You all know the benefits of using coconut oil on skin and hair, but another all-star natural moisturizer for these uses and more around the home is shea butter. (Something about the name just even sounds luxurious, doesn’t it?)
Shea butter is very thick and solid at room temperature but has a buttery rich consistency that makes it ideal for use as a natural eye cream, lip balm, or body butter. Many studies show that it is especially good at penetrating the skin and contains 60% fat, making it highly emollient.
Thanks to some other special properties, shea butter does more than moisturize … it delivers key anti-inflammatory and anti-aging components right into the skin.
What Is Shea Butter?
Shea butter is a skin superfood that comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea (Karite) tree and that is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F. It offers UV protection (it is SPF ~6) 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 butter as well, much as we use palm oil in products. There are differing opinions on whether or not it’s healthy to eat, and since some studies suggest that ingesting shea butter may interfere with the digestion of other proteins, I use it externally only.
Shea Butter Benefits
Moisturizing: The concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in shea butter makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturizing for the skin. It is often used to remedy dry skin and to help protect the skin’s natural oils.
Reduces Inflammation: A 2010 study found that due to its cinnamic acid and other natural properties, shea butter was anti-inflammatory. One compound, in particular, lupeol cinnamate, was found to reduce skin inflammation and even potentially help avoid skin mutations. This also makes it beneficial for some people with acne.
Skin Smoothing: Shea butter aids in the skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic, and linolenic acids that protect and nourish the skin to prevent drying. With long-term use, many people report skin softening and strengthening as well as wrinkle reduction.
The good news is, it’s great to use for kids and babies too!
Green Ferns Team.