You’ve probably heard about the wonders of shea butter. Extracted from shea tree nuts, shea butter has been touted for its healing compounds that address a wide range of skin conditions and ailments. Additionally, its moisturising properties have been noted to restore and rejuvenate the skin.
How Does Shea Butter Heal the Skin?
Shea butter is a rich source of vitamin A, which plays a large role in treating skin issues such as eczema, wrinkles, blemishes and dermatitis. The premium variety of shea butter is even said to remedy insect bites, frostbites, skin allergies and sunburns. Additionally, shea butter also comprises anti-inflammatory and healing properties that are extremely beneficial for the body and skin.
Its excellent moisturising properties of shea butter can be attributed to several moisturising agents that can be found in the cream. The consistency and compounds in shea butter are similar to sebum, the body’s natural moisturiser, which is produced by the sebaceous glands. This is one of the main reasons why this ingredient plays a key role in accelerating wound healing and keeping the skin soft and supple.
Besides being a good source of vitamin A, shea butter also contains vitamin E, which is important for preventing UV damage on the skin. Vitamin E also nourishes the skin and shields it from free radical damage. Apart from its antioxidant properties, vitamin E has also been used to combat skin issues such as psoriasis, acne and prevent premature ageing caused by unprotected and prolonged exposure to the harmful UV rays.
Rich in anti-inflammatory properties, shea butter has been noted for alleviating redness and swelling on the skin. It has the ability to soothe inflammatory reactions on the skin, such as rashes, eczema and psoriasis. Additionally, the fatty acid and vitamin K present in shea butter also works to heal your skin at a faster rate, especially if the barrier of your skin has been compromised. The consistency of shea butter also allows it to be absorbed into the skin when it melts at room temperature. Once it penetrates the skin, it not only keeps skin soft and smooth but also works to seal in the moisture. Compared to other types of moisturising agents, the hydrating effects of shea butter lasts for several hours.
The high levels of stearic, oleic and linoleic acids found in shea butter are responsible for fighting oxidative stress, which is caused by free radicals and environmental toxins. Oxidative stress in the skin is the main contributor of ageing. Essentially what it does is break down and slow the production of both elastin and collagen in the skin. This, in turn, gives way to visible signs of ageing including wrinkles, saggy skin, and fine lines. Shea butter not only protects the skin from oxidative stress, but it works to slow down the ageing process and combat premature ageing. Additionally, it supports the cell turnover in the skin, while also supporting both the structure and the elastin, resulting in taut and youthful skin.
What Sets Shea Butter Apart?
Unlike other lotions and skin care products, shea butter has significantly stronger healing properties, which are potent enough to remedy a number of skin issues. The compounds in shea butter are comprised of essential vitamins, nutrients and other phytonutrients that work hand-in-hand to heal skin quickly and effectively with minimal scarring as possible. And although other seed oils might be great for moisturising the skin, they might not work as well to treat skin various skin issues.
Things to Take Note Of
Although shea butter is beneficial for the skin in a number of ways, it is important to take note that it is comedogenic, which means that it has the potential to cause blackheads and other skin issues by clogging pores. Take precaution when using shea butter products especially if you have acne-prone or oily skin. The best way to use shea butter on your skin without breaking out would be to pair it with other beneficial ingredients or by washing your face regularly before and after putting shea butter on your skin. Be wary of applying pure shea butter on your skin, as this may also lead to a breakout. A rule of thumb would be to test a small amount of product on a patch of your skin to see if you are allergic to it, before slathering on a skincare product.
Shea butter is a great moisturiser that is potent enough to soothe and even slow down the effects of ageing on the skin, but like all good things, it should be taken in moderation. Read labels and ensure that you aren’t investing in a product with pure shea butter in it. If you are experiencing dry or flaky skin, shea butter can work as an effective moisturising agent to keep it soft and supple.