Even though the shea butter industry is booming, shea trees only grow naturally in Africa. In Burkina Faso, shea nuts provide 20% of the average family’s income.
Natural shea butter comes from the trees’ nuts, which locals have been processing since at least 100 A.D.
Historically, it has been used for centuries by Africans as a remedy for dry skin and as a decorative element in tribal rituals. Today, its unique properties make it a popular choice for products ranging from hair care to cosmetics and even food.
While we tend to see shea butter in things like creams, conditioner, and lip gloss, it’s also used in soap. In Africa, it’s used to treat gastric issues and is the primary oil for cooking.
Due to its high concentration of fatty acids and vitamins, shea butter makes an excellent moisturizing agent that can promote skin health and elasticity. Its unusually rich texture helps provide deep hydration and protects the skin barrier while still feeling light on the skin.
Also, studies have suggested that shea butter may help reduce wrinkles due to its anti-inflammatory effects, making it an attractive option for those who are looking to retain their youthful appearance and achieve a healthier complexion at any age.
Shea butter is extremely versatile, and the world is beginning to recognize the myriad of benefits it boasts.
Keep reading to uncover 10 amazing benefits and uses of natural shea butter!
1. It’s an Excellent Moisturizer
Shea butter is recognized more than anything for its moisturizing effects. Shea butter is full of fatty acids, including oleic, linoleic, stearic, and palmitic acids.
When you apply shea butter to your body, your skin absorbs them rapidly. They restore lipids and rapidly create moisture, acting as “refatting” agents. As a result, the barrier between your skin and the outside environment gets restored.
As a plant-based ingredient, shea butter is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants that help to restore elasticity to skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and protect from UV rays. It can soothe many types of irritations including eczema and flaky skin. It also works as a primer by softening skin before applying makeup.
These fatty acids hold moisture in and reduce the risk of dryness.
2. The Whole Family Can Use It
Technically, shea butter is a tree nut product. Unlike most other tree nut products, however, it’s extremely low in the proteins that often trigger allergies.
To date, there is no medical literature that documents allergies to topical shea butter.
It doesn’t clog pores. It doesn’t contain any chemical irritants, and it’s perfect for nearly any skin type.
Its composition includes essential fatty acids and vitamins A, E, F, and K that help to rehydrate the skin, resulting in improved firmness and elasticity. These nutrients make shea butter a great choice for moisturizing dry patches or as part of your skincare routine.
Pure shea butter won’t make your skin oily either because it contains high levels of oleic and linoleic acid, and the two balance each other out. What that means is that it’s easy for your skin to absorb the butter without making it oily.
You can even use shea butter to make an all-natural deodorant for your whole family!
3. It’s a Pet Paw Protector
Life is busy, and often times, we forget to tend to things like our pets’ paws. Even though they’re built to handle outdoor terrain, they still require some TLC now and then.
Pet paws can get cracked and dry, just like our own hands and feet. Shea butter is the perfect solution for those cracks and dryness, as it will lock in moisture and won’t make your furry friend’s paws oily.
Traditionally used for human skin, shea butter can provide a wealth of amazing benefits for your pet as well, such as soothing dry or irritated skin, conditioning their coat, and providing additional nutrients.
Not only does shea butter provide moisture and relief to your pet, but with its antifungal properties, it’s great at keeping skin infections from coming back. If your dog or cat has been scratching more than usual, try applying some soothing shea butter.
Use it to heal your own hands and feet too!
4. You Can Use It to Ease Acne or Eczema
Acne and eczema both require delicate treatments and care so as not to make the issues worse.
More often than not, the pure and natural approach works better than products packed with fragrances and synthetic ingredients.
Reviews are mixed, but trying it won’t do you any harm!
For eczema, don’t completely dry yourself after a bath or a shower. Apply shea butter immediately after to lock in moisture and avoid dryness.
For acne, apply a thin film each day after washing your face and then rinse it off after a few hours. Because shea butter is rich in fatty acids, the composition helps to clear your skin of excess oil, which causes acne.
While it works to clear your skin of oil, it also restores moisture, so your skin won’t feel dried out or stripped.
Shea butter is rich in different kinds of fatty acids. This unique composition helps clear your skin of excess oil (sebum).
5. It Could Clear Your Nasal Congestion
Shea butter could be more efficient at treating nasal congestion than nasal drops!
Apply 2 to 4 grams of shea butter to the interior of your nostrils with your index finger. If applied correctly, you should be clear in minutes!
The fatty acids found in shea butter help to soften and moisturize tissues while also reducing inflammation. This can help relieve pressure from clogged sinuses caused by allergies or colds.
Shea butter contains cinnamic acid which when ingested breaks down into an ingredient called cinnamaldehyde. This compound helps break up the mucus in your respiratory system — thereby clearing your nasal congestion — by causing the veins in your nose and sinuses to constrict; reducing inflammation of the nasal cavity mucus membranes.
Rather than using petroleum jelly, you can use shea butter to fight pollen as well.
6. Use It to Clear Your Fungus!
African shea butter products are known to fight skin infections that are caused by fungi.
It kills spores of the fungi that cause athlete’s foot and ringworm.
Use it to moisturize your entire body after each shower to help fight any potential fungi!
7. Replace Your Shaving Cream With Raw Shea Butter
Some people swear by this method whereas others insist there isn’t enough lather.
The people who love using shea butter for shaving love it because it’s nice on the skin. It’s perfect for individuals who prefer a more “oily” shave.
Even if you don’t want to give up on your shaving cream, opt to use shea butter lotion to moisturize post-shave. It’ll lock moisture in and soothe irritation!
8. It Calms Inflamed Skin
It’s no secret that shea butter has multiple anti-inflammatory properties. It also has anti-tumor promoting compounds.
In addition to its moisturizing effects, shea butter has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe irritated skin or reduce redness. When applied liberally to inflamed areas over an extended period of time, it can have a long-term calming effect on the skin.
For scrapes, burns, or other irritated skin spots, apply a hefty amount of African shea butter. Do you want to protect your skin from damage before it occurs?
Make pure shea butter a part of your daily moisturizing routine. Plus, shea butter helps your skin generate healthy new cells.
9. It Fights the Sun’s Rays
Shea butter helps to prevent sun damage, with an SPF factor of 6 to 10. It contains both vitamin E and A, which are both antioxidants that protect the skin from free radical damage.
If your skin tone is uneven, it can also help balance it out. Plus, it restores elasticity and prevents premature aging.
If you’re looking to find an alternative to sunscreen, look for natural products rich in shea butter!
10. Use It to Stop Bug Bite Itching
Shea butter has been used to soothe insect bites and bee stings for years.
The natural fatty acids found in shea butter make it a great choice to soothe irritating bites. It works by creating a protective layer on the skin which helps reduce inflammation, while locking in moisture. Plus, shea butter can be used as an anti-inflammatory due to its rich source of vitamins and minerals, combating that unbearable itch from those pesky bug bites.
It can also bring down the swelling that those stings and bites cause.
Apply it to minor bites immediately to find out if it works for you!
Natural Shea Butter Is the Next Coconut Oil
Natural shea butter boasts many of the benefits that coconut oil does.
It’s beginning to take the world by storm as more and more people discover and enjoy the many benefits and uses it has to offer.
From shea butter lotion to shea oil, there are many products that use this magnificent substance. All you need to start, though, is pure shea butter that’ll cover all your needs.
Do you want to learn more ways in which you can enhance your family’s health? Take a look at how to use essential oils in your daily life. You can even add them to your shea butter for a therapeutic or cooling application!