I mentioned in a previous post that I would start to spotlight the ingredients I use and today is shea butter's turn to be in the lime light! I use shea butter in a lot of my products including many of my soaps, solid perfume and body butters because of all of it's amazing benefits! Keep reading to find out exactly why I'm so attached to this marvelous butter :)
What is Shea Butter?
Shea Butter is only found in the tropics of Africa. It is extracted from the nuts of the Shea-Karite tree which begins to bear fruit after about 15 years; and can take up to 30 years to bear a quality crop of nuts with a high content of irremovable fatty acid. It is this irremovable fatty acid that gives Shea Butter its unique healing properties and makes it far superior to cocoa butter and other vegetable butters. Traditionally, Shea Butter was extracted by people who picked the nuts, cracked them, grilled them and pounded them. They were boiled in water for hours until the Shea Butter rose to the surface. It was then scooped into gourds and left to cool and set. Shea Butter is solid at room temperature although it quickly liquefies right around body temperature. This Shea Butter is called unrefined Shea Butter or raw Shea Butter. Since Shea Butter is an all natural product, it can vary widely in quality, appearance and smell depending on where it is produced from and how it is refined or extracted. Most Shea Butter comes from West Africa. Although a more soft and smoother variety from East Africa is beginning to appear on the market.
What skin problems can Shea Butter help with?
Shea Butter can provide relief from everything from just dry skin to many minor dermatological diseases (if you have a serious skin condition, you should see a doctor). It has been clinically shown to provide benefits. Here are some of the benefits of Shea Butter for the skin:
- Skin moisturizer (face and body)
- Dry skin relief
- Dry scalp relief
- Skin rash- including diaper rash
- Skin peeling, after tanning
- Blemishes and wrinkles
- Itching skin due to dryness
- Shaving cream to reduce razor irritation
- Small skin wounds
- Skin cracks
- Soften tough skin on feet (especially heels)
- Stretch mark prevention during pregnancy
- Minor burns
- Sun and wind protection
- Even skin tone
- Reduce blemishes and scarring
- Eliminating scalp irritation from dryness or chemical processing
- Preventing bumps after shaving
- Reducing acne (especially in combination with patchouli)
- Absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue (an important quality for my solid perfumes)
- Helps restore elasticity to skin
How does Shea Butter benefit the skin?
Shea Butter nourishes the skin with Vitamins A, E and F. Vitamins A and E help maintain the skin and keep it clear and healthy. They are particularly helpful for sun damaged skin. They help prevent premature wrinkles and facial lines. Vitamin F acts as a skin protector and rejuvenator. It soothes rough, dry or chapped skin and helps soften dry or damaged hair. Shea Butter is high in unsaponifiables (a type of fat). Shea Butter has between 7-12% unsaponifiables. For comparison, avocado oil, a well known skin conditioner, has between 2-6%. This high level of unsaponifiables is one of the properties that makes Shea Butter so invaluable in treating the conditions listed above. Also, Shea Butter easily penetrates the skin allowing the skin to breathe and not clogging pores. Shea Butter has a high level of cinnamic acid, a natural sun screen. So, it provides some degree of protection from the sun. Shea Butter is also anti-inflammatory making it useful in treating rheumatism.
What Batty's Bath Products Contain Shea Butter?
(in a variety of scents!)
(for problem skin)