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6 Benefits of Topical Use of Shea Butter
1. Key Ingredient for Natural Skin Care
Most of our skin care products contain synthetics (I call it “the real price of beauty“) that are often the primary ingredients, and you will find it in many lotions, creams, eye makeup, facial makeup and lipsticks.
In contrast, raw shea butter is a great natural ingredient because it acts as a moisturizer and gives a nice glow to the skin. It helps make the skin supple by providing hydration; and therefore, is an amazing skin conditioning agent. Look for products that contain pure shea butter and other all-natural ingredients.
2. Provides Anti-Aging Properties
Raw shea butter helps tissue cell regeneration and softening of the skin, which reduces wrinkles. The American Journal of Life Sciences reported a clinical study involving 30 volunteers in which shea butter diminished various signs of aging. In another clinical study for dry, delicate or aging skin, 49 volunteers applied shea butter twice daily and discovered that it prevented photo aging. It is also shown to boost collagen production, which is essential for skin strength.
3. Moisturizes Both Scalp and Hair
Shea butter seals in moisture, conditioning the scalp, alleviating dandruff and providing overall protection from harsh climates — much like how coconut oil works for hair. You can use it on your scalp, hair or both to improve your health and appearance.
Gently warm the shea butter to soften it and rub thoroughly through your hair and scalp. For best results, leave on for 20–30 minutes. Then, rinse, shampoo and condition as normal. It can actually provide volume when applied to just the roots when styling!
4. Relieves Windburn, Sunburn and Winter Dry Skin
Raw shea butter is perfect to help eliminate that itchy winter skin! Its moisturizing qualities penetrate deep into the skin offering more moisturizing benefits while preventing windburn. It’s perfect for cracked and dry heels, hands, rough elbows and knees.
Like my own homemade sunscreen, shea butter also protect your skin from the sun and is a much healthier choice because most sunscreens are filled with noxious chemicals that penetrate the skin and enter our bodies. These chemicals can cause disease-causing inflammation and numerous other problems. While the SPF is about 6, it can provide some protection in a more natural way and is perfect underneath makeup.
5. Reduces Stretch Marks, Scarring and Cellulite
How do you get rid of cellulite and stretch marks? While many believe that Retin-A and laser treatments are the only way to diminish stretch marks, raw shea butter may help. Because of its amazing healing properties and hydrating qualities, shea butter can possibly reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scarring as well as cellulite by smoothing and softening the skin.
6. Prevents Diaper Rash for Babies
Shea butter makes a great diaper rash ointment for your baby because of its antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that can fight off yeast. Raw shea butter can help improve blood circulation promoting cell regeneration while providing improved collagen production.
Both cell regeneration and collagen production are important to healing diaper rashes quickly. Since most children are exposed to a large number of chemicals through the numerous products found on the shelf, this is the perfect DIY solution to help avoid those chemicals and ensure comfort and rapid healing for your baby.
History & Interesting Facts
Considered a sacred tree, the shea tree (Shea-Karite tree) grows naturally in the wild in the dry savannah belt of West Africa from Senegal in the west to Sudan in the east, and onto the foothills of the Ethiopian highlands. The shea butter comes from the nuts found on the tree by removing the outer shell. The nuts are crushed by hand so that they can be slowly roasted into the butter.
Once this has been done, the butter is kneaded by hand in a large basin of water to separate the oils, also known as the fatty acids. These fatty acids are what provides the restorative properties making it one of the best options for skin care and more. To get the final product, the shea butter is removed off of the top and cooled until it hardens.
Because it’s thought to have spiritual protective powers, many communities and ethnic groups consider the shea tree as sacred, and it plays an important role in religious and cultural ceremonies. The shea tree has many beneficial health claims and when combined with palm oil, it serves as an edible oil for many households in parts of Sahel Africa, particularly Northern Nigeria. Shea butter has been in existence for centuries and some believe that it was used by Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba!