What is Shea Butter Anyway?
There’s a lot of craze about Shea butter and rightfully so! If magic could be bottled and sold, it would be labeled Shea Butter.
But before we get all excited let’s start with the basics. Shea butter made from the fruit of the shea tree, mainly found in West Africa. The largest shea butter producing countries include countries like Ghana, Nigeria and Mali. This tree has over the years, and from generation to generation, been harvested for everything from its leaves, bark and seeds and continues to feed, shade and employ hundreds and thousands of women in West African countries. Shea butter is the fat that’s extracted from the fruit of the shea tree after a multifaceted process of crushing, extraction, heating and cooling.
It is important to note that natural (raw or unrefined) shea butter is extracted using water and has the highest concentration of the following list of benefits - even safe enough to eat! Refined shea butter, on the other hand, (usually found in highly industrialized and processed products) has little to none of these benefits and might contain chemicals as a result of processing.
Now to the good stuff!
Shea butter is revered for its intrinsic properties and high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids.
It’s safe for all skin types - sensitive, dry, oily etc. This is because it’s low in proteins that trigger allergies, so go on, slather it on my friends!
It moisturizes with naturally occurring linoleic, oleic and stearic and palmitic acid. These hefty words are just scientific speak for the fact that shea butter’s healthy, natural constituents moisturize the skin after absorption and also double down as a barrier to prevent moisture from leaving the skin.
It’s anti-inflammatory properties mean it minimizes irritation caused by the environment, dry weather and inflammatory skin conditions like eczema.
Vitamins A & E, two of the many antioxidants found in shea butter, protect the skin from free radicals and provide anti-aging benefits for the skin.
As if all the above are not enough, shea butter is also antifungal and helps to fight skin infections. In some African countries, it’s applied over cuts and burns to help in the healing process and prevent scars!
For those of you planning on looking younger for longer, fear not, shea butter has a high content of triterpenes which boosts collagen fibre production and keeps the skin looking healthy and young.
And last but not the least it provides sun protection with an estimated SPF 3-4. SPF 3-4 folks!
It’s no wonder that shea butter is considered magic in a bottle! It protects the skin, keeps it looking younger, fights infection, helps it heal faster and protects against the sun! That’s a lot more than many other products can do in one jar! That’s Shea Butter for you!