With the increasing popularity of clean beauty products, many are keenly exploring age-old skin-benefiting natural ingredients. From argan oil to aloe vera, everyone nowadays is looking for chemical-free, natural skincare alternatives. Shea butter is one such creamy wonder that has now become a primary ingredient in many lotions, shampoos, conditioners, and cosmetics. This is all due to the amazing benefits of shea butter for skin. Without further ado, let’s dive right into exploring 25 shea butter skin benefits and uses. We guarantee you’ll be itching to get your hands on shea moisture products by the time you’re done!
Shea butter: What is it?
Shea butter is a luxurious fatty oil that is extracted from the nuts of the karite (shea) tree that is native to east and west Africa. The butter itself is solid at room temperature and is made by crushing the oily kernels and boiling the resulting powder in water. Once cooled, the thick, light coloured fat turns into a solid. However, it still has a buttery, creamy consistency and is easily spreadable on your skin.
Shea butter is rich in fatty acids such as stearic acid, oleic acid, and linoleic acids, as well as phenolics and vitamins E, A and F. All these have great moisturising and skin-softening qualities. In addition, the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties make shea butter excellent to use on the body, especially the face.
It has historically been used in wound care and as a natural eye cream and body butter. Containing around 60% fat, it penetrates the skin easily. Therefore, it makes for a highly efficient emollient, with skin and hair conditioning, toning and soothing properties.
Shea butter for face: Why so good?
Shea butter is a popular ingredient in many creams, moisturisers, lotions, and other cosmetic products. This is due to its amazing anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, emollient, and anti-ageing properties. Let’s explore these individually.
1. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
Shea butter can help calm down any redness or swelling you may have on your face and body. It can help alleviate symptoms of inflammatory skin diseases and lessen the free radical damage to skin and hair.
2. Anti-ageing properties
Shea butter is rich in vitamin E, which has skin soothing and moisturising qualities. It also enhances skin’s elasticity and collagen production, promoting overall skin health.
3. Skin smoothing emollient properties
Shea butter easily soaks into the facial and body skin, locking in moisture for several hours. The abundance of fatty acids helps nourish and protect the skin from drying. Anecdotal evidence suggests that long term usage leads to skin softening and reduction in fine lines and wrinkles.
25 shea butter skin benefits and uses
Regular use of shea butter products in your skincare routine can work wonders for your skin. Take a look at all shea butter skin benefits and uses below:
1. Moisturises dry skin
Dehydrated, dry skin tends to become rough and scaly. Shea butter’s high-fat content as well as a multitude of vitamins and fatty acids are responsible for its humectant properties. These help in lock moisture for long periods and nourish the skin. Shea butter penetrates the skin easily, making it the perfect ingredient to soften dry skin and cracked heels.
2. Helps treat acne and blemishes
The anti-bacterial properties of shea butter can help treat acne and prevent its reoccurrence. The rich fatty acid content helps clear the skin’s excess oil and regulate the natural oil composition and sebum production by restoring moisture.
3. Alleviates skin inflammation
Shea butter is rich in lupeol cinnamate and a 2010 study suggests that the presence of cinnamic acid compounds make shea butter anti-inflammatory. Applying shea butter on the skin helps reduce swelling and irritation, and even avoid skin mutations. Scrapes and cuts that cause swelling can also be treated efficiently using this rich butter.
4. Smooths fine line and wrinkles
Shea butter acts as an amazing anti-ageing agent and stimulates collagen production and skin renewal. Vitamin A and E have potent anti-oxidant properties that help keep your skin supple and nourished. Regularly applying shea butter on the face and body can help tighten skin and reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
5. Relief from insect bites
The high content of vitamin A in shea butter promotes disinfection and healing after insect bites. Moreover, shea butter has strong anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, and applying it to skin allergies or insect bites can help soothe skin and prevent infection.
6. Calms skin and baby diaper rash
Unrefined Shea butter makes an excellent natural diaper cream to relieve rashes, as it is devoid of any chemicals. It is ideal for a baby’s sensitive, delicate skin. Applying it on a baby’s body after a bath can help heal eczema symptoms and diaper rashes.
7. Soothes athlete’s foot
Shea butter has anti-fungal properties, and research has shown that it be effective against fungal infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot. While it may not necessarily remove the infection, it can ease the symptoms and alleviate irritation and prevent the occurrence of new fungi spores.
8. Hydrates under-eye area
As we discussed before, shea butter is rich in vitamins A, E and F. All these help hydrate skin and reduce puffiness. The under-eye area is quite delicate and needs special care. One of Poko’s most popular products is the Correcting Eye Cream that has shea butter as one of its main ingredients. Applying it regularly helps nourish and improve under-eye skin’s appearance.
9. Relieves itchy, peeling skin
The intensely moisturising qualities of shea butter can prove beneficial for dry, peeling, and itchy skin. The rich fatty acids in shea butter provide soothing relief to itchy skin. This is especially helpful in skin conditions like psoriasis, as it replenishes the skin with the necessary hydrating oils it needs.
10. Restores skin elasticity
One of the most important benefits of shea butter for skin is that it helps improve skin collagen production. Regularly applying shea butter on the skin intensely hydrates the skin and softens it, besides restoring skin elasticity. Improved skin elasticity also reduces the appearance of blemishes and wrinkles.
11. Reduces the appearance stretch marks
Stretch marks are common during pregnancy due to weight gain and so are postpartum stretch marks due to weight loss. These occur because the skin stretches beyond its natural elastic capacity.
As we discussed before, shea butter boosts skin renewal, improves collagen production and restores skin elasticity. Therefore, applying a thin layer of this natural emollient on affected areas can help diminish the appearance of these marks.
