Sheabutter, derived fromtheseeds of theshea tree which is indigenous to West Africa, has long been known for its ability to nourish skin and help treat problems such as dryness, blemishes,hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and even diminish the appearance of scars. Sheabutter has natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties, helping to soothe irritated skin and cleanse acne-causing bacteria and helping to promote faster healing while creating a barrier that protects the skin from harsh environmental pollutants.
Shea butter is rich in oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, cinnamic acid esters, allantoin, sterolins and polyphenols (such as tocopherol or vitamin E). It has anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties, and promotes skin hydration while conditioning and softening the skin.
Oleic acid, also known as the essential fatty acid omega-9, will help maintain a soft and supple skin tone and is effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines through its ability to boost the production of new collagen cells in the deeper layers of skin tissue. It also has significant antioxidant properties, helping to guard against the action of free radicals caused by exposure to harsh environmental contaminants or exposure to UV radiation. The stearic acid found in shea butter is a natural cleansing agent that helps remove dirt and debris, sweat, and excess fat or sebum from the skin. In addition to its exceptional cleansing properties, the emollient properties of stearic acid help moisturize and soften skin. Palmitic acid, the most common saturated fatty acid, also has considerable emollient properties, helping to hydrate and soften the skin as well.
Linoleic acid, also known as the essential fatty acid omega-6,encouragesrapid healing, has significant anti-inflammatory properties, promotes moisture retention in both the epidermis and in deeper tissues of the skin, andmitigatesacne outbreaks while also helping eliminate bacteria that causes acne, reducing the likelihood of future outbreaks. It has also been shown to help treat the symptoms of skin disorders such as eczema and dermatitis. Cinnamic acid esters provide natural protection against UV light, soothe inflammation, irritation, and redness while promoting cell regeneration, and has significant antioxidant properties. Allantoin further protects the skin and also has regenerative properties. It promotes healing while soothing irritation and softening the skin, all while stimulating cell regeneration in deeper skintissues as well as on its surface.
The polyphenols found in shea butter soften the skin, contribute further antioxidant properties and also protect against harmful UV radiation, boost skin cell regeneration and elasticity, and promote greater circulation. Shea butter also contains vitamin A, which has many of the properties of other compounds found alongside it, such as UV protection, stimulation of collagen production, and is also an excellent agent to reduce the appearance of blemishes or dark spots.
Shea butter is non-comedogenic, meaning it will not clog pores, and helps promote a healthy balance of lipids, sebum, and other natural oils in the skin regardless of whether a person’s skin type is naturally dry or oily. People suffering from acne, eczema, rashes, or psoriasis can reliably use shea butter for relief of symptoms without experiencing some of the negative side effects associated with other treatments, which can sometimes be irritating or damaging to the skin. Gentle enough for even delicate and sensitive skin, shea butter can even be used safely on infants, helping with cradle cap, diaper rash, and any small scratches or abrasions.
Shea butter is an ideal salve for skin that has been damaged by overexposure to UV radiation, and can be used to protect the skin against harsh environmental effects like wind burnand frostbite. Because of shea butter’s naturally occurring anti-bacterial properties, it prevents bacteria from adhering to or surviving on the skin, reducing the incidence of acne, rashes, infections, and other skin irritations. The cinnamic acid found in shea butter has analgesic properties, making it effective at alleviating pain, irritation, or itchy skin, especially for skin that is healing from a rash, cut, abrasion, allergic reaction, or the effects of insect stings or exposure to toxins such as that found in poison ivy.
Cinnamic acid can reduce much of the discomfort associated with skin conditions caused by inflammation, such as dermatitis and rosacea, and it is effective in providing soothing relief from burns while enhancing the skin’s ability to recover from them. It is also effective in reducing the appearance of scars, hyperpigmentation, and is even known to diminish the appearance of stretch marks caused by pregnancy or other rapid weight gain or loss.
Shea butter has a high content of a group of compounds called sterolins, which are a type of natural steroid found in some plants. Sterolins have antimicrobial and moisturizing properties, provide protection from UV radiation, and are especially effective at softening the skin.