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The Benefits and many uses of shea butter
by Emma Partridge
Legend has it that the ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti unearthed an incredible butter that would preserve her beauty. This butter was Shea Butter. It is now incredibly difficult to find a beauty or skin care product that does not list Shea Butter as an ‘active’ ingredient8.
And for good reason.
Shea butters antioxidants have anti-aging benefits, it contains five essential(E, D and A). Once applied to your skin it creates a soft moisturising shield which protects the skin from UV sunlight, harsh climate, dehydration and pollution damage.5 It also improves the skin’s elasticity and stimulates the production of collagen, which is the youthful scaffolding in our skin, and thus making Shea Butter a great anti-aging weapon. As a result the skin looks and feels more alive, nourished and radiant.4,5
Shea butter has natural anti-inflammatory properties2. It is the fat from the Shea Nut that has significant anti-inflammatory properties, and has been proven to reduce inflammation by over 45%1. It can be used to treat scrapes, cuts, burns; lessen muscle fatigue; take the pain out of arthritis; and soothe sunburns.6
Shea butter has been used for centuries as a wrinkle reducer.5,6,7 Shea butter contains essential fatty acids, along with vitamins A and E, which are imperative to maintaining your skin's elasticity and suppleness. In a clinical study done by Frank Renard, Ph.D., shea butter was found to have significant antiaging properties and was proven to help rebuild and rejuvenate collagen. Participants in this study were given shea butter to use as a balm to massage on their skin for four to eight months. The results showed clearer, brighter skin; less wrinkles; and even less sun damage.6
There is a difference between refined and unrefined shea butter. Unrefined shea butter is rich in essential fatty acids, natural latex, and vitamins A, D, E, F, & K. All the things that your skin loves! In contrast, refined shea butter is very white with little to no scent, the process that is used to that changes both the colour and the smell causes most of the properties of the butter that your skin loves have been lost.8
Shea butter is also brilliant for winter and after-sun care. It provides the extra moisture, vitamins and protection the skin needs during the cold season and summertime. In addition, since the butter is so natural and gentle to the skin, it is considered perfect for sensitive skin, prone to allergies, such as eczema2,3 and psoriasis, along with any skin breakdowns, such as insect bites, minor cuts and rashes. This miraculous power also makes the butter suitable for the delicate baby skin which guarantees health-conscious mums a totally natural and chemical-free skin care for their little ones.6,8
Shea Butter Benefits4
- Moisturizing: The concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in Shea butter makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturizing for skin. It is often used to remedy dry skin and to help protect the skin’s natural oils.4
- Reduces Inflammation: A 2010 study found that due to its cinnamic acid and other natural properties, shea butter was anti-inflammatory.9 One compound in particular, lupeol cinnamate, was found to reduce skin inflammation and even potentially help avoid skin mutations. This also makes it beneficial for some people with acne.4
- Skin Smoothing: Shea butter aids in the skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic and linolenic acids that protect and nourish the skin to prevent drying. With long term use, many people report skin softening and strengthening as well as wrinkle reduction.4
It’s no surprise that shea butter is an ingredient in most of the balms in the Defiant Beauty range – you’ll find it in our Cleanse and Moisturise, Smooth Skin Balm, Dry Scalp Treatment and Scalp Cleanse and Moisturise
- Akihisa, Toshihiro et al. “Triterpene Alcohol And Fatty Acid Composition of Shea Nuts From Seven African Countries”. Journal of Oleo Science 59.7 (2010): 351-360.Web
- Draelos, Zoe Diana. "A Pilot Study Investigating The Efficacy Of Botanical Anti-Inflammatory Agents In An OTC Eczema Therapy". J Cosmet Dermatol (2015): n/a-n/a. Web.
- Hon, KL et al. "Patient Acceptability, Efficacy, And Skin Biophysiology Of A Cream And Cleanser Containing Lipid Complex With Shea Butter Extract Versus A Ceramide Product For Eczema".Hong Kong Med J (2015): n. pag. Web.
- Mama, Wellness. "21 Shea Butter Benefits And Uses - Wellness Mama". Wellness Mama. N.p., 2015. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.
- Mital, H., and F. Dove. "THE STUDY OF SHEA BUTTER". Planta Med 20.05 (1971): 283-288. Web.
- Riggins, Kimberly. "What Are The Benefits Of Raw Shea Butter? | LIVESTRONG.COM".LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., 2014. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.
- Sheainstitute.com,. "21 Reasons To Use Shea Butter | American Shea Butter Institute". N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.
- The Busy Bee Blog,. "THE BENEFITS OF SHEA BUTTER – SUPERFOOD FOR THE SKIN". N.p., 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.
- Akihisa, Toshihiro et al. "Anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive effects of triterpene cinnamates and acetates from shea fat". Journal of Oleo Science 59.6 (2010):273-80.
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I love your products and shall give this a try too! xx