12. Lessens razor bumps and irritation
All of us who have used razors to shave off unwanted hair know how irritated and itchy the skin can become. Post shaving bumps are also not uncommon.
Shea butter can help alleviate the discomfort of these bumps, as it moisturises and soothes irritated skin. Massaging your skin with shea butter a day before shaving can make the whole process easier and faster, without leaving any irritated spots.
13. Makes an excellent lip balm
In the mood for a DIY lip balm? Shea butter is the answer! It is highly effective for treating dry and chapped lips during the cold season. It forms a moisture barrier on the lips, leaving them supple and hydrated for several hours.
14. Speeds up wound healing
The high content of phytonutrients makes shea butter an excellent remedy for a variety of burns, cuts, and abrasions. Regular application heals wounds quickly, as the shea butter penetrates deep into the skin. It boosts cell repair function by speeding up the microcirculation of blood, as it supplies the skin with essential nutrients and fats.
15. Relieves symptoms of skin conditions
Skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis can cause dry, scaly, flaky and itchy patches of skin. A deeply moisturising and soothing emollient like shea butter provides relief from flare-ups and alleviates inflammation.
By rubbing it directly on the affected areas, the humectant and anti-inflammatory properties of shea butter get to work, reducing swelling and itching. Moreover, as it is safe and effective for use, many doctors recommend shea butter to young and old alike suffering from these ailments.
16. Provides UV protection
Shea butter has a natural SPF of about 6-10, thereby providing some relief and protection against harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. While it may help replenish moisture in exposed skin, it is not recommended for use alone as a suncream, due to its low SPF content. However, it does go a long way in repairing oxidative damage caused by free radicals and solar radiation and soothing the skin.
17. Effectively removes eye makeup
Did you know that shea butter acts as an effective eye make remover? Especially for waterproof mascara and eyeliner? This is all due to the rich concentration of oleic acid in shea butter.
All you need to do is massage a small amount of shea butter onto your eyelids and wipe away the makeup with a cotton towel or cotton ball.
18. Makes a great homemade deodorant
Many people are becoming increasingly conscious of what they put on their skin and want to do away with chemical-based products. You too can bid goodbye to your store-bought deodorant. Simply make a DIY homemade deodorant using shea butter and other natural ingredients. Your armpits will thank you!
19. Soothes itchy scalp
An itchy, irritated scalp is a source of great discomfort. Shea butter can help nourish and moisturise the dry skin on your head, reducing itchiness and getting rid of dandruff.
20. Aids shaving
If you ever run out of shaving cream, don’t worry! Lathering up with shea butter before shaving is bound to give you the smoothest shave you’ve ever had.
This is all due to shea butter’s intensely moisturising qualities that soften skin and hair, making the razor glide smoothly without any irritation or razor bumps.
21. Makes a great face mask
A face mask made of shea butter can help nourish and refresh your skin. Whip up a quick one by mixing some organic honey and shea butter along with some drops of your favourite essential oil. Apply a thin layer on your face, rinse after ten minutes and get ready to see glowing, healthy skin.
22. Eases nasal congestion and sore nose
Did you know that applying shea butter to your nostrils can help you get rid of nasal congestion? According to a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, participants experienced relief from nasal congestion in just ninety seconds after applying shea butter in their nostrils.
Moreover, there is also strong anecdotal evidence in which users claim that shea butter works better than nasal drops to ease nasal congestion. Dabbing shea butter around nostrils helps moisturise them and get rid of the discomfort of a dry, sore nose.
23. Natural moisturiser for all skin types
By now, you may have understood that shea butter has incredible moisturising qualities. But did you know that it works well on all skin types? Yes, it is an excellent moisturiser for even oily skin types, and it hydrates the skin without clogging pores.
The fatty acids in the butter - oleic acid and linoleic acid- work well together to absorb easily into the skin without leaving any sticky, heavy residue.
24. Protects against free radical damage
Shea butter for skin is also immensely beneficial because it exerts a strong antioxidant effect. The vitamins, catechins and fatty acids in shea butter work hard against the free radicals commonly found in the environment in various irritants and pollutants.
Even the sun’s harmful UV rays increase their incidence, damaging skin cells in the process. Regularly applying shea moisture products on the face and body can give your skin a much-needed antioxidant boost and protection from free radical damage.
25. Conditions scalp and prevents hair loss
You need to take care of the skin on your head. After all, good scalp care is vital for hair health. Shea butter helps condition the scalp, strengthening it with its anti-inflammatory properties and preventing hair loss.
A moisturised, healthy scalp, free from dandruff and other common scalp problems, will undoubtedly lead to shiny, healthy hair.
Best shea moisture products
You can incorporate shea butter into your skincare routine in several ways. Use it in its pure, unrefined form or go ahead and buy your favourite skincare products from renowned brands.
At Poko, we fully understand the immense benefits of shea butter for skin and have made great efforts to include the finest shea butter in our following products:
Correcting Eye Cream
Poko’s Correcting Eye Cream just won the Beauty Bible Silver Award for Best Eye Treatment Cream 2021. It is rich in shea butter and other natural ingredients and helps nourish the under-eye area while reducing puffiness and brightening dark circles.
Regenerating Collagen Moisturiser
Another best-seller, the Regenerating Collagen Moisturiser targets dehydrated skin by utilising the natural benefits of shea butter and other powerful natural ingredients like oatmeal and aloe vera. It helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles while minimising the effects of uneven skin tone and age spots.
Shea butter for skin is highly beneficial. Not only does it deeply moisturise the skin, but it also has soothing, anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties that make your face and body skin appear smoother and more radiant.
However, before trying any shea butter product, you should always do a small patch test. Discontinue use if you feel any irritation.
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