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Shea butter for Shinier Hair and Supple Skin!

Shea butter for Shinier Hair and Supple Skin!

Shea Butter has been used as an active ingredient in cosmetological products and remedies for centuries. With a high concentration of fatty acids and vitamins, Shea Butter has great hydrating and soothing properties. If you scan the rows full of moisturizers and creams, it’s likely that you will find Shea Butter listed as an ingredient in most of the premium beauty products. But what exactly is Shea Butter and how does it benefit our skin and hair?

About the plant: Shea Butter is the fat that is derived from the extract of the shea tree nuts. Pure Shea Butter is solid at room temperature and is ivory in color. The scientific name of the shea tree is Vitellaria paradoxa. The tree is native to West Africa or sub-Saharan Africa, and most of the Shea Butter still comes from that region. Traditionally, Shea Butter was used for several different medical problems such as nasal congestion and ulcers. Nowadays, the primary use of Shea is for its skincare properties.

The goodness of Shea Butter: Shea Butter is extremely rich in nutrients that make skin and hair healthy. It contains several types of fatty acids such as palmitic, oleic, stearic, and linoleic which maintain the balance of oil on the skin. It also has vitamins A, E, and F which are antioxidants that promote healthy blood circulation and cell growth. It also has cetyl esters which is the waxy part of the shea nut. This helps condition and moisturize the skin.

General uses: In certain African countries, Shea Butter is used as fat in cooking. Shea is a common ingredient in cosmetic products to treat arthritis, insect bites, wounds, dry skin, psoriasis, and more.

In this article, we will focus on the benefits of Shea Butter for skin and hair.

Shea Butter Benefits for Skin

1. Locks moisture

There is a reason why Shea Butter is used in so many different moisturizers and creams. It is an emollient that hydrates the skin, making it soft and supple. This is due to its chemical composition. Shea Butter is rich in fatty acids which provide a barrier to the skin, protecting it from environmental damage. The oils are absorbed into the skin and act as a restoring agent by rapidly increasing moisture, thus protecting skin from drying out and keeping it safe from pollutants.

2. Provides sun protection

Shea is known to have an SPF of 7, which means it has mild sun protection abilities. Although this isn’t enough to replace sunscreens, it is definitely a great addition to it. It contains Vitamin A and E, which protect the skin from UV damage naturally. Apart from this, Shea Butter has anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce irritation and swelling and soothes the skin. The rapid absorption of Shea also ensures quick relief for burns.

3. Heals scars and marks

Shea Butter is often used as an ingredient in scar-healing products. Like many of its benefits, this is because of the butter’s emollient properties. The fatty acids soften the scar tissue and can help in speeding up the healing process. 

4. Fights acne and breakouts

When the skin is dry, it tends to produce sebum (excess oil) in large quantities. This can clog pores and lead to acne. It is a never-ending cycle between dry and oily skin. Shea Butter stops this from its roots by preventing skin from becoming dry at all. Shea is also easily absorbed, which means it won’t leave your skin looking oily. Along with this, it has antibacterial properties that help reduce acne-causing bacteria and infections.

5. Encourages cell regeneration

Your body gets rid of an average of 35,000 dead skin cells every day. These old skin cells remain on top while the new skin cells form underneath this layer. Shea helps in the regeneration and renewal of healthy skin cells with the help of its antioxidant and moisturizing properties. 

6. Works on all skin types

Even though Shea Butter is derived from a tree nut, it very rarely triggers allergies. This is because it has an extremely low content of proteins that cause allergies. Shea Butter nourishes and soothes skin, without clogging pores. It is suitable for everyone, regardless of skin type.

Shea Butter benefits for Scalp and Hair

1. Repairs damaged hair

Our hair encounters several different harmful factors every day. From heat tools to chlorine in swimming pools- there’s endless damage that our hair suffers. Shea Butter helps repair this damage by coating the hair strands and restoring the lost moisture. The low SPF in Shea is enough to protect the hair from UV radiation and harsh weather. Shea Butter is beneficial for chemically-processed hair, colored hair, and hair that is exposed to curlers and straighteners often.

2. Reduces hair loss

The fatty acids in Shea Butter provide many nutrients that are essential for scalp and hair health. It makes the hair follicles stronger which reduces hair fall drastically. The anti-inflammatory properties of Shea also play a role here. It can treat scalp conditions, preventing hair loss and leading to the growth of healthier, thicker hair.

3. Treats scalp and dandruff

Shea Butter effectively soothes a dry and itchy scalp without clogging the pores. This is thanks to its fat-rich compounds and anti-inflammatory qualities. It restores moisture without making hair greasy. This helps provide relief from scalp conditions such as dry, scaly patches and dandruff.

4. Reduces breakage

By moisturizing and nourishing hair, Shea Butter strengthens it and promotes regeneration. With the help of vitamin A and E, it makes hair resistant to breakage and reduces the chances of split ends.

5. Conditions hair

The emollient nature of Shea Butter makes it a great natural conditioner. It hydrates the hair shaft and locks the moisture in, without leaving behind a greasy residue. It effectively nourishes the hair, making it shinier and smoother.

6. Maintains curls

Massaging hair with liberal amounts of Shea can help improve the texture of hair. It softens fragile hair and controls the excess amounts of oil in the scalp. This works especially well with dry and curly hair. It is an extremely common ingredient in curly hair treatments due to its fat-rich properties as it makes hair silkier and healthier.

