Amazing Benefits of Shea Butter

Amazing Benefits of Shea Butter

Deep in West Africa, shea trees produce the shea nut which, when picked, extracted, and applied, some serious healing can begin. Inside the shea nut is a fatty buttery cream-like substance that has been linked to helping human skin on many levels. Take a look at these amazing health benefits of shea butter which may just surpass all those lotions crowding your bathroom cabinet.

A Mackdaddy Moisturizer

One of the most popular applications of shea butter is using it as a skin emollient. This natural application is free of chemicals, dyes, and fragrances which conventional moisturizers often seem to be loaded with. 

The unique fatty acid content of shea butter contains linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids. When applied to the skin, these compounds create a lipid restoration of much needed fat for optimal moisturization. In addition, shea butter has a powerful “lock in” effect enabling a strong barrier to not only keep moisture in, but to also protect the skin from outside elements.

Anti-inflammatory Hero

Inflammation is one of the biggest obstacles to human health. It affects just about every part of the body at one time or another, particularly the skin. Apart from an injury, skin inflammation can present as puffy, swollen, bags under the eyes, and more. Shea butter may help.

In a study of the anti-inflammatory effects of shea butter, topically applied to the skin, by researchers from the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, published in the Journal of Integrative Complimentary Medicine, it was stated that,

“These findings explain the molecular bases of shea butter’s bioactivity against various inflammatory conditions and substantiate it as a latent source of novel therapeutic agents.”

Some research shows shea butter may be useful in closed wound, scar healing inflammation as well.

An Anti-Ager

Treating your skin on a regular basis with shea butter could help prevent premature aging. 

Depending on where you live and work, your skin can be affected in various ways. For instance, living in a bustling city presents all kinds of risks to the skin, namely pollution. Furthermore, working in an environment that contains airborne toxins which can pose a threat to healthy skin could also be a concern. Overall, reactions to these elements is known as oxidative stress and when this occurs the skin can age much faster than anticipated.

According to research posted in an article on shea butter by Cosmetics and Toiletries Research, shea butter contains high amounts of a compound called lupeol which acts as a:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial 
  • Anti-protozoal (destroys protozoa [parasites] or inhibits their growth and ability to reproduce)
  • Anti-proliferative (prevent/slow the spread of cells, in this case, age causing cellular reactions)
  • Anti-invasive agent (stops outside attacks to the skin)
  • Anti-angiogenic (inhibits age causing blood vessel growth)
  • Cholesterol lowering agent

The researchers wrote:

“Shea butter is a natural choice for formulations aimed at reducing the premature breakdown of skin and supporting the tissue matrix.”

Eczema Support

Eczema is described as an atopic (not caused by allergens) dermatitis that makes your skin red and itchy. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of eczema include:

  • Dry skin
  • Itching, which may be severe, especially at night
  • Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and in infants, the face and scalp
  • Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
  • Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
  • Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching

Published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, research of shea butter skin formulas for eczema application reported that,

“The study moisturizer containing the occlusive ingredients of dimethicone and shea butter oil; were helpful in reducing the signs and symptoms of mild-to-moderate eczema”

Hair and Scalp Rejuvenator

Skin of the scalp is often overlooked, however it is an area of the body that can really stand in harm’s way. Using shea butter or shea butter oil has shown to be helpful in supporting scalp health which in turn can assist in healthy hair. 

Medical News Today reported on shea butter and how to apply it to the scalp,

“Because of its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, shea butter may help reduce dry scalp and scalp irritation.”

How to use for the scalp:

“People can choose over-the-counter hair care products that contain shea butter.

Alternatively, a person can melt raw shea butter and massage it into the scalp and full length of the hair. Leave the shea butter on the hair and then wash it off in the shower using a mild shampoo. People with hair that tends to get greasy may want to avoid using shea butter or shea oil on the hair, as this may make it worse.”

These amazing benefits of shea butter show how sometimes all you need is a dose of pure nature to surpass all the noise of pharmaceuticals or chemically laden formulas for skin health. It is yet another one of the plant-based, medicine cabinet of healing remedies, always at your fingertips.