What is Shea Butter? Why would I want to use it?
The fat of the nut of the African Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) is the source of Shea butter. The traditional use of the butter is to reduce the appearance of fine lines, scars and stretch marks, and to ease a variety of skin irritations, such as psoriasis, eczema and sunburn. Makers of cosmetics also mix this natural substance with other botanical ingredients. Shea butter is ideal for the topical application of cosmetic and medicinal formulas, because it melts on contact and is readily absorbed into the skin, without leaving a greasy residue.
Shea butter contains several derivatives of cinnamic acid, a compound common to cinnamon and balsam trees. In the May 2010 issue of the “Journal of Oleo Science,” Toshihiro Akihisa and fellow researchers published the results of a study that investigated the effects of four triterpene acids and four triterpene cinnamates isolated from Shea butter on tissue swelling in mouse skin. The scientists reported that Shea butter not only demonstrated anti-inflammatory benefits, but one compound, lupeol cinnamate, also prevented tumor development in a carcinogenesis test, a procedure in which cancer cells are literally “grown” in a culture dish.
Shea butter contains vitamins A and E, as well as catechins, plant antioxidants also found in green tea. While it is unclear how well vitamins A and E in raw Shea butter are absorbed, there is evidence to suggest that cinnamic acid esters in Shea fat help to prevent skin damage from ultraviolet radiation.
How can Shea Butter benefit me?
Shea Butter can provide relief from everything from just dry skin to many minor dermatological diseases (if you have a serious skin condition, you should see a doctor). It has been clinically shown to provide benefits. Here are some of the benefits of Shea Butter for the skin:
- Daily skin moisturizer (face and body) Wildroot Natural carries ‘Diane’s Pink Grapefruit Body Butter’
- Dry skin relief
- Dry scalp
- Skin rash- including diaper rash
- Skin peeling, after tanning
- Blemishes and wrinkles
- Itching skin due to dryness
- Shaving cream to reduce razor irritation
- Small skin wounds
- Skin cracks
- Soften tough skin on feet (especially heels)
- Stretch mark prevention during pregnancy
- Minor burns
- Sun and wind protection Wildroot Natural carries Sunblock – SPF 15
- Even skin tone
- Reduce blemishes and scarring
- Eliminating scalp irritation from dryness or chemical processing
- Preventing bumps after shaving
- Reducing acne (especially in combination with African Black Soap)
- Absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue
- Helps restore elasticity to skin
- Restores luster to hair
Have you ever used Shea Butter? If so, how? in what?