Raw shea butter is an off-white fatty substance that is obtained from the nuts of the West African shea tree, typically used in cosmetics and natural skin care products. Full of all-natural, 100 percent pure, unrefined vitamin A, raw shea butter helps in numerous skin conditions such as spots and wrinkles, preventing stretch marks during pregnancy, muscle fatigue, dermatitis and radiation treatments for certain problems doctors. In fact, because raw shea butter is extremely moisturizing, when applied to the skin, it provides immediate softness and softness. But it has other proven benefits. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, published a study that indicates that shea nuts and shea fat (shea butter) constitute a significant source of anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor compounds. Another study from the American Journal of Life Sciences states that shea butter increases collagen production, demonstrating anti-aging properties.
Nutritional Background of Raw Shea Butter:
- Raw shea butter is rich in stearic acid, oleic acid and vitamin E and vitamin A rich in benefits.
- The shea tree is used as a source of vegetable oil that contains approximately 45-50 percent oleic acid, 30-41 percent stearic acid, 5-9 percent palmitic acid and 4-5 percent linoleic acid.
- The best shea butter is extracted using cold pressing methods without adding chemicals or preservatives.
- Shea butter has a smooth texture and does not liquefy at room temperature; however, it will soften in your hands, making it easy to apply.
- It contains vitamins A and E, has relatively high amounts of saturated fatty acids (such as MCT oil) compared to other lipids of plant origin, such as grapeseed oil, olive oil and canola oil.
- org reports that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes shea oil in its list of affirmed direct food substances.
- Although it is more common in beauty products, shea butter is often found in a variety of sweets and chocolate as a substitute for cocoa butter.
The safety of raw shea butter and related forms has been evaluated by the Expert Panel on Cosmetic Ingredients Review and they note its popularity in cosmetics and personal care products compared to many other oils with a total of 1,950 products, with 1,680 of those uses in formulations without rinsing. They also point out that “a recent study of the concentrations of use of shea butter reports a maximum concentration of use of 60 percent on products left on the surface.” While other research reports that through their studies, shea nuts and shea fat (shea butter) were found to reduce inflammation. Studies also showed that shea butter contains a significant source of antitumor compounds.
6 Benefits of Shea Butter to Repair the Skin:
1. Key Ingredient for Natural Skin Care
- Most of our skin care products contain synthetics (I call it “the true price of beauty”) which are often the main ingredients, and you will find it in many lotions, creams, eye makeup, facial makeup and lipsticks.
- In contrast, raw shea butter is a great natural ingredient because it acts as a moisturizer and gives the skin a pleasant glow.
- It helps to soften the skin by providing hydration and, therefore, is an amazing skin conditioning agent.
- Look for products that contain pure shea butter and other all-natural ingredients.
2. Provides Anti-Aging Properties:
- Raw shea butter helps regenerate tissue cells and softens the skin, reducing wrinkles.
- The American Journal of Life Sciences reported a clinical study that involved 30 volunteers in which shea butter decreased several signs of aging.
- In another clinical study for dry, delicate or aged skin, 49 volunteers applied shea butter twice a day and discovered that it prevented photo aging.
- It has also been shown to increase the production of collagen, which is essential for skin strength.
3. Hydrates the Scalp and Hair:
- This butter seals moisture, conditioning the scalp, relieving dandruff and providing general protection against severe climates – much like coconut oil works for hair.
- You can use it on the scalp, hair or both to improve your health and appearance.
- Gently heat the shea butter to soften it and thoroughly rub it into the hair and scalp.
- For best results, leave on for 20-30 minutes.
- Then, rinse, wash with shampoo and condition as usual.
- Actually, it can provide volume when applied only to the roots during styling!
4. Relieves Burns:
- Shea butter is perfect to help eliminate that itchy winter skin!
- Its moisturizing qualities penetrate deep into the skin offering more moisturizing benefits while preventing wind burns.
- It is perfect for dry and cracked heels, hands, elbows and rough knees.
- Like my own homemade sunscreen, shea butter also protects your skin from the sun and is a much healthier option because most sunscreens are full of harmful chemicals that penetrate the skin and enter our bodies.
- These chemicals can cause inflammation that causes disease and many other problems.
- While the SPF is around 6, it can provide some protection in a more natural way and is perfect under makeup.
5. Reduce Stretch Marks, Scars and Cellulite:
- How do you eliminate cellulite and stretch marks? Although many believe that Retin-A and laser treatments are the only way to reduce stretch marks, raw shea butter can help.
- Due to its amazing healing properties and moisturizing qualities, shea butter can reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars, as well as cellulite by smoothing and softening the skin.
