If you have ever browsed rows of moisturizers in a store, you are probably familiar with shea butter – at least by name. Face creams made from the richest and most reliable ingredients have this ingredient in them. So why does shea butter work so well for the skin?
To begin, let’s discuss where it comes from: shea nuts are obtained from trees in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, shea trees were used as a traditional remedy for ailments including ulcers, nasal congestion, and skin problems. Even though the majority of Shea butter for skin comes from this area, its benefits are becoming increasingly renowned.
Shea butter offers five major benefits for skin.
- Improves hydration of the skin
Shea butter has many benefits in addition to being used in a variety of body lotions and face moisturizers. By using it as an emollient, the skin is softened and hydrated. Due to a variety of fatty acids in shea butter, shea butter improves the skin’s natural barrier as well as protects it from damage caused by pollutants in the environment.
- Soothes skin problems with its anti-inflammatory properties
Studies in the Journal of Oleo Science have found that shea butter contains anti-inflammatory compounds, which enable it to soothe and nourish upset skin.
Several products, including those used to treat inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, and those designed to stop sunburn, contain this ingredient. Furthermore, it is believed that shea butter offers a mild sun protection benefit – although it is not strong enough to replace sunscreen. However, you may notice that your sun-protecting products add moisture with the addition of shea butter.
3. It can be used to heal cuts and scrapes
This ingredient is often used to formulate scar-healing products because it contains high levels of fatty acids, which may soften scar tissue. According to a study in the journal Wounds, it proved particularly effective at preventing the development of keloid scarring – a kind of raised, red scar that appears after an injury. Like many other shea butter benefits, this is also likely due to its emollient properties.
4. Stops breakouts from occurring
Shea butter can also be helpful for acne sufferers. The benefits of shea butter are well known, but what exactly does shea butter do?
Because drier skin produces too much sebum, it clogs pores, resulting in acne; shea butter prevents this cycle by keeping the skin from drying out. Shea butter does not cause oily skin. In fact, there is no solid evidence that this occurs! Shea butter could be acne-fighting due to its antibacterial properties, which have been reported in the Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology. This is quite good for such a simple ingredient!
5. There is a possibility that antioxidants can slow down the aging process
Furthermore, it is reported that shea butter contains several antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E, as well as compounds found in green tea, a potent antioxidant. The application of antioxidants (like vitamin A) topically has been proven to prevent free radical damage to the skin. Shea butter does not appear to be an anti-aging component. Therefore, more research is needed.
Just as you can use butter in your recipes, you can use shea butter as part of your skincare routine.