The majority of skincare and body care products we use in our daily routines contain natural oils and butters to enhance their nourishing and moisturizing properties for the skin. The widespread usage of Shea Butter, renowned for its ability to impart a supple texture to the skin without leaving an oily residue behind, is one of its main skin benefits.
Shea butter is a fatty substance obtained from the nuts of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa), which is native to the African continent. It is commonly used in cosmetics, soaps, and other personal care products for its moisturizing and emollient properties. Did you know – aside from being used on skin and hair, shea butter is also used as a cooking oil and an ingredient in traditional African medicine!
Shea butter is rich in vitamins A and E and has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Shea butter has many benefits for the skin. Let’s explore them below.
Benefits of Shea Butter
1. Shea butter is highly moisturizing for the skin
Shea butter is an excellent moisturizer that can help to hydrate and nourish the skin. The fatty acids contained in the shea butter, including linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids, restore the much-needed lipids into your skin and create a moisturizing barrier. These fatty acids get absorbed into the skin quickly, leaving no greasiness behind. This ingredient is truly bliss for those with an extremely dry skin type. It keeps the skin moisturized for a long period, unlike regular moisturizers.
Want long-lasting moisturization for your skin? You need to try out all the benefits of Shea butter for skin.
2. Shea Butter contains anti-inflammatory properties
Due to the presence of plant esters in it, Shea butter carries natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe irritated skin and reduce redness as well as puffiness. This includes acne, rosacea, eczema, and a lot of other kinds of skin inflammations.
Shea butter is also used on the skin of babies, so much so that even pediatricians nowadays preach about the benefits of shea butter for the skin if a baby is allergic to other kinds of baby lotions available on the market. It is the next best alternative to coconut oil or olive oil for babies skin.
3. Shea Butter on the skin diminishes the signs of aging:
Shea butter is rich in vitamin A and E content. These vitamins are known to have anti-aging properties and can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with the regular use of shea butter. You would find this ingredient in natural anti-aging creams. Give your face a lifting massage using shea butter and a beauty tool like a jade roller. Carefully massage it along your smile lines and crow’s feet.
4. Shea Butter promotes collagen production
Shea butter contains cinnamic acid which is known to promote collagen production, thus helping to keep the skin firm and smooth while maintaining skin elasticity. It reduces and prevents skin sagging. If you use Shea butter on your face, you should also remember to use it on your neck and decolletage area since these two areas are the first on the body to get crepey skin due to the age factor.
5. Shea Butter is rich in antioxidants
Shea butter is rich in antioxidants that help to protect the skin from environmental damage and premature aging. The antioxidants neutralize the free radicals within the skin cells that are the main cause behind the premature signs of aging. Researchers also claim that shea butter has some level of SPF for the skin. However, in our view, we would not suggest that you only depend on shea butter for sun protection. You may definitely try out a shea butter-enriched sunscreen though – with an SPF of 30 and above.
6. Shea Butter’s texture is non-comedogenic
Shea butter is non-comedogenic which means it does not clog your facial pores. Hence, it is suitable for all skin types, including combination-oily skin types that get clogged pores easily. People with sensitive skin types can also use shea butter on sensitive skin types without worrying about breakouts or rashes. The key is to pick and use the right amount of raw shea butter! You may need a smaller quantity of raw shea butter as compared to a regular face moisturizer.
Types of Shea Butters
Throughout the post, you may have noticed that we have mentioned “raw shea butter” at many points. This is because there are primarily two types of shea butter: raw and refined.
What is Raw Shea Butter?
Raw shea butter is derived from the nuts of the shea tree, which are hand-crushed with traditional methods. The hand-crushed nuts are boiled to extract the butter. The end product is usually a yellow or off-white coloured butter with a nutty fragrance. Raw shea butter is minimally processed and often considered more natural, with a higher concentration of nutrients and skin-beneficial compounds.
What is Refined Shea Butter?
Refined shea butter is processed using chemicals. It is heated to get rid of the impurities and increase the shelf life of the shea butter. The result is a creamier, lighter-colored product with a milder scent. Refined shea butter is often used in cosmetics and skincare products, but some of the natural nutrients of raw shea butter for the skin may be lost during the refining process.
