, and dandruff.
6. Fight against Rheumatism
Rheumatism is associated with stiffness of joints, inflammation, and pain. The swelling and pain are also observed in fibrous tissues and muscles. Shea butter serves as an effective ointment for rheumatism because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
7. Effective in the Treatment of Nasal Congestion
If you are suffering from a blocked nose then apply a small amount of Shea butter to the congested nostrils to unblock your nose.
Nasal congestion occurs when the inner lining of the nasal passage gets affected by inflammation. Being anti-inflammatory in nature, nasal congestion can be cured by Shea butter in just a minute.
More resource: Age Spots Home Remedies
8. Reduction in Cholesterol
Shea butter can be used as edible oil. It can be used as a cooking medium to lower the levels of bad cholesterol. Shea butter can be used as an effective treatment of atherosclerosis because of its stearic acid content that brings down the levels of plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein.
Read More: Home Remedies for Bacterial Infections
9. Effective against Insect Bites
The vitamin A of Shea butter paired with the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties help in disinfection and healing of the affected skin and soothe the allergic reaction of insect bites.
10. Shea Butter Benefits for Eczema
Dry skin is a serious skin issue and often leads to conditions like psoriasis, eczema and premature aging of the skin. Shea butter is rich in healthy fatty acids that help to keep the skin supple and moisturized and prevents the occurrence of dry skin or eczema(6).
Regular application of Shea butter enhances the production of natural oils that prevent the formation of wrinkles and keeps the skin well hydrated thus preventing the occurrence of eczema.
11. Protection against UV Rays
Shea butter is rich in antioxidants that fight against poisonous free radicals, protect the skin from damage caused by the UV rays of the sun, repair broken skin tissues and thus prevent the skin from getting afflicted by cancer.
The Shea butter skin benefits include prevention of skin cancer(7), protection against dry skin, premature aging, acne and other such skin issues.
12. Shea Butter Benefits for Hair
Regular massage with Shea butter enriches the scalp with omega-3 fatty acids that keep it from going dry and flaky.
The Shea butter induces the production of sebum in the scalp which moisturizes the hair, makes the root strong and prevents the occurrence of dandruff. Shea butter for hair acts as a natural conditioner and protects the hair against breakage and split ends.
Know More: Home Remedies for Sun Tan
13. Treatment of Arthritis
The essential fatty acid of Shea butter lowers the pain and stiffness of joints felt in arthritis(8) and osteoarthritis. It reduces the swelling and alleviates the pain quite effectively.
14. Helps to Soothe Diaper Rash
Unrefined and raw Shea butter is a natural moisturizer and healer. It is ideal for baby skin care and soothes rashes on the sensitive and delicate skin.
Know More: Ways To Deal With Tick Bites
15. Reduction of Stretch Marks
Shea butter helps to restore the elasticity of skin due to its emollient properties. It lightens the stretch marks and improves the production of collagen in the skin.
Get More: Home Remedies To Heal Burns Fast
16. Prevention of Cardiac Diseases
The essential fatty acids and amino acid content of Shea butter can regulate blood pressure, prevent the stiffening of arteries, and prevent the sedimentation of harmful plaque in the arteries.
Shea butter provides protection against atherosclerosis and helps to maintain healthy cardiac rhythm. The alpha-linolenic acid protects blood vessels against inflammation.
17. Prevention of Hair Loss
The fatty acids of Shea butter make the oil a natural and effective hair conditioner. The oil nourishes the scalp and makes the hair roots and follicles stronger. This prevents hair loss from shedding.
18. Soothes Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps and ailments are often due to overexertion and inflammation. Being anti-inflammatory in nature application of Shea butter to the painful and aching muscles has proven to be highly effective in curing the swelling and the cramps(9).
19. Shea Butter Benefits for Scars and Healing Wounds
Shea butter nourishes the skin and its healing properties are associated with the plethora of phytonutrients contained in it. Abrasions, cuts, and wounds heal fast when smeared with Shea butter on a daily basis.
The Shea butter enhances microcirculation of blood in the wounds and thus accelerates the healing process. Shea butter is also known for its power of healing scars(10) and making the scar marks fade with time.
20. Shea Butter Benefits for Healthy Nails
Shea butter can be an effective ointment for nail cuticles. Apply the Shea butter around the nail cuticles of your hands and feet for healthy and nourished fingers and nails.
1. Does Shea butter clog pores?
Response: Despite being a luxurious moisturizer Shea butter does not clog the skin pores and gives you healthy and supple skin.
2. Can Shea butter go bad?
Response: Shea butter has a very long shelf life but that is not permanent. Its components start to disintegrate after a year or so.
3. What is the color of natural Shea butter?
Response: Raw and unrefined Shea butter are white in color.