Shea Butter: a Big Blessing to your Skin | Skin Care
Everyone fancies a tight glossy and shiny skin that looks youthful vibrant and radiant; many people for just the good looks, some seeking to be become models or talk show superstars. Whatever reason you would wish to have a healthy and attractive skin, it does not just come spontaneously. Your skin, like any other part of the body, requires balanced nourishment and care in order that it may become the talk of the village. Skin only differs slightly that it requires care both from the surface and from inside. Given the body and the skin share what you take for your meals, a healthy skin must ultimately be a reflection of healthy body inside. The benefits of shea butter for skin has been recognized by many beauty experts.
Shea butter is actually solid fatty oil that comes from the nuts of Karite trees, better known as Mangifolia. The tree grows in the semi-arid and savanna regions of west and central Asia. This butter is a derivative from the nuts found inside the fruits of Karite tree. Once the nuts are harvested, they are crushed and boiled, then processed in order to obtain this light colored fat, which in pure state resembles lumps of hard caramel ice cream. This fat is what is commonly referred to as shea butter. While basically shea butter serves best in beauty products and has gained wide popularity in the western world, it is actually also an edible fat that makes mouth watering delicacies. It has widespread use in numerous beauty products such as cosmetics, lotions, shampoos, conditioners and many more.
What is in this miraculous fat? This butter’s chemical components include stearic acid, linoleic acid oleic acid and others. Melting at body temperature, shea butter is quite easily absorbed into the skin. The fat may be used refined or unrefined. Unrefined or raw shea butter is the purest form of this fat and is the least processed and most natural. Manual extraction helps shea butter retain its vitamins, minerals and most other natural properties. Refined shea butter is however processed and may, on the way, lose some of its essential ingredients.
Health Benefits of Shea Butter
Shea butter exhibits several noted health benefits owing to the powerful chemical ingredients that the fat holds. Skin and hair particularly seem to take a big share of these benefits, making it a choice ingredient for an overwhelming wide variety of cosmetics. It is also found in medicinal formulas when it is blended with other botanical ingredients.
The healing qualities of shea butter make it no ordinary cosmetic ingredient since it beats several other fats to this end. The reason for the outstanding healing properties of shea butter lies in the presence of numerous fatty acids and plant sterols such as linolenic, palmitic, oleic and stearic acids.
These components of shea butter are oil-soluble fatty acids that do not undergo saponification. Saponification is the process that turns these fatty acids into soap when they come into contact with alkali. Shea butter contains a high percentage of non-saponifiable fatty acids than the saponifiable ones compared to other nut oils and fats. The non-saponifiable fatty acids have high healing capacities hence shea butter being a leader in therapeutic properties. Raw or unrefined shea butter is highly effective for curing skin peeling after tanning, frost bites, insect bites and stings, athletes foot, scars, stretch marks, skin rashes, burns, arthritis and muscle fatigue.
This butter also has the anti-ageing chemicals best known as antioxidants which help protect against the notorious free radicals that cause cell aging. The antioxidants in shea butter include catechins and vitamins A and E. Vitamin A and E are well known to protect the cells against environmental damage and the free radicals. Shea butter also has the cinnamic acid esters that helps protect the skin against damage from ultraviolet radiation.
Cinnamic acid has several derivatives found in shea butter, all which exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. Research indicates that aside its beneficial anti-inflammatory properties, lupeol cinnamate present in shea butter helps prevent the development of tumors. These anti-inflammatory properties render shea butter extremely beneficial for improvement of skin conditions.
Shea butter has rich and precious chemical constituents such as vitamins E and D, phytosterols, unsaturated fats with a large proportion of non-saponifiable components, essential fatty acids, provitamin A and allantoin, making it considered a super food for skin. Shea butter has been used historically for, baby care and skin care. History notes that the legendary Egyptian queen Nefertiti had all her beauty secrets behind the shea butter which further illustrates its benefits for skin.
With a long list of chemicals that compete to be in first place as skin treatments, shea seems to be lying secretly behind many beauty queens of the modern time. The benefits of shea to the skin go beyond the list of most other natural oils and fats. Among the benefits to the skin include sun protection. Shea butter works as a natural sunscreen by protecting the skin against the ultra violet radiations of the sun. The level of the protection, however, does vary depending on various pertinent factors including the nature of the shea butter, quantity used, sunlight intensity and so on. Shea butter holds the flag as the best skincare for winter and after-sun care. This is because it moisturizes the skin, provides nourishment and offers the required protection for the skin during the cold season and summer.
Shea Butter as a Healing Agent
As a healing agent, shea butter has amazing properties. The non-saponifiable fatty acids, with healing properties, in shea butter run from 5% upwards depending on where it comes from, but can hit an amazing 17%. The anti-inflammatory properties it exhibits makes it is often used as a base in medicinal ointments. Since ages, it has been a choice treatment of blemishes, skin discolorations, chapped lips, stretch marks, scars, eczema, dark spots and in reducing the irritation caused by psoriasis. Shea has high content of vitamin A, making it highly effective in promoting healing and disinfection, and it soothes skin allergies like insect bites and poison ivy. Vitamin F present in the butter acts as a rejuvenator for healing and soothing rough and chapped skin.
Shea also has commendable anti-ageing benefits. It is considered as one of the best skin moisturizers and anti-ageing agents. The butter also stimulates the production of collagen, the protein that helps the skin remain youthful and scintillating. The antioxidants, vitamin A and E, found in shea butter nourish the skin, keeping it supple and radiant and preventing premature wrinkles and facial lines. Where it has a plus is the speed with which it penetrates that skin. The process moves flawlessly without clogging the pores and is effective for dry skin.
The fact that shea butter is a superb natural moisturizer devoid of any additive chemicals makes it ideal for baby care. More, it is gentle and soft on the skin, making it most suitable for delicate and sensitive skin of babies. It can serve as an after bath application on skin for babies and also for healing such complications as eczema or diaper rash on the skin of babies.
When it comes to lip care, shea butter is still a forerunner. Its ease of absorption and enhanced moisturizing effects, added to being rich in essential nutrients makes it great for the lips during cold season and dry weather. It therefore makes one of the best lip balms for all weather conditions, doubling as a treatment for dry and chapped lips.
It also works to restore skin elasticity. The Non-saponifiable fatty acids and vitamin F in this butter are the most vital nutriments for maintaining skin-elasticity. The application of shea butter to the skin restores the elasticity of the skin, helping in maintaining an even skin-tone atop softening, hydrating and beautifying it.
All these benefits seen arise from the powerful chemical constituents that built this butter. The butter has high nutritional value. It has such chemical as the UV-B absorbing triterpene esters such as tocopherols and cinnamic acid. Besides that this butter also has high percentage of hydrocarbons such as karitene, phytosterols and triterpenes.
This butter basically comprises of five fundamental fatty acids namely stearic, oleic, palmitic, linoleic and arachidic acids with a higher proportion of oleic acids and stearic which together accounts for 85-90% of fatty acids. Stearic acid is charged with the maintenance of solid consistency, while oleic acid influences the softness or hardness of the butter.
Shea butter also has phenolics. Phenolic compound serve as antioxidants. The butter has 10 phenolic compounds, eight of which are catechins. Catechin content of this butter exceeds the total phenolic content of ripe olives.
Your skin is better of with raw shea butter than probably any other known lotion. At CHIC Luxury Soaps, we have soaps, creams and butters with Shea in them. Probably the best product we have with Shea Butter, if you are looking for the benefits of pure Shea would be any of our Mango Shea Butters including, White Chocolate, Tropical Passionfruit and Pina Colada.
President, CHIC Luxury Soaps