4 Key Benefits of Shea Butter
What is shea butter?
Shea butter is a fat that’s extracted from the kernels of a shea tree originating in Sub Saharan Africa. Shea butter has high concentrations of fatty acids and vitamins that make it such a great cosmetic ingredient for softening and soothing the skin.
1. It promotes skin moisture
There's a reason shea butter is so popular and is commonly used in so many face moisturizers and body lotions today. It acts as an emollient that softens and hydrates skin. Because it contains several types of fatty acids — including lineoleic, oleic, palmitic and stearic acids — that improve the skin's natural barrier, shea butter also protects skin from damage from the environment like pollutants.
2. Its anti-inflammatory properties soothe skin problems
Research from the Journal of Oleo Science notes shea butter's anti-inflammatory compounds, which make it a perfect fit to soothe and nourish upset skin.
Today, it's often included in products that help heal inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, according to the Hong Kong Medical Journal, as well as ones meant to soothe sunburns. What's more, shea butter is thought to have mild sun protection benefits — though it's not strong enough to replace your sunscreen. Still, you might notice shea butter sneakily adding moisture to your sun-protecting products.
3. It could heal cuts and scrapes
This ingredient is also often found in scar-healing products, because its rich fatty-acid levels help to soften scar tissue and may speed up the scar-healing process. Research from the journal Wounds suggests it may be particularly effective in helping prevent keloid scars — the kind of scar that's raised, red and rubbery — from forming. Like many of the known shea butter benefits, it's likely this is also partially due to the ingredients emollient properties.
4. Helps erase stretch mark appearance
Do you want to minimise and reduce the appearance of stretch marks? Super shea butter can help. It is effective at calming the redness of fresh stretch marks. Experts say the antioxidant activity of shea butter can help strengthen the skin barrier and minimise redness and inflammation.