Shea butter is a natural fat extracted from the shea tree nuts that grow widely in African savannah. The nutrients contained therein are good for skin and hair health. Shea butter can be used as a sunscreen to dandruff medication.
To become shea butter, seeds from shea tree nuts will be processed into powder by drying, roasting, and grinding. Furthermore, the powder is boiled to produce oil.
The oil that appears on the surface of the water is then separated and cooled until it becomes solid like cream or butter. This butter can be used for cooking or processed into beauty products, such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, to skin moisturizers.
Ingredients and Benefits of Shea Butter for Skin and Hair
What makes shea butter one of the prima donna in skin and hair care products is the nutritional content in it. Shea butter contains anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antioxidant properties that protect the skin from free radicals, and is believed to be able to overcome a number of disorders of the skin.
Nutrients contained in shea butter include:
- Vitamins A and E. These vitamins can increase circulation and growth of skin cells, and make skin healthier.
- Essential fatty acids consisting of linoleic, palmitic, stearic and oleic acids, to balance oil levels in the skin.
- Triterpenes, tocopherols, phenols, and sterols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Triglyceride fats, to maintain skin health.
- Cetyl ester, which helps maintain skin moisture
Another advantage is that shea butter does not contain substances that have the potential to make skin dry and irritated, but also does not make skin oily, making it safe to use on all skin types.
The following are some of the benefits that can be obtained from using shea butter:
1. As a moisturizer and sunblock
Shea butter can work as an emollient that can soften and moisturize dry skin. In addition, shea butter contains SPF (sun protection factor), so it can be used as an additional sunscreen to protect skin from sun exposure. But to increase protection against sunlight, you still have to use sunblock.
2. Overcoming minor burns
The anti-inflammatory component of shea butter is believed to reduce redness and swelling. Its fatty acid component can also soothe minor burns, such as sunburn, by keeping the skin moist during the healing process.
3. Delay premature aging
The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the skin is a sign of premature aging. Shea butter can prevent premature aging because the content of triterpenes in it can maintain and increase collagen production which is important for skin elasticity. Meanwhile, vitamins A and E in shea butter can help the process of skin regeneration by stimulating the formation of new skin cells.
The combination of these nutrients can prevent premature aging, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles on the skin, so the skin looks youthful.
4. Prevent and reduce stretch marks and keloids
The content of vitamins A and E in shea butter is known to moisturize and restore skin elasticity, so it can help prevent and reduce stretch marks. A study also showed that the content of essential fatty acids in shea butter can hydrate the skin while reducing keloid growth.
5. Prevent acne
Shea butter is rich in various types of essential fatty acids that can control excess oil production and restore and maintain skin moisture, so the skin is not dry and not oily. The balance of oil levels in the skin can prevent acne.
6. Treat skin infections
The nutritional content of shea butter is believed to be able to fight skin infections due to fungi, such as ringworm and water fleas. Shea butter is also often used to treat skin infections due to mites, such as scabies.
7. Overcoming inflammation in the skin
The anti-inflammatory component of shea butter is known to calm the skin and relieve itching caused by eczema, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. The results showed that shea butter can be used together with cream to treat eczema.
8. Treating dandruff
One way to treat dandruff is to restore the dry, irritated scalp moisture. Now, a study shows that the combination of shea butter with other moisturizers can help reduce dandruff and risk of scaly skin.
There are 2 types of shea butter, namely refined and unrefined shea butter. Refined shea butter is shea butter that undergoes many screening processes, while unrefined shea butter is pure shea butter which does not undergo much filtering.
Keep in mind that the screening process can make shea butter lose some of its nutrients. So if you want to feel the maximum benefits, you should choose unrefined shea butter products because the nutrients are still awake.