What kind of Shea Butter is better – raw or refined?
As we mentioned above, refined shea butter is processed with additional chemicals added to them. Brands tend to add refined shea butter to their skincare products in order to extend their shelf life. Unbeknown to us, we end up using added chemicals on our skin disguised as refined shea butter.
So if you are still in doubt regarding our opinion on raw vs refined shea butter, we suggest you opt for a certified organic product made from raw, unrefined shea butter.
Furthermore, you can buy raw shea butter directly and use it on your skin.
This unrefined shea butter by the brand Better Shea Butter is 100% natural and pure. You can use it on your skin or use it in your DIY skincare products.
FAQs about using Shea butter for Skin
How do I use shea butter for my skin?
Shea butter can be applied to the skin directly as a moisturizer or added to lotions, creams, and other personal care products. It can also be used as an ingredient in homemade DIY skincare recipes such as homemade body butter.
Can I use shea butter on my face?
Yes, Shea butter can be used on the face as a moisturizer, it doesn’t matter what your skin type may be. Shea Butter is mostly present in a lot of the moisturizers that we find in markets today. However, if you want to use raw shea butter on your face – that’s fine too! Apply a thin layer of shea butter if you have an oily skin type. Whereas, if you have a dry skin type, you can apply it in adequate quantities to ensure proper moisturization.
Can I use shea butter as an eye cream?
Yes, Shea butter can be used as an eye cream to treat premature signs of aging around the eyes aka crow’s feet or under eye bags. It may also help to lighten dark circles naturally if you use it on a daily basis. Take the tiniest amount of shea butter onto your ring finger and gently massage it on the skin around your under eyes.
Can I use shea butter on stretch marks?
Yes, a lot of expecting mothers or those who have stretch marks from drastic weight gain/weight loss use shea butter to reduce the appearance of stretch marks naturally. You will have to apply it at least two to three times a day to see visible results. Cocoa Butter is another popular choice for those with stretch marks who want to treat or prevent them naturally. They are usually combined together with other natural oils such as jojoba oil or argan oil to craft stretch marks removal products.
You may also like: Top Benefits of Argan Oil For Skin – Uses & Products
How often can I use shea butter on my skin?
It all depends on your skin type and your skin’s needs! If you have a dry skin type, you may feel the need to reapply it more often during the day. Whereas if you have an oily skin type, using it 2 times a day with your CTM routine would be enough.
You will need to reapply it more often if you are using shea butter for stretch marks on stomach or any area of your body.
Can I use shea butter for acne-prone skin?
Absolutely! Shea Butter has anti-inflammatory properties that come helpful in reducing acne and redness on the skin. You may also mix 1-2 drops of tea tree oil with shea butter before applying it on your breakouts.
Also read: 9 Home Remedies To Cure Acne
How do I store shea butter?
Shea butter should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. It can be stored in an airtight container or a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the jar inside your dressing tables’ drawers. Similar to coconut oil, shea butter is sensitive to even the slightest temperature changes. It should be kept at room temperature or in a cool place to prevent melting.
Shea Butter Allergic Reactions
Allergic reactions: While shea butter is a natural ingredient and safe to use on your skin, you should still consider doing a patch test once if you have experienced skin allergies in the past. Since shea butter is derived from a type of nut, it can cause allergic reactions in some people, especially those who are allergic to nuts. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include hives, itching, redness, and difficulty breathing (rare). You can seek medical help in case you see any side effects post using shea butter on the skin.
It is worth noting that Shea butter is also a safe ingredient for sensitive skin types, but we would still suggest you do a patch test before applying it to your face. The reason is simple – Shea Butter is derived from a tree nut and nut allergies are quite common.
In conclusion, shea butter is a highly beneficial natural ingredient for the skin due to its moisturizing and nourishing properties. It is rich in vitamins and fatty acids that help to hydrate and protect the skin from external damage. Using raw shea butter directly on the skin can provide even more excellent benefits, as it retains all of its natural nutrients and provides deep nourishment for the skin.