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 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 are differing opinions on whether or not it’s healthy to eat. Since some studies suggest that ingesting shea butter may interfere with the digestion of other proteins, I use it externally only.
Below are some beauty uses of Shea Butter
1. Fight wrinkles
The application of high-quality shea butter will diminish the appearance of wrinkles after four to six weeks of use. Other research suggests that the application of shea butter to the skin results in a brighter complexion and visibly reduced wrinkles.
2. Reduces Inflammation
Shea butter has several anti-inflammatory agents, including derivatives of cinnamic acid. In a study on shea butter and its anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive effects published in the Journal of Oleo Science, researchers concluded that “shea nuts and shea fat (shea butter) constitute a significant source of anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor promoting compounds.” So go on, soothe away.
3. Treat stretch marks
While authorities like the Mayo Clinic and Baby Center note that the only way to diminish stretch marks is with Retin-A or laser treatments, there are many testimonies across the Web of people who swear by the power of shea butter for helping in this endeavour. Its abundance of vitamins and healing agents doesn’t make this seem like such a stretch.
4. Eczema and acne
Both inflammation and acne require delicate treatments as not to exacerbate the problems. In both cases, a pure and natural product is favourable to one with synthetic ingredients and fragrances. According to reviews, shea butter’s efficacy for eczema and acne is mixed. Some say that it doesn’t work at all, but more seem to agree that shea butter does indeed help.
For inflammation, users like to soak in a tub then apply shea butter while still damp to lock in the moisture; for acne, suggestions include applying a thin film after cleaning the face and then rinsing it off after a few hours. We can’t guarantee these uses, but with shea’s unique properties, it sure seems worth a try. (And if you have experience with either of these treatments, leave a comment and let us know how you fared.
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5. Treat itch from insect bites
With its anti-inflammatory magic, it makes sense that shea butter would quell the swelling of insect bites, but if crowds of people across the Web are correct, it also stops the irksome itch of insect bites pretty much on the spot.
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