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Health Benefits of Shea Butter: Skin & Hair

Shea butter health benefits have been whispered to ears and ears for years and years. Shea butter is a fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. It is usually yellow in colour when raw, with more processed versions being ivory or white in colour. Because of the shea butter benefits for skin and hair, it is widely used in cosmetics as a moisturizer, salve or lotion. A lot of people ask “is shea butter edible? “, the answer is yes. Shea butter is edible and is used in food preparation in some African countries.  Occasionally, shea butter and coconut oil are the main ingredients for hair growth mixes. Hence, there are many shea butter hair growth recipes with whipped shea butter being the centre of it all. Many people also shy away from using shea butter on their face and this is because they do not know how to use shea butter for the face. The health benefits of shea butter are numerous in number, however, these are shea butter benefits for skin and hair.

shea butter
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Skin

  1. Locks in moisture

Shea butter as we know it is a product the takes many forms as simple as it is. You cannot outline the skin benefits of shea butter without mentioning its moisturising abilities. Shea butter is solid at room temperature; however, it melts once applied to the skin. The shea butter forms a fine coat around the skin which locks in moisture and prevents the skin from dryness. Without making the skin oily shea butter is the go-to skin care product during the vicious Harmattan season that plagues West Africa. Shea butter will ensure your skin remains hydrated.

  1. Protection from UV rays

In tropical seasons or regions, hyperpigmentation caused by sunburns is expected. This can make the skin look horrible and discoloured. In some parts of the world the damage caused by UV rays are unknown, therefore there is no protection culture upheld. Sunscreen goes a long way, however, in a region where there is no market for sunscreen, it is hard to find quality products. At this point, natural products will have to do. Shea butter is a natural protector from UV rays.  It has a sun protection factor of 6 (SPF 6) which may not be enough to protect you totally from the sun on a regular sunny day, but it will save you the few times you have to step outside.

  1. Effective lip balm

Crusty and ashy lips is a skin care don’t. Your lips must stay moisturised. A lot of people are not in the habit of moving around with lip balms, let alone applying it, therefore, shea butter saves the day. Shea butter will keep the lips moisturized, and the vitamin A and E in the butter nourishes the tender skin and keeps it healthy. You can make your own shea butter lip balm. Simply whip up some lip balm with some essential oils. Shea butter stays solid at room temperature; therefore, you need not worry about melting it before use.

  1. Reduces stretch mark formulation during pregnancy

Stretch marks are a natural occurrence in the body. Some people like them, others are insecure but in recent times, the female gender has grown to embrace these marks. Stretch marks could be hereditary or dependent on other factors like rapid weight loss, and pregnancy. As pregnancy furthers, the body grows, therefore the skin must stretch to accommodate this growth, causing stretch marks. It is essential to stay moisturised during this time, otherwise, the post-pregnancy skin health will not be good. Non-toxic moisturizing agents like Shea butter for keeping the skin hydrated all through pregnancy and during the lactating period. The fatty acids in Shea butter being similar in composition to skin fat, it may help nourish the dermal layer and make it more elastic by promoting collagen production. Regular application of Shea butter on the stomach, thighs and breasts well before they come under severe stress may be the key to avoid stretch marks.

  1. Anti-inflammatory

Shea butter contains several anti-inflammatory agents such as cinnamic acid, but the lupeol cinnamate found in the butter is known to reduce skin inflammations. Shea butter penetrates deep into the skin, hence its ability to reduce skin inflammations and heal the skin faster.

  1. Anti-ageing

Shea butter helps to soothe out wrinkles, which makes you look younger because the skin looks younger. Shea butter helps cell regeneration, minimizes signs of ageing, and boosts collagen. Many of these benefits are also attributed to amyrin, which is contained in shea butter. The non-saponifiable matter and vitamin F in this butter are vital ingredients for maintaining the skin’s elasticity. Restored elasticity also ensures reduced wrinkles and blemishes.

  1. Fades scars and blemishes

Shea butter is known for its healing properties, which can be attributed to the presence of several fatty acids and plant sterols such as oleic, palmitic, stearic, and linolenic acids. These ingredients help to repair the skin and in turn fade scars and blemishes.shea butter

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Hair

  1. Natural hair softener

Shea butter, when applied to the hair can soften frizzy hair making it easier to manage. The same way it coats the skin is the same way it coats hair strands, locking in moisture and keeping the hair from getting dry and brittle. Warm a bit of shea butter in your palms and apply to your hair. Combing through your hair after applying shea butter will ensure an even distribution. Shea butter for curly hair is also a heaven-sent combination as it softens and maintains curl patterns.

  1. Effective scalp massage oil

Shea butter, unknown to many, is an effective scalp massage oil. When massaged into the scalp, it relieves the scalp of potential scalp issues such as dryness, itchiness and dandruff. One misconception about shea butter is that it is oily, it is not. It can also be used on an oily scalp to reduce oil production in the scalp.

  1. Prevents hair breakage

Shea butter is known to coat hair strands and protect them from becoming dry, and brittle. dry and brittle hair breaks easily. Shea butter moisturizes and regenerates the hair and scalp. This strengthens the hair strands and reduces breakage. Also, being rich in vitamins A and E, it soothes dry hair and mends split ends.

  1. Moisturizes your hair

Shea butter contains many active ingredients like vitamins A and E, which are essential for moisturising the hair. Shea butter locks in moisture giving your hair life and a suitable shine without being greasy.

  1. Hair growth and repair

Shea butter repairs hair follicles and promotes healthy hair. Chemical and heat treatments like perms, dyes, bleach and straighteners, tend to damage the hair. Shea butter has properties which can repair these damaged hair strands and promote growth.

  1. Heat protection

For those who straighten, wand curl, blow dry or flat iron their hair regularly, shea butter is a good heat protector. It coats the hair strands, reduces the extent of damage the heat can have on them

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