6. Prevents Diaper Rash in Babies:
- Shea butter is a great ointment for your baby’s diaper rash due to its antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that can fight yeast.
- Raw shea butter can help improve blood circulation, promoting cell regeneration while improving collagen production.
- Both cell regeneration and collagen production are important to cure diaper rash quickly.
- Since most children are exposed to a large number of chemicals through the numerous products found on the shelf, this is the perfect solution to help avoid those chemicals and ensure the comfort and rapid healing of your baby.
Considered a sacred tree, the shea tree naturally grows wild in the dry savanna belt of West Africa, from Senegal in the west to Sudan in the east, and to the foothills of the Ethiopian highlands. Shea butter comes from the nuts found in the tree by removing the outer shell. The nuts are crushed by hand to be able to slowly toast them in the butter. Once this is done, the butter is kneaded by hand in a large bowl of water to separate the oils, also known as fatty acids.
“These fatty acids are what provide the restorative properties that make it one of the best options for skin care and more”.
To obtain the final product, shea butter is removed from the top and cooled until it hardens. Because it is believed to have powers of spiritual protection, many communities and ethnic groups believe that the shea tree is sacred, and plays an important role in religious and cultural ceremonies. The shea tree has many health benefits and when combined with palm oil, it serves as an edible oil for many homes in parts of Sahel Africa, particularly in northern Nigeria. Shea butter has been around for centuries and some believe it was used by Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba!
How to Find the Best Shea Butter?
- It is important to buy only high quality raw shea butter for you to get the most benefits.
- The American Shea Butter Institute notes that shea butter contains the ingredient cinnamic acid, an anti-inflammatory agent, which is a substance closely related to the same cinnamon found in your kitchen cabinet.
- The less pure shea butter is, the less cinnamic acid is present; therefore, the benefits of shea butter decrease greatly.
- In addition, many shea butter has added ingredients, such as fragrances, to make it cheaper – and these additives can dilute the benefits greatly.
- It is recommended to use shea butter within 18 months after the extraction of the seed, since the beneficial properties may decrease over time.
- You can also look for the Seal of Approval of the American Institute of Shea Butter on the packaging (although not all reputable brands have this seal of approval).
- You can find shea butter at your local health food store.
- Always look for raw / unrefined and organic products.
Shea Butter Recipes:
Of course, it is easy to make your own skin care products at home. Raw shea butter is soft enough to use daily and is perfect for many uses, from facial creams and body lotions to lip balms and even shaving cream. Try these recipes.
- Body Butter Lotion
- Lavender and Mint Lip Balm
- Myrrh Incense Lotion
- Natural Shaving Cream
Tea and Butter Facial Cream by Karité Lavanda:
This cream not only provides hydration for your skin, it can be a home remedy for acne and help fight wrinkles or any scar that may have resulted from damage caused by the sun or acne.
- It will also revitalize your skin leaving it radiant!
- Apply abundantly in the morning under makeup and at night, leaving it on while sleeping.
- 3 tablespoons raw shea butter, unrefined
- 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
- 3-5 drops of tea tree oil
- 3-5 drops of lavender essential oil
- 2-3 drops of incense essential oil
- It is important not to overheat shea butter, as it will lose many of its healing properties.
- Heating it makes it easier to mix, so watch it closely.
- Add the oils slowly as you mix them.
- Whipped shea butter will not change its chemical structure or benefits.
- If you prefer that the final result be harder than the shake, you do not need a manual mixer. Simply mix with a spatula.
How to Do it?
- Using a double boiler, melt the shea butter. Another option is to use a heat-sensitive container that can be placed in a pan filled with water, such as a jar.
- Once melted, place the shea butter in the refrigerator to cool and partially solidify. This takes 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from the refrigerator and place in a bowl. Add the oils slowly while whisking the shea butter. You can use an electric hand mixer to beat until you get the desired consistency. If you don’t have one, use a spatula and mix the ingredients well.
- Place the mixture in a glass jar with a lid and store. You can store it in the refrigerator or in a cool dark place for a longer shelf life, which is approximately 3 weeks.
Possible Side Effects:
- Some people are allergic to tree nuts, and that may include shea tree nuts.
- Therefore, the FDA Food Allergen and Consumer Protection Labeling Act requires that all foods containing shea nuts be clearly labeled.
- Although the American Institute of Shea Butter states that there has been no clinical trial to prove that Shea butter causes allergies, if you are allergic to nuts, it may be better to stay away from Shea butter until you are sure that It will not have any negative side effects.