If you suffer from extremely dry skin, you might have come across shea butter in your quest to finding your ultimate, holy grail moisturiser for your face and body. It is not uncommon to see shea butter as a top ingredient in many body care products, such as lotions and creams. The skincare benefits of shea butter have been raved about by A-list Hollywood celebrities, including Taraji P. Henson and Lupita Nyong’o. But, what exactly is shea butter, and why is it such a popular go-to ingredient to combat dry skin?
Shea Butter, the Skincare Powerhouse
Originating from Africa, shea butter is a kind of fat that is produced from the nut of the shea fruit. It can most often be found in skincare products such as body lotions, face creams and soaps. Apart from its use in the beauty industry, shea butter can also be used in cooking, in place of regular butter or oil.
In the beauty industry, shea butter is usually included in skincare products targeted at those with dry skin. This is due to its highly hydrating properties, as well as its ability to be absorbed quickly into the skin. This means you will be ensured of attaining that silky smooth, baby-soft skin, but without the presence of any oily residue. Sounds like a dream, right?
Well, what if we told you that hydration is not the only thing you can look forward to, with regular use of shea butter? That’s right. This buttery skincare powerhouse is able to provide you with other numerous benefits, from your head all the way to your tippy toes. Let us take a look at what these benefits are.
Hidden Healing Powers
A lesser-known benefit of using shea butter is its healing properties. The chemical components found in shea butter enable it to be used as an anti-inflammatory agent. This is why shea butter can be often found as one of the foundational ingredients in medical ointments.
Blocking the Sun’s Rays
Did you know that shea butter can even be used as a natural sunscreen? Shea butter has been used among many natural beauty lovers as a sunscreen option. This is due to one of its chemical components, known as cinnamic acid esters. These chemicals have the ability to block the harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from being absorbed into the skin. Other natural ingredients that can be used as sunscreen include aloe vera, jojoba oil, as well as the leaves of the Indian beech tree. If you are keen on trying these natural substitutes for sunscreen, apply them on a small patch of your skin first before going all in. The sun protection factor (SPF) of these ingredients is generally low, thus it is a good idea for you to try them beforehand, to ensure you are truly receiving enough sun protection.
Banishing Stretch Marks, Little by Little
Stretch marks are a common skin concern among pregnant women. These scars usually appear on the tummy, due to it stretching and expanding as the baby grows and develops in the mother’s womb. Other areas where stretch marks tend to be found are the thighs, hips and buttocks. To reduce the appearance of stretch marks, some expecting mums have found shea butter to be an effective ingredient, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Applying shea butter on the areas of concern twice a day may help in healing the marks, as well as reduce their redness, thus diminishing the appearance of the stretch marks.
Facial Imperfections, Begone!
People who suffer from acne know all too well the difficulties and inevitable frustration that arise in their journey of finding a cure for those pesky zits. Acne medications prescribed by dermatologists, whether they are oral or topical, do not necessarily provide a permanent cure. For those who cannot afford to consult a skin expert, they are left to battle their skin condition on their own. If you find these scenarios familiar, how about giving shea butter a go to treat your acne? Shea butter is a popular treatment option among some acne sufferers, especially those who prefer to go the natural route in treating their acne, rather than opting for harsh medications. Again, shea butter’s anti-inflammatory property plays a significant role here, allowing the skin to heal and be restored.
Unrefined vs. Refined
So, are you now itching to grab yourself some shea butter to try it out on your skin woes? If you are, hold up! Before you hit that “Checkout” button, you need to know what kind of shea butter you are purchasing.
Shea butter comes in two forms: Unrefined and refined. What are the differences between both these types of shea butter? Read on to find out!
Unrefined Shea Butter
Shea butter that has gone through minimal processing is known as unrefined shea butter. Producing unrefined shea butter is very time-intensive, as it is mostly done through a manual process. Furthermore, unrefined shea butter typically does not undergo any filtering. This ensures that you are getting the shea butter in its most raw state.
Refined Shea Butter
Producing refined shea butter usually involves the use of chemicals. This process also eliminates any odours that come from the shea butter, making it a preferred choice for those who are sensitive to strong smells.
Which Should You Choose?
Unrefined shea butter is generally of a better quality, as no chemicals are involved in its production. It also maintains most of its raw natural components, ensuring its beneficial properties are still intact. However, unlike refined shea butter, unrefined shea butter tends to emanate a strong odour, which might be too overwhelming for those with a sensitive nose.