Benefits of Shea Butter during pregnancy

1. The antioxidants present in Shea Butter prevent signs of premature aging such as wrinkles, and fine lines. It boosts the production of collagen and promotes cell renewal.

2. During pregnancy, muscle soreness is a common issue that mothers face. Relaxing massages using Shea Butter can help soothe tense muscles and relieve joint pain by reducing inflammation.

3. Shea Butter restores the skin’s elasticity by increasing the production of collagen. It hydrates and softens the skin, making it supple and plump.

4. Regular application of Shea Butter can help lighten and reduce stretch marks. Using it during pregnancy strengthens the elasticity of the skin which allows the skin to stretch without tearing and leaving marks.

5/ Since Shea Butter is a natural moisturizer, it is ideal for usage during pregnancy. It penetrates the skin and keeps it hydrated while preventing dry, scaly, and itchy skin.

Side Effects of Shea Butter

Shea Butter is a low-risk ingredient since allergic reactions to it are extremely rare. However, it isn’t impossible. Always do a patch test and wait 24 hours before applying Shea to the rest of your skin and hair. In case you experience any of the following symptoms, you should discontinue use immediately.

  • Swelling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Headache 

During pregnancy and breastfeeding: Shea Butter is completely safe when applied topically. However, there isn’t enough research on the side effects of oral consumption of Shea Butter during pregnancy and breastfeeding. So, it is advisable to avoid ingesting Shea Butter. 

How to Use Shea Butter

Skin: Shea Butter can be applied directly to the skin. You can scoop the butter from the jar using your fingers or a spoon. Massage it into your skin using firm strokes until it is fully absorbed. Raw Shea Butter is easier to spread evenly. It is best to apply it at night, before bed and let your skin absorb all the nourishments. Use it generously on especially dry areas like your elbows and ankles. For cracked heels, wearing cotton socks after applying Shea Butter in the night gives quick results. Other ways to use Shea Butter are:

  • On nail cuticles
  • To moisturize lips
  • As a replacement for shaving cream

Hair: Raw Shea Butter or products including Shea Butter can be applied directly to the hair. For naturally porous or curly hair, it can be used as a conditioner or a leave-in conditioner. Ensure that most of the butter has been absorbed before rinsing it and styling your hair as usual. For naturally straight or thin hair, it is best to use Shea Butter only from the mid-shaft to the ends of the hair. Avoid application on the roots since it can lead to a greasy look.

FAQs

1. What is the difference between refined and unrefined Shea Butter?

Unrefined Shea Butter is the purest and most natural form of Shea Butter since it is the least processed. Because of this, it retains its natural properties like vitamins and minerals. It goes through basic filtration with the help of cheesecloth, clay, and other methods. Refined Shea Butter is the processed form. In addition to the filtration process, it is deodorized with the help of chemicals. Usually, additives like fragrances and preservatives are added. 

2. How should I store Shea Butter?

The ideal storage method for pure Shea Butter is in an airtight container, in a cool environment that isn’t in direct contact with the sun. The average shelf life of Shea Butter is two years, but if you get an acidic smell, it is probably time to get rid of it.

3. Does Shea Butter clog pores?

No! Despite the common belief that it does, Shea Butter is one of the products that moisturizes dry and irritated skin, without clogging pores. On the contrary, Shea Butter actually helps in treating skin conditions that are caused due to clogged pores, such as acne.

4. Can Shea Butter be heated?

Yes, it can be heated! During winter, Shea Butter might harden, making application harder. To solve this, you can heat the butter but make sure to do your research beforehand. If you overheat the butter, it can end up grainy and hard. It can still be used, but its effectiveness goes down. 

5. Is it normal for Shea butter to be grainy?

There can be many reasons for Shea Butter turning grainy. The primary reason is heat. Shea butter can melt easily in the sun, or when exposed to any form of heat. Rapid cooling is what leads to the grainy texture. The butter can still be used though. To get rid of the graininess, simply whip the Shea Butter and it’ll be soft and smooth.

6. Can Shea butter be mixed with other ingredients for skincare?

Yes! Shea butter is generally mixed with essential oils to reap the benefits of both ingredients through one product. In case you dislike the smell of raw Shea Butter, you can add exciting different scents through this. The most common oils are lemongrass, lavender, coconut, rosemary, and tea tree. However, each oil has its own benefits, so feel free to add any that suit your specific needs.

Summary benefits

Shea butter is one of the most versatile and beneficial products that can be used by people with any skin or hair type. It is packed with nutrients that are essential to nourish the body and help it glow. It can help moisturize and heal dry, irritated skin while protecting it from environmental damage such as pollutants and UV radiation. Shea Butter also fights acne and reduces scars and blemishes, giving your skin a smooth finish.

In addition to its skin benefits, Shea Butter can do wonders on your hair too. Its hydrating properties reduce dandruff, split ends, and breakage. This gives way to healthier and shinier hair. It can act as a great conditioner for all hair types, especially curly, giving your locks a soft bounce.

With its emollient properties, massaging Shea Butter into your skin kills two birds with one stone for pregnant moms. It relieves muscle soreness while hydrating your skin. Shea butter is known to reduce stretch marks and signs of premature aging like wrinkles and fine lines. With the number of benefits that it provides, you should run to get your own jar of Shea Butter immediately!


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Hi, I am Ekta Dharap, a mom of a tiny tod. I have learnt that to take optimum care of your little one, it's imperative to first take care of your own wellness and well-being. Besides, our children look up to us, and how we treat ourselves. This makes putting self care as top priority, without an ounce of guilt.

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