Shea butter is a seed fat that’s extracted from the nuts of the shea tree. The butter comes from two oily kernels within the seed. After the kernel is removed from the seed, it is ground into a powder then boiled in water. The fat rises to the top and solidifies.
It’s solid at warm temperatures and has an off-white or ivory colour. Shea trees are native to East & West tropical Africa, and most shea butter still comes from that region.
Shea butter has been used as a cosmetic ingredient for centuries. Its high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids, along with the easy-to-spread consistency — make it a great product for smoothing, soothing, and conditioning your skin.
- It’s safe for nearly all skin types, doesn’t contain chemical irritants and doesn’t clog pores
- It’s moisturising, which is to do with the fatty acids. It contains linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids. It creates a barrier between the skin and the outside environment.
- It doesn’t make the skin oily, it is absorbed into the body because of the linoleic and oleic acids that balance each other out.
- It has anti inflammatory properties. Once it is applied shea triggers cytokines and other inflammatory cells to slow their production. This may help minimize dryness of the skin, as well as inflammatory skin conditions
- It is an antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal
- It may help prevent acne, as it naturally helps clear the skin of excess oil
- It can help boost collagen production, resulting in plumper skin and less fine lines
- it may offer some sun protection, and can be applied over your sunscreen
- It may help treat dandruff and prevent hair breakage
- It may help with wound healing and is said to assist with